Childhood Obesity Month: Chartwells helps students get healthy

It has been suggested that the United States has a weight problem. While many walk around sporting a spare tire, unable to fit into their fall clothes, the biggest concern must lie with children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and food service companies around the country are trying to educate students to make better choices.

“We help students identify healthful meal choices through signage and activities … that take place in the cafeteria,” said Brian Reynolds, Chartwells foodservice director at Wilton Public Schools. “School meals are well balanced, convenient and remain a great value for busy families. Our programs are based on strong nutritional guidelines, principles and cooking techniques using fresh, local and seasonal fruits and vegetables that are appealing to children.”

Currently, Wilton High School is featuring local produce during its farm-to-chef week, which puts ingredients from both student-grown gardens and those in the community into recipes.

Full story of childhood obesity month at Wilton Bulletin

Teens who beat obesity at risk for eating disorders

Adolescents who were once overweight or obese are at high risk of developing an eating disorder, but receiving appropriate treatment is often delayed because of their weight history.

Teens who were once overweight or obese are at a significant risk of developing an eating disorder as they lose weight, but identification and treatment of the condition is often delayed because of their weight history, researchers say.

“For some reason we are just not thinking that these kids are at risk. We say, ‘Oh boy, you need to lose weight, and that’s hard for you because you’re obese,’ ” says Leslie Sim, clinical director of the eating disorders program at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and lead author of a case study report in October’s Pediatrics, published online today.

In the report, Sim and colleagues review two cases in which teens with a history of obesity developed severe, restrictive eating patterns in the process of losing weight. But indications of an eating disorder went unidentified and untreated by medical providers for as long as two years despite regular check-ups.

Full story of teens who beat obesity and eating disorders at USA Today

‘Fat Letters’ and the Childhood Obesity Debate (AUDIO)

Experts, parents split over schools’ role in weight screening

If their kids are frequently tardy, truant or failing to turn in homework, parents of U.S. schoolchildren expect to be notified. And in some districts, they might be contacted about yet another chronic problem:obesity.

The “fat letter” is the latest weapon in the war on childhood obesity, and it is raising hackles in some regions, and winning followers in others.

“Obesity is an epidemic in our country, and one that is compromising the health and life expectancy of our children. We must embrace any way possible to raise awareness of these concerns and to bring down the stigmas associated with obesity so that our children may grow to lead healthy adult lives,” said Michael Flaherty, a pediatric resident physician in the department of pediatrics at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass.

About 17 percent of U.S. teens and children are obese — three times the number in 1980, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And one in three is considered overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese puts kids at risk of developing serious health problems, such as heart disease. Too much weight can also affect joints, breathing, sleep, mood and energy levels, doctors say.

Full story of child obesity debate at WebMD

Mom’s Depression Tied to Childhood Obesity

Mom's Depression Tied to Childhood ObesityIn low-income urban families, a mother’s depression is linked to childhood obesity and disengaged parenting.

“We know many mothers experience feelings of sadness and depression. Despite this awareness, many mothers really suffer in silence and don’t feel comfortable [talking to someone about their feelings],” said Dr. Rachel S. Gross, lead author of the study.

While most research shows a link between a mother’s feelings of depression and a child’s development and social health, “This was one of the first [studies] to look at younger children [and how depression] can impact the physical health of children,” she said.

Gross has spent most of her career working with low-income families in the Bronx in New York. There she has witnessed patients struggling with feelings of depression as well as children who are gaining weight more quickly than expected.

Full story of mom’s depression and childhood obesity at PsychCentral

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Ogden pediatrician: Childhood obesity serious

Childhood Obesity a Serious ProblemEvery day, Dr. Isabel Cristina Lau encounters children who are obese and living with its related problems.

The Ogden pediatrician said childhood obesity is common and serious and is leading children to be diagnosed with problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fatty liver disease, acid reflux and stretch marks at earlier ages than ever before.

Lau and Ogden Regional Medical Center registered outpatient dietitian Jennifer James spoke about the issue recently during the Ogden Medical Surgical Society Conference. Although both said progress is being made with some changes, childhood obesity continues to increase.

“There are numerous diseases that I recognize when the patient is obese,” Lau said. “Every organ gets affected. One of the organs first affected is the skin. Patients at a young age start to have stretch marks on their abdomen.”

