Childhood obesity is an epidemic. It is being seen in kids and adolescents three times as often as it was in the 1970s. Primary care physicians are reporting seeing more children who are obese than ever before. According to Dr. Garry Sigman, director of Loyola University Health System’s Pediatric Weight Management Program, the cause of this increase in childhood obesity comes down to the many changes in culture and environment.
To combat the problem “try to simulate the way the world was. Not too much restaurant food, eat home meals as much as possible,” Dr. Sigman said. In addition, he recommends eating natural food products and minimizing the amount of processed food kids eat. Beyond food intake, Dr. Sigman feels that children should be cared for in a way that not every cry is interpreted as a need for food. He also stresses that children need to have the ability to move, attributing some of the obesity problem to the lack of time spent being active outside. “The streets are less safe, [the kids] go out and play less and spend far too much time watching screens like video games, computers and TV.”
Dr. Sigman’s focus, however, is not on preventing childhood obesity, but rather on helping those already suffering from it. He saw that children and their families were not receiving the treatment that would be of the most benefit. “The problem is that the health care system is designed to reimburse for procedures but not for the long time it would take…to make the healthy changes, the behavioral modifications,” he said. It was this problem that led to the creation of the Pediatric Weight Management System. (more…)
Are you a member of the “clean plate club”? That’s the saying that always stuck with me when parents (and grandparents) push kids to finish their meal. That sort of mentality, while well-intentioned, may have lasting negative side effects.
New findings have shown that pushing children to eat everything on their plate has a direct link to obesity. The University of Minnesota has published a study that shows this forced eating can be linked to unhealthy eating habits when the child gets to adulthood. Interestingly, while these kids may be at a normal weight at the time, this changes later in life.
The researchers combined data from two studies including findings from EAT 2010 (Eating and Activity in Teens) and the Project F-EAT (Families and Eating and Activity Among Teens). Both of these gathered their data from asking about the eating habits of nearly 3,000 children and young adults. Each person was given a form that asked questions about weight and regular eating habits throughout the day. It wasn’t until the data from each individual study was compiled that the link to adult obesity was found. (more…)
The only way Ira Green avoided ridicule as an overweight teen was because of his athletic prowess. But when the structure of high school and college athletics disappeared, his adult weight ballooned to over 400 pounds. “When I had to have surgery to save my life,” said Ira, “I decided to teach kids at weight loss camps.”
After losing over 200 pounds and directing 10 weight loss camps, Ira is gearing up for this summer’s all-girl weight loss camp on the campus of William and Mary. Camp Friends 4ever is based on Ira’s seven weight loss principles: structure, accountability, honesty, rewards, balance, game planning, and selfless selfishness.
While the camp does have a proven and successful curriculum, you won’t see Ira or his staff barking out orders. “Twenty years ago, these kinds of camps were more rugged,” said Ira. “We let the campers choose their activities and in turn, they want to work harder, and my staff doesn’t waste energy on disinterested kids.” His style of discipline is basic: when a camper misbehaves, Ira brings them to his office, sits them down and asks, “Have I ever disrespected you?”.
We’ve all been fed bad diet advice at some point in our lives, usually with negative consequences. But what about the diet advice we feed our kids? Is it healthy, constructive, inspiring? Are we setting them up for nutritional success or failure?
These are questions we should be asking ourselves when raising a child. The diet examples we set for our kids and the words we use to guide them will no doubt affect their relationship with food. Unfortunately, just one poor example or one piece of bad advice can cause a flurry of negative results.
While there’s a descent amount of truth out there regarding kids and diet, there’s also a lot of bogus advice. This is especially sad considering this is such a crucial time for our nation amidst a childhood obesity epidemic.
A recentstudysuggested that kids should simply eat off smaller plates to avoid obesity. This isn’t terrible advice, per say, but eating off a smaller plate isn’t going to solve the problem. Kids need to develop a healthy understanding of food as nutrition instead of learning little “tricks” to hopefully divert them from health disasters. (more…)
Fans of the Biggest Loser are still abuzz after a jaw-dropping finale that crowned 26-year-old fan-favorite Danni Allen the ultimate winner. In her 11 weeks on the ranch Danni managed to lose a total of 95 pounds, and then returned home to lose another 26 pounds, for a combined total weight loss of 121 pounds.
