Maternal obesity increases risk of newborn death in sub-Saharan Africa

Nov. 23, 2012, Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health

New research published online in The Lancet indicates that babies born to mothers who are overweight or obese in sub-Saharan Africa, where rates of obesity are projected to increase at an alarming rate during the next two decades, are significantly more likely to die in the first two days after their birth. The study is the first to shed light on the role of maternal obesity in neonatal death (during the first 28 days of life) in developing countries. Continue reading

Cheaper fruits and vegetables alone can’t save food deserts

Nov. 15, 2012, Minnesota Public Radio

By Eliza Barclay

Tens of millions of Americans can’t follow the government’s guidelines for healthful eating because they can’t afford or access enough fresh fruits and vegetables. Sometimes it’s because they live in what’s known as a “food desert,” places devoid of markets with a good variety of quality fresh foods.

Increasingly, researchers want to understand just how the “food environment” — where people buy food, what food is available, food prices, and how food is marketed to the consumer — has become the problem. And even as cities from Philadelphia to Chicago to Detroit mobilize to hydrate the food deserts, it’s becoming clear that even if you make fresh produce affordable, people may not buy it. Continue reading

CDC projects huge diabetes jump in kids, teens

Nov. 21, 2012, The Atlanta Journal Constitution

By Salynn Boyles, Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

The number of children and teens with type 1 and type 2 diabetes is expected to spike dramatically in the next 40 years, creating what one expert calls a potential catastrophe for the nation’s health care system.

Rates of type 2 diabetes could increase four times over the next 40 years, and rates of type 1 diabetes may triple, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC’s numbers assume that the rate of diabetes will increase over time. Continue reading

USDA awards first grants to increase local foods in eligible schools

Nov. 14, 2012, USDA Office of Communications

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced more than $4.5 million in grants for 68 projects, spanning 37 states and the District of Columbia, to connect school cafeterias with local agricultural producers.

“When schools buy food from nearby producers, their purchasing power helps create local jobs and economic benefits, particularly in rural agricultural communities,” Merrigan said. “Evidence also suggests that when kids understand more about where food comes from and how it is produced, they are more likely to make healthy eating choices.” Continue reading

Canadian researchers find correlation between childcare and obesity

Nov. 19, 2012, Red Orbit

With the snack company Hostess recently making headlines and Thanksgiving just days away, many people are taking the opportunity to focus on the problem of obesity; childhood obesity in particular.

A timely study was published recently in the Journal of Pediatrics that linked child care by an extended family member or daycare with a 50 percent increased risk for childhood obesity. Continue reading

Tool assists parents in discussing weight, health

Across America, one out of every three children are overweight or obese, but parents struggle with what to say in response to questions about weight.

The Strategies To Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance and Alliance for a Healthier Generation recently released Weigh In: Talking to Your Children About Weight and Health, a research-based online guide that helps prepare parents for tough conversations about weight and health with their kids. Continue reading

Physical activity guidelines report now available for public comment

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion along with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition are set to release a report on strategies to increase physical activity among youth next year. Continue reading

Study: Childhood exercise helps prevent arthritis

Nov. 14, 2012, ABC News

The 20-year study of almost 300 children around Australia has found that those who did lots of jumping, running, and skipping had more cartilage in their knees than those who were sedentary.

It is estimated about 3 million Australians will be affected by osteoarthritis by 2050. Continue reading

Childs play helps combats obesity

Nov. 9, 2012, Voxy

Research published Nov. 9 in the New Zealand Medical Journal suggests that children can benefit more from active play compared to structured exercise.

“When it comes to combating obesity and increasing children’s daily physical activity levels, active play is just as important, if not more so, than structured exercise,” says Associate Professor Erica Hinckson from AUT University’s Centre for Child Health Research and Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition. Continue reading

Using online tools to increase access to nutrition messages for low-income mothers

Research presented on Oct. 29 at the American Public Health Association’s 140th Annual Meeting & Exposition discussed the process of developing new online communication tools that promote healthy eating behaviors to low-income mothers.

The study, led by Judy Wilson of the Office of Research and Analysis in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), also looked at the information-seeking behaviors of low-income mothers as well as the message attributes that they found most appealing. Continue reading