Posts belonging to Category obese youth



From Those in the Know about Childhood Obesity

obesityThis post is about the long-lasting effects of childhood obesity.

The first of two reports is from MedlinePlus,  a service of the U.S. Library of Medicine NIH National Institutes of Health. The second report is from HealthDay News, which recently was posted on Womenshealth.gov., Dept of Health and Human Services.

MedlinePlus Report: As reported by Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV on Childhood Obesity and Adult Hypertension

Being a heavy child may have long lasting impact. In fact, new research suggests it may quadruple your risk for high blood pressure as an adult.

Starting back in 1986, researchers in Indiana began tracking the growth and blood pressure of over 1,100 healthy adolescents. Over the 27 years, they were able to accumulate a vast amount of data. 6% of normal weight children had high blood pressure as adults. While 14% of overweight children developed high blood pressure. But the big news was the 26% of obese children ending up with high blood pressure as adults.

The researchers believe these findings add more evidence that being overweight or obese in childhood is a true public health threat.

Highlights of HealthDay News Report on Childhood Obesity and Adolescent Eating Disorders:

Obese children and teens who lose weight are in danger of developing eating disorders — including anorexia and bulimia.

These problems may not be diagnosed quickly, because parents and doctors “think it’s a good thing that these teens have lost so much weight,” said lead researcher Leslie Sim, an assistant professor of psychology and an eating disorders expert at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center in Rochester, Minn.

“We started to see kids coming into our clinic with severe eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, where you lose a lot of weight and restrict your eating, and these kids actually started out as obese,” she said.

“They lost way too much weight and became preoccupied with their eating,” Sim said. “Every thought and behavior really surrounded eating.”

“We think obese kids are at risk for eating disorders because they are getting a lot of media messages that they are not healthy and that there is something wrong with them and they need to change their ways,” Sim said. “And because they are teens, they do extreme things. Weight loss is not that typical for adolescents,” Sim said. “I think parents should be concerned with any weight loss,” she added.

“When parents see their children losing weight, they should ask about their eating habits and whether they are skipping meals or avoiding friends, as these may be signs of an eating disorder,”  Sim said. “At least 6 percent of teens suffer from eating disorders.”

“The study highlighted many important messages, ” said Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. “Obesity itself is a risk factor for eating disorders. This link is well established for binge-eating disorder, where obesity is potentially both cause and effect.”

“Effective treatment of obesity cannot simply be about weight loss — it must be about the pursuit of health,” Katz said. “An emphasis on healthful behaviors is a tonic against both obesity and eating disorders. By placing an emphasis on diet and activity patterns for health and by focusing on strategies that are family based, we can address risk factors for both eating disorders and obesity.”

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • Print

BulliesTarget Kids with Health Concerns

Sadly, kids with health issues such as allergies and weight problems are often the target of cruel comments, threats and teasing about their conditions.

Two studies looking at kids with food allergies and kids going through weight-loss programs reported:

  • Eyal Shemesh, MD, of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues found that almost 32% of kids with food allergies reported bullying or harassment related to their allergy, often involving threats with food.

  • Rebecca Puhl, PhD, of Yale University, and colleagues reported on a study where 64% of teens at weight-loss camps reported weight-related victimization, not just by schoolmates but often by friends, coaches, teachers, and parents too.

Shemesh’s group analyzed surveys of 251 established food allergy patients, ages 8 to 17, and their parents at a single allergy clinic in the Enhancing, Managing, and Promoting Well-Being and Resiliency program.

Any bullying or harassment of these kids was reported by 45% of them and 36% of their parents, although with poor agreement when related to reasons other than the food allergy.

Being victimized due specifically to food allergies accounted for most of these cases, with 32% of the food allergic kids and about 25% of their parents reporting such bullying.

Almost all the bullies were classmates (80%), and most bullying happened at school (60%).

The most common form was teasing (42%), followed by waving the allergen in front of the child (30%).

Notably, 12% had been forced to touch the food they are allergic to and 10% had food thrown at them.