Not only did Allen have the pleasure of being crowned the Biggest Loser 14out of 15 competitive contestants, she also walked away with the $250,000 grand prize. Not a bad perk for losing nearly half your weight.
It’s been a little over three years since Michelle Obama began her ambitious Let’s Move initiative; the official anniversary was February 9. The goal is nothing short of eradicating childhood obesity “within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight.” With those lofty goals, what’s been accomplished so far?
The first lady announced yesterday a nationwide tour to celebrate the anniversary of Let’s Move and answer that very question. “The tour will showcase progress and announce new ways the country is coming together around the health of our children,” said the release on WhiteHouse.gov. “The national childhood obesity rate has leveled off, and even declined in some cities and states.”
Your child’s food in school is changing for the better. Last year the USDA required new healthier guidelines for school lunches. The changes to school lunches were made to help stop the increasing rate of childhood obesity. As reported by USA Today, foods sold at schools’ a la carte and vending machines will have to be healthier than they were before.
Here is a proposed standard of what a la carte and vending machines could look like in the near future:
Foods cannot contain high amounts of sugar, fat, and saturated fat.
Reduced-fat cheese, nuts and nut butters (almond butter, peanut butter, pistachio butter) can contain trans fat, but no other alternative foods can have trans fat.
A la carte and vending machine foods must be either a fruit, vegetable, dairy produce, protein food, whole-grain-rich grains or a combination of foods that have 1/4 cup of fruit of vegetables.
10% of calcium, potassium vitamin D or fiber must be present in the foods. (more…)
Obesity is killing Americans faster than a speeding train. OK, I might be exaggerating, but this disease, flagged as an epidemic, isn’t getting any better unless we as a society start actively living healthier lifestyles. Obesity causes a host of diseases and health problems that include high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, joint problems, and even death.
That all seems par for the course, but did you know that obese individuals are more likely to die in car accidents? According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there was an 80% increase in fatalities in traffic accidents for obese individuals. What could be causing obese people to die more often in car accidents? An obese drivers’ lower body is ejected farther before the seat belt safely engages the pelvis, plus the extra tissue on the driver stops the seat belt from fitting snugly, thus making it harder for the driver to be held safely upon impact.
Another factor at play is the design of cars. Researcher Thomas M. Rice said, “Vehicle designers are teaching to the test – designing so that crash test dummies do well. Crash-test dummies are typically normal size adults and children.” (more…)
With this week’s inauguration wrapped up, Michelle Obama is set to be the nation’s first lady for another four years. She made a huge impact on the nation’s fight against childhood obesity in her first term and will no doubt continue to focus on that platform through 2016.
The first lady has tirelessly worked to tackle childhood obesity, most notably through her Let’s Move campaign that launched in 2010. The effort brings teachers, leaders, doctors, parents, and students together in a nationwide effort to educate about and reverse the challenges of childhood obesity. It can be a touchy subject, but there are times when Mrs. Obama approaches the subject with fun and excitement. We’ve compiled our favorite fittest moment of Michelle Obama’s first term and look forward to seeing what’s up her very toned sleeves in the years ahead. (more…)
Author Dara-Lynn Weiss’ airs her dirty linen in public in a controversial new memoir, “The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet.” She shines the light on a most important topic: How can we prevent our kids from becoming overweight? The Heavy chronicles the journey of a mother’s struggle to help her young daughter to get healthy. We first met Dara-Lynn and her daughter, Bea, last April in a Vogue essay from the overbearing mom’s point of view. Bea was deprived and publically shamed. It wasn’t pretty. The blogs condemned mom.
For sure, we need extensive interventions to curb the childhood obesity epidemic, but does the solution lie in a rescue by mom as the food police? The research does not agree. Dietitian Evelyn Tribole, co-author of the bookIntuitive Eating, outlines the studies nicely in this video, Warning Dieting Causes Weight Gain.
She shows how the act of dieting, independent of genetics, is a cause of overweight. Deprivation diets can lead to food obsession, binge-eating, and more weight gain. Dieting is passed down from mothers to daughters. Dara-Lynn had strange practices of her own with frequent weigh-ins and juice cleanses to keep the numbers in line. Studies show that a mother’s over-concern about her own size is later expressed in her daughter’s negative body image and feelings of low self-worth. (more…)
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