In addition, they can develop acanthosis nigricans, which is a dark coloration of the skin around the neck, underarm and groin, she said.

Full story of childhood obesity at the Standard Examiner

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Obesity Could Be the Culprit Behind U.S. Sleep Apnea Increases

Is Obesity the Cuplrit of Sleep ApneaThe findings of a new study point to the U.S. obesity epidemic as a potential culprit in the increases insleep apnea rates. The relatively small study looked only at subjects in Wisconsin.

According to PsychCentral, the lead author of the University of Wisconsin-Madison study, Paul Peppard, Ph.D., estimates that between 80 and 90 percent of an increase in sleep apnea symptoms is likely due to increasing obesity in the United States.

Sleep apnea is a fairly common sleep disorder marked by short breathing interruptions while the patient sleeps, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says. Episodes occur throughout the night and typically at least 10 seconds each.

The disorder occurs more often in men than in women and in obese or overweight individuals. It has been linked to elevated risk for heart and blood pressure problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 36 percent of U.S. adults are obese.

Full story of obesity and sleep apnea at Yahoo News

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New Strategy to Reduce Teen Obesity: Sleep More!

Sleeping Reduces Teen ObesityTalk about a win-win deal: A new study suggests that sleeping an additional hour each night may reduce the prevalence of adolescent obesity.

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania discovered that fewer hours of sleep is associated with greater increases in adolescent body mass index (BMI) for participants between 14 and 18-years-old.

Investigators say the findings suggest that increasing sleep duration to 10 hours per day, especially for those in the upper half of the BMI distribution, could help to reduce the prevalence of adolescent obesity.

Study results are available online in the latest issue of Pediatrics.

Previous studies have shown that a correlation exists between short sleep and obesity, but until now few have been able to rule out other variables such as time spent watching television and being physically active.

Full story of reducing teen obesity at Psych Central

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Breast-Feeding May Not Lead to Leaner Children

Breast-Feeding May Lean to Leaner ChildrenBreast-feeding is widely encouraged for its many positive health effects, but the claim that it reduces the risk for childhood obesity may be going too far. A randomized trial has found that even long-term exclusive breast feeding has no effect on obesity or stature in childhood.

Researchers studied more than 13,000 breast-feeding mother-infant pairs in 31 maternity hospitals in Belarus in 1996 and 1997. About half the mothers followed a breast-feeding promotion program developed by the World Health Organization, while the rest received usual care.

At three months, 43 percent of the women in the W.H.O. program were still exclusively breast-feeding, compared with 6 percent in the control group; by six months, the figures were 7.8 percent for those in the program and 0.6 percent for the controls.

Full story of breast-feeding and obesity at The New York Times

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Obesity Reduces Quality of Life in Boys

Quality of Life in Obese BoysFor boys, being overweight or obese significantly lowers their quality of life compared to healthy weight peers.  Interestingly, these results were not found in girls.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, also showed that quality of life (QOL) scores improved for children of either sex whose weight status changed from overweight/obese to normal.

The research involved more than 2,000 Australian school children who were about 12 years old at the start of the study in 2004-2005. The researchers followed up with the children after five years.

The participants then answered a questionnaire designed to measure whether being obese (also known as  adiposity) influenced their quality of life at age 17 or 18.

“Adiposity in boys was associated with poorer quality of life during adolescence. This association was not observed among girls.

Full story of obesity trends in boys at Psych Central

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Research links family’s role in reducing childhood obesity

Family's Role in Child ObesityDespite recent data showing that childhood obesity in the U.S. has begun to drop, overweight and obese kids and teens remain a personal and public health hazard. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 17 percent of children and adolescents ages 2-19 are obese—that’s roughly 12.5 million kids and teens.

"The data indicate that children with obesity just don’t have as good a quality of life," said Ric Steele, professor of psychology and applied behavioral science at the University of Kansas. "Risk for type 2 diabetes is skyrocketing. The CDC predicts that within 20 years half of America will have type 2 diabetes. We can think about societal costs represented in this figure—that’s a monumental investment in an essentially preventable illness." 

Steele says that there are individual costs as well: "At the individual level, children and adolescents with obesity may not feel as well.  They may not sleep as well. And they may actually experience some psychosocial problems like teasing, victimization, depressive symptoms — and just generally don’t feel as good as they could feel if they were in a healthier condition."

Full story of family’s role in obesity at Medical Xpress

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