Obesity’s death toll may be much higher than thought

Aug. 15, 2013, HealthDay

By Dennis Thompson

Researchers have vastly underestimated the number of deaths caused by obesity in the United States, a new report reveals.

Obesity accounts for 18 percent of deaths among black and white Americans between the ages of 40 and 85, according to a study published online Aug. 15 in the American Journal of Public Health. Previous estimates had placed obesity-related deaths at only 5 percent of all U.S. mortalities.

“This was more than a tripling of the previous estimate,” said study author Ryan Masters, who conducted the research as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation scholar at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, in New York City. “Obesity has dramatically worse health consequences than some recent reports have led us to believe.” Continue reading

NIH workshop explores ways to prevent obesity in infancy and early childhood

Intervening to prevent the development of overweight and obesity as early as possible has the potential to improve health and reduce the health care costs associated with obesity-related diseases now and in the future. Little is known, however, regarding effective interventions for obesity prevention that might be implemented during infancy and early childhood.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Workshop on the Prevention of Obesity in Infancy and Early Childhood will bring together scientists with expertise in pediatric obesity, epidemiology, developmental psychology, developmental and behavioral pediatrics, nutrition, physical activity, sleep, temperament, and parenting to determine: (1) what is known regarding risk for excess weight gain in infancy and early childhood, (2) what is known regarding interventions that are promising or have been shown to be efficacious, and (3) challenges and opportunities in implementing and evaluating behavioral interventions in parents and other caregivers and their young children. Continue reading

Elevated blood pressure increasing among children

July 15, 2013, Los Angeles Times

By Monte Morin

The risk of elevated blood pressure among children and teens has risen 27 percent over a 13-year period, and is probably caused by over-consumption of salt and rising obesity, according to a new study.

In a paper published July 14 in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association (AHA), researchers examined health and nutrition data for more than 11,600 children ages 8 to 17. Continue reading

Focus on health, not fat, in food talks with kids

June 24, 2013, HealthDay

By Denise Mann

There’s a right way and a wrong way to persuade your adolescent to eat healthy and help avoid obesity, a new study suggests.

Pointedly connecting food with fatness or talking about needed weight loss is the wrong way and could even encourage unhealthy eating habits, researchers report.

Instead, discussions that focus on simply eating healthfully are less likely to send kids down this road, a new study shows.

“A lot of parents are aware of the obesity problem in the United States — it’s everywhere you turn — but they wonder how to talk about it with their children,” said study lead author Dr. Jerica Berge of the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis. Continue reading

Outdoor food ads may persuade you to pile on the pounds

Jan. 29, 2013, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

“Living in a neighborhood that’s home to lots of outdoor food advertising may increase your chances of becoming overweight or obese,” said Lenard Lesser, MD, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholar (2009-2011). His new study is the latest work to reveal yet another link between the built environment and health.

“Determining why people eat certain foods and how they are influenced is a very complex process,” Lesser said. To test his hypothesis about the relationship between weight and outdoor advertising, Lesser and his team analyzed a telephone survey of adults, ages 18 to 98, from parts of California (Los Angeles near Drew University) and Louisiana (New Orleans near Tulane University). Continue reading

Childhood obesity may boost risk of multiple sclerosis

Jan 30, 2013, MyHealthNewsDaily

By Rachael Rettner

Very obese children and teens may be at risk for multiple sclerosis, a new study suggests.

In the study, very obese girls (those who had a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher) were nearly four times more likely to be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) within the study period, compared with girls who were normal weight. The link was strongest among teenagers.

No link between obesity and multiple sclerosis was found for girls in other weight classes, or for boys. Continue reading

CDC infographic explores impact of eating away from home, obesity

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new infographic on Jan. 22 to coincide with the time when many Americans have returned to their busy schedules and are challenged to stick to New Year’s resolutions.

Go Light When You Have A Bite, shown below, outlines how Americans have shifted their Continue reading

Shifting the obesity paradigm in young children to guidelines for healthy growth

On Sept. 22, at a symposium on dietary guidelines for infants and young children, Jose Saavedra, vice president of medical and scientific affairs at Nestlé Nutrition and associate professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, discussed shifting the obesity paradigm among infants and young children from dietary guidelines to healthy growth options directed to both parents and children. Continue reading

Soda, other sugary drinks more firmly tied to obesity in new studies

Sept. 21, 2012, Huffington Post

By Marilynn Marchione

New research powerfully strengthens the case against soda and other sugary drinks as culprits in the obesity epidemic.

A huge, decades-long study involving more than 33,000 Americans has yielded the first clear proof that drinking sugary beverages interacts with genes that affect weight, amplifying a person’s risk of obesity beyond what it would be from heredity alone. Continue reading

Antibiotics too soon may set babies up for obesity: Study

Aug. 21, 2012, ABC News

By Dr. Shari Barnett

Giving your baby antibiotics too early may increase their chances of being overweight in childhood, new research suggests.

Specifically, infants exposed to antibiotics during the first six months of their lives are 22 percent more likely to be overweight between the ages of 10 months and 3 years — though their weight tends to return to average by the time they are 7 — according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity on Aug. 21. Continue reading