Life expectancy has fallen in hundreds of US counties

Children's Health, Obesity, Parenting
In my 2005 book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I published this the then shocking statement, "If we don’t get a handle on (childhood obesity), this generation of kids coming up will have a shorter life span than their parents. That’s scandalous!” Now, we're seeing some data indicating this unfortunate prediction may indeed be happening. (more…)
Read More

Insufficient, irregular sleep associated with childhood obesity

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Obesity, Parenting
In my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I made the then startling claim that childhood obesity was associated with a lack of sleep. And, in a clinical study, we showed that families who make wise nutrition choices, activity choices, AND increase the amount of sleep children get, can prevent or treat childhood obesity. Since the publication of the book, study after study (many reviewed in this blog) have demonstrated the association between poor sleep or inadequate sleep and childhood obesity. Now, a new study suggests that sleeping in on the weekend may help children fight obesity. Here are some details from HealthDay News: Too little sleep puts kids at risk of obesity and other health conditions, but "catch-up" sleep on weekends and holidays can mitigate…
Read More

First Lady, Wal-Mart to fight childhood obesity

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
Here's a shout out to Mrs. Obama. News reports say that the First Lady and Wal-Mart have forged an agreement geared at preventing childhood obesity. Media sources generally characterized the move as a victory for Mrs. Obama's signature campaign and I would agree. ABC World News reported, First Lady Michelle Obama "announced that Wal-Mart, which sells more groceries than any market in America, is going to change what's on its shelves." On the CBS Evening News the First Lady was shown saying, "I am thrilled about Wal-Mart's new nutrition charter." NBC Nightly News said that Mrs. Obama "has announced she's working with the nation's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, which promised today to cut prices on fresh fruits and vegetables and to reduce fats, sugars, salt, eliminate transfats in some of its…
Read More

Fast-food restaurants target U.S. kids, study shows

Children's Health, Obesity, Parenting
Fast-food restaurants are stepping up efforts to market themselves and unhealthy food products to children and toddlers with television ads, websites, and even their own menus, researchers have found. They're saying efforts by the industry to regulate itself have failed and are urging government officials at all levels to declare children a protected group and stop marketing efforts that are fueling child obesity, a serious U.S. health problem. Here are more details from Reuters Health: "What we found in the marketing data is a staggering amount of fast-food advertising that starts when children are as young as 2 years old," Jennifer Harris, of the Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity in Connecticut, told a telephone briefing. Harris and colleagues spent a year studying 12 big fast-food chains, analyzed…
Read More

Overweight Children Are Affected More By Stress

Children's Health, Obesity, Parenting
American kids are really stressed out — not least of all overweight and obese kids, according to a new survey from the American Psychological Association. The report found that children who are overweight or obese feel particularly stressed, more so than their normal-weighted peers. And such stress has a lasting impact on other lifestyle behaviors that negatively affect overweight kids' health. Below I have some of the details from a report in Time. If, however, your kids are overweight or obese, you may want to pick up a copy of my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat. The book is currently on sale in HARDCOVER for $4.99 here (save $18) and in SOFTCOVER for $1.99 here (save $11). The book is chock-full of ways you,…
Read More

Adolescent obesity associated with risk of severe obesity in adulthood

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
Like many physicians who care for children and teens, I'm acutely aware of and concerned about the epidemic, the tsunami, of childhood overweight and obesity. Because of that, I headed a research project at Florida Hospital in Orlando, Florida, that resulted in the book SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat. The book is currently on sale in HARDCOVER for $4.99 here (save $18) and in SOFTCOVER for $1.99 here (save $11). If you have children or teens who are overweight, NOW is the time to make some changes. And, my book has an 8-week plan your family can put into action to start the New Year. The reason to do so is that to NOT act is to doom your kids to a shorter life…
Read More

Letter from Professor about the Family Physician Academy and Coke

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Obesity, Parenting
In a past blog of mine (Partnership Between Family Physicians and Coca-Cola Poses Ethical Problem) I wrote, "What does my national academy of family physicians, the AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians), and Coca-Cola have in common? The common sense answer should be, 'Nothing.' The actual answer is, '$500,000.' Ouch!" Now, the family medicine professor I featured in the previous blog has written the following to me. I'd be interested in your take, dear reader, on this issue: Dear Walt, Partnership Between Family Physicians and Coca-Cola Poses Ethical Problem As a fellow family physician, I am sure you know about the AAFP's decision to accept money from Coca Cola to develop "health education materials" regarding beverages, hydration and sweeteners on familydoctor.org. True to their word, they have done this. What…
Read More

Should some kids take fish oil supplements?

