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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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Crystal and Lior Collins Lost A Combined Weight of Almost 200 Pounds – “We Finally Found the Perfect Balance”

Sometimes in life you meet that special person who fills your heart in all the right places, and you find that you want to be with them all the time. It didn’t take long for Crystal and Lior Collins to find this cozy place. Unfortunately, cozy became sedentary, and they both resumed old patterns of unhealthy eating.

After an embarrassing party epiphany, they decided to take the weight off the way they had put it on, together. Now, they have a combined weight loss of almost 200 pounds.

Crystal and Lior Collins

Crystal admits she and her husband, Lior, both struggled with weight problems in middle and high school. “Separately we were able to lose weight,” she said. “So when we started dating in 2003, we were finally under control in the weight department.” Unfortunately, the couple spent their free time focusing on what Crystal calls their only hobbies, “eating and drinking.”

The Wii Fit Voice Is Harsh

The pair knew they were eating too much and not getting enough activity but nothing spurred them into changing their habits. In 2007, while visiting with friends, Crystal became fascinated by their new Wii Fit gaming system. Eager to try it out, Crystal stepped on the pad, only to hear the machine say, “Oh. You’re obese.” Lior wouldn’t go near it.


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Survey Says: Most of Us are Wrong About Our Weight

Honesty is always the best policy, but when it comes to our weight, many of us may fudge the facts a bit. A new survey indicates that less than 40 percent of Americans report being overweight, though research shows the actual statistic is much higher.

scale

We first heard of this news from our friends at Shape Magazine, and then checked out the survey results ourselves. Not only do just 36 percent of Americans see themselves as overweight, of those people, less than 20 percent are actively trying to lose 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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