Bullying was significantly associated with poorer quality of life scores and greater anxiety, which the researchers noted was independent of allergy severity. While most of the bullied kids said they had told someone about what happened, parents knew in only about half of the cases.

To increase disclosure of bullying, “Clinicians might consider asking a screening question about bullying during encounters with children with a food allergy,” Shemesh’s group suggested.

While it’s hard to compare the results with those of other studies, general population rates appear to be 17% to 35%, suggesting that food-allergic kids may be bullied or harassed more than their peers, they pointed out.

kidsPuhl’s study included 361 kids, ages 14 to 18, surveyed online while at two national weight-loss camps.

34% of the respondents were in the normal weight range, while 24% were overweight and 40% were obese.

The large proportion of healthy-weight kids was unexpected, but “program administrators confirmed that a portion of enrollees had experienced significant weight loss and returned to camp for support with weight-loss maintenance.”

The likelihood of weight-based victimization rose with weight, with odds ratios of 8.7 for overweight and 11.7 for obese kids, although those of a normal weight after weight-loss treatment still were at some risk.

The most common form was verbal teasing (75% to 88%), followed by relational victimization (74% to 82%), cyberbullying (59% to 61%), and physical aggression (33% to 61%).

The most sources of bullying were:

  • Peers: 92%
  • Friends: 70%
  • Physical education teachers or sport coaches: 42%
  • Parents: 37%
  • Teachers: 27%

“For those youth who are targets of weight-based victimization at school and at home, healthcare providers may be among their only remaining allies,” researchers reported. “Thus, it can be especially helpful for providers to promote adaptive coping strategies (e.g., positive self-talk, social support, problem-focused coping) during patient visits with youth who are targets of weight-based victimization.”

Both groups of researchers acknowledged the limitation of self-reported data without independent verification or a control group and that their sample populations may not have been representative of the general population.

Source: Pediatrics (online)

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • Print

Parents Underestimate the Calories in Fast Food Meals

At a recent meeting of the Obesity Society Jason Block, MD, of Harvard Medical School and fellow researchers reported that parents often underestimate the calories their school-age kids are consuming when they eat large meals at fast food restaurants.

caloriesAccording to the study, the average meal purchased  in four New England cities contained 733 calories, and 21% contained more than 1,000 calories, But the parents estimated an average of only 562 calories per meal, with 72% underestimating the actual content. “There was an association between larger meals and larger underestimations, which may hold some promise for menu labeling,” Dr. Block said. He noted that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that restaurants with 20 or more locations nationwide post calorie information on their menus.

The researchers found that only 15% of parents saw nutritional information in the restaurants and fewer still (4%) used that information when ordering. “So they may not use it even if it’s more accessible,” Block stated.

Last year at the society’s annual meeting, Dr Block reported that 80% of adolescents in Boston, Springfield, Mass., Providence, R.I., and Hartford, Conn., underestimated the amount of calories their fast food meals contained and 86% did not notice any nutritional information in the restaurants.

In the current study, Block and his colleagues visited 10 restaurants in each of the four cities… three McDonald’s, three Burger King, two Subway, one KFC, and one Wendy’s. Each restaurant was visited six times at dinnertime.

Those participating in the study included parents or legal guardians of children and teens, ages 3 to 15 (mean age 7.9). The analysis included 330 families, representing 45% of those who were approached.

Most of the children (57%) were overweight or obese. The sample was ethnically diverse — 33% black, 30% Hispanic, 19% white, 3% Asian, and 15% other or multiracial.

The researchers collected receipts when the parents left the restaurants and administered a short survey about the calorie content of the meal and awareness and use of the nutritional information. The actual calorie content of the meals was calculated using the receipts and information on the restaurants’ websites.

Many of the parents purchased large meals for their children and most underestimated the calorie content. Nearly one-quarter (24%) underestimated the calorie count by at least 500.

Those who underestimated the daily requirement tended to also underestimate the calories in a meal, a finding that “supports an anchoring statement on menus,” Block said. The federal regulations require that, in addition to calorie information, menus must include an anchoring statement describing the typical daily calorie requirement.

The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars Seed Grant.

Source: The Obesity Society

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • Print