Thursday, May 25, 2006

Obesity and Economics...

Two concerning studies in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The first study carried out by researchers at Johns Hopkins University older teenagers (over 14) who lived below the "poverty line" were 50% more likely to be overweight than their more economically well-off peers. The reasons? Skipping breakfast, consuming more sugared drinks, and less physical activity.

The second study also looked at older teenagers below the poverty line, and found that these kids were 50% more likely to be overweight today compared to 30 years ago.

These are disturbing trends that as of now show no signs of turning around. While it's true that healthy choices should not be limited to the privileged, and as a society we need to do a better job of making better alternatives available, we also need to have better education for poorer families, so they have the will to make better choices, not just the ability.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

ABC News: Did Childhood-Obesity Worries Kill Disney-McDonald's Pact?

ABC News: Did Childhood-Obesity Worries Kill Disney-McDonald's Pact?

Interesting news piece (published by Disney's own ABC News) about companies trying to get on the right side of this battle.

Just show, or do you really think that these huge conglomerates really care about helping overweight kids?

I'm skeptical. I can't help but just see this as a "flavor of the week" story/action, as opposed to real progress.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Obesity - we're not alone...

Good to know that we're not the only ones...

In the May issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology (didn't you read it?!?), a study found that hamsters placed in a social setting were more likely to become overweight.

The explanation? Social stress, according to the researchers. Hamsters which normally like to hang out by themselves, got stressed when placed in a crowded living situation.

We know that stress contributes to overeating in people - it's interesting to see that translate into the animal world.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Teenage Obesity: A Warning...

The British Medical Journal has published a study looking at weight patterns in emerging adolescents. What they found shatters the myth that "puppy fat" (or "baby fat" as we call it in the States) disappears with adolescence.

They looked at over 5800 children as they moved from childhood into adolescence.

Kids who had weight problems prior to the teenage years, continued to be overweight as adolescents.

This study is important because it reminds us that overweight is overweight, and parents should not just wait and hope they "grow into it" as kids get older.

As a side note, this study also observed that children of certain ethnicities and socioeconomic status were more likely to be overweight. Nothing new here, but just a reminder that obesity has both genetic and environmental origins.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Tackling Childhood Obesity in the Schools...

I was cruising around the Internet and found this interesting story about how a county in England is looking to start screening kids for obesity in the public schools.

This mirrors other calls to action here in the states, where advocates are recommending that kids be weighed, measured, and assigned a body mass index value which would be reported back to the parents, along with guidance.

What do you think about this? Would this kind of measure be helpful for parents and kids, or offensive?

Give me your opinion, and I'll give you mine...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bye-Bye Non-Diet Soda!!!

I just read a report that said that the major beverage companies have agreed to pull all non-diet sodas out of public schools!


This is HUGE!

Anyone who has read my book or heard me talk knows how much of a problem sugared drinks are. This is a big, big deal and I think it will make a difference for a lot of children.

Report: Non-diet sodas to be pulled from schools

Better Eating Habits Through Sports...

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows that kids who play organized sports ate breakfast more regularly, and had higher mean protein, calcium, iron and zinc levels.

The study looked at middle- and high-school children and was performed at the University of Minnesota.

Yet another good reason to get your child involved in organized athletics!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Junk Food... Everywhere You Look...

I was in a large chain pet store last week to load up on food for my dogs (Ripley and Gus in case you were wondering), and as I'm waiting to check out, I'm confronted by stacks of candy and chips.


This really bugs me.

Why is it that I need a candy bar as I'm waiting to check out?

Why can't I just get a break for 2 seconds while I'm shopping for my dogs?

It frustrates me to no end that whether you're out at the pet store or hardware store, or nowadays any kind of store, you will be faced with a decision. Do I buy the chocolate or chips?

I think we have developed a culture where companies have gotten us addicted to food, the same way tobacco companies got everyone in the mid-20th century addicted to cigarettes. They had them everywhere and glorified the experience. Now, manufacturers are putting junk food everywhere you look.

They create the customer, then sell to them over and over again.

Would it help alcoholics to have beer and wine at the pet store?

How about all of those folks who just quit smoking last week... what would happen if all of the sudden there were cigarette machines at every check-out line?

Food addiction is an incredibly serious problem, and repeated exposure is only going to make matters worse.

Talk to your children about the choices you make, and why you should pass up on these check-out landmines when you see them. Maybe we can avoid creating more food addicted kids...