Can’t be said more succinctly
Obesity frequently becomes a lifelong issue. Take it seriously
At least five per cent of American children are ‘severely obese,’ and the number is growing according to the American Heart Association. The risk only rises as they grow older.
The problem of childhood obesity in the United States has grown considerably in recent years. Between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents are obese. Obesity is among the easiest medical conditions to recognize but most difficult to treat.
What is obesity?
Children over age 2 are severely obese if their BMI is at least 20 per cent higher than the 95th percentile for their gender and age, according to the AHA. Broken down further, a child in the 95th percentile weighs more than 95 per cent of his or her peers.
What causes obesity?
Obesity occurs when a person eats more calories than the body burns up.
If one parent is obese, there is a 50 percent chance that their children will also be obese. However, when both parents are obese, their children have an 80 percent chance of being obese.
Less than 1 percent of all obesity is caused by physical problems.
Obesity in childhood and adolescence can be related to:
· poor eating habits
· overeating or binging
· lack of exercise (i.e., couch potato kids)
· family history of obesity
· medical illnesses (endocrine, neurological problems)
· medications (steroids, some psychiatric medications)
· family and peer problems
· low self-esteem
· depression or other emotional problems
What are risks and complications of obesity?
· increased risk of heart disease
· high blood pressure
· breathing problems
Child and adolescent obesity is also associated with increased risk of emotional problems. Teens with weight problems tend to have much lower self-esteem and be less popular with their peers. Depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder can also occur.
Among the more troubling health concerns are cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type two diabetes – which used to be referred to as ‘adult onset diabetes’- and artherosclerosis, a disease that clogs arteries, the AHA said.
But the trouble doesn’t end there. Teens who were once overweight or obese are at a significant risk of developing an eating disorder as they lose weight. CDC figures that 55% of high school girls and 30% of boys report “disordered eating symptoms” to lose weight, such as diet pills, vomiting, laxatives, fasting and binge-eating.
Ways to manage obesity in children and adolescents include:
· start a weight-management program
· change eating habits (eat slowly, develop a routine)
· plan meals and make better food selections (eat less fatty foods, avoid junk and fast foods)
· control portions and consume less calories
· increase physical activity (especially walking) and have a more active lifestyle
· know what your child eats at school
· eat meals as a family instead of while watching television or at the computer
· do not use food as a reward
· limit snacking
· attend a support group (e.g., Overeaters Anonymous)
Source: AMA, Pediatrics, AACAP, AHA
It certainly will come as no surprise that eating processed junk food is detrimental to your health. Few people may realize though that sugary sweet foods and highly processed wheat fortified breads, pasta and sweets actually change brain metabolism in a similar manner to opiates and narcotics. This may help explain why so many people feel addicted to their favorite junk food splurge, and the reason that food manufacturers employ a team of chemists to fabricate most snacks to encourage repeat purchases.
A team of researchers from the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital have reported their findings regarding processed carbohydrate consumption on brain metabolism for publication in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The scientists have determined that highly processed carbohydrates can trigger the same brain mechanism associated with substance addiction. High glycemic foods typically found in snack foods and breads trigger hunger shortly after eating, and stimulate regions in the brain associated with reward and cravings.
Highly processed carbohydrates and wheat-containing products trigger food addictions
At the outset of the study, lead author, Dr. David Ludwig noted "Beyond reward and craving, this part of the brain is also linked to substance abuse and dependence, which raises the question as to whether certain foods might be addictive." Ludwig and his team evaluated 12 obese or overweight participants and measured levels of blood glucose and hunger. Each subject underwent a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to observe brain function and activity during the four-hour period after eating, a phase known to drive eating behavior and our desire to eat.
Participants were given two types of milkshakes, each containing the same number of calories, taste and levels of sweetness. One of the shakes contained high-glycemic carbs (fast-releasing carbohydrates) while the other had low-glycemic carbs. Those receiving the high-glycemic shake experienced an initial blood sugar surge followed by a corresponding crash approximately four hours later. When viewed on an fMRI, the blood glucose crash was accompanied by overwhelming hunger and intense activity within the nucleus accumbens, a region in the brain involved in addictive behaviors.
