Protecting Our Children From Obesity

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obeseboyvectoreatingFrom Your Health Journal…..”I wanted to promote an article in The Coloradoan entitled We must protect our children from epidemic of obesity written by Tim Flynn and Terry Gebhardt, who really hit home with their message. This web site has mentioned many times the concern over childhood obesity – as it has grown to epidemic proportions in many areas of the United States, as well as other countries. Obesity related illness such as asthma, weak joints, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease are also up. Since the article in today’s review was written in Colorado, they mention how Colorado is the least obese state in the nation with 20.7 percent of adults and 10 percent to 15 percent of children defined as obese. The authors of this article are quick to point out that nobody should be patting themselves on the back over these statistics so fast. I encourage you all to visit the Coloradoan web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. It was well written and very informative.”

From the article…..

Childhood obesity is a national epidemic. In the United States, the number of children and teenagers who are overweight or obese has tripled from 1980 to 2000 alone, and the numbers continue to grow each year.

Surveys show Colorado is the least obese state in the nation with 20.7 percent of adults and 10 percent to 15 percent of children defined as obese. Don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. These percentages represent a significant number of our Coloradans who are living unhealthy lifestyles. In fact, our current obesity rates are similar to Texas in 1995.

Many of us are unsure of how to judge what overweight and obese look like as we are one of the most overweight countries in the world and that has distorted our perceptions. The most common way to calculate if an individual is underweight, at a typical weight, overweight or obese is by their body mass index, or BMI. This calculation takes into account a person’s weight and height to determine their categorical body mass. While this calculation is not perfect, and does not take into consideration the difference between muscle and fat, it is effective as a quick screening tool. To calculate your child’s BMI, go to www.Colpts.com.

Childhood obesity is one of America’s biggest health concerns because excessive body weight is associated with heart and lung disease, diabetes, liver complications, sleep apnea and specific types of cancer. Two of the most commonly reported problems in overweight children are joint pain and bone health. Studies show girls and boys who are obese have 13 percent less bone mineral strength compared with their same-aged healthy peers. Decreased bone strength may lead to spinal complications as well as bone fractures if not addressed.

To read the full article…..Click here

NYC Soda-Size Is Being Carefully Watched

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sodaFrom Your Health Journal…..”Such an interesting article written by Jennifer Peltz of the Associated Press on the Record Searchlight web site entitled NYC soda-size rule eyed from coffee shops to clubs. We have discussed on this web site many times what is coming ‘down the pike’ with regards to the obesity epidemic facing mankind all over the world. Government intervention will be involved to some extent, maybe not complete control in our lifetime, but some control. With economic times still at a low, and looking for ways to keep health care cost lower, governments will intervene. They want healthy citizens who will be productive in the workplace, who contribute positively to society. Whether bans and restrictions will have an impact…..time will tell. I remember when cigarette commercials were on television many years ago, until they were banned from the tube in an effort not to glorify smoking in the eyes of children, and to hopefully reduce sales. Did it stop minors from smoking, and reduce cancer from smoking? Not quite sure of the impact, but this ban does remind me of this. So, the size of soft drinks will now be reduced….can someone buy 2 drinks of smaller size instead of one larger size? There are still a lot of unknowns.

This appears to be a practical step to staunch an obesity rate that has risen from 18 to 24 percent in a decade among adult New Yorkers. Health officials say sugar-filled drinks bear much of the blame because they carry hundreds of calories — a 32-ounce soda has more than a typical fast-food cheeseburger — without making people feel full. Critics say the regulation won’t make a meaningful difference in diets but will unfairly hurt some businesses while sparing others. A customer who can’t get a 20-ounce Coke at a sandwich shop could still buy a Big Gulp at a 7-Eleven, for instance, since many convenience stores and supermarkets are beyond the city’s regulatory reach. New Yorkers are divided on the restriction. A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found 51 percent opposed it, while 46 percent approved. Please read this AP article via the Record Searchlight web site (link provided below) to read the entire article. It will shed some light on what will be going on in NYC.”

From the article…..

At barbecue joints, coffee counters and bottle-service nightclubs, a coming clampdown on big, sugary soft drinks is beginning to take shape on tables and menus in a city that thrives on eating and going out.

Some restaurants are ordering smaller glasses. Dunkin’ Donuts shops are telling customers they’ll have to sweeten and flavor their own coffee. Coca-Cola has printed posters explaining the new rules, and a bowling lounge is squeezing carrot and beet juice as a potential substitute for pitchers of soda at family parties — all in preparation for the nation’s first limit on the size of sugar-laden beverages, set to take effect Tuesday.

Some businesses are holding off, hoping a court challenge nixes or at least delays the restriction. But many are getting ready for tasks including reprinting menus and changing movie theaters’ supersized soda-and-popcorn deals.

