Posts Tagged ‘ childhood obesity ’

Read This Before You Have Dinner Tonight …

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Positive Family Meal Reduces Childhood ObesityWe’ve all heard about the benefits of a home-cooked meal (and likely bemoaned the amount of work and time that can take to produce), but a new study published this week in Pediatrics shows that when it comes to childhood obesity, what happens at the table may actually be more important than what’s on your child’s plate.

Researchers at  the University of Minnesota gave 120 families (about half with obese or overweight children and the other half with non-overweight children) iPads to record their meals for eight days, and they found that those families with non-overweight kids were more likely to have positive mealtime interactions.

These included what the study referred to as, “warmth, group enjoyment, and parental positive reinforcement,” while overweight children were more likely to experience a more negative mealtime experience such as “hostility, poor quality interactions, little communication and more controlling behavior from their parents,” TIME reports.

“I was surprised by how consistent the patterns were,” Jerica Berge, study co-author, told TIME. “Almost every single one of the emotional factors we coded were in the right direction, and there were really clear patterns in how much positive or negative interactions were associated with overweight and non overweight.”

The researchers also coded for a number of variables like where the meal took place (kitchen or dining room vs. family or bedroom), whether or not members of the family had some kind of screen, and also how long the meal lasted, among others. Through this they also found that for families with both obese and non-overweight children, mealtime is hardly a drawn out affair. Non-overweight children’s families typically sat down for an average of 18.2 minutes, while obese children’s families spent an average of 13.5 minutes.

It is important to note, however, that this study did not track exactly what families were eating at their meals—that will be their next study’s concentration, TIME reports. While we wait for those results, try out some of our own tried-and-true healthy dinner options for your family.

How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids

Photo of family eating dinner courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Could Taking Antibiotics Make Your Kids Obese?

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Antibiotics Can Cause Obesity Before If Taken Before Age 2Just as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month wraps up, a new study is out from JAMA Pediatrics showing that children who repeatedly take antibiotics before age 2 have a higher risk of obesity by age 5.

Researchers tracked the health records of more than 64,000 children living in urban Philadelphia and surrounding areas between 2001 and 2013 found that 69 percent of those children took some broad range antibiotics before they were 2 years old, but only “broad spectrum” antibiotics seemed to be associated with obesity.

Broad spectrum antibiotics are typically used to treat more serious infections and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.

“If you use the stronger medications as the first line of defense, your child could develop a resistance, and those drugs won’t be as effective if and when she really needs them,” Dr. Ari Brown told Parents

TIME reports that taking so many antibiotics at such a young age can actually kill off bacteria that can be helpful for digestion in the gut. Studies with mice have proven this theory, so it is thought that something similar could be occurring in the bodies of young children, too.

Approximately 12.7 million children ages 2 to 19 are obese in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Help your kids stay fit and promote a healthy lifestyle in your home with these tips.

Kids and Chronic Health Concerns
Kids and Chronic Health Concerns
Kids and Chronic Health Concerns

Photo of pills courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Healthier Pregnancies Are Possible for Obese Women, Study Finds

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Healthier Pregnancies Are Possible for Obese Women, Study FindsAbout 30 percent of  reproductive-age women in the U.S. are currently classified as obese. And with obesity rates on the rise nationally, monitoring and understanding healthy weight gain during pregnancy has become a real concern for healthcare professionals.

Dangers abound for women who are obese and pregnant, including miscarriages, birth injuries, and a chance of having gestational diabetes, among other issues for the child down the road, TIME reports.

But research just out from the journal Obesity has promising news. The study found that the risk level can be lowered if women join in a program that encourages them to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

The study followed 114 women who were classified as obese, based on the Institute of Medicine guidelines. A test group was given an “intervention program,” which included individualized calorie goals, advice to follow the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension dietary pattern without sodium restriction, and attended weekly group meetings, while the control group was only given advice one-time dietary advice.

