More On Childhood Obesity

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overweightchildFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very interesting article from WEAR-TV, an ABC local affiliate about childhood obesity. Reports have come in from many credible organizations like the American Heart Association, which stated 25 million American youth are overweight or obese – and the CDC which has stated obesity has doubled for children ages 5-11, and nearly tripled for teens ages 12-18. Heart disease is still the number one killer in our country, and illnesses related to it are also on the rise, such as type 2 diabetes – affecting children as well. There are many contributing causes to this epidemic such as homework loads, extra-curricular activities, sedentary lifestyle, and poor diet – but one thing that has been a major influence in the rise of obesity among children is the popularity of technology. Children keep busy on their Ipads, video games, hand held devices, computers, cell phones, and countless other machines that entertain, but cause children to be sedentary. Throw on top of this all the TV times, and we have ‘couch potato’ generation, who many experts feel could have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. We need to get kids off the couch, out to play, have healthier diets, less technology, and proper education on healthy lifestyle. Please visit the WEAR-TV (ABC-TV) web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. It was very informative, and shared great material at the local level.”

From the article…..

It’s a growing problem across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Childhood Obesity has more than doubled in the past 30-years.

What is being done to battle the growing disease. “Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States here in Escambia County one of the ways they are trying to battle that problem is starting here in the schools by changing the lunches.”

Pediatrician Doctor Michelle Grier-Hall says obesity at a young age raises many health concerns not only physical but mental.

Dr. Michelle Grier-Hall “Heart disease and diabetes which we are seeing diabetes in our children not just in adults but we’re seeing diabetes in children who have obesity, so you have high blood pressure, cholesterol problems and this is not good of course the joint problems, back pains and other things you can see with obesity.”

The Escambia County Health Department says there is no increase in the total percentage of students who are obese or overweight this year.

Data shows 63 % of the children measured are in the normal range for body mass index. But CDC numbers nation wide show children ages 6 to 11 years who are obese increased from 7 % in 1980 to 18 % in 2010.

Adolescents ages 12 to 19 increased from 5 % to 18 %. Recently, schools have stepped in changing their lunch menus to healthier alternatives.

And removing friers from the cafeteria. Jaleena Davis “There are five components in our meal whole grain bread, milk, fruit, vegetable, meat or meat alternate.”

To read the complete article…..Click here

When Sizing Up Childhood Obesity Risks, It Helps To Ask About Random Kids

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girlhulaFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very good article on the NPR web site that I wanted to promote by Gillian K. SteelFisher entitled When Sizing Up Childhood Obesity Risks, It Helps To Ask About Random Kids. Please visit the NPR site to support Gillian’s article. Childhood obesity is on the rise in many areas of the world. Many would like to think it is starting to get under control, but even so, many children are in need of reducing their weight. Obesity related illnesses for young children is on the rise, as so many children show risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, cancer, and weak joints. In fact, many of these children are bullied at school as well as having low self esteem. Recently, a poll was taken with a random sample of children which looked at what children are actually doing in terms of eating, drinking and physical activity. Are they eating dinner with their families? And what’s on their plate (or TV screen or iPod) when they do? To learn more about this poll and its results, please visit the NPR web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

To understand the challenges around childhood obesity in the U.S., you need to take a close look at the lives of children and the households in which their habits are formed.

NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, where I’m a researcher, created a unique poll to do that.

The poll looked at what children are actually doing in terms of eating, drinking and physical activity. Are they eating dinner with their families? And what’s on their plate (or TV screen or iPod) when they do?

One thing that makes this poll different from others is that it’s based on a random sample of children, even though adults in the households answered the questions. In order to be sure the findings are representative of children across the country, we needed this random sample of kids.

It’s an important distinction.

In a traditional poll, the research team telephones a random selection of households and asks to speak with a randomly selected adult in the household. Here, the team telephoned a random selection of households with children and asked to speak with an adult about a randomly selected kid in the household.

Another difference is that the polling team went beyond interviews with parents. In each case, we interviewed an adult in the household who actually knows what the child does and eats. Another caregiver — rather than a parent — might know that best. This approach allowed us to make sure that kids living in many kinds of households are included.

For most kids, the adult who knows what they eat and what they’re doing in terms of activities does turn out to be a parent. But for some kids, the adult who knows is a grandmother, a foster parent, an uncle or even an adult sibling. We call the respondents “parents” in our reports for simplicity, and we make a note about this in the complete description of our polling methods.

To read the full article…..Click here

The Art Of Being Active

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By Kim Evans

girlstretchAs someone who makes a living helping other people navigate their way through the fitness world, I am often asked about how I stay in shape, what motivates me, why I do what I do and even how long am I going to do what I do. Most of the time I can answer by saying that because I am a professional fitness instructor and athletic coach I feel that I need to stay in shape so that I can be the best teacher possible. But it is really so much more to me, and I think that is one of the reasons that I continue to do what I do.

Being active shapes my life. If I can ride a bike, take a walk or hike, put on skates, hop on my paddle-board and explore someplace new, well that is a beautiful thing. I like spending time in the gym, and the chance to take a class in a new format is something I seek out. These things all make me happy. I don’t consider it a chore, I enjoy moving my body. It keeps me calm, keeps my moods mostly positive and helps me get through the stress of life.