At Brother Jimmy’s BBQ, customers still will be able to order margaritas by the pitcher, cocktails in jumbo Mason jars and heaping plates of ribs. But they’ll no longer get 24-ounce tumblers of soda, since the new rule bars selling non-diet cola in cups, bottles or pitchers bigger than 16 ounces.

“Everything we do is big, so serving it in a quaint little 16-ounce soda cups is going to look kind of odd,” owner Josh Lebowitz said. Nonetheless, he’s ordered 1,000 of them for the North Carolina-themed restaurant’s five Manhattan locations, rather than take on a fight that carries the threat of $200 fines.

“As long as they keep allowing us to serve beer in glasses larger than 16 ounces, we’ll be OK,” Lebowitz reasoned.

Beer drinkers can breathe easy: The restriction doesn’t apply to alcoholic beverages, among other exemptions for various reasons. But it does cover such beverages as energy drinks and sweetened fruit smoothies.

City officials say it’s a pioneering, practical step to staunch an obesity rate that has risen from 18 to 24 percent in a decade among adult New Yorkers. Health officials say sugar-filled drinks bear much of the blame because they carry hundreds of calories — a 32-ounce soda has more than a typical fast-food cheeseburger — without making people feel full.

To read the complete article…..Click here

Childhood Obesity A Growing Epidemic

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By Anand Bhatt

obesegirlvectorexerciseWelcome a new definition of playtime. What once meant engaging in friendly competition on the playground, now means engaging in virtual competition without even leaving the house. As phone, tablet, and television screens get closer to our faces, both parents and children are blinded by artificial light and missing out on nature’s own. When a problem like childhood obesity takes the reins on children’s lives so much so that the first lady gets involved, it’s no wonder that it’s been a growing epidemic since the 1970s. Although the 1970s is defined by the Equal Rights Amendment, there was a major shift in day-to-day life that sparked equally weighted changes in diet and activity. Fast food chains gained popularity and children started eating out at their favorite quick stops fivefold more than they used to. According to Effects of fast-food consumption on energy intake and diet quality among children in a national household survey, 30.3% of the total sample of 6,212 children and adolescents 4 to 19 years of age in the United States reported consuming fast-food.

With programs like Let’s Move led by first-lady Michelle Obama and the Play60 campaign led by members of the National Football League, people are starting to take note of the empty playgrounds and growing rate of sedentary children. Today’s kids are eating too much and exercising too little. These patterns, when established in such early stages of life, can progress to adulthood where many individuals may end up sitting in front of a cubicle for work, not cognizant of the dangers of inactivity.

If we stay on this path, the CDC projects that 42% of Americans will be obese by the year 2030.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 15% of severe obesity in adults is a consequence of persistent obesity in childhood. If we stay on this path, the CDC projects that 42% of Americans will be obese by the year 2030. That’s nearly half of America, or 1 in every 2 people! Not to mention that this same report by the CDC finds that $550 billion worth of health care costs are derived from obesity-related ailments.

Childhood obesity has become such a problem that teachers in North Andover, Massachusetts are deciding to take action by sending “fat letters” to children of obese parents. This controversial way of direct-action in an effort led by the Department of Public Health tells parents by a note sent home with their child that their child is obese. There are many ways to open a parents eyes to how their daily activities are setting an example for their children. Although “fat letters” may be extreme, doing things like encouraging activity or asking them to join you on an after-dinner walk can exemplify good habits and encourage communication!

obeseboyvectorbellyClearly, obesity is and is continuing to be a growing epidemic. We are so preoccupied by what’s in our inbox, getting ahead, and being part of this technology-driven tornado that we are losing focus on ourselves. To get ahead, adults need to practice healthy lifestyles to inspire their children to do the same. This means playing or being active for at least 30 minutes to 60 minutes a day and inhaling from fresh, outside air. The desire to help children realize their kinetic potential inspired me to create Fit Kids, Healthy Kids, Happy Kids, a compilation of children’s songs that aim to inspire movement and healthy lifestyles. With a little bit of education and fun while being active, whether it’s dancing while doing the dishes or playing ball in the park for an hour or two, we can reverse this trend of childhood obesity for a healthier future.

– Rock & Pop Star Anand Bhatt, when not on the red carpet, is an active supporter of health and fitness endeavors worldwide. After witnessing the unhealthy lifestyles of himself and his peers, Anand wrote the book Rock Star Recipes, an easy diet program for those who are strapped for time or under stress. Anand Bhatt has recently released the music album Fit Kids, Healthy Kids, Happy Kids, a compilation of children’s songs that aim to inspire Parents, Teachers and Kids movement, good eating habits and overall healthy lifestyles.