And the results? Women who participated in the intervention programs gained less weight than their counterparts and their babies also had lower numbers of large-for-gestational age weights.

“Most interventions to limit weight gain among obese women during pregnancy have failed, but our study shows that with regular contact and support, these women can limit the amount of weight they gain, which will also reduce the risk of complications during and after pregnancy,” author Kim Vesco, MD, MPH, a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist, said in a press release.

Not sure what a healthy weight range is for you during pregnancy? Take a look at our general guidelines. But remember, you should always ask your healthcare provider about what’s best for you and your baby.

Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need
Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need
Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need

Photo of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Are Overprotective Moms Hurting Kids’ Health?

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Moms who are overprotective of their children–especially in the arena of avoiding risks in physical activity–may actually be increasing their kids’ risk of health problems, specifically obesity.  A longitudinal study conducted by Australian researchers found that moms who are overprotective tend to limit physical activity for their kids, and by age 10 or 11, the kids are at a higher risk of being overweight or obese.

The data came from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, which followed more than 2,500 children from ages 4 to 11.  They used a measure called the Protectiveness Parenting Scale to rank parents’ degrees of protectiveness in three main areas:

  • How difficult a parent finds it to be separated from their child
  • How much they try to protect their child from problems or difficulties
  • How difficult it is for them to relinquish control of their child’s environment as they get older.

As the Science Network of Western Australia reports, moms who scored moderately high on the scale were 13 percent more likely to have overweight or obese kids; moms who scored high on the scale were 27 percent more likely.  More from the Science Network:

“However, we only found this pattern once kids reached the age of about 10-11 years.”

“This could be to do with the amount of independence and physical activity that kids get.”

“At 10–11 years some kids will be allowed to walk or ride to school on their own, or with friends, or participate in sport… others will be driven around and have greater restrictions.”

“So while some kids have many options for physical activity, kids with an overprotective parent might miss out, [which] could explain why we found higher rates of overweight and obesity.”

They also found higher protective scores across mothers from greater socioeconomic and environmental disadvantage, which Ms Hancock says is understandable.

“If they’re living in areas with increased traffic congestion, or in neighbourhoods that are less safe, then we need to remember that… it isn’t as simple as saying ‘let your kids be more active’ if the opportunities aren’t there.”

What is your parenting style?

Parenting Style: Attachment Parenting
Parenting Style: Attachment Parenting
Parenting Style: Attachment Parenting

Image: Mom and child holding hands, via Shutterstock

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Childhood Obesity Rate May Be Undercounted

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

The obesity rate among American kids may actually be higher than the 18 percent of children the Centers for Disease Control currently classifies as obese, according to an analysis published in the journal Pediatric Obesity.  As many as 25 percent of obese or overweight kids may not be counted because the tally is based on the body mass index (BMI), a calculation that researchers say is flawed because children’s height and weight change rapidly as they grow–and not always in proportion with each other.

More from The Wall Street Journal:

“BMI is not capturing everybody who needs to be labeled as obese,” said Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, director of preventive cardiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who headed the study with Asma Javed, a pediatric endocrinology fellow.

Measuring body-mass index is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to screen for obesity among large groups of people, such as children in a school setting. A problem is that BMI, a calculation based on a person’s height and weight, isn’t well suited to children because their height and weight don’t proportionally increase as they grow, said Ruth Loos, a professor of preventive medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, who wasn’t involved with the Mayo study.

“It doesn’t mean that we cannot use BMI in childhood but it requires extra caution,” she said.

Other recent research has linked everything from sleep deprivation to weight-based name calling with an elevated risk of childhood obesity.  Research released earlier this year had claimed a significant drop in the childhood obesity rate in the U.S., but subsequent research actually showed a sharp increase in the number of severely obese kids.

Kids and Chronic Health Concerns
Kids and Chronic Health Concerns
Kids and Chronic Health Concerns

Image: Scale, via Shutterstock

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