Tag Archives: diabetes

Effective Help for obese Children-Start Early (Article)

Finding a way to reduce the number of over-nourished children is one of the great challenges for our society today. Health experts are fairly certain that by eliminating obesity among children, we will greatly be able to reduce the number of today’s children who go on to become diabetic, have heart disease, and cancers. We urgently need a way to help a lot of obese children.

New research reveals that early intervention for obese children has a reasonable chance of success. Investigators found that intensive education for families with obese 6-9 year olds had a 44% chance of lowering the obese child’s BMI. If the same intervention was done for the obese 10-13 year olds, only 20% of these children were successful at lowering their BMI. The news was even worse for the obese 14-16 year olds, with a success rate of only 8%. Could it be that, as a general rule, the earlier an intervention is begun, the more effective it will be? This fact is certainly true when it comes to the treatment of autism, the treatment of inborn errors of metabolism that some children inherit, and the prevention of problems seen in children who experience psycho-social deprivation to name a few. It is beginning to look like the smart thing for society to do is to spend its biggest resources at prevention when children are very young as opposed to spending money later in their lives when intervention is much less likely to be successful. This recent study certainly gives us something to think about. Until next time.

Smo Notes:

1. Response of severely obese children and adolescents to behavioral treatment. Danielsson PKowalski JEkblom ÖMarcus C.     Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012 Dec;166(12):1103-8. doi: 10.1001/2013.jamapediatrics.319.

The China Study (Book Review Pedcast)

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The China Study: Revised and Expanded Edition: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health

 

Feeding your children the healthiest diet possible is the goal of every parent but exactly what is a healthy diet? Answering that question is the reason that we at the DocSmo.com blog thought a book review of a major new book on nutrition might be helpful to parents.  The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II, MD, is a cumulative work based on the findings from  careers in nutritional research and medicine.  A myriad of research is discussed in the book but the core conclusions are derived from a longitudinal (20 year) study called “The China Study” in which researchers from Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventative Medicine collected data from 65 counties in 24 provinces in China, comparing diet, lifestyle, and disease characteristics in this huge population.  (The New York Times called this data “The Grand Prix” of epidemiological studies when the results were first published in the early 1990s.) The father and son team of Drs. Campbell digest the China study data and a wealth of other scientific observations. Their main conclusion is that populations consuming the most animal-based foods are afflicted with the most chronic Western diseases. The China Study therefore advocates for a diet that consists exclusively of whole plant-based foods as well as discussing the science behind this conclusion, barriers to its introduction in the American diet, and lifestyle tips for readers ready to transition to this nutritional mindset and lifestyle.

Similar to many books on nutrition, the authors start with an overview of the problems related to childhood and adult obesity and chronic disease in the United States. This highlights the general confusion that many feel with an overwhelming amount of  health and nutrition information. This book may provide a useful guide for providing better nutrition for their children. Their goal is to clarify confusion by referencing sound scientific data, instead of providing the latest sensation in rapid weight-loss. They seek to demonstrate a strong connection between eating animal protein and the high incidence of chronic disease plaguing Western societies; cancer, diabetes, and coronary heart disease.  The authors continue with manageable chapters about the nutrition science and mechanisms of disease.  The authors believe that the consumption of animal protein trigger breast and prostate cancers, cause obesity that is at the root of adult onset diabetes, and contributes to diseases of the heart and blood vessels.  The book  highlights the correlation between nutrition and disease, citing a wealth of scientific evidence.

In our opinion, the useful sections in the book are right in the middle, where the authors list eight principles of how to rethink nutrition and provide an eating guide for parents and children. Aside from eliminating all animal products and minimizing added vegetable oils such as peanut or olive oil, he encourages plants and whole grains. The authors are especially harsh on added supplements, believing that a sound diet should provide individuals with everything they need, except for a nod to vitamin D for children and adults who spend the majority of their time indoors and vitamin B12. The last third of the book discusses with the barriers to adopting this way of eating, exposing some startling realities of powerful lobbying groups and their influence on formulating government dietary recommendations.

Overall, this book highlights the important relationship between nutrition and chronic disease. If the authors are right, our health and the future health of our children depend on us adopting a plant-based diet, now.  It promotes a whole-grain, plant-based diet in order to avoid chronic disease, and reverse them once they have developed.  This book presents sound scientific data based on decades of biochemical research and explains the science behind the studies in a clear and manageable way. As the authors say, they take us where the data leads.  To be clear, this book is not a weight-loss solution or another fad diet.  It is a scholarly look at decades of research illuminating the connection between poor nutrition and incidence of chronic diseases. Despite its length and complexity, we would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in diet as it relates to your children’s long-term health. The authors believe that not only can diseases like cancer, heart disease, and adult onset diabetes be prevented in our children with a plant-based “vegan” diet, but that these diseases can be REVERSED with food after they have developed.  The Dr. Campbell father/son team challenge traditional nutrition teaching which advocates a diet rich in animal based protein and dairy foods, vitamin and mineral supplements, and often diets with an imbalanced nutrient profile such as the “Atkins” diet.  The authors claim that a completely plant based diet is the key to prevention of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.  Time will tell us if they are right.  Pass the broccoli, please. We give this book 4 out of 5 DocSmo stars.  Until next time.

Written collaboratively by Angela Solis and Paul Smolen M.D.

