Health and Fitness

Research Supports First Lady's Childhood Obesity Initiative

First Lady Michelle Obama announced yesterday an initiative to reverse rising levels of childhood obesity - and scientific research from the American College of Sports Medicine backs up the strategies related to physical activity in her "Let's Move" campaign. Multiple studies published in ACSM's official scientific journal confirm that higher levels of activity - important in combating obesity - have positive effects for children beyond just weight management. Perhaps the most encouraging research finds that the most active kids also fare the best in school. In one study of more than 200 middle-schoolers, students who participated in vigorous physical activity after school earned better grades on their report cards. "Kids' bodies aren't made for sitting in front of the television for hours a day, " said James Pivarnik, Ph.D., FACSM, President of ACSM. "They're supposed to be out playing, running, jumping. Research confirms that, and parents should take steps to increase their kids' activity levels - it'll be great for them in the long run, too, to establish physical activity habits at a young age.

Mexican Americans Closest To Making Physical Activity Goals

When it comes to meeting national health goals for physical activity, Mexican-Americans are the most active group in America and may benefit from exercise that researchers typically have not measured, according to research by scholars at the University of Chicago and Arizona State University. The new research, which used electronic devices to measure people's movement, challenges other studies based on self-reports that claimed non-Hispanic whites are most likely to be physically active. The researchers found that nearly 27 percent of Mexican-Americans met a national goal of getting at least 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week or vigorous activity for 20 minutes at least three days a week; about 20 percent of whites and 15 percent of blacks achieved that level of exercise. In research based on self-reports, 36 percent of whites and 25 percent of blacks and Mexican-Americans said they met the activity standard. That information appears in an article, "Disparities in Data on Healthy People 2010 Physical activity Objectives Collected by Accelerometry and Self-Report, " published online Feb.

American Diabetes Association Applauds First Lady Michelle Obama's Childhood Obesity Campaign

The American Diabetes Association applauds First Lady Michelle Obama's childhood obesity campaign Let's Move! America's Move for a Healthier Generation. The Association was present during today's announcement at the White House. Obesity is a major risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. If current trends in childhood obesity continue, nearly one in three American children born in the year 2000 (and one in two minorities) will develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. Diabetes is a leading cause of heart attack, stroke, blindness, amputation, and kidney disease, as well as death. Diabetes costs our country more than $174 billion a year. "Diabetes is both personally devastating and extraordinarily costly, " commented Richard Bergenstal, MD, President, Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association. "But it doesn't have to be like this. Many times type 2 diabetes and diabetes complications can be prevented. That is why the American Diabetes Association is grateful to the First Lady for highlighting the childhood obesity epidemic.

The Impact On Children Of Food Product Placements In The Movies

New research from the Hood Center for Children and Families at Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) for the first time sheds light on the significant potential negative impact that food product placements in the movies could be having on children. The study, which appears in the current edition of the journal Pediatrics, shows that most of the "brand placements" for food, beverage, and food retail establishments that are frequently portrayed in movies, are for energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods or product lines. In addition, the study shows for the first time that product placements in movies may be a far more potent source of advertising to children in terms of food choices than previously understood. "The current situation in the United States is very serious in terms of the health of our children, and we have to look seriously at all of the factors that may be contributing to it, including the impact of product placements in movies, " says Lisa Sutherland, Ph.D. the lead author of the study.

Austrailia Winning The War On Weight

Monash University-led nationwide study into the health beliefs and behaviours of obese people has found that the more severely obese a person is, the less likely they feel they can reduce their weight. The research, funded by the Australian Research Council Discovery Grant Scheme, is the first of its kind in Australia. 141 obese Australians were extensively interviewed to try to gauge how they perceived their weight and ability to manage it. Co-author and Head of Monash University's Consumer Health Research Group (CHaRGe) Dr Samantha Thomas said those in the severely obese category with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 40, blamed themselves for their weight and often described themselves as at war with their bodies. "Severely obese individuals felt an urgent and desperate need to change their health behaviours, but felt completely powerless to do so. Most felt worried and scared about the potential health consequences of their weight. Most felt blamed and ashamed by public health and education campaigns about obesity, which did little to actually help them address their weight, " Dr Thomas said.

