Kids eat more healthful foods during longer, quieter school lunch

Nov. 27, 2014, The Washington Post

It’s hard to get kids to eat healthful foods, especially at school. But a new study suggests that, by changing the lunch environment, schools can encourage kids to make better choices without even changing their menus.

This study, conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, found that students buying school lunches select a fruit or vegetable only about half the time, and even then most don’t eat even a single bite. Continue reading

Report: Global obesity costs hit $2 trillion

Nov. 20, 2014, Yahoo! News

By Danica Kirka, Associated Press

The global cost of obesity has risen to $2 trillion annually — nearly as much as smoking or the combined impact of armed violence, war, and terrorism, according to a new report released Nov. 20.

The McKinsey Global Institute consulting firm’s report focused on the economics of obesity, putting it among the top three social programs generated by human beings. It puts its impact at 2.8 percent of global gross domestic product. Continue reading

Marketers of sugary drinks still target U.S. children

Nov. 19, 2014, Reuters

By Anjali Athavaley

U.S. children and teens are seeing fewer TV commercials for sugary drinks, but they remain a prime target for marketers through product placement, social media, and other means, according to a report released on Nov. 19.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, said 6- to 11-year-olds viewed 39 percent fewer television ads for sugary drinks in 2013 than in 2010. Teens saw a 30 percent drop. Continue reading

Kids obese at young age often stay that way

Nov. 10, 2014, HealthDay

By Maureen Salamon

The vast majority of children who are obese at age 11 are still far too heavy at age 16, new research suggests.

Tracking nearly 4,000 children in three U.S. metropolitan areas over five years, researchers found that 83 percent of obese 10th graders had also been obese in fifth grade. Only 12 percent of kids who were obese in fifth grade transitioned to a normal weight over the following half-decade, according to the study. Continue reading

Kids born to overweight moms may face higher heart risks as adults

Nov. 20, 2014, HealthDay

By Dennis Thompson

Overweight or obese women who get pregnant are much more likely to have a child who suffers from heart disease as an adult, new research suggests.

But it looks like environment may play a greater role than genetics in that trend, the researchers added. Continue reading

Fun and games help toddlers make healthy choices

Nov. 19, 2014, Science World Report

By Kathleen Lees

The last concern on children’s minds is eating healthy. Yet adding a little fun and games to the equation can make a dramatic difference when it comes to eating right.

Recent findings published in the journal Appetite found that some fun fruit and vegetable games were enough to encourage toddlers to try out some healthy choices. Continue reading

Food rules for toddlers may lead to healthy eating habits

Nov. 11, 2014, HealthDay

Children have healthier diets when their parents place restrictions on what they can eat and train them to control their impulses, a new study suggests.

The University at Buffalo researchers analyzed data from almost 9,000 American children whose self-regulation was assessed at age 2. The children’s diets and parental food rules were then checked at age 4. Continue reading

Few schools adhered to USDA nutrition standards before 2013

Nov. 17, 2014, Reuters

By Kathryn Doyle

Before the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) set strict standards for nutrition for federally reimbursable lunch programs, less than 2 percent of middle or high schools would have measured up.

The absence of certain standards was associated with youth obesity, according to a new study. Full implementation of the program, which should be happening now, may have a notable impact on adolescent health, though this study did not address implementation of the program, the authors write. Continue reading

Revised food labels still won’t tell whole story

Oct. 26, 2014, The New York Times [Well Blog]

By Jane E. Brody

Are you among the half of Americans who say they check the nutrition labels on packaged foods when shopping? If you can read the information without a magnifying glass, do you understand what the many numbers mean to your health?

Do you look only at calories, or do you also check the amounts of sugar, sodium, protein, or dietary fiber in a serving? And does the serving size listed represent how much you might actually consume at a sitting? Continue reading