Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Childhood Obesity Causes

Any patient who regularly consumes more calories than needed will gain weight. If this is not reversed, the patient will become obese over time. Consumption of just 100 kilocalories (the equivalent of 8 ounces of soft drink) above daily requirements will typically result in a 10-pound weight gain over one year. Many different factors contribute to this imbalance between calorie intake and consumption.

Genetic factors

<> Obesity tends to run in families.
<> A child with an obese parent, brother, or sister is more likely to become obese.
<> Genetics alone does not cause obesity. Obesity will occur when a child eats more calories than he or she uses.

Dietary habits

<> The dietary habits of children and teenagers have shifted away from healthy foods (such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) to a much greater reliance on <> fast food, processed snack foods, and sugary drinks.
<> These foods tend to be high in fat and/or calories and low in many other nutrients.
<> Several patterns are associated with obesity. Unhealthy habits include eating when not hungry, eating while watching TV or doing homework, or drinking sodas during sedentary activities (like at the movies or watching TV).

Socioeconomic status

<> Families with low incomes or nonworking parents are more likely to eat excessive calories for activity level.
<> Physical inactivity
<> The popularity of television, computers, and video games has translated into an increasingly sedentary (inactive) lifestyle for many children and teenagers in developed countries like the U.S.
<> Children and teenagers in the United States spend, on average, over three hours daily watching television. Not only does this form of recreation use little energy (calories), it also encourages snacking and sipping.
<> Fewer than half of children in the United States have a parent who engages in regular physical exercise.
<> Only one-third of children in the United States have daily physical education at school.
<> Parents' busy schedules and even fears about public safety prevent many children and teenagers from taking part in sports, dance, or other activity programs after school. Moreover, some schools close their campuses to students and their families after hours due to potential liability risks.
<> Although specific medical conditions can cause pediatric obesity, these are very rare. They include hormone or other chemical imbalances and inherited disorders of metabolism. Children who exhibit normal linear growth typically do not have these conditions associated with pediatric obesity.
<> Certain medications can cause weight gain by altering how the body processes food or stores fat.

Labels:

BOOKMARK THIS POST

Childhood Obesity Causes

0 Comments

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Childhood Obesity Facts (I)


Obesity means an excess amount of body fat. No general agreement exists on the lowest definition of obesity in children and adolescents, unlike standards for adults. Nevertheless, most professionals accept published guidelines based on the body mass index (BMI) -- modified for age, pubertal stage, and gender -- to measure obesity in children and adolescents. Others define pediatric obesity as body weight at least 20% higher than the healthy weight range for a child or adolescent of that height, or as a body fat percentage above 25% in boys or above 32% in girls.

Although rare in the past, obesity is now among the most widespread medical problems affecting children and adolescents living in the United States and other developed countries. About 15% of adolescents (12-19 years of age) and children (6-11 years of age) are obese in the United States according to the American Obesity Association. These numbers have continued to increase since at least the early 1990s. Pediatric obesity represents one of our greatest health challenges.

Obesity has a profound effect on a patient's life. Obesity increases the patient's risk of numerous health problems, and it also can create emotional and social problems. Obese children are also more likely to be obese as adults, thereby increasing their lifelong risk of serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke.

If your child or teenager is overweight, further weight gain can be prevented. Parents can help their children keep their weight in the healthy range.

<> In infancy, breastfeeding and delaying introduction of solid foods may help prevent obesity.

<> In early childhood, children should be given healthy, low-fat snacks and take part in moderate-vigorous physical activity every day. Their television viewing
should be limited to no more than seven hours per week (this includes sedentary entertainment like video games and internet surfing).

<> Older children can be taught to select healthy, nutritious foods and to develop good exercise habits. Their time spent watching television and playing with computer or video games should be limited to no more than seven hours each week. Avoid snacking or eating meals while watching TV, movies, and videos. Avoid consumption of sugary products, especially those high in corn syrup or fructose derivatives, such as regular soda, pop, or cola (which some regions call "phosphate" drinks).

Labels:

BOOKMARK THIS POST

Childhood Obesity Facts (I)

0 Comments

Friday, April 19, 2013

What really makes people obese?

If we are to make any progress in tackling the obesity crisis, we have to look again at what really makes us fat, an expert has claimed.

The history of obesity research is a history of two competing hypotheses of energy balance and endocrinology, a doctor wrote in an article published in this week's BMJ.

