Physical activity plays an important role in the fight against childhood obesity. Developing, testing, and evaluating individual and environmental interventions and policies designed to increase youth physical activity would be enhanced if there were a comparable metric for physical activity applicable to youth. Several approaches have been used to express energy expenditure in youth, but no consensus exists as to which best normalizes data for the wide range of ages and body sizes across a range of physical activities.
With up to 50 percent of students’ daily energy intake occurring in the school building, schools are often the focus of targeted efforts to combat childhood obesity. Recent evidence has shown that although school-based nutrition education programs may contribute to healthier eating habits, these programs are not consistently effective on their own.
In response, an exciting area of research is emerging with a focus on the physical design of school building features, such as cafeterias, teaching gardens, or access to drinking water, and the impact it can have on healthy eating behaviors and attitudes. As this body of research expands, however, little work has been done to quantify, categorize, and analyze it.
Nearly 70 percent of obesity researchers reported using social media for professional purposes in 2014 compared to 42 percent in 2012, according to a 2014 survey conducted by the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR). The most common types of social media included LinkedIn (61 percent), Research Gate (51 percent), Facebook (28 percent), and Twitter (24 percent). Groups like the London School of Economics Public Policy Group encourage researchers to weave social media into dissemination efforts of their findings.
These are some of the reasons why researchers are using social media.
Public policy can play a major role in impacting childhood obesity, yet little is known about the role of nutrition and obesity policy research in informing public policy decisions.
A supplement published in the April issue of Preventing Chronic Disease includes an essay and three articles examining the role of nutrition and obesity policy research and evaluation. The supplement was organized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (NOPREN).
Periodically, the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) will share examples of how members’ research is being applied for a variety of impacts. Today, our focus is on several U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) initiatives at the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Here are three brief examples.
Once obesity develops it is likely to persist. Given this understanding, there has been an increasing focus on preventing obesity in infancy and early childhood. Research to develop and implement effective prevention and intervention strategies in the first two years after birth has been limited.
In fall 2013, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases convened a multidisciplinary workshop to summarize the current state of knowledge regarding the prevention of infant and early childhood obesity and to identify research gaps and opportunities. A workshop summary was recently published in the March 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics. A related funding opportunity announcement was also released.
NCCOR’s Connect & Explore Webinar on Feb. 23 provided the first public forum to connect with authors from the recently released Lancet Series on Obesity.
The series discusses reasons for scarce progress; reviews regulatory, non-regulatory, and quasi-regulatory actions; identifies high-priority actions; challenges entrenched dichotomies; and proposes a reframing of obesity. Each paper in the six-part series challenges the current, rather simplistic “either or” obesity solutions; generates new perspectives; and highlights examples to spur policy makers to take action. Continue reading
By visualizing the quality of the American diet and exploring findings from the Healthy-Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010), researchers and the public can both benefit, according to a new white paper.
“Visualizing Diet Quality at Multiple Levels of the Food Stream” uses HEI-2010 – a scoring metric developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) – to assess diet quality in relation to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). It is the latest installment in a series of communication products developed by the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research in conjunction with NCI.
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
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