I just read an article published in the journal Pediatrics which once again validated the importance of family routines. In this study researchers from Ohio State University looked at household routines as they related to childhood obesity, an ever escalating problem.
The research, conducted in 2005, but published this year, analyzed over 8,500 four year old children. 18% of the children were identified as obese. Families were then asked if they regularly ate evening meals together, did their children have a bedtime and receive adequate sleep, and was television time limited within the home? When looked at more closely a little more than half of the children reported having family dinners 6 or 7 evenings a week.
There were 57% of the children who were reported to have 10.5 hours of sleep per weeknight. Only about 40% of the studied children were reported to watch less than 2 hours of television or movie viewing per weekday. When looked at in terms of those children who were exposed to all 3 routines, the prevalence of obesity was 14%, while those children not exposed to any of the 3 routines had a prevalence rate for obesity of 24.5%. The research also found that the number of household routines was a predicator of obesity and that by adding a routine, there was a 17% reduction in odds for obesity as a new routine was added.
These household routines seem to be fairly easy to initiate in that they may be accomplished without any cost etc. Establishing good routines for family meals has repeatedly been shown to improve a childs academic success, attention, risk of using alcohol and drugs and overall well being. If it could also reduce the incidence of obesity what a win!! Just one more reason to plan for a family to eat dinner together. This study did not even discuss healthy food choices, which might make the statistics even more compelling, and what about adding eating breakfast togeth
Many obese men and women are turning to surgery to help them lose the extra weight. But for women who are planning a pregnancy, is it a good idea?
A new study suggests that for obese women who choose weight-loss surgery to bring their weight under control, having the procedure may also benefit their future children.
A Canadian study found that children born after their mother had lost considerable weight from gastric bypass surgery were slimmer than their pre-surgery siblings and had fewer risk factors for diabetes or heart disease later in life.
The findings showed that numerous genes linked to obesity-related health problems worked differently in the younger siblings than in their older brothers and sisters.
The researchers looked at the genes of 50 children who were born to 20 mothers before or after they had gastric bypass surgery. The children were on average about 15 years old.
The moms were between the ages of 35 to 51 and were all classified as obese before they had the procedures. They all lost almost 100 pounds after the surgery.
The type of gastric bypass surgery performed on the mothers who participated in the study is called a biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch procedure. It is not used as often as the more common Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure. In the biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch procedure, a larger part of the stomach is left intact while bypassing most of the intestine.
In the children born after their mothers surgery and weight loss, researchers found 5,698 genes were expressed differently than their older siblings. What that means is that the mothers didnt pass on different genes to their children, but how those genes operated in the childrens bodies were different in the pre and post surgery children. The reason may be that factors inside the womb seem to affect the dimmer switches that develop on a fetus' genes " chemical changes that make genes sp
Being physically active used to easier before the world of cable TV, video games and computers. Now a-days, many families have a more sedentary lifestyle and a lot more health-related problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and depression. Childhood obesity is now epidemic and more than a third of American adults are clinically obese.
So, what can families do to counteract these problems? One is to change the family diet to include healthier foods and fewer fast food meals. Two is to exercise as a family. Theres lots of ways to include physical activity in your daily living and to add new routines that you and your kids can depend on to keep everyone moving.
Weve all read about, maybe even experienced it ourselves, children being teased, harassed and bullied if they are overweight. The heavier the child, the more intense the negative trifecta becomes. This topic often comes up when discussing classmate and peer bullying, but a new study also looks at obese or overweight children who feel bullied by adults in authority (coaches, gym instructors, teachers,) and their own parents.
Researchers from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, gave 350 teens that had enrolled in two national weight loss camps, questionnaires to fill out. The teens were questioned about weight-based victimization including duration, location where the abuse occurred, who the perpetrators were and what kind of abuse they suffered.
Not surprisingly, results showed that a high percentage of bullying and teasing occurred at school (64%.) Most participants reported weight-based victimization for at least one year (78%) and 36% were teased and or bullied for 5 years.
The teens also noted who was responsible for the bullying. 92% said peers (classmates) and friends (70%.) Then the groups switched to the adults in their lives. PE teachers / sport coaches came in at 42%, followed by parents at 37% and teachers at 27%.
The types of teasing and or bullying were verbal teasing (75-88%), relational victimization (74-82%), cyber-bullying (59-61%) and physical aggression (33%-61%.)
Looking at these statistics, the saddest one of all is parents at 37 percent.
What we see most often from parents is teasing in the form of verbal comments, says Rebecca M. Puhl PhD, the studys lead author.
Some of the remarks made to teens about their weight come from well-meaning parents who are actually trying to encourage their child to lose the extra pounds. But other studies have shown " and former teens who are now adults can verify " that teasing, harassing and bullying by parents and relatives can lead
Jessica Simpson has been getting a lot of press and TV time related to the amount of weight she gained during her recent pregnancy and the difficulty she is having shedding the pounds. I just thought I needed to WEIGH IN on this subject as I don't think the real issue is being discussed.
As a pediatrician, I am not as concerned about when or how she loses the excessive weight that she packed on during her pregnancy. I am more worried about the message that she is sending to other pregnant women. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy may cause complications that could jeopardize an unborn baby's health. It is not safe to gain all of that weight during a pregnancy.
