Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
A New York State Supreme Court judge has issued a decision striking down New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large sugary drinks. In a move that is sure to get families talking about the relationship between sugary beverages and childhood obesity–and the government’s role in regulating both–State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling said that the rule is invalid because it isn’t applied consistently. More from The Associated Press:
‘‘The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of this rule,’’ Tingling wrote in a victory for the beverage industry, restaurants and other business groups that called the rule unfair and wrong-headed.
In addition, the judge said the Bloomberg-appointed Board of Health intruded on City Council’s authority when it imposed the rule.
The city vowed to appeal the decision, issued by New York state’s trial-level court.
‘‘We believe the judge is totally in error in how he interpreted the law, and we are confident we will win on appeal,’’ Bloomberg said. He added: ‘‘One of the cases we will make is that people are dying every day. This is not a joke. Five thousand people die of obesity every day in America.’’
For now, though, the ruling it means the ax won’t fall Tuesday on supersized sodas, sweetened teas and other high-sugar beverages in restaurants, movie theaters, corner delis and sports arenas.
‘‘The court ruling provides a sigh of relief to New Yorkers and thousands of small businesses in New York City that would have been harmed by this arbitrary and unpopular ban,’’ the American Beverage Association and other opponents said, adding that the organization is open to other ‘‘solutions that will have a meaningful and lasting impact.’’
The first of its kind in the country, the restriction has sparked reaction from city streets to late-night talk shows, celebrated by some as a bold attempt to improve people’s health and derided by others as another ‘‘nanny state’’ law from Bloomberg during his 11 years in office.
Image: Sodas, via Shutterstock
Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
The American Academy of Pediatrics has, for the first time, issued guidelines for managing weight-related diabetes in children. The move is attributed to the rise in childhood obesity in America. The two major recommendations are that pediatricians should screen every child for diabetes, and take care to distinguish between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. More from Time.com:
Children have long been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, in which the body fails to make enough insulin-producing cells to process glucose in the blood, but doctors are now seeing an increasing number of children with type 2 diabetes, in which fat cells that enlarge with weight gain thwart the body’s ability to break down sugars. Up to a third of cases being diagnosed in kids these days are Type 2, which generally develops later in life, generally after age 40. “We’re seeing it much more than we did before,” says Dr. Janet Silverstein, co-author of the new American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines on diabetes and professor of pediatrics at the University of Florida. “Many pediatricians were never trained in managing Type 2 because it just wasn’t a disease we used to see. It was a disease of adulthood. But as we’re seeing more obesity in kids, we’re seeing adult diseases in childhood.”
The guidelines, which are the first of their kind for kids between the ages of 10 and 18, were developed in collaboration with the American Diabetes Association, the Pediatric Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
They emphasize the importance of distinguishing between type 1 and type 2 to determine an appropriate treatment plan. Children with type 2 don’t necessarily need insulin. They may initially be treated with medication that increases their sensitivity to insulin. And they should be encouraged to move: doctors should advise them to exercise at least an hour a day and limit screen time that’s not related to schoolwork to under two hours a day.
Image: Candy, via Shutterstock
Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
Children who have televisions in their bedrooms have higher risks of developing health problems including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has found. More from NBC News:
“Specifically, youngsters ages 5 to 18 who had TVs in their rooms were up to 2.5 times more likely than others to have bigger waists and more fat mass. Those who watched TV more than five hours a day were at twice the risk for fat around their internal organs, a dangerous precursor for disease.
“It’s really troubling to see these kids with fat around their heart and liver,” said Amanda Staiano, a scientist with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.
Staiano and her colleagues knew that previous studies had shown a link among bedroom TVs, longer TV viewing and being overweight or obese, which affects two-thirds of U.S. youth. But in a country where 70 percent of kids have TVs in their rooms, according to a 2010 study, Staiano said they wanted to understand exactly where the kids were adding fat, and whether they were at risk for conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
“We wanted to see kind of a more precise relationship between TV and health,” said Stainao, who studied 369 children and teens in Louisiana. Her findings are reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
They took the kids’ height, weight and waist measurements, logged their blood pressure, analyzed their blood and examined the fat deposits in their bodies using special scanners, among other exams.
