April 23, 2013,
The Wall Street Journal
While most parents have to compete with the videogame console to ensure their kids get enough exercise, new, groundbreaking research published in the scientific journal, Obesity, makes an argument for a certain kind of video game: active videogames, also known as exergames. These games are a form of exercise and rely on technology to track the body’s movement and reaction.
“Faced with a pediatric obesity crisis, our nation urgently needs sustainable physical activities that promote healthy weight in youth,” said study author Amanda Staiano, Ph.D., of Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. “In the past, light-to-moderate energy expenditure has been documented during exergame play; however, this is the first study to demonstrate weight loss among teenagers as a result.” Continue reading
April 4, 2013,
The Huffington Post
This article was co-authored by former Secretaries Dan Glickman and Ann M. Veneman.
In an effort to help Americans make more informed food choices, the Affordable Care Act created a national menu labeling standard for food establishments with 20 or more locations. Recently, several types of establishments that serve food — for example, movie theaters and supermarkets — have sought exemption from calorie labeling requirements. Such exemptions would create a patchwork system that will prevent Americans from knowing the caloric content of far too much of the food they purchase and consume.
As a nation facing rising rates of obesity and related chronic diseases that cost our health care system hundreds of billions each year, we know we need to make prevention a primary focus. Healthy eating and active living, as recommended by the federal 2010 Dietary Guidelines and the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, are critical health behaviors that can prevent many chronic diseases. But changing individual behavior is only possible when supported by an environment that helps make the healthy choice the easy choice. Continue reading
April 22, 2013,
CNN Health [The Chart Blog]
While growing up, many children may have heard “clean your plate” or been denied candy. But how do parental attitudes toward food affect a child’s weight?
Denying certain foods to children or pressuring them to eat every bit of a meal are common practices among many parents. But researchers at the University of Minnesota found parents who restricted foods were more likely to have overweight or obese children. And while those who pressured children to eat all of their meals mostly had children of normal weight, it adversely affected the way those children ate as they grew older, according to the study published April 22 in the journal Pediatrics. Continue reading
April 15, 2013,
In 2000, about 1,000 children aged 6-14 from southeast Sweden participated in an international study on physical activity, body constitution, and physical self-perception.
The new study is a follow-up study on a sample of the 12-year-olds in the original study. The researchers followed and reassessed the group at ages 15, 17, and 22. As in the first study, they measured physical activity using a pedometer.
The results indicate a reduction in total daily physical activity from the early teenage years to early adulthood. The boys show a dramatic drop between the ages of 12 and 15. Girls are on average more active than boys at both ages 17 and 22. Continue reading
April 10, 2013,
The New York Times
By Nicholas Bakalar
A new study suggests that adolescent obesity could be decreased if teenagers got more sleep, and the heaviest would benefit most.
For a study published last week in Pediatrics, researchers surveyed 1,429 ninth-graders, gathering data on height and weight. The children reported their sleep habits on weekdays and weekends to the nearest 15 minutes. The researchers followed the students with interviews every six months over the next four years, updating their data. Continue reading
April 2, 2013,
NPR [The Salt Blog]
By Kevin Charles Redmond
Gone are the days of serving up tater tots and French toast sticks to students. Here are the days of carrot sticks and quinoa.
New nutritional guidelines announced in 2012 require public school lunchrooms to offer more whole grains, low-fat milk, and fewer starchy sides like french fries. But short of stationing grandmothers in every cafeteria, how do you ensure that students actually eat the fruits and veggies they’re being offered?
A minor lunchroom makeover could make a big difference, says Andrew Hanks, a behavioral economist at Cornell University. Continue reading