Children who play organized sports are often faced with unhealthy foods and beverages as part of the lifestyle, a new study finds.
Parents of 60 youth basketball players were interviewed by researchers from the University of Minnesota on what kind of food their children are exposed to while playing sports. The researchers found the kids were commonly introduced to a variety of sweets including candy, ice cream, sodas and sports drinks. The children also commonly ate salty, high fat snacks such as pizza, chips and nachos.
It was also found from the parents that they often took their children to fast-food restaurants when the kids were playing sports.
Even though the parents acknowledged that kind of food and beverage were not healthy choices, they also expressed how challenging it was to fit a healthy meal into their already super busy day. They admitted the unhealthy food was just simply much more convenient. (more…)
By Arleigh Aldrich
The debate over obesity in today’s society roars on. Three Canadian medical doctors, two public-health professors, and a cardiologist suggest in an article published in The Canadian Journal of Cardiology that “junk food” may be too soft a term. They suggest labeling food that has too much sugar, salt or saturated fats should be labeled as “pathogens,” a term normally reserved for strands of E. coli or Listeria. Their argument? Junk food is far more pervasive in our diet and should be considered just as deadly if not more than pathogens that occur in more concentrated, special cases like E. coli.
The discussion about regulating the amount of these “pathogens” is nothing new. The counter argument is to let the public make their own decisions. Dr. Norm Campbell, a cardiologist from the University of Calgary in Canada and co-author of the study, is all for regulating such foods. He justifies it this way:
“Why regulate crime? ‘Oh, it’s a murder, they shouldn’t be allowed a second chance.’ Well, the food industry kills many thousands more than that murderer ever had a hope of doing.” (more…)
A group of major food companies, including General Mills, ConAgra Foods and Kellogg, have announced that they will be voluntarily setting new advertising standards in order to cut back on marketing unhealthy foods to children. This comes after rejecting similar guidelines proposed by the federal government.
Under these new self-imposed standards, the food companies can still market their products to children, but only if they meet specific nutritional criteria. If they still want to market to children, some foods may have to make their ingredients more healthful.
“Now foods from different companies, such as cereals or canned pastas, will meet the same nutrition criteria, rather than similar but slightly different company-specific criteria,” said Elaine Kolish of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, a group formed by the food industry. (more…)
Warm bread fresh out of the oven, mom’s homemade spaghetti, and chocolate chip cookies could make anyone have a good day. While it’s no mystery that fatty or sugary foods can alleviate just about any bad mood, hardly anyone questions why while reaching for that next Oreo.
Dr. Lukas Van Oudenhove’s study at the University of Leuven in Belgium discovers that the fatty acids in comfort food may be what is making us so happy when we’re consuming junk food. The study examined 12 non-obese volunteers the morning after a 12-hour fast. The volunteers were hooked up to a gastric feeding tube that gave either saline solution or fatty acid and their brain activity was recorded during a 40 minute fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scan.
Before the participants were given either the saline or fatty acid, the researchers played sad classical music and displayed sad faces on a screen. The results of the study were that the participants who were given the fatty acid were 50 percent less sad than those given the saline solution.
Dr. Lukas Van Oudenhove and his team proved that the fatty acids in comfort foods were able to give the participants the same feeling without the visual and oral stimulation of eating the food.
“It’s time for the food industry to clean up its act and not advertise junk food to young children. Just by banning ads for fast food…we could decrease obesity and overweight by 17 percent.” This is the statement that Dr. Victor Strasburger made this week on behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics as reported in the Huffington Post.
Strasburger and the other 65,000 physicians that make up the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are calling for a ban against fast food and junk food companies’ ads that air during children’s programming.
Whether the ads are to blame or not, the fact that the childhood obesity rates are going up is indisputable. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have concluded that more than one in six children and teenagers are obese. This is a 300% increase from one generation ago.
The doctors are obviously responding to a very serious problem, but could the ads really be that influential on kids’ habits?
The AAP reported that the nation spends more than $110 billion on fast food every year. That’s “more than is spent on higher education, computers, or cars,” Dr. Strasburger pointed out. Obviously our spending patterns are reflecting the effectiveness of marketing, but is it the ads that are making our kids fat? No, it’s not fair to say that they ads alone are the culprit.