Nearly 66 percent of the young people in the study had TVs in their rooms and about a third watched at least five hours of TV a day. There wasn’t a distinction by age, so even the youngest kids — 5-year-olds — had their own TVs, Staiano said.
Those with bedroom TVs had the higher odds for being in the top tiers of kids with extra belly fat, bigger waists, greater risk of heart disease and diabetes and elevated triglycerides, or fat in their bloodstream.
While Stainano’s study couldn’t say whether bedroom TV and long hours in front of the screen actually causes the extra fat and disease risk, it renews the debate about whether TVs should be allowed in kids’ rooms at all.
The American Academy of Pediatrics frowns on the practice, saying children’s TV viewing should be limited to less than two hours a day, ideally in a central location with parents watching, too.”
Image: Kids watching TV in bed, via Shutterstock
Friday, May 4th, 2012
A large new study of children with Type 2 diabetes has found that the disease develops more quickly and is more difficult to treat than when adults are diagnosed with the same disease. The New York Times reports:
Why the disease is so hard to control in children and teenagers is not known. The researchers said that rapid growth and the intense hormonal changes at puberty might play a part.
The study followed 699 children ages 10 to 17 at medical centers around the country for about four years. It found that the usual oral medicine for Type 2 diabetes stopped working in about half of the patients within a few years, and they had to add daily shots of insulin to control their blood sugar. Researchers said they were shocked by how poorly the oral drugs performed because they work much better in adults.
The results of the study and an editorial were published online on Sunday by The New England Journal of Medicine.
The findings could signal trouble ahead because poorly controlled diabetes significantly increases the risk of heart disease, eye problems, nerve damage, amputations and kidney failure. The longer a person has the disease, the greater the risk. So in theory, people who develop diabetes as children may suffer its complications much earlier in life than previous generations who became diabetic as adults.
“I fear that these children are going to become sick earlier in their lives than we’ve ever seen before,” Dr. Nathan said.
Researchers urge aggressive, individualized treatment plans to keep the disease under control in children.
Image: Child at doctor’s office, via Shutterstock.
Monday, March 5th, 2012
A new technology that mimics the monitoring of blood sugar and release of insulin done by a healthy pancreas is making a difference in the lives of some children, leading a CNN.com medical writer to refer to it as a “vacation from diabetes.”
From Elizabeth Cohen’s report:
Medical device companies are racing to be the first to market an artificial pancreas, which takes over the work of the diabetic’s malfunctioning organ. The device could potentially be used for Type 1 diabetics or Type 2 diabetics who use insulin.
“It’s transformative technology,” says Aaron Kowalski, assistant vice president for treatment therapies research at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
JDRF is funding artificial pancreas trials at 13 sites worldwide, including Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Virginia and the University of Colorado. Device companies also are funding several other studies.
“It’s looking incredibly promising,” Kowalski says. “I hope very much we’ll have a system on the market within four years, and I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t.”
In January, [12-year-old] Elle [Shaheen] walked into Massachusetts General Hospital to start the trial.
Doctors fitted her for an artificial pancreas. In the future, the device will be the size of a cell phone, but for now Elle is hooked up to a laptop.
For three days, the device did the work Elle’s pancreas can no longer do.
“It went very smoothly — her blood sugar control was really very, very good,” said Dr. Steven Russell, an instructor at Harvard Medical School. “We were really very pleased by what we saw with Elle.”
Russell’s research partner, Edward Diamano, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University, says the device learned Elle’s blood sugar patterns and made changes accordingly.
“It’s making adjustments every five minutes,” he says.
For that one weekend, Elle didn’t have to draw blood, and she could eat foods she hadn’t eaten in large quantities for four years.
“She ate Spaghetti-O’s and grilled cheese and french fries and hamburgers,” Shaheen says. “She ate between 67 and 100 grams of carbs a day, and usually she can only eat between 40 and 50.”
Image: Diabetic child checking blood sugar, via Shutterstock.