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

Study: Physical activity does not help burn abdominal fat in teens

Jan. 10, 2014, University Herald

By Stephen Adkins

It is a known fact that eating junk food causes bulging waistlines in adolescents. But a study by the UPV/EHU University of the Basque Country has found that abdominal fat cannot be reduced even if they engage in more physical activity.

Researchers said that the only way to fight obesity is through a combination of diet with lower fat content and lots of exercise.

“Until now it was thought even with an unbalanced diet, you somehow compensated for it if you got plenty of physical exercise,” researcher Dr. Idoia Labayen said in a press release. “Adolescents are a risk group as far as lifestyles are concerned because they are starting to take their own decisions about what they want and do not want to eat, and they are also going through a period in which many of them have stopped doing any sport.” Continue reading

Obesity may disturb bone growth during teen years

Dec. 18, 2013, Reuters

By Shereen Jegtvig

Obese teens might not develop sufficient bone mass relative to their body weight, according to a new study from Brazil.

Both body fat and lean body mass have an impact on bone growth, but it’s not clear if the bones of the heaviest teens are strong enough for their weight and that could have long- and short-term consequences.

Bone mineral acquisition “rises exponentially in both genders” during the growth spurt following puberty, the researchers write in the journal Nutrition.

Previous studies examining whether obesity interferes with bone development have shown conflicting results — some indicate bone density is fine when compared just to the adolescent’s lean mass (muscle).

But others have suggested bone density doesn’t increase enough during this important period to support the heavier weight of obese teens, potentially putting them at increased risk for bone fractures. Continue reading

Report: California teens drinking more sugary drinks

Oct. 18, 2013, HealthDay

Although younger children in California are drinking less soda and other sugary beverages, teens in the state are actually drinking more, according to a report released Oct. 17.

The research from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA) involved more than 40,000 households and revealed an 8 percent surge in sugary drink consumption among young people age 12 to 17. Particularly large increases were seen among black, Latino, and Asian teens.

“California has made real progress in reducing the consumption of sugary beverages among young children,” Dr. Susan Babey, of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, said in a center news release. “But teens are in trouble. Soda or sports drinks should be an occasional treat, not a daily habit. If this trend isn’t reversed there may be costly consequences for teens, their families, and the health care system in the form of increased obesity and diabetes.” Continue reading

Five regular meals a day reduce obesity risk among adolescents

Oct. 3, 2013, Science News

A regular eating pattern may protect adolescents from obesity, according to a Finnish population based study with more than 4,000 participants. When eating five meals — breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks — a day, even those with a genetic predisposition to obesity had no higher body mass index (BMI) than their controls.

The collection of the data on the study population began prenatally, and the participants were followed up until the age 16. The aim was to identify early-life risk factors associated with obesity; to investigate the association between meal frequencies, obesity, and metabolic syndrome; and to examine whether meal frequency could modulate the effect of common genetic variants linked to obesity. The genetic data comprised eight single nucleotide polymorphisms at or near eight obesity-susceptibility loci. Continue reading

Teens who beat obesity at risk for eating disorders

Sept. 9, 2013, USA Today

By Michelle Healy

Teens who were once overweight or obese are at a significant risk of developing an eating disorder as they lose weight, but identification and treatment of the condition is often delayed because of their weight history, researchers say.

“For some reason we are just not thinking that these kids are at risk. We say, ‘Oh boy, you need to lose weight, and that’s hard for you because you’re obese,’ “ says Leslie Sim, clinical director of the eating disorders program at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and lead author of a case study report in October’s Pediatrics, published online today.

In the report, Sim and colleagues review two cases in which teens with a history of obesity developed severe, restrictive eating patterns in the process of losing weight. But indications of an eating disorder went unidentified and untreated by medical providers for as long as two years despite regular check-ups. Continue reading

Many kids missing out on healthy lifestyle

June 25, 2013, HealthDay

Only half of American youths get the recommended amount of exercise and less than one-third eat the suggested amount of fruits and vegetables each day, according to a federal government study.

Researchers surveyed nearly 10,000 students aged 11 to 16 in 39 states, and found that only half were physically active five or more days a week and fewer than one in three ate fruits and vegetables daily.

“The students showed a surprising variability in eating patterns,” study author Ronald Iannotti, of the prevention research branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said in an institute news release. “But most — about 74 percent — did not have a healthy pattern.” Continue reading