Toddlers who sleep less may eat more

March 25, 2014, HealthDay

Toddlers who get too little sleep tend to eat more and are at increased risk for obesity, a new study indicates.

The study included children in over 1,300 British families who had their sleep measured when they were 16 months old and their diet checked when they were 21 months old.

Those who slept less than 10 hours a day consumed about 10 percent more calories than those who slept more than 13 hours, according to the study in the International Journal of Obesity.

This is the first study to link amount of sleep to calorie consumption in children younger than 3 years, the University College London (UCL) researchers said. They suggested that shorter sleep may disrupt the regulation of appetite hormones. Continue reading

Study: U.S. teens eat too much salt, hiking obesity risk

Feb. 3, 2013, HealthDay

By Alan Mozes

American teens are taking in as much dietary salt as adults, far exceeding guidelines on healthy limits for daily consumption, new research warns.

The investigation tracked the week-long eating habits of more than 760 black and white high school kids. It found that, on average, teens now ingest a whopping 3,280 milligrams (mg) of sodium (salt) every day.

That amounts to more than double the uppermost recommended level of 1,500 mg of sodium per day set forth by the American Heart Association (AHA). Continue reading

Obese teens eat up fast food hype, study says

Oct. 29, 2013, HealthDay

Obese teens and young adults may be more receptive to TV fast food ads than those who aren’t obese, a new study says.

“Given the concerning rates of obesity in U.S. youth and associated health risks, a better understanding of influences leading to obesity in youth is critical in guiding prevention and public health strategies,” study author Dr. Auden McClure, of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., said in a center news release.

The study included 2,541 participants, aged 15 to 23, from across the United States who viewed a random set of frames from fast food ads with brand names removed.

Participants were then asked if they had seen the ad, if they liked it, and if they could name the brand. Based on their responses, the participants received a score that reflected their receptiveness to the food ads. Those with higher scores were more likely to be obese than those with lower scores, according to the study, published in the November issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Continue reading

Excessive weight gain during pregnancy tied to childhood obesity

Oct. 1, 2013, Medical Xpress

A study of 41,133 mothers and their children in Arkansas has shown that high pregnancy weight gain increases the risk of obesity in those children through age 12. The findings, published Oct. 1 in PLOS Medicine, suggest pregnancy may be an especially important time to prevent obesity in the next generation.

“From the public health perspective, excessive weight gain during pregnancy may have a potentially significant influence on propagation of the obesity epidemic,” says the study’s senior author David S. Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D., and director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Programs to limit pregnancy weight gain could help prevent some cases of childhood obesity. “Pregnancy presents an attractive target for obesity prevention programs, because women tend to be particularly motivated to change behavior during this time,” says Ludwig. Continue reading

Obesity gene tests may not hamper weight-loss efforts

Sept. 6, 2013, U.S. News & World Report

Genetic testing for obesity risk does not discourage people from trying to lose weight —instead, it may help reduce how much they blame themselves for their weight problems, according to a small new study.

Research has shown that genes influence a person’s risk of becoming overweight and one gene, called FTO, appears to have the greatest effect. The “A” variant of the gene is associated with a greater risk of weight gain, while the “T” variant of the gene is associated with a lower risk.

One in two people has at least one copy of the A variant. People with two A variants — one from their mother and one from their father — are 70 percent more likely to become obese than those with two T variants, according to the study authors at University College London (UCL). Continue reading

Simple formula may predict obesity risk at birth

Nov. 29, 2012, HealthDay

Can a child’s risk of becoming obese be predicted at birth?

British researchers report that a simple formula that uses the child’s birth weight, the body mass index of the parents, the number of people in the household, the mother’s professional status, and whether she smoked during pregnancy showed which babies were at most risk. Continue reading