Tag Archives: obesity

Fat Kids, Sick Hearts? (Article)

 

 

 

Information keeps rolling in from the medical community that being obese as a child is bad for a child’s health, especially their cardiovascular system. In fact, a recently published study from Germany documented that obese German children had, on average, have higher levels of blood pressure, more fats in their blood, higher blood sugar and insulin levels, and thicker heart muscles. None of this is good news for these children. Each of these parameters predicts future trouble.

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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.

Plate size and calorie intake in children (Article)

Plate and portion size turn out to have a lot to do with how much we eat. We all know that restaurant portion sizes, along with the average adult waist circumference, have gradually increased over the past 25 years. We know that adults tend to eat more when given larger portions of food; is the same true for children? Do children consume more food when presented with larger plates? It turns out that the answer is YES.

A recent study in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, claims that dishware size influences a child’s self-served portion sizes and food intake, as well as other eating behaviors. The authors gave child-sized dishware to one group of children and adult-sized dishware, the surface area of which was twice as large, to another group of children during their elementary school lunch. The authors found that the children took and consumed more food when using adult-sized dishware.

In light of this research, I recommend that a child’s food be served on small plates or bowls at home and school. I also suggest that parents stop insisting that children “clean their plates” or eat every morsel of food they are served. Experts recommend a daily calorie intake for four to eight year olds of 1200 to 1400, and for nine to thirteen year-olds of 1600-1800.  Dishware size may affect a child’s daily caloric intake.

Eating small portions is a healthy habit, so we should encourage it. Help your child develop good eating habits now for a life-long healthy weight.

I welcome your comments at www.docsmo.com. While you are there, check out the literally hundreds of podcasts, articles and now videos covering a myriad of pediatric and parenting topics. Until next time.

Smo Notes:

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/04/03/peds.2012-2330.abstract

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Dietary-Recommendations-for-Healthy-Children_UCM_303886_Article.jsp

Written collaboratively by John Eun and Paul Smolen MD

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