I fully understand that most people do not share the same philosophy as I do. That being said, it is one of my missions to help people understand that even if they do not like to exercise, they should still be active. When you keep your body moving as it should, everything in life is easier! I feel strongly that everyone, no matter what their limitations can find ways to make their lives better, through being active. It just has to be framed in a way so each person can relate it to their own lives. When you figure that out then life changes for you. My happiest moments are when clients ‘get it’. I’ve got ‘it’, and I want to share it!

chinupGet up and get out! Find the movement in everything that you do. If you like the gym, join one. Or take up a sport. Find things to do with your spouse and children. Explore your local area and take advantage of all of the things that are offered. Meet new people that like being active. I can promise that if you embrace an active lifestyle, you will be better for it. You don’t have to be great at it, you can take baby steps. Just embrace it.

To me, the art of being active really means that I have chosen to shape my life around being healthy and active. I gravitate towards like-minded people, and search out things to do that allow me to challenge myself physically and mentally. Practicing my art makes me feel like I am dancing through life.

Guest author, Kim Evans

Study Suggests Best Ways For Schools To Promote Physical Activity

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kidsunningtogetherFrom Your Health Journal…..”Education Week is one of my favorite web site, full of informative articles that really educate readers. Recently, I found an article on their site written by Bryan Toporek called Study Suggests Best Ways For Schools To Promote Physical Activity. Three things we do not see children participate in like they did 20 years ago are mandatory physical education, classroom activity breaks, and active commuting to school – as a recent study by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine supports. Physical education is being cut in many states, as children are getting minimum amounts of physical activity each school day. Curriculum’s are pushing excess work, and children get very little down time. And….the number of children who walk to school has been cut down significantly. In many homes, parents are working late hours, and get home around dinner, so children even get less physical activity time after school hours. So, changes are needed to help children become more active and eat more nutritiously. Please visit the Education Week web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

Mandatory physical education, classroom activity breaks, and active commuting to school are the most effective ways schools can promote physical activity in students, according to a study published online in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine earlier this month.

The study authors determined which policy changes in schools could have the greatest effect on students’ physical activity levels by examining 65 original investigations published between 1995 and 2011. Each of the 65 articles in the review objectively measured students’ physical activity through the use of accelerometers, heart rate monitors, pedometers, and direct observation. Studies that relied solely on students self-reporting their physical activity were not included due to unreliability.

The authors then estimated how much energy students expended by using the “primary physical activity outcome variable” in each of the articles in the review, such as pedometer steps, percentage of classroom time spent in physical activity, or minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

They found that schools implementing mandatory physical education classes could help students engage in up to 23 minutes of MVPA each school day, the highest of any activity reviewed in the study. Classroom activity breaks could add up to 19 minutes of MVPA per day and active commuting (walking or biking) to school could result in 16 minutes of MVPA, the authors found.

Combining required daily physical education classes, classroom activity breaks and active commuting to school could result in up to 58 minutes of MVPA per day for students, the study found. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that children engage in at least 60 minutes of MVPA on a daily basis.

“This study shows that policymakers have a lot of tools at their disposal to help kids be active,” said lead study author David R. Bassett, a professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in a statement. “But it also shows that no change alone will be enough. Helping young people reach activity goals will require a combination of strategies.”

To read the full article…..Click here

Guest Post – Patrick Muldoon, Getting More Kids In The Game

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boysoccerEvander Holyfield once said “It is not the size of the man but the size of his heart that matters.” Anyone who has ever sat on the sideline and watched a youth sports team knows the truth to those words, especially when it’s school-aged boys and girls teaming up and giving it everything they’ve got on the field, in the pool or on the court.

Study after study shows that participating in sports helps children develop stronger social skills, learn how to set and achieve goals, develop leadership skills and qualities, gain a greater sense of independence and confidence, and develop an overall stronger body and mind.

Girls, in particular, stand to benefit from getting involved in sports at a young age. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, female high school athletes are 92% less likely to use drugs, 80% less likely to get pregnant, and three times more likely to graduate than non-athletes.

However, due to the rising cost of youth sports, more than 62% of kids ages 9-13 do not participate in any organized physical activity outside of school hours because of financial constraints.

However, due to the rising cost of youth sports, more than 62% of kids ages 9-13 do not participate in any organized physical activity outside of school hours because of financial constraints. A family can easily spend several thousand dollars per year on uniforms, equipment, training and travel for a child’s sports team, and families with kids in a sport like hockey can spend upward of $10,000 per year. Perhaps this is one reason that, according to the National Alliance for Youth Sports, of those that do play, 70% will drop out by the age of 13.

Fortunately, organizations like KIDS in the GAME are stepping up to provide a way for underserved kids to get involved in youth sports. KIDS in the GAME is a national non-profit organization that was designed specifically to increase opportunities for youth to participate in sports regardless of ability, ethnicity or socio-economic background.

girlsoccerThrough KIDS in the GAME, for example, donors can browse young athlete support requests and give any amount to the ones that inspire them. For example, earlier this year the Detour bar company provided funding that allowed 200 boys and girls nationwide to play soccer through a donation to KIDS in the GAME and a partnership with the American Youth Soccer Organization.

In addition to enabling kids from California to Alabama to join their local soccer teams, 20 kids from the program also had a chance to attend an exhibition game of the United States gold medal-winning soccer team and to meet gold medalist Megan Rapinoe in person following the game at The Home Depot Center in California.

Although it’s statistically unlikely that one of these 20 children will go on to become the next Megan Rapinoe, there is a good chance that if they stick with sports they will go on to graduate from high school, develop stronger relationships, be engaged members of the community and live a healthier lifestyle. It’s easy to see how we all benefit from getting more kids in the game. I hope you join us.

– Patrick Muldoon is CEO of Forward Foods, maker of Detour protein bars. Through its “Detour For Good” program the company supports charities and non-profit organizations that help children and adults choose and follow the path to overall wellness. Muldoon is particularly passionate about supporting the health and well-being of future generations.