Finding Balance

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Thank you to the CDC for providing this educational video…..

More than one third of U.S. adults are obese. Weight gain occurs when you consume more calories than your body uses. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight will help you prevent and control many diseases and conditions. The key is FINDING A BALANCE in your lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity.

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– Courtesy of the CDC

Battling Obesity At The Local Level

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obeseboyvectoreatingFrom Your Health Journal…..”We are always looking at the national or international level when we discuss the obesity epidemic facing mankind. I was reading today a local obesity story from FOX 11 (Wisconsin) written by Chad Doran entitled Battling obesity in the Fox Valley. Mr. Doran mentions how experts say 62% of Americans are now overweight or obese, and Fox Valley is facing the same issue. As a local expert stated in the story, ‘change won’t be easy and it needs to be a family effort.’ Such great points to take notice. In the United States, many are worried about the current generation of children having a shorter life expectancy than their parents. The government is worried about healthcare costs in the future, as obesity related illnesses (asthma, cancer, heart disease, weak joint, type 2 diabetes) are on the rise. So, change is needed, and as the Fox Valley article suggests, it starts at the family level. Please visit the Fox 11 web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

Battling bulging waistlines. It’s a growing problem everywhere. Even in the Fox Valley.

Health experts say it’s now an epidemic 30 years in the making.

It’s not hard to spot, even here in the Fox Valley. Experts say 62% of Americans are now overweight or obese.

“We struggle just like the rest of the nation does,” said Dr. John Edwards, a pediatrician with Theda Care.

He says change won’t be easy and it needs to be a family effort.

“As much as possible if we can have parents on the same page, realizing that healthy eating is better for all of us. That’s going to make an important difference as well as what’s available and setting the example for kids.”

The second meeting of a Fox Valley summit on obesity is focusing on initiatives to combat the problem. The first meeting of local leaders last week identified problem areas and causes.

“The healthier our employees are the lower our healthcare costs, the lower our healthcare costs the more money we can put into city services,” said Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna.

The city of Appleton employees more than 600 full-time workers. Hanna says the city has incentive driven programs to encourage employees to be physically fit. Just one way businesses can help stem the tide of obesity.

To read the full article…..Click here

Who Are You Calling Fat?

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doctorFrom Your Health Journal…..”An interesting article from the BCC written by Dr Pallavi Bradshaw entitled Child obesity: Who are you calling fat?. Doctors do have a hard time sometimes talking to parents who feel they are being accused of poor parenting, which is why healthcare professionals may need guidance in tackling the problem, especially when parents cannot see there is one. Most parents do not want to hear their child is overweight or obese. There are a select few, who are told are happy, yet concerned, but then act on it. Personally, I am not sure of the proper method to tell a parent about a potentially unhealthy child – what I do know, each child (and parent) is different, and reacts differently to each circumstance. But, I really encourage you to visit the BBC web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. It is a well written and informative article.”

From the article…..

Child obesity can be a taboo subject.

Doctors can struggle to talk to parents who feel they are being accused of poor parenting, which is why healthcare professionals may need guidance in tackling the problem, especially when parents cannot see there is one.

From Turkey Twizzlers to MPs suggesting a correlation between a child’s weight and their social background, obesity is a hot topic and an ever-growing public health issue.

The reality can be devastating for families with children taken into care for being obese, or suffering long-term health problems.

Children unable to lose weight as they grow older may develop chronic and life-threatening diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Obesity is also a huge cost to the public purse, and experts predict that it will result in the health service paying out £6.3bn by 2015.

So how should doctors intervene?

While friends and family may be afraid to comment on a child’s physique or put the excess weight down to “puppy fat”, a doctor should not ignore tackling the issue openly with parents who may be in denial.
Poor judgement

Studies have suggested that parents’ judgement is poor regarding weight, with 75% underestimating the size of an overweight child and 50% failing to recognise that their child is obese.

More worrying is that there are similar findings for the perceptions of healthcare professionals.

Due to changes in the delivery of health services, patients will often see different GPs or practice nurses over a period of time.

This has eroded the unique relationship once had with the family doctor and can mean that GPs feel reluctant to raise sensitive issues during a one-off consultation.

To read the full article…..Click here

The Obesity Epidemic

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Thank you to the CDC for providing this excellent video…..

This video explains the many factors that have contributed to the obesity epidemic, and showcases several community initiatives taking place to prevent and reduce obesity. Obesity is a national epidemic and a major contributor to some of the leading causes of death in the U.S., including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer. We need to change our communities into places that strongly support healthy eating and active living.

