Searching For The Cause(s) Of Obesity

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obesestationarybikeFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very interesting article on the Seattle PI web site written by Timi Gustafson entitled Searching For The Cause(s) Of Obesity. The article starts by stating two thirds of Americans are overweight. One third is obese. Along with this, obesity related illness are on the rise, including asthma, weak joints, heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. We are eating too much food, make unhealthy food selections, participating in less physical activity, sedentary, and involved in too much technology. Recently, we have seen local governments try to ban large soft drinks, and implement fax taxes. Obesity has been such a hot topic, but change is needed to our lifestyles to fix it. Please visit the Seattle PI web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

Two thirds of Americans are overweight. One third is obese. Obesity and a host of illnesses related to weight problems kill more people than any other disease. Experts are scrambling to find answers for what causes the epidemic and seem to come up with new explanations every day, only to be contradicted by the next study. Unsurprisingly, consumers are confused and stop paying attention.

How is it that we are eating ourselves to death, not just here but increasingly around the world? Does the so-called “Western diet,” consisting of cheap, highly processed, highly caloric foods, make us fat? Or is it sugary sodas? Are portion sizes too big? Does the food industry turn us into addicts? Do we just not exercise enough?

So far, none of the countless studies on these subjects have had much impact in practical terms. Lobbying efforts and political gridlock are oftentimes blamed for the maddeningly slow progress. But that may not be the only reason. Some experts warn that despite of all the research, finding definite answers may prove elusive for some time to come.

“If we can find the causes of obesity, we can try to eliminate or counter them,” wrote Christopher Chabris, a professor of psychology at Union College, together with his colleague Daniel Simons of the University of Illinois in an op-ed piece in the New York Times. “Unfortunately, finding causes is easier said than done, and causes we think we see can turn out to be illusions.”

Hoping for a smoking gun that lets us clearly identify causation may not be in the cards, ever. As an example, the authors cite a study that analyzed potential connections between food advertising on billboards and prevalence of obesity in certain parts of Los Angeles and New Orleans. The study results showed that areas with more outdoor food advertisements had a higher proportion of obese people than those with fewer ads. So, there seems to be a direct link.

To read the full article…..Click here

Experts Weigh In On Childhood Obesity

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obeseboyvectoreatingFrom Your Health Journal…..”I had to promote a wonderful article I read on the ABC News web site written by Dr. Rebecca Sharim Storace entitled Experts Weigh In On Childhood Obesity. Obesity is a growing concern for adults and children. More than one-third of the children and adolescents in the United States are overweight or obese, according to 2010 data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since 1980, the number of obese children and adolescents has almost tripled, a jump attributed in part to poor food choices and insufficient physical activity. Obesity related illness in children is also up as many suffer from risk factors for heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and weaker joints. Children today have become very sedentary. They are overly involved in technology, eat poorly and too often, get less sleep, and less physical activity. According to the CDC, roughly 70 percent of obese youth are thought to have at least one risk factor for heart disease. Very scary stats. So, please visit the ABC News web site (link provided below) to read this complete article. It was well written, educational, and informative.”

From the article…..

Obesity in America is a growing problem, and not just in adults. More than a third of the children and adolescents in the United States are overweight or obese, according to 2010 data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And since 1980, the number of obese children and adolescents has almost tripled, a jump attributed in part to poor food choices and insufficient physical activity.

Despite the ballooning problem, parents and doctors often find the topic of childhood obesity difficult to discuss. To start the conversation, ABC News’ chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser hosted a Twitter Chat on the subject Tuesday. Experts from the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as clinicians, parents and others with personal experience joined in the one-hour discussion.

Here, some of the highlights.

The Risks Are Overwhelming

“Childhood obesity affects every organ system in the body,” tweeted Dr. Seema Kumar, the director of the Pediatric Weight Management Program at Mayo Clinic.

The risks include diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. In fact, roughly 70 percent of obese youth are thought to have at least one risk factor for heart disease, according to the CDC. What’s more, experts agree that obese youth are at high risk of becoming obese adults, prompting even more health problems, including joint disease, heart disease, sleep apnea and certain cancers.

The health risks of obesity are not only physical, they’re psychological as well. Childhood obesity has been linked to depression, anxiety and poor self-esteem.

“Overweight children are also more likely to be bullied,” tweeted Thomas McInerny, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

To read the complete article…..Click here

Less Sleep May Trigger More Snacking

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sleepFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very good article on the Health.com web site via HealthDay News entitled Less Sleep May Trigger More Snacking, Calories. Sleep is a very important component to good health. It helps us rest and recharge for the next day, strengthens our immune system. gives vital organs a chance to rest, improves cognitive skills, reduces stress, and keeps many of our bodies chemical levels balanced. Adequate sleep also keeps hormones related to appetite stable. If we do not get enough sleep, sometimes our bodies and brain do not work together, and we do not realize our ‘bellies’ are full. So, we tend to eat more. Getting adequate sleep allows our body and brain to team up so we know when to stop eating. In a recent study, participants whose sleep was limited to five hours burned 5 percent more energy than those who could sleep for nine hours, but they consumed 6 percent more calories. Please visit the Health.com web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

Too little sleep with unlimited food availability leads to too much eating and weight gain, according to a small new study.

