An alarming new trend has come to light following the release of an article in the October issue of Pediatrics. According to researchers from the Mayo Clinic, teens who have a history of obesity of being overweight are at a higher risk of developing eating disorders as they undergo treatment for their weight problems.
The study looked at two cases where teens were brought to their doctors by concerned parents. Though the teens’ symptoms matched those of eating disorders, the doctors were hesitant to diagnose the teens with disordered eating. Instead, both were originally diagnosed with much rarer conditions. The study further states that this may have happened due to the fact that the teens were at healthy Body Mass Indices (BMI).
The National Football League, the most profitable and popular professional sports league in America, kicks off regular season play in less than a week. Six years ago, the NFL put its massive appeal to good use, founding the Play 60 program to tackle childhood obesity and encourage a more active generation of children. Most NFL media coverage is centered around head injuries, Fantasy Football, murder charges and twitter rants, but the league continues to make strides fighting the obesity epidemic with national activities for kids. However, when a few members of the Green Bay Packers had the opportunity to design their own hamburger recipes to be sold at Curly’s Pub in Lambeau field on game days, they did not have health on the brain and undermined the efforts of Play 60.
While Play 60 aims to get children to play for 60 minutes a day, anyone who eats the Aaron Rodgers burger will need to play for 120 minutes after they wake up from their food coma. The Aaron Rodgers burger does not come with an artery brush, but it should. Here’s what you get: bacon, swiss and havarti cheese, avocado, pickles, jalapeno, onion rings, mayo, ranch, and PEANUT BUTTER—all with a side of fresh Wisconsin cheese curds. Just like mom used to make—if she hated you. Peanut butter is a trending burger topping, but next to ranch, mayo, and avocado, it seems like a flavor rainbow from hell. (more…)
Children born today enter a world where more than one-third of all adults in the United States are obese. They also face the prospect of being part of the one-fifth of American children who are obese. These risks of obesity significantly increase mortality rates. According to a new study by researchers from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation at Columbia University, obesity is responsible for 18 percent of deaths in the U.S. Unfortunately, it’s possible that number will continue to grow if obesity rates follow the trend they’re on now. They have more than doubled since 1980.
The study found that the problem isn’t exclusive to older individuals, but rather people from younger generations who, as they age, have a greater chance of developing obesity-related health problems. “Obesity is unhealthy at any age, but as obese individuals grow older, they are more likely to experience serious health complications of obesity, including premature death,” said Ryan Masters, Ph.D, study author and researcher at Columbia in an interview with HealthlineNews. Masters fears that while the results of the study are worrying, they could actually be worse than they appear. He feels as obese individuals age and encounter health problems; they are less likely to participate in studies like the one conducted at Columbia. This can make the results skew healthier, an error he tried to correct in the results to allow for the discrepancy.
A team of cardiologists at the University of Michigan has found that among obese middle schoolers, 62 percent watched two or more hours of TV a day. The data suggests that when “screen time” replaces physical activity, obesity is likely to ensue. When you pair this decreased activity with the calorie-rich, fat-laden lunches served in schools, you have a full on epidemic.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was meant to provide healthier food for the national school lunch program, which took effect last year. It’s certainly a step in the right direction, but still far from perfect. As for the other side of the coin, it’s ultimately up to parents to tackle the TV problem. The life-long effects of poor dietary and activity habits can lead obesity, heart disease, and other chronic diseases.
Our resident nutrition expert, Mary Hartley, RD, has been an ardent supporter of the school lunch overhaul, and told us that for many kids, half of a child’s calorie intake comes from school lunch, and those calories were 34 percent fat.
“French fries and other potato products accounted for a disproportionate number of the vegetables on kids’ trays,” she said. “But improving school lunches is only one part of the obesity problem. Parents at home have a far greater impact.”
The days of going through the lunch line at school and picking every greasy, cheesy, fatty option are soon coming to an end. The Department of Agriculture has outlined new regulations for the kinds of foods that can be sold to kids at school. For the first time, the government is tackling the content of “a la carte” lines, vending machines, snack bars and other sources of food regularly available on school campuses. According to Registered Dietitian Mary Hartley, “the policy would increase student exposure to healthier foods and decrease exposure to less healthy foods.”
Previously unregulated, the “a la carte” lines and similar non- standard lunch line options provided kids access to foods like nachos, pizza, chocolate sandwich cookies, and other unhealthy treats. Now under the new guidelines those foods will be replaced with more healthful options like granola bars and yogurt. The new regulations also outline a difference in the beverages that can be sold in schools. Elementary and middle schools will only sell water, carbonated water, low fat and fat-free milk and 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices. Sodas and sports drinks that contain 60 calories or less will be made available in high schools. Though the changes don’t have to be in effect until July 1, 2014, several schools will start implementing them in the upcoming school year. It has been found that schools with this type of reform already in place have seen little to loss of revenue from food sales.