Posts Tagged ‘ weight gain ’

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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Study: Kids Gain More Weight in Summertime

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Despite the idea that kids would be playing and moving around outside during the summer months, new research from Harvard University shows that summertime is actually when kids are most at risk of packing on pounds.  Part of the reason may be school-led efforts to offer healthier lunches and ban sugary drinks, but also at fault could be sedentary summer habits, less structure, and more (and less healthy) snacks.  More from Today.com:

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health looked at data from seven studies that included more than 10,000 kids ages 5 to 12 in the United States, Canada and Japan. In all but one of the studies published between 2005 and 2013, the findings suggested that weight gain accelerated among kids during the summer — mostly for black and Hispanic youngsters and children and teens who were already overweight.

“It’s especially those kids who are already at risk who are the most at risk during the summer,” said Rebecca Franckle, a Harvard doctoral student who led the study published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

In one study of more than 5,300 kindergarten and first-graders in 310 U.S. schools, researchers found that the kids’ body mass index growth, one measure of excess weight, was more than twice as fast during summer vacation as during the school year.

“Although schools may not provide ideal environments for healthy BMI growth, it appears that they are healthier than most children’s non-school environment,” researchers concluded in the 2007 study in the American Journal of Public Health.

About a third of children and teens in the U.S. are either overweight or obese, according to federal health estimates. Piling on extra weight at a young age can lead to serious health problems later in life.

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

Image: Ice cream cone, via Shutterstock

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Screen Time, Weight Gain Linked Again in New Study

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Children who spend a lot of time watching television or playing with smartphones or tablets are more likely to gain weight than kids who have less screen time, according to a new study.  The new research is the latest in a long string of findings that link weight issues with screen time.  More from Reuters:

Many parents believe their children are getting a reasonable amount of recreational screen time, Mark Tremblay said. But most U.S. and Canadian kids exceed the recommended two-hour maximum per day.

“We don’t pay attention to the fact that it’s half an hour here, half an hour there, an hour here, an hour there,” Tremblay told Reuters Health. He is the director of Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Ottawa, Canada, and wasn’t involved in the new study.

Researchers used data from a long-term study of kids who took surveys every other year. The surveys included questions about their height and weight as well as how much time they spent watching TV and DVDs and playing computer and videogames.

Kids were between ages nine and 16 when the study started.

Out of about 4,300 girls in the study, 17 percent were overweight or obese. Twenty-four percent of the 3,500 boys were also above a healthy weight.

From one survey to the next, each one-hour increase in children’s daily TV watching was tied to an increase of about 0.1 points on a body mass index (BMI) scale, which measures weight in relation to height. That’s a difference of approximately half a pound per extra hour of TV.

Increases in total screen time between survey periods were linked with similar but smaller changes in BMI.

“The weight of the evidence is pretty strong that television viewing is related to unhealthy changes in weight among youth,” Jennifer Falbe said.

But, she told Reuters Health, “It’s important for parents to be aware of all the potentially obesogenic screens that they should really be limiting in their children’s lives.” Increases in DVD and video watching were tied to weight gain among girls, in particular.

Falbe led the study while at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. She is now at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.

Image: Kids watching TV, via Shutterstock

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Childhood Trauma, Teen Weight Issues Linked

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Children who experience traumatic events including health problems in the family, family structure like divorce or inconsistent caregiving, or physical or emotional abuse are more likely to struggle with their weight when they become teenagers, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.  More from Reuters:

“I felt like I was seeing a lot of children who had experienced stress early in their lives later gain weight pretty rapidly” Dr. Julie Lumeng at the University of Michigan Medical School told Reuters Health.

“There has been quite a bit of research looking at stress in the lives of adults leading to weight gain, but it has not been studied as much in children,” said Lumeng, who led the new study.

“We did this particular study because it looked at simply ‘events’ that had occurred in children’s lives and then asked mothers to rate the events in terms of how much of an impact they had,” Lumeng said.

The researchers used data from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.

The mothers of 848 children enrolled in the study completed surveys when their children were 4, 9 and 11 years old. They were asked if any of 71 different life events had occurred during the previous year, and they rated the impact of the event on a scale from -3 (extremely negative) to zero (no effect) to +3 (extremely positive).

Four categories of negative life events were studied: health problems in the family; work, school or financial stability; emotional aspects of family relationships; and family structure, routine and caregiving.

The kids’ height and weight were measured at age 15. Teens with a BMI above the 85th percentile for age and gender based on CDC growth charts were defined as being overweight.

Of the 848 children, 260 were considered overweight and 488 were not. Thirty percent of the overweight children had experienced a significant number of negative life events, compared to 22 percent of the non-overweight children.

Experiencing many negative life events was tied to a nearly 50 percent higher risk of being overweight, versus no negative events.

The associations were strongest for negative events related to family physical or mental health, among children of obese mothers and among children who waited longer for food, the researchers report in the journal Pediatrics.

Image: Overweight teen, via Shutterstock

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Cutting Bottles Doesn’t Stop Toddler Weight Gain

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Reducing the use of bottles with toddlers who are 12-15 months old won’t help stop them from gaining weight, even thought bottles use has been linked to weight issues in toddlers of that age.  Reuters has more on the findings of a new study:

Doctors recommend introducing sippy cups at six months and weaning toddlers off bottles completely by the time they’re 15 months old.

But 20 percent of two-year-olds and 10 percent of three-year-olds in the U.S. continue to use bottles, often drinking five bottles of whole milk every day, researchers said.

“Bottles can become a vessel for extra, or ‘stealth’ calories, because they are often used indiscriminately. For example, while in a stroller, or to put a child to bed,” Karen Bonuck told Reuters Health in an email. She led the new study at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York.

“Before you know it, a child can take in 150 calories of whole milk in a bottle on top of their regular diet,” Bonuck said.

The researchers wanted to see if giving parents educational materials as part of a program called ‘Proud to Be Bottle Free’ and a sippy cup would reduce the number of bottles kids used and the calories they consumed.

They enrolled 300 pairs of parents and 12-month-olds at two Bronx Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) sites.

To be eligible for the study, children had to be consuming more than two bottles of milk or juice every day. The participants were randomly split into two groups: a bottle-weaning group that received the materials and sippy cup and a comparison group that did not.

The research team checked in with parents over the next year to find out how many bottles kids were consuming every day, as well as what else they ate and drank.

One hundred and four parent and child pairs completed the study.

After three months, bottle usage had dropped from 4.6 bottles per day to two bottles per day among kids in the bottle-weaning program. There was a smaller drop in the comparison group, from 4.4 bottles per day to 2.7, on average.

Sippy cup usage increased more in the bottle-weaning group.

By one year, toddlers in both groups were averaging about one bottle per day.

Kids in the bottle-weaning program consumed slightly fewer calories – 1,090 calories per day, on average, versus 1,186 among comparison children. But the difference was small enough that it could have been due to chance.

The program did not lower toddlers’ chances of being overweight, according to results published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

“At first we were surprised that there was no effect upon overweight status,” Bonuck said, “but looking at the data more closely, this seems partially attributable to the substitution of sippy cups for bottles in the intervention group.”

She thought the program’s benefits might also have been clearer had fewer families left the study early.

“Had we achieved our optimal sample size, and included messages about sippy cups, I would suspect this would have affected our overweight status outcomes,” Bonuck said.

She said the advice to wean toddlers off bottles by 15 months should be extended to sippy cups.

Image: Girl with bottle, via Shutterstock

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