“I don’t think extra sleep by itself is going to lead to weight loss,” Kenneth Wright, director of the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said in a university news release. “Problems with weight gain and obesity are much more complex than that. But I think it could help.”

Wright and colleagues monitored 16 young, lean, healthy male and female adults who lived for about two weeks at the University of Colorado Hospital, which has a sleep suite. For the first three days, all the participants had the opportunity to sleep nine hours a night and were given meals that contained only enough calories to maintain their weight.

For the next five-day period, the participants were split into two groups. One group’s sleep was limited to five hours a night, while the other group could sleep for nine hours. Both groups were offered larger meals and had access to healthy and unhealthy snacks throughout the day. After those five days, the groups switched.

On average, participants whose sleep was limited to five hours burned 5 percent more energy than those who could sleep for nine hours, but they consumed 6 percent more calories.

To read the full article…..Click here

Parents Are The Key In The Battle Against Childhood Obesity

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obeseboyvectorbellyFrom Your Health Journal…..”I had to promote an article I recently found on the Toronto Star web site written by Patrick Luciani entitled Parents Are The Key In The Battle Against Childhood Obesity. It is a very important article for you (as a parent) to read, so please visit the Toronto Star web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. We have read here on many accounts how the government may be trying to regulate soft drinks and implement what they call a ‘fat tax’ on various items. A recent report suggests that that obesity costs society billions of dollars in rising health costs, and will only get worse if we do nothing. There is something truly upsetting seeing children who are obviously overweight and struggling with a range of health problems. So, if the government intervenes, they feel they may be able to reduce obesity, thus reduce health care costs in the future. But, the article in the Toronto Star suggest that parents be held accountable for their children’s weight, and this can make the difference needed to reduce health care, and most importantly, produce healthier children. I encourage you all to visit the Star’s web site to read this well written and informative article.”

From the article…..

Government regulations are no substitute for effective parenting.

What are we to make of a recent report entitled No Time To Wait prepared by the Ontario’s Healthy Kids Panel released last week? It has nice pictures of happy healthy kids along with the appropriate number of visible minority adults smiling and cooking with their kids. As with all these reports about health, it makes endless recommendations for government to solve rising childhood obesity numbers.

The report argues that obesity costs society billions of dollars in rising health costs, and will only get worse if we do nothing. There is something truly upsetting seeing children who are obviously overweight and struggling with a range of health problems. And because of this need the report lists about 35 recommendations for government action, from more prenatal care and breastfeeding, to banning low-nutrient foods and sugary drinks to children under 12.

It also wants the Ontario government to provide incentives (read more money) to food growers to “support community-based food distribution programs” and all restaurants to list calories on all menu items — a program that didn’t work in New York City, and won’t work here in reducing obesity levels. And of course it calls for more spending, about $80 million annually to reduce childhood obesity levels.

To its credit, the report doesn’t recommend new taxes on selected food products and sugary drinks probably because the committee couldn’t agree on which foods to tax and whether those taxes would do much good.

On this point, most economists are in agreement. A wise decision, especially in light of Denmark’s disastrous experiment with a similar fat tax as consumers found endless ways to avoid it. After only 18 months, the Danes chucked the whole mess. But there are other problems with the report.

The charts in the report make it clear that childhood obesity rates have been rising for the past few decades, but the study doesn’t break down the data by income levels, ethnicity, education or whether there is a higher level of obesity among children from single parent families.

To read the full article…..Click here

An Anti-Obesity Pill

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pillsFrom Your Health Journal…..An interesting article from The Jewish Press by Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu about an anti-obesity pill. We know how obesity is on the rise all over the world, and obesity related illnesses are also on the rise including heart disease, asthma, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and weak joints. Sedentary lifestyle along with poor eating habits has been a major contribution. Now, an Israeli-made pill may be on its way to make the world slimmer. The “slim pill” to reduce obesity could go on the market as a medicine, with the help of a major pharmaceutical company. The slim-down pill is made from indigestible edible fiber taken before a meal. The pills, after coming in contact with water, inflate and make food more viscous, keeping it in the stomach longer, and creating the sense of being sated. Please visit the Jewish Press web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. It was well written and informative.”

From the article…..

An Israeli-made pill may be on its way to make the world slimmer. The “slim pill” to reduce obesity could go on the market as a medicine, with the help of a major pharmaceutical company.

The Israeli start-up Gelesis is in advanced talks with a large pharmaceutical company to develop its pill that makes people fat people feel their stomachs are full, resulting in less food intake and a loss in weight.

The pharma company was not identified by Israel’s Globes business newspaper, which said that Gelesis soon will publish results of a recent clinical trial of the pill.

Instead of asking the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider the product as a nutritional supplement or medical device, the Israeli company wants to offer it is a medicine in to increase its market appeal.

The value of the deal with the foreign pharmaceutical company could reach hundreds of millions of dollars. The unidentified company will invest millions of dollars for developing the pill and will pay royalties on sales, Globes added.

The slim-down pill is made from indigestible edible fiber taken before a meal. The pills, after coming in contact with water, inflate and make food more viscous, keeping it in the stomach longer, and creating the sense of being sated.

A study of the pill’s effects several years ago showed a high rate of those who said they felt they had enough to eat, while only 16 percent reported they suffered side effects of discomfort, which Gelesis may be able to reduce by changing the dosage for certain individuals.

To read the complete article…..Click here

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

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