Hungry or not, kids will eat treats

Oct. 21, 2014, Medical Xpress

Even though they are not hungry, children as young as age 3 find high-energy treats too tempting to refuse, according to new research from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

In a study of 3- and 4-year-olds, 100 percent of children opted for a sweet or savory snack despite eating a filling healthy lunch only 15 minutes prior. Continue reading

NCI releases new Dietary Assessment Primer

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) part of the National Institutes of Health, a funder of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR), is pleased to announce the availability of a web-based Dietary Assessment Primer. Various types of self-report instruments have been developed to assess dietary intake. Each has distinct features and strengths. The Dietary Assessment Primer: Continue reading

Johns Hopkins GOPC explores social networks

The Johns Hopkins Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) hosted a symposium titled “The Social Network: a Systems Approach to #Childhood Obesity,” on Wednesday, Oct. 22. Guest speakers and leaders in the field guided the audience throughout the day, going from theory and principles to real-world applications. Continue reading

More physical activity improved school performance

Oct. 14, 2014, Medical Xpress

Just two hours of extra physical activity each week can improve school performance. This has been shown by a study of approximately 2,000 12-year-olds carried out by scientists at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg [in Sweden].

Researchers Lina Bunketorp Käll, Michael Nilsson, and Thomas Linden at the Centre for Brain Repair and Rehabilitation at the Sahlgrenska Academy, tested the hypothesis that increased physical activity stimulates learning and improves school performance. Continue reading

Same genes linked to rapid infant growth, later weight gains

Oct. 21, 2014, HealthDay

By Steven Reinberg

Infants who quickly add weight and length may be showing a genetic propensity for obesity as toddlers, a new study suggests.

In adults, certain genes have been linked to increased body fat, but the same genes in infants promote proportionate gains in fat and lean muscle, the researchers said. Continue reading

With extra weight, kids’ hearts change shape

Oct. 17, 2014, Reuters

By Kathryn Doyle

There are noticeable differences in the shape and function of hearts among obese and normal-weight adolescents, researchers say.

“We do not know if (these changes) are clinically meaningful or necessarily dangerous,” said Dr. Norman Mangner of the University of Leipzig Heart Center in Germany. “This is a cross-sectional study and, therefore, we cannot answer this question.” Continue reading

USDA awards funding for regional centers of excellence in nutrition education and obesity prevention

Oct. 17, 2014, U.S. Department of Agriculture

On Oct. 17 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded $4 million in grants to establish four regional centers of excellence for research on nutrition education and obesity prevention, as well as a coordinating center, which will develop and test innovative nutrition education and obesity prevention interventions for underserved, low-income families.

“Nearly one in three children today is overweight or obese, and nutrition promotion strategies, including education, public policies, health systems, and environmental changes, are the key to reversing this trend,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, Ph.D., National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) director. “These grants provide the opportunity to improve the health of our next generation and ensure that all children have access to the tools they need to improve their nutrition and physical fitness.” Continue reading

Chef-made meals can increase participation school lunch program, raise vegetable consumption

Sept. 30, 2014, News Medical

Gourmet pizza in school? According to a new Food and Brand Lab pilot study, published in Appetite, chef-made meals can increase participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) by 9 percent and overall selection and consumption of vegetables by 16 percent.

Chefs Move to Schools (CMTS), an initiative of [first lady] Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, pairs chefs with schools in order to provide nutrition instruction to students and culinary advice to interested school food service workers.

At a recent CMTS event at an Upstate New York high school (of 370 students), researchers David Just and Brian Wansink (co-directors of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab) and Andrew Hanks [also of the Cornell lab], collected and analyzed school lunch sales and tray waste data before and after the event to determine its impact on student’s food selection and consumption. Continue reading

Obesity rates reach historic highs in more U.S. states

Sept. 4, 2014, Reuters

Rates of adult obesity increased in six U.S. states and fell in none last year, and in more states than ever— 20— at least 30 percent of adults are obese, according to an analysis released on Sept. 4.

The conclusions were reported by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and were based on federal government data. They suggest the problem may be worsening despite widespread publicity about the nation’s obesity epidemic, from first lady Michelle Obama and many others, plus countless programs to address it.

From 2011 to 2012, by comparison, the rate of obesity increased in only one state.

The 2013 adult obesity rate exceeds 20 percent in every state, while 42 have rates above 25 percent. For the first time two states, Mississippi and West Virginia, rose above 35 percent. The year before, 13 states were above 30 percent and 41 had rates of at least 25 percent. Continue reading

Put the physical in education

Sept. 4, 2014, The New York Times [Well Blog]

By Gretchen Reynolds

When confronted with an overly active child, many exasperated teachers and parents respond the same way: “Sit still!” It might be more effective, though, to encourage the child to run. Recent research suggests that even small amounts of exercise enable children to improve their focus and academic performance.

By now it’s well known that diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are increasingly widespread among American children: The label has been applied to about 11 percent of those between the ages of 4 and 17, according to the latest federal statistics. Interestingly, past studies have shown a strong correlation between greater aerobic fitness and attentiveness. But these studies did not answer the question of which comes first, the fitness or the attentional control. Continue reading