Family Meals, Adequate Sleep And Limited TV May Lower Childhood Obesity

A new national study suggests that preschool-aged children are likely to have a lower risk for obesity if they regularly engage in one or more of three specific household routines: eating dinner as a family, getting adequate sleep and limiting their weekday television viewing time. In a large sample of the U.S. population, the study showed that 4-year-olds living in homes with all three routines had an almost 40 percent lower prevalence of obesity than did children living in homes that practiced none of these routines. Other studies have linked obesity to the individual behaviors of excessive TV viewing, a lack of sleep and, to a lesser extent, a low frequency of family meals. But this is the first study to assess the combination of all three routines with obesity prevalence in a national sample of preschoolers. The researchers suggested that adopting these three household routines could be an attractive obesity-prevention strategy for all families with young children, especially because these routines may benefit children's overall development.

Questions Remain On Bariatric Surgery For Adolescents

Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding surgery can effectively treat obesity in adolescents and seems to offer a better alternative than gastric bypass surgery, but further study is needed to determine whether it's better than nonsurgical options, a UT Southwestern Medical Center surgeon writes in an editorial in the Feb. 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. "The latest research helps us define which surgical procedure may be preferable, but we are still a long way from settling the question of whether surgery should be used to treat obesity in teens, " said Dr. Edward Livingston, chief of GI/endocrine surgery at UT Southwestern. The editorial accompanies a research study by Australian physicians examining weight-loss surgery among adolescents. Treatment of obesity in adolescents should be a priority because obesity portends other diseases, such as cardiac problems, hypertension and diabetes, later in life, said Dr. Livingston, director of UT Southwestern's Clinical Center for the Surgical Management of Obesity.

Michelle Obama Launches Combat Childhood Obesity Campaign

At the White House on Tuesday, US President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum establishing a task force to address the nation's growing childhood obesity epimedic, turned to his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama and said "it's done honey", and she replied "now we work". The Taking on Childhood Obesity task force is part of the First Lady's Let's Move campaign to bring together public and private sectors within a generation to help children become more active in their daily lives and have a healthier diet so that children born today reach adulthood at a healthy weight. The task force has 90 days in which to prepare a plan and submit it to the President. The plan must detail a coordinated strategy, identify key benchmarks, and outline a plan of action. The First Lady said this was a moment of truth for America and that over the last three decades the rates of childhood obesity in the US had tripled and current figures show that one in three American children is now overweight or obese.

Fiction Can Inspire Teen Girls To Manage Weight

Girls enrolled in a healthy lifestyles program had more success reducing their body mass index (BMI) percentile if they read a book with a fictional character as a role model, according to the study, "A 'Novel' Intervention: A Pilot Study of Children's Literature and Healthy Lifestyles, " published in the March issue of Pediatrics (appearing online February 8). Researchers studied 81 obese girls enrolled in a program providing lifestyle and obesity management counseling in a clinical office setting. Some girls were given a book featuring an overweight girl who, through her adventures, improves her self-esteem and learns about nutrition and physical activity. Other girls were given a book with similar characters that did not address these issues. A third group of girls were not given a book as part of their counseling. Two months after the intervention, the girls who read the book geared to nutrition and physical activity had reduced their BMI percentile significantly more than the other two groups.

Effects Of Family Meals, Sleeping And Screen Time On Obesity In Preschoolers - American Academy Of Pediatrics

Preschool children exposed to three household routines -- regularly eating family meals, getting adequate sleep, and limiting screen-viewing time -- had a roughly 40 percent lower prevalence of obesity than those exposed to none of these routines. The study, "Household Routines and Obesity in U.S. Preschool-Aged Children, " published in the March issue of Pediatrics (appearing online Feb. 8), involved a cross-sectional analysis of 8, 550 4-year-old U.S. children in which researchers examined the association between childhood obesity and three household routines. Eighteen percent of all the children in the study were obese. Among those exposed to all three household routines, the prevalence of obesity was 14.3 percent, compared with 24.5 percent among those exposed to none of the routines. Each routine by itself was associated with lower risk of obesity, and the more routines children had the lower was their risk for obesity. The association between having these routines and a lower risk of obesity was seen in both higher and lower income households and for children with and without an obese mother.

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