Dr. Ludwig concluded "These findings suggest that limiting high-glycemic index carbohydrates like white bread and potatoes could help obese individuals reduce cravings and control the urge to overeat." Past studies have implicated wheat-based foods with compulsive feeding characteristics, as the gliadin protein found in wheat encourages addictive behavior similar to opiate addiction in sensitive individuals. Elimination of processed snack foods, pasta, breads and sweet treats will minimize the addictive behavior associated with junks foods to assist with weight management and disease resistance.
Sources for this article include:
THE WORST OFFENDERS IN KID’S FOOD
Fight back at the Junk food industry. Hidden salt, sugar, and trans fat abounds, not to mention lengthy lists of unpronounceable chemical ingredients.
Learn about them here and boycott them.
1. Cheese and Sandwich Crackers:Has nearly 15 percent of the daily value for fat and almost 10 percent of the DV for sodium, and many are loaded with trans fat, high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, and artificial dyes.
2. Sugary Cereals:Many sugary kids’ cereals are more than 50 percent sugar by weight!!!
3. Chicken Nuggets:Nuggets are made with parts of the chicken that aren’t usually eaten, and are held together with meat glue (also known as transglutaminase). If that’s not enough to turn you off, chicken nuggets deliver around 25 percent of the daily value for fat and sodium.
4. Box Mac and Cheese:leading brands of boxed mac and cheese has 580 milligrams of sodium per serving — that’s almost 25 percent of the RDA for adults!
5. Frozen Kids Dinners – Hidden sugar, sodium, chemicals, and preservatives are a big reason to ban these foods from your list
6. Canned Tuna – Mercury’s not good for anyone but it’s especially bad for fetuses, babies, and children because it impedes brain development. The Natural Resources Defense Council publishes a list that offers guidelines on how much tuna is safe to eat depending on weight, but some research suggests that there may be more mercury in tuna than assumed and the amount can vary greatly from can to can.
7. Cereal Bar – some bars can have loads of sugar, fat, trans fat, and little to no fiber or protein. Look for a balanced bar that’s easy on the sugar and big on whole grains, fiber, and protein.
8. Pre-made lunch kit – even so-called “healthier” versions can have up to 25 percent DV of sodium. There’s also the relative dearth of nutrients, an epic list of hard-to-pronounce ingredients, and lots and lots of sugar — as much as 33 grams.
9. Sport or Fruit Drinks – targets kids in their advertising and falsely claim health benefits, have been linked with childhood obesity and tooth decay, and some doctors suggest these drinks should only be offered to children during or after vigorous exercise.
10. Yogurt Smoothies – smoothie drinks marketed to kids sneak in ingredients like high fructose corn syrup or lots of plain old sugar (a few smoothies have a jaw-dropping 47 grams of sugar per serving — 10 grams more than a can of Coke), artificial food dyes, and other sketchy additives.
· A slice of real cheese to a whole-grain cracker with plenty of fiber.
· Real fruits and nuts (if not allergic)
· A glass of almond milk
· A toast of organic multi-grain bread
· Homemade bars and cereals
· Simple oatmeal with bits of dried fruits
- Encourage curiosity: Parents who show curiosity and encourage their children to explore new ideas teach them a valuable lesson: Seeking knowledge is important. Support your kids’ hobbies and interests by asking them questions, teaching them new skills and taking them on educational outings to develop intellectual curiosity.
- Teach confidence: Positively reinforce their kids with encouragement and optimistic assurances. Participation in team sports and other social activities also helps build confidence during the awkward “tween” years when children’s peers are least supportive.
- Read: Reading is a sure-fire, low-tech way to improve learning and cognitive developing in children of all ages. Read to your children from an early age, sign your child up for a library card and keep the house stocked with books.
- Outdoor Play: Participation in organized sports fosters confidence, teamwork and leadership, according to research by the Oppenheimer Funds. This study also found that 81 percent of women business executives played team sports as girls.
- Create Music: According to a study by University of Toronto researchers, organized music lessons appear to benefit children’s IQ and academic performance—and the more years the student takes lessons, the greater the effect.
- Cut Junk food: Cutting out sugar, trans fats and other junk food from your child’s diet and replacing them with high-nutrient alternatives can do wonders for early childhood mental and motor development
- Play Brain games – Chess, crosswords, cryptograms, riddles—they all train the brain to perform mental gymnastics. Games like Sudoku can be fun while promoting strategic thinking, problem-solving and complex decision-making. Keep brainteasers around the house and challenge your children to help you solve the trickier problems.
Source: Multiple including http://healthyliving.msn.com