Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Researchers awarded grant to find effective methods for childhood obesity prevention

Childhood obesity is on the rise, and with it comes an increased risk for developing health problems such as type 2 diabetes. The best way to reduce the risk of serious weight-related health issues such as diabetes is to eat healthy and increase physical activity.

Researchers at Geisinger Health System's Henry Hood Center for Health Research and the University of Pennsylvania have been awarded a grant by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to find effective methods to prevent and treat childhood obesity in primary care settings for children ages 4 to 8 who are in the 85th percentile or higher body mass index (BMI). BMI is a weight for height category based on a child's age and sex. Children with BMI above the 85th percentile are more likely to develop lifelong weight-related health problems.

Families in Geisinger's Garden Gang study learn ways to eat more vegetables and fruits, decrease high-fat/high-sugar food and beverage intake, and increase physical activity. The goal of the study is to teach healthy lifestyles for children to maintain weight as they grow to bring the BMI below the 85th percentile.

According to Margaret Rukstalis, M.D., lead clinical researcher for the study, families with children between the ages of 4 to 8 who don't eat their fruits and vegetables and have a BMI of 85 percent or more qualify to participate. The study teaches kids and parents how to take a positive approach as they make healthy lifestyle modifications. Researchers will examine the effectiveness of educational handouts vs. a more intensive program.

"Finding an effective way to change behaviors is key," said Dr. Rukstalis.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports the prevalence of children who are obese has doubled over the past two decades. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported that 31.9 percent of children and adolescents were overweight (BMI at or above the 85th percentile) and 16.3 percent were obese (BMI at or above 95th percentile).

"This is the first time a study like this will be done in the primary care setting. Children from rural areas are particularly at risk for being overweight and obese, so this is a very relevant study for kids in our area, especially because an overweight or obese child has a higher likelihood of chronic medical problems and adult obesity," said Dr. Rukstalis. "Participants benefit because they receive state-of-the-art, evidence-based prevention and treatments while also giving back to science."

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Researchers working on fun way to combat childhood obesity

Researchers are working to find effective, fun filled methods to prevent childhood obesity, which could bring on an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

Researchers at Geisinger Health System's Henry Hood Centre for Health Research and University of Pennsylvania are trying to find ways to prevent obesity in children aged four to eight years.

Children with BMI above the 85 percentile are more likely to develop lifelong weight-related health problems. BMI is a weight to height ratio based on a child's age and sex.

The goal of the study is to teach healthy lifestyles for children to maintain weight as they grow to bring the BMI down to acceptable levels.

Margaret Rukstalis, lead clinical researcher for the study, says "finding an effective way to change behaviours is key".

The American Academy of Paediatrics reports the prevalence of children who are obese has doubled over the past two decades, says a Geisinger Health release.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported that 31.9 percent of children and adolescents were overweight and 16.3 percent in the US were obese.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

What You Should Know About Childhood Obesity

by Mike Selvon

You may have heard there is an "obesity epidemic" in America that is afflicting our children. Perhaps you're wondering if your own child is average, overweight or obese. One way to determine childhood obesity is to measure your child's BMI (body mass index), which looks at their weight in relation to their height. The BMI index is a non-invasive screening tool that can be performed simply by taking some measurements and looking up the average at Dnpabmi.

Some say the alarming childhood obesity rate has been caused by a shift in our culture from an active society to a more sedentary society. Compared to the children of the seventies, today's children are more sedentary, spending three hours per day watching TV, movies or playing video games, which has decreased the amount of time children and teens spend actively outdoors.

Television also encourages increased food consumption and tempts children to make unhealthy food choices through exposure to advertisements. Since 1991, the percentage of students' participation in daily physical education during school has decreased from 42% to 28%. The importance of a healthy diet for children cannot be overstated, nor can the need for daily physical activity, since studies show the patterns a child develops early in life tend to remain with him or her for life.

If left untreated, childhood obesity can lead to a number of problems, both physical and psychosocial. Physically, 70% of obese 5 to 17-year-olds have at least one cardiovascular disease risk factor already, whether it is high blood pressure, high cholesterol or abnormal glucose tolerance, and 25% have at least two risk factors.

Obesity is also the leading cause of type 2 diabetes, as 60% of diabetics are also overweight. More immediate health problems include sleep apnea, hepatic steatosis (fatty degeneration of the liver), kidney failure and asthma. Psychologically, obese adolescents become the targets of social stigmatization, which can leave lasting emotional scars that may never fully heal.

There are many ways to prevent childhood obesity in your home. While you certainly don't want to place your child on a restrictive diet that may interfere with normal growth and development, planning meals with balanced calories can help ensure your child gets an appropriate amount of nutrition. Be sure to encourage your child's healthy eating habits by providing vegetables, fruits, whole-grain foods, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, proper portion sizes and plenty of water. Limit sugar-sweetened beverages, sugar and fatty foods in the house as much as possible.

About the Author
Mike Selvon has some informative articles for the creative mind. Find out more about the type childhood obesity at his resourceful site. We appreciate your feedback at our obesity causes blog.

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