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

Family meals could protect teens from obesity in adulthood

Oct. 4, 2014, Science World Report

By Catherine Griffin

A simple, family meal each day may reduce the risk of obesity in teens. Scientists have found that family meals during adolescence were protective for overweight and obesity in adulthood.

In order to see whether family meals played a role in obesity reduction, the scientists used data from a 10-year longitudinal study. They examined weight-related variables, such as dietary intake, physical activity, and weight control behaviors among adolescents. Then the scientists asked questions to assess family meal frequency and body mass index.

About 51 percent of the subjects were overweight while 22 percent were obese. More surprising though was the rate seen among adolescents who never ate family meals together; 60 percent were overweight and 29 percent were obese at a 10-year follow-up. There was also a stronger positive effect when it came to family meal frequency among black young adults compared with white young adults. Continue reading

Inadequate sleep predicts risk of heart disease, diabetes in obese adolescents

March 6, 2014, Medical Xpress

Obese adolescents not getting enough sleep? A study in [the March 6 edition] the Journal of Pediatrics, shows they could be increasing their risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Lack of sleep and obesity have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in adults and young children.

However, the association is not as clear in adolescents, an age group known for lack of adequate sleep, and with an obesity and overweight prevalence of 30 percent in the United States. 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

Obese kids at four-times risk of high blood pressure

Sept. 12, 2013, Everyday Health

By Amir Khan

Childhood obesity can lead to a host of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, and the risk may be worse than previously thought, according to preliminary new research being presented at the American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions meeting. Researchers found that obese children are at a four-time higher risk of developing high blood pressure in adulthood compared to non-obese children – a finding that further underscores the danger of the growing epidemic of childhood obesity.

Researchers tracked 1,117 healthy adolescents for 27 years, beginning in 1986, and found that 16 percent were overweight, with another 16 percent obese. As adults, 26 percent of the obese children developed high blood pressure, compared to 14 percent of overweight children and 6 percent of normal weight children. 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