July 11, 2013,
Pew Research Center.org
By Rich Morin
Every parent knows that young children catch lots of things at school: chicken pox, the flu and, of course, the annual back-to-school cold.
Now there’s evidence that kids can catch something else from their classmates: obesity.
Of course there isn’t a fat virus, or at least one we know about. But a research team from the University of Arkansas has tracked the pattern of weight gains and obesity among 341,876 elementary school students and found that the typical student gained extra pounds in grades with a larger share of obese classmates but slimmed down when they were in classes with a larger proportion of skinny kids. Continue reading
July 9, 2013,
The Huffington Post
By Michele Simon
Last month, I participated in an important panel at a childhood obesity conference to discuss the current strategy backed by some advocacy groups: asking industry to market “healthier” foods to children. But as Susan Linn and I recently argued, any marketing to children is harmful, regardless of the product’s nutritional content.
Instead of begging corporations to tweak the grams of sugar, fat and salt that these highly processed junk foods contain, we should demand that industry stop exploiting children altogether. Some advocates argue this approach is too radical. But it’s actually far more practical and ultimately more effective because of certain key tactics that industry uses to target children. Continue reading
June 26, 2013,
NPR [the Salt Blog]
By Allison Aubrey
Fresh research adds weight to the notion that certain foods (think empty carbs like bagels and sweet treats) can lead to more intense hunger and overeating.
Fast-digesting carbohydrates can stimulate regions of the brain involved in cravings and addiction, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Prior studies have shown that highly desirable foods, perhaps a cheesecake or pie, can trigger pleasure centers in the brain. But what’s new about this research is that it shows that even when people are unaware of what they’re eating, the intake of fast-digesting carbs can activate parts of the brain associated with pleasure, reward, and addiction. Continue reading
June 27, 2013,
USDA Office of Communications
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on June 27 that under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new “Smart Snacks in School” nutrition standards, America’s students will be offered healthier food options during the school day.
“Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Parents and schools work hard to give our youngsters the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong, and providing healthy options throughout school cafeterias, vending machines, and snack bars will support their great efforts.”
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires USDA to establish nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools — beyond the federally-supported meals programs. The “Smart Snacks in School” nutrition standards…reflect USDA’s thoughtful consideration and response to the nearly 250,000 comments received on the proposal earlier this year. Continue reading