Children's Health, Heart Health, Obesity, Parenting
This last April I blogged on the topic, "Should Kids take Fish Oil Supplements?" and concluded, "... most kids don’t need fish oil supplements." However, for overweight teens with high blood pressure, there may be a different story. Should Kids take Fish Oil Supplements? Reuters Health is reporting that fish oil supplements could lower blood pressure in slightly overweight teenage kids. A new study is suggesting that their hearts may reap the benefits years later. "Starting with a healthy diet and keeping it throughout life may provide better protection than waiting until later when you are more at risk," senior researcher Dr. Lotte Lauritzen of Copenhagen University in Denmark noted in an email to Reuters Health. Fish oil has been shown to help lower blood pressure in adults with high…
Read More

Horror Show = Movie Popcorn = 3 Burgers + 12 Pats of Butter

Nutritional Health
According to a report from Fox News, "The food at movie theaters is scarier than 'Nightmare on Elm Street,' a frightening new study reveals." The double-features of artery-clogging tubs of fatty-fried popcorn and sugary, super-sized drinks — not to mention high-calorie candy — is nothing short of a health hazard, according to a study from the Center for Science in the Public Interest called, "‘Two Thumbs Down’ for Movie Theater Popcorn." The CSPI sent food from three national theater chains to a lab and found they may have to soon start installing extra-wide seats. The worst offender, the study found, was Regal Cinemas, where a medium popcorn contains 1,200 calories oozing with coconut oil and saturated fat. The lab calorie counts were higher than claimed by Regal. The company said…
Read More

Partnership Between Family Physicians and Coca-Cola Poses Ethical Problem

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
What does my national academy of family physicians, the AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians) and Coca-Cola have in common? The common sense answer should be, "Nothing." The actual answer is, "$500,000." Ouch! Here's the story and an opinion about this type of relationship from a family physician that was posted on the ABC News web site: The American Academy of Family Physicians announced this month that it has received a $500,000 donation from Coca-Cola as part of their Consumer Alliance Program. In theory, this program seeks "to develop robust new programs and educational materials" to help patients and health care providers make "better choices ... to achieve a healthy lifestyle." According to its Consumer Alliance Web site, the Academy recognizes the "significant influence" that corporations have over consumer choices…
Read More

Kids’ cereals: 85% more sugar, 65% less fiber than adults’

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Obesity, Parenting
USA TODAY A new study confirms what savvy consumers have long suspected: Most breakfast cereals advertised to kids are chockfull of sugar and low on fiber. In fact, cereals marketed to kids have 85% more sugar, 65% less fiber and 60% more sodium than those aimed at adults, according to the report from Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. SURVEY: Fiber-rich cereals that finally meet taste test PARENTS: Help kids maintain a healthy diet without a hefty cost Researchers analyzed the content of popular cereals using a nutrient profiling system and reviewed data on how cereals are marketed to kids. Findings released over the weekend: •The least nutritious cereals are often the most heavily marketed to children. Among them: Reese's Puffs, Corn Pops, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast…
Read More

Doctors can help parents help their overweight kids lose weight

Children's Health, Marriage and Family Health, Nutritional Health, Obesity, Parenting
Many parents don't have enough self-confidence to implement and enforce changes in their child's behavior that will reduce the child's risk of obesity, researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston have found. However, the researchers also found that having the child's doctor or nurse inquire about the parents' confidence level can actually help to increase it. So, if your child is overweight or obese, what can you and your doctor do? More Information: (more…)
Read More

Your child’s lack of sleep is linked to their risk of obesity

Children's Health, Health Headlines, Nutritional Health, Parenting
When I published in my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, and on my SuperSized Kids Website, it shocked many parents to learn that helping their kids consistently get a good night's sleep helps protect children from becoming obese. Now, a new study, published Monday, confirms what I have said and other studies have shown. More Information: (more…)
Read More