Sports and Energy Drinks (Article)

Whether they play formal sports or just run around the school yard at recess, most children are active enough to need fluid replacement. Till recently, children drank water to rehydrate; in today’s world, however, active children commonly consume sports and energy drinks to rehydrate. These drinks were designed for athletes who endure extremes in physical and environmental stress, not for children playing little league baseball or a Saturday morning soccer game.  Unfortunately children are consuming too many of these sports and energy drinks, and they are not drinking enough water.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) together with the Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness (COSMF) completed a major review of sports and energy drinks literature from 2000 to 2009. This review sought to differentiate sports drinks from energy drinks, identify common ingredients, and discuss harmful effects of these drinks. This report identified that “sports drinks” contain carbohydrates (sugars), minerals, artificial flavors and colors to replace lost water during exercise;  “energy drinks” contain all the above plus stimulants such as caffeine and taurine for performance enhancement.

Do we really want our little ones drinking sports and energy drinks when all they need is water? Well-balanced diets containing carbohydrates, fats, and proteins can more than adequately replace nutrients lost during active play. Overconsumption of sports and energy drinks can cause serious problems, such as obesity, for growing children.   In addition, consuming caffeine or other stimulants can increase a child’s heart rate, disturb his or her sleep, create a physical dependence, and trigger withdrawal headaches. In 2005, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received 2600 calls related to caffeine abuse in patients younger than 19 years. Remember, the majority of the energy drinks available to young athletes contain some form of caffeine in abundance.

As children grow up, parents should encourage children to drink plenty of water.  Water truly is the perfect “sports drink” since the body is made of it and can’t run without it. Professional athletes may benefit from the consumption of sports drinks, but child athletes will best benefit from drinking water on and off the the playing field.  Let them enjoy the sweet taste of victory instead of an artificially flavored and colored bottle of salty sugar water!

 

I welcome your comments at my blog, www.docsmo.com.  Until next time.

 

Written collaboratively by Norman Spencer and Paul Smolen M.D.

Smo Notes:

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/05/25/peds.2011-0965.full.pdf

 

More…on Sugary Drinks (Pedcast)

Welcome to studio 1E in Charlotte, NC. I am your pedcast host, Dr. Paul Smolen. For those of you who are new to Dosmo.com, I am the creator and curator of this podcast, which was created for parents to have a practical, portable source of pediatric information to help them in their parenting journey. From the crib to the country club, we talk about everything imaginable here. I try to give my audience what’s new in pediatrics in my weekly articles, and I try to impart more traditional pediatric information and advice in my pedcasts…what is a pedcast, you ask? That’s a podcast with pediatric content. Today I am going to talk about sugary drinks, one of the big health problems our children face today. I was reading the WSJ of all things the other day and came across an article about soda sales in the US, which is the genesis of my comments today. So, sit back and let’s talk kids and sugar, shall we?

First for the good news: “Soda sales are down!!” On average, people are buying fewer bottles of soda this year than they did last year. The average soda consumption, not including soda purchased from fountains and restaurants, was only 45 gallons per person last year. That’s down from 55 gallons just a few years earlier. Pretty bad when good news is that your child only drinks 45 gallons of sugar water per year. That’s like the CEO telling the shareholders they only lost 2 billion dollars instead of the 3 billion they lost last year, or a child telling his parents he only failed 2 classes this year instead of 3 like last year. Bad news is bad news.

You probably don’t need to think too hard to think of someone you know who drinks two or three sweet drinks a day. Think of all the sugar that is put in a soda, energy drink, sweet tea, or sugary coffee drink. If a child or an adult consumes these beverages, their bodies are being bombarded with sugar. This person’s pancreas and fat cells are presented with quite a task when these drinks come their way…where does their body put all that sugar? How can I store it fast enough to keep my blood sugar down in the healthy range??? Consumption of sugary drinks has been one of the big driving for forces behind the obesity epidemic in the US and the rest of the world. So, this is great news that the consumption of sugary drinks is beginning to wane. Sort of!

I got to thinking, why do some people not drink these drinks? What is different about these people that keeps them from all that sugar? Why aren’t they like most people? Is it the cost of the drinks that put these folks off? I doubt it. Did they not know about these drinks? Of course not: the marketers of these products are too good to let that happen. Were these people just smarter than the rest of us? Did they know something that the rest of didn’t know?  I doubt that.

No, the reason is… that some parent, grandparent, or coach just said ‘no.’  Some adult in a child’s life knew that these drinks were not good for their health and refused to facilitate its consumption. They simply didn’t buy them, and they only allowed drinking them in unusual circumstances like parties, travel, and maybe during illness. I think it is that simple. An adult put limits on a behavior that they knew was harmful.

So, if you want to be one of those parents who takes charge of the sugary drink issue, what do you do?

  • Start by setting a good example
  • Make soda a special thing, not a forbidden thing
  • Educate your child why you are not in favor of them drinking a lot of sugary drinks.
  • Point out when ads are using them as a target so they begin to recognize  how advertisers can influence  their thinking and make them want things that are not good for them
  • Another incentive to change your child’s behavior can be money. Tell them when eating out, if they refrain from ordering a cold icy soda, you will instead give them the cold hard cash that you saved. Getting water instead of soda will mean some ‘coin’ in their pocket to spend as they wish. Makes them think, doesn’t it?

Ultimately, we all do what we perceive to be in our best interest…including children. Convince your children that it is in their best interest to eat and drink a healthy diet. Do whatever you can to keep your children from the addiction of sugary drinks because, in reality, you are all that stands between them and 45 gallons of sugar water a year.  Think about it.

This is Dr. Paul Smolen, thanking you for listening today. I hope I gave you some knowledge you didn’t have before. Check out many more podcasts at my website: www.docsmo.com and on iTunes.  This is DocSmo, hoping you can keep your child’s sweets, to an occasional treat.

Until next time.

Smo Notes:

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6205a6.htm?s_cid=mm6205a6_e