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– Courtesy of the CDC

U.S. Obesity Rates

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overweightbusmanFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very interesting article from CBS written by Ryan Jaslow entitled New survey tracks U.S. obesity rates: Where does your state stack up?. We have discussed here so many times the problem facing the United States regarding obesity. Many Americans are getting less physical activity and eating poorly, resulting in many obese citizens. Obesity related illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, weak joints, and asthma are also rising. Recently, a new Gallup poll shows Colorado has the fewest obese citizens in the country, with 18.7 percent of its population obese. On the other side of the belt loop, West Virginia reported the highest obesity rate, with 33.5 percent of its population being obese. Colorado is the only U.S. state with an adult obesity rate smaller than 20 percent, and West Virginia is the state with the highest obesity rate. This is a very interesting article, and very important to read. Mr. Jaslow did an excellent job conveying his message, and educates his audience about a critical issue in the United States. Please visit the CBS web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

The most obese state in the country has almost double the proportion of plus-sized citizens than the least obese state, according to a new survey.

The newly-released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index shows Colorado has the fewest obese citizens in the country, with 18.7 percent of its population obese. On the other side of the belt loop, West Virginia reported the highest obesity rate, with 33.5 percent of its population being obese.

Colorado is the only U.S. state with an adult obesity rate smaller than 20 percent, the report found. The Centennial State has held the title of thinnest state for three years running, according to Gallup-Healthways.

For West Virginia, the new numbers mark the third year in a row as the state with the highest obesity rate. But according to the latest figures, the state’s obesity rate is down from 35.3 percent in last year’s survey.

Obesity rates in each state were not statistically different in 2012 when compared with findings from 2011, with the exception of four states: New Jersey, Georgia — which showed increases in obesity rates — and North Carolina and Delaware, which saw decreases.

Obesity rates continued recent regional trends and were highest in Southern and Midwestern states and lowest in Western and Northeastern states (click slideshow to the left to see where your state stacks up).

The survey found the national obesity rate held steady at 26.2 percent in 2012 — compared with 26.1 percent in 2011 — but is still higher than the 2008 U.S. obesity average of 25.5 percent.

To read the complete article…..Click here

The Obesity Solution

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boycookieFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very good article recently in the Windsor Star out of Ontario, Canada entitled Obesity: Yes, we need a solution. Not only is the United States having issues with obesity, so is their neighbor up north, Canada. This editorial reports that Ontario kids are not as healthy as they should be, suggesting adults should encourage better eating habits and more physical activity. In this region, The number of overweight or obese kids has jumped 70 per cent over the past 30 years. That’s nearly 28 per cent of all kids between the ages of two and 17. Last year, Ontario spent $4.5 billion caring for people struggling with weight problems. The article states that technology is a major culprit to this issue, as TV was not available 24/7 like it is today – added to this issue computers, Ipads, video games, and hand held devices. Change is needed to get kids healthier, and reduce obesity related illness. Please visit the Windsor Star web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

There’s no question children in Ontario aren’t as healthy as they could be. And there’s no question that we should be encouraging our kids to eat better foods and exercise more.

As the government-commissioned Healthy Kids Panel said this week, obesity is a quality-of-life issue and a problem that is straining Ontario’s already strapped health care budget.

The number of overweight or obese kids has jumped 70 per cent over the past 30 years. That’s nearly 28 per cent of all kids between the ages of two and 17. Last year, Ontario spent $4.5 billion caring for people struggling with weight problems.

“The most devastating part of this trend is that obesity will mark our DNA, changing our metabolism and genetically reprogramming future generations of children to be at greater risk of being overweight,” says the panel’s report.

Do we need to find a solution? Absolutely.

But some of the Healthy Kids Panel recommendations should be non-starters. They include banning junk food and fast food ads that are aimed at children under the age of 12, stopping the promotion and display of junk food at the checkout line and forcing restaurants to mark the calorie count in every item on the menu.

Largely what the panel is suggesting is that government intrusion trumps parental responsibility. The government should determine what constitutes a healthy food, decide where and when you can advertise and display these legal products, then impose penalties if you break the rules.

If that happens, one thing is certain: Ontarians will definitely get a much fatter and more expensive bureaucracy. Still, Health Minister Deb Matthews says she’s “committed to seriously considering every one of these recommendations.” And perhaps that’s not surprising, coming from a minister in a Liberal government that has a long record of initiating nanny-state policies.

To read the full article…..Click here

Making Health Easier – Video

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CDC Video

The video highlights the efforts of one educational organization, Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP), to keep kids healthy at an early age. Childhood obesity now affects approximately one in six kids and disproportionately affects low-income and minority populations. LAUP teaches kids healthy habits and is incorporating small, healthy changes that can be made in any classroom—like teaching fun dances and providing nutritious snacks.

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– Thank you to the CDC for granting permission to use this video