Jessica Simpson is quoted saying that she is a southern girl and enjoys fried foods, macaroni and cheese and cream gravy. Most obstetricians recommend that a woman of average weight gain between 25-35 lbs during a pregnancy. If a woman is overweight prior to becoming pregnant she may only need to gain 15-20 lbs during the 9 months. Being pregnant does not mean that you can forget all about nutrition, eat excessively and gain 100 lbs. (educated guess on my part).
A woman who gains excessive weight during a pregnancy may have complications and is more likely to develop high blood pressure as well as gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is typically controlled with dietary changes alone, but in some cases a pregnant woman may even require insulin. Gestational diabetes puts the baby at risk for having blood sugar problems at birth. At the same time, blood pressure problems may be dangerous for the mother and put the baby at risk for premature birth and all of the problems that are related to prematurity.
At the same time, excessive weight gain during pregnancy typically causes the newborn to be what is termed, large for gestational age. These big babies are often delivered by C-section either electively or e
Do you buy soft drinks? Several recent studies have been in the news and seem to confirm what I have thought for a while - sugary soft drinks really have no place in a child's diet. I must admit I was a mom who purchased different soft drinks of every color of the rainbow. But about 15 years ago, I just stopped buying them altogether as I was convinced that not only did they all have enormous amounts of sugar, they were expensive, and if I bought them they somehow disappeared quickly from the refrigerator. They were like many other foods: can't just eat one.
Over time my kids stopped complaining that we didn't have any Cokes and my husband decided that he would drink sugar free drinks if he was going to have a soft drink at all. I would occasionally buy soft drinks for a party or something, but other than that our children resorted to drinking milk, water and Gatorade after sporting events. And guess what, they didn't run away from home, even after threatening that it was not fair.
I have routinely asked parents and children if they drink soft drinks. I am continually amazed at how many families have soft drinks as their beverage of choice for dinner. Calories, calories, calories, and all unnecessary, yet alone the cavities that might be forming.
New research now confirms that drinking sugary beverages interacts with genes that affect weight, and in certain individuals will cause even greater weight gain and eventually may pack on pounds leading to obesity. With 1/3 of U.S. children being overweight or obese, this research would confirm that children (and I would ditto this for adults) DO NOT NEED to drink sugary soft drinks at all.
Several other studies have shown that by giving overweight or obese children alternatives to sugary drinks, such as water of sugar free alternative beverages, you can reduce a child's weight gain. Those children who continued to drink
The controversial chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) is under fire again as a new study links it to obesity in kids. BPA is used in the manufacturing of liners in metal food and beverage cans and in some plastic containers. Previous studies have suggested that it can affect hormone activity in people, and the FDA has banned its use in baby bottles and sippy cups. The FDA has not issued a full ban on using BPAs in other products stating that there is no evidence that very low levels of human exposure to the chemical through diet is unsafe. However, they have said they will continue to study the issue.
In the new study, researchers report that children with the highest levels of BPA in their urine were more than twice as likely to be obese than children who had the lowest levels.
The study does not proclaim that BPAs cause obesity in children, only that there is a link.
It demonstrates the need for a broader paradigm in the way we think about childhood obesity, says researcher Leonardo Trasande, MD. We often think of it as a byproduct of an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity, but environmental exposures including chemicals may play a role, too.
Trasande and his colleagues analyzed data from a nationwide health and nutrition survey conducted between 2003 and 2008. Close to 3,000 kids age six to 19 were weighed, measured and had their urine tested for BPA. They also answered a range of diet and lifestyle questions.
In total, about one-third of the kids were overweight and 18 percent were obese.
The average kid had close to three nanograms - three billionths of a gram - of BPA in every milliliter of urine.
The researchers found that just over 10 percent of kids with the lowest BPA levels were obese, compared to 22 percent of those with the highest BPA, according to results published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That was after taking into account how much kids ate overall,
Since we have been talking about healthier school lunches, I thought I would share with you an interesting article in last month's Pediatrics which related to regulations on school snacks.
While the nutrition standards for school meals changed for the 2012-2013 school year, the new guidelines do not effect foods in vending machines, snack bars or other venues within the school that are not a part of the regular school meal programs. These foods (typically snacks and drinks) are termed competitive foods as they compete with school breakfasts and lunches.
This study looked at weight changes for 6,300 students between 2004-2007 and followed the students from fifth to eighth grade. They found that adolescents in states with strict laws regulating the sale of competitive foods gained less weight over this 3 year period than those living in states without laws.
As the childhood obesity epidemic continues (the CDC now estimates that 1/5 of American children are obese), public health officials continue to look at ways to improve a child's eating habits during the school day. The laws surrounding snack foods at school differ by state. There are no laws in some states, weak laws (where recommendations were made but there were no specific guidelines), and strong laws (where detailed nutritional standards were issued).
The study did not conclude that strong laws were directly responsible for the differences in a student's weight gain, but it did conclude that these outcomes tended to happen in states with strong laws. That would seem to make sense to me as most children including my own, if given the opportunity, would at times choose vending machine snacks over a healthy school lunch.
I also think that this is more common as the children become teens and seem to snack for lunch while multi-tasking rather than sitting down to eat a well balanced lunch. I continually hear this c