Since the 1950s, conventional wisdom on obesity has been that it is caused by a positive energy balance ½ in other words we get fat because we overeat. The alternative hypothesis ½ that obesity is a hormonal or regulatory disorder ½ was dismissed after the second world war as being unworthy of serious attention.

But doctor believes that the wrong hypothesis - energy balance - won out and that it is this hypothesis, along with substandard science, that has fuelled the obesity crisis and the related chronic diseases.

He argued that attempts to blame the obesity epidemics worldwide on increased availability of calories "typically ignore the fact that these increases are largely carbohydrates" and, as such, these observations "shed no light on whether it's total calories to blame or the carbohydrate calories."

Nor do they shed light on the more fundamental question of whether people or populations get fat "because they're eating more, or eat more because the macronutrient composition of their diets is promoting fat accumulation ½ in effect, driving an increase in appetite."

Taubes also points to "substandard" research that is "incapable of answering the question of what causes obesity."

As a result, he has co-founded the Nutrition Science Initiative, a not-for-profit organisation to "fund and facilitate rigorously well controlled experimental trials, carried out by independent, sceptical researchers."

Our hope, he said, is that these experiments will answer definitively the question of what causes obesity, and help us finally make meaningful progress against it.

If we are to make progress in the struggle against obesity and its related chronic diseases, he believes we must accept the existence of alternative hypotheses of obesity, refuse to accept substandard science, and find the willingness and the resources to do better.

Labels:

BOOKMARK THIS POST

What really makes people obese?

0 Comments

Friday, April 12, 2013

Genes behind severe childhood obesity identified

Recently. a new genome wide study has identified four new genetic variants associated with severe childhood obesity. Researchers also found an increased burden of rare structural variations in severely obese children.

The scientific team found that structural variations can delete sections of DNA that help to maintain protein receptors known to be involved in the regulation of weight. These receptors are promising targets for the development of new drugs against obesity.

As one of the major health issues affecting modern societies, obesity has increasingly received public attention. Genes, behavior and environment, all contribute to the development of obesity.

Children with severe obesity are more likely to have a strong genetic contribution. This study has enhanced understanding of how both common and rare variants around specific genes and genetic regions are involved in severe childhood obesity.

The team found that different genes could be involved in severe childhood obesity compared to obesity in adults.

Rare genetic changes in one of the newly associated genes, LEPR, are known to cause a severe form of early onset obesity. The team identified a more common variant in this gene, found in 6 per cent of the population that can increase a person's risk of obesity. This finding is an example of where rare and more common variations around the same gene or region can influence the risk of severe obesity.

Some of the children in this study had an increased number of structural variations of their DNA that delete G-protein coupled receptors, important receptors in the regulation of weight. These receptors are key targets for current drug development and may have potential therapeutic implications for obesity.

Labels:

BOOKMARK THIS POST

Genes behind severe childhood obesity identified

0 Comments

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Increased Sleep Could Reduce Rate Of Adolescent Obesity: Each Additional Hour Of Sleep Is Associated With A Lower BMI

Increasing the number of hours of sleep adolescents get each night may reduce the prevalence of adolescent obesity, according to a new study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Results of the study show that fewer hours of sleep is associated with greater increases in adolescent body mass index (BMI) for participants between 14 and 18-years-old. The findings suggest that increasing sleep duration to 10 hours per day, especially for those in the upper half of the BMI distribution, could help to reduce the prevalence of adolescent obesity.

Overall, researchers noted the strength of the association between sleep and BMI was weaker at the lower tail of the BMI distribution, compared to the upper tail. For example, each additional hour of sleep was associated with only a slight reduction in BMI (0.07 kg/m2) at the 10th BMI percentile. In comparison, at the 50th percentile a higher reduction in BMI was observed (0.17 kg/m2), and at the 90th percentile an even greater reduction in BMI was observed (0.28 kg/m2). Importantly, the relationship between sleep duration and BMI remained after adjusting for time spent in front of computer and television screens and being physically activity, leading to the conclusion that more sleep could contribute to the prevention of adolescent obesity, even if national screen time and physical activity guidelines are met.

Based on the results, the authors suggest that increasing sleep from 8 to 10 hours per day at age 18 could result in a 4 percent reduction in the number of adolescents with a BMI above 25 kg/m2. At the current population level, a 4 percent reduction would translate to roughly 500,000 fewer overweight adolescents.

