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childhood obesity



TED-MED and Dr. Richard Besser Host a Candid Chat about the 1 in 3 American Children Who are Obese

dr-richard-besser-ted-med-childhood-obesity-hangout

Quick Stats About Childhood Obesity

  • Nearly 1 in 3 children in America are overweight or obese
  • 8.4% of children 2 – 5 years old are obese
  • 17% of children 6 – 11 years old are obese
  • 20.5% of children 12 – 19 years old are obese

This afternoon, Dr. Richard Besser hosted a conversation on Google+ Hangouts as part of TED-MED to discuss childhood obesity. Dr. Besser is a pediatrician and the Chief Medical Editor at ABC News, and the author of Tell Me the Truth, Doctor, a comprehensive health guide that will both inform and surprise as he deciphers fact from fiction for nearly 70 confusing medical questions.

Dr. Besser assembled a discussion panel for today’s session, including:

  • Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association
  • Don Schwarz, Health Commissioner and Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity, City of Philadelphia
  • Elissa Epel, Professor, UCSF School of Medicine
  • Lisa Simpson, President and CEO, Academy Health

The group began by talking about stress and the effect it has on health, both in children and adults. Stress is biologically potent and causes us to overeat sweets. Research shows the combination of stress and overeating is “the most dangerous combination,” Elissa says. One of the challenges the group agrees on is taking the research and putting it into practice. Very little is happening so far to create actionable programs that make a difference.


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Does Your Family Get Enough Sleep? If Not, Your Kids May be at a Higher Risk for Obesity

Sleep is important for a number of reasons, but a study has discovered a new one you may not know about. According to research from the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES), the amount of sleep you get can impact your kids’ obesity risk.

child sleeping

The study states the amount of sleep parents get is connected to the amount of sleep their children get. The more parents are sleeping, the more children are sleeping, and more child sleep is connected to decreased childhood obesity.

“Parents should make being well rested a family value and a priority,” said Barbara H. Fiese, director of the University of Illinois’ Family Resiliency Center.

“Sleep routines in a family affect all the members of the household, not just children; we know that parents won’t get a good night’s sleep unless and until their preschool children are sleeping.”

It has been shown that not getting enough sleep can lead to moms, dads, and their children gaining weight.
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The $190 Billion Problem: It’s the Actual Cost of Obesity in the U.S.

Bistro MD obesity and healthcare costs

Health researchers continue to study—and warn about—the rising rate of obesity worldwide and particularly in the United States. The concern, of course, is for people’s overall health: Being obese is associated with a ton of medical problems including type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which is why you’ve probably heard that obesity is one of the main causes of skyrocketing health care costs.
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New Documentary “Fed Up” Shows Skinny Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Healthy

There is a new documentary in the works, and it has certainly captured my attention. Executive produced by Katie Couric and directed by Stephanie Soechtig, the film  ”Fed Up” explores the American obesity epidemic, specifically focusing on sugar. However, the film differentiates itself from other books, movies, television specials that focus on sugar in one big way: In addition to railing on sugar as the cause of obesity, “Fed Up” focuses on the fact that skinny is not a sign of healthy.

It’s about time.

I’m so glad that we are finally having a conversation around the fact that someone can thin but still have as much internal body fat as a morbidly obese person. In recent years, emerging research has shown that just because a person is skinny it does not mean that they are healthy. People of average weight can suffer from type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions once thought to be associated with only obese individuals. Weight may not be the driver behind this, but body fat that comes from foods loaded with sugar most certainly is, according to “Fed Up”.

The film attacks sugar pretty seriously, even referring to it as the “new tobacco,” and blaming the food industry and the government as the biggest pushers of the substance. Fed Up focuses on the importance of not blaming children for the fact that they are obese, but rather the marketing that has pushed our country into a sugar induced epidemic.
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Stop. Just Stop Calling Girls Fat.

I’d bet there’s one thing girls are called more than anything else: Fat. Some hear it from their classmates, others from their friends, still others from their family. Eventually many hear it from themselves. In a UCLA study, more than 2,000 girls were surveyed and 58 percent of them had been told they were too fat by the age of 10.

girls

Soak that in for a moment. More than half of 10 year-old-girls have heard the words “you’re fat.”

Unfortunately, that’s not the worst of it. The study measured the heights and weights at the beginning of the study, and again nine years later. Those who had been told they were fat were 1.66 times more likely to be obese when they were 19.


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