Labels:

BOOKMARK THIS POST

Increased Sleep Could Reduce Rate Of Adolescent Obesity: Each Additional Hour Of Sleep Is Associated With A Lower BMI

0 Comments

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Childhood Overweight and Obesity - A Growing Problem (II)

Limited access to healthy affordable foods. Some people have less access to stores and supermarkets that sell healthy, affordable food such as fruits and vegetables, especially in rural, minority, and lower-income neighborhoods. Supermarket access is associated with a reduced risk for obesity. Choosing healthy foods is difficult for parents who live in areas with an overabundance of food retailers that tend to sell less healthy food, such as convenience stores and fast food restaurants.

Greater availability of high-energy-dense foods and sugar drinks. High-energy-dense foods are ones that have a lot of calories in each bite. A recent study among children showed that a high-energy-dense diet is associated with a higher risk for excess body fat during childhood. Sugar drinks are the largest source of added sugar and an important contributor of calories in the diets of children in the United States. High consumption of sugar drinks, which have few, if any, nutrients, has been associated with obesity.13 On a typical day, 80% of youth drink sugar drinks.

Increasing portion sizes. Portion sizes of less healthy foods and beverages have increased over time in restaurants, grocery stores, and vending machines. Research shows that children eat more without realizing it if they are served larger portions. This can mean they are consuming a lot of extra calories, especially when eating high-calorie foods.

Lack of breastfeeding support. Breastfeeding protects against childhood overweight and obesity. However, in the United States, while 75% of mothers start out breastfeeding, only 13% of babies are exclusively breastfed at the end of 6 months. The success rate among mothers who want to breastfeed can be improved through active support from their families, friends, communities, clinicians, health care leaders, employers, and policymakers.

Television and media. Children 8—18 years of age spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using entertainment media, including TV, computers, video games, cell phones, and movies. Of those  7.5 hours, about 4.5 hours is dedicated to viewing TV.19 Eighty-three percent of children from 6 months to less than 6 years of age view TV or videos about 1 hour and 57 minutes a day.20  TV viewing is a contributing factor to childhood obesity because it may take away from the time children spend in physical activities; lead to increased energy intake through snacking and eating meals in front of the TV; and, influence children to make unhealthy food choices through exposure to food advertisements.

Labels:

BOOKMARK THIS POST

Childhood Overweight and Obesity - A Growing Problem (II)

0 Comments

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Childhood Overweight and Obesity - A Growing Problem (I)

There are a variety of environmental factors that determine whether or not the healthy choice is the easy choice for children and their parents. American society has become characterized by environments that promote increased consumption of less healthy food and physical inactivity. It can be difficult for children to make healthy food choices and get enough physical activity when they are exposed to environments in their home, child care center, school, or community that are influenced by

Sugar drinks and less healthy foods on school campuses. About 55 million school-aged children are enrolled in schools across the United States,1 and many eat and drink meals and snacks there. Yet, more than half of U.S. middle and high schools still offer sugar drinks and less healthy foods for purchase.2 Students have access to sugar drinks and less healthy foods at school throughout the day from vending machines and school canteens and at fundraising events, school parties, and sporting events.

Advertising of less healthy foods. Nearly half of U.S. middle and high schools allow advertising of less healthy foods,2 which impacts students' ability to make healthy food choices. In addition, foods high in total calories, sugars, salt, and fat, and low in nutrients are highly advertised and marketed through media targeted to children and adolescents,3 while advertising for healthier foods is almost nonexistent in comparison.

Variation in licensure regulations among child care centers. More than 12 million children regularly spend time in child care arrangements outside the home. However, not all states use licensing regulations to ensure that child care facilities encourage more healthful eating and physical activity

Lack of daily, quality physical activity in all schools. Most adolescents fall short of the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommendation of at least 60 minutes of aerobic physical activity each day, as only 18% of students in grades 9—12 met this recommendation in 2007. Daily, quality physical education in school can help students meet the Guidelines. However, in 2009 only 33% attended daily physical education classes.

No safe and appealing place, in many communities, to play or be active. Many communities are built in ways that make it difficult or unsafe to be physically active. For some families, getting to parks and recreation centers may be difficult, and public transportation may not be available. For many children, safe routes for walking or biking to school or play may not exist. Half of the children in the United States do not have a park, community center, and sidewalk in their neighborhood. Only 27 states have policies directing community-scale design.
(to be continued)

Labels:

BOOKMARK THIS POST

Childhood Overweight and Obesity - A Growing Problem (I)

0 Comments