CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Health

February 27, 2014

Six reasons childhood obesity has fallen so much

— A major new paper appearing in Wednesday's edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that childhood obesity - age 2 to 5 - has fallen from 13.9 percent in 2003-04 to 8.4 percent in 2011-12. This age was the only group to see a significant decline, but it's generating headlines because it raises hopes that these children will remain at healthy weights as they get older. It won't surprise anyone to say that the nation's obesity epidemic poses a major public health problem.

The new paper, by Centers for Disease Control researcher Cynthia Ogden and co-authors, doesn't say why childhood obesity is declining. But the paper and several other studies that it cites suggest a number of theories:

1. Nutrition assistance such as food stamps and WIC (women, infants and children) may have led to decreases in childhood obesity among low-income Americans as federal standards have changed to promote healthier eating. For example, WIC has revised its funding formula to boost the amount of fruits and vegetables and peanut butter a mother and her child eat. At the time, WIC has limited the amount of (non-breast) milk that a child drinks, to limit fat intake.

2. New federal nutritional guidelines have trickled down to state and local programs, such as encouraging increased consumption of water and 100 percent fruit juice, limiting serving sizes, encouraging a single adult not to feed more than one infant at a time, and limiting time in front of the television.

3. As the value of breastfeeding has been increasingly understood, there's been a substantial increase in babies drinking breastmilk. One study showed that 70.3 percent of children breastfed in 2000, rising to 74.6 percent in 2008.

4. Pregnant women have increasingly understood the risks of smoking during pregnancy, with a study showing the percentage of women doing so declining from 13.3 percent in 2000 to 12.3 percent in 2010.

5. Food companies, under pressure, have limited television advertisements targeting children. Between 2003 and 2007, the daily exposure of a child, age 2 to 5, to food ads fell by 13.7 percent.

6. A number of national initiatives have promoted healthy eating among children, such as first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative and reports from a wide range of groups such as the American Public Health Association and American Academy of Pediatrics.



 

1
Text Only
Health
  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boston doctors can now prescribe you a bike

    The City of Boston this week is rolling out a new program that's whimsically known as "Prescribe-a-Bike." Part medicine, part welfare, the initiative allows doctors at Boston Medical Center to write "prescriptions" for low-income patients to get yearlong memberships to Hubway, the city's bike-share system, for only $5.

    April 12, 2014

  • Fast, cheap test can help save lives of many babies

    As Easley did more research into her daughter's death, she learned that a pilot program had started just months earlier at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md. (Easley had delivered at a different hospital in the Washington area.) The program's goal was to screen every newborn with a simple pulse oximeter test that can help detect heart problems such as Veronica's, allowing doctors to respond.

    April 8, 2014

  • CEMS groundbreaking CEMS holds groundbreaking

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Which foods are the worst for the environment?

    As with most arguments about our food supply, though, it's not that simple. Although beef is always climatically costly, pork or chicken can be a better choice than broccoli, calorie for calorie.

    March 15, 2014

  • ERIC-HOLDER.jpg Holder: Heroin deaths an 'urgent and growing public health crisis'

    Attorney General Eric Holder, calling the rise in deaths from overdoses of heroin and prescription painkillers an "urgent and growing public health crisis," is outlining a series of efforts by the Justice Department to combat the epidemic.

    March 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Study says too much protein could lead to early death

    Even as researchers warned of the health risks of high-protein diets in middle age, they said eating more protein actually could be a smart move for people over 65.

    March 4, 2014

  • Six reasons childhood obesity has fallen so much

    A major new paper appearing in Wednesday's edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that childhood obesity - age 2 to 5 - has fallen from 13.9 percent in 2003-04 to 8.4 percent in 2011-12.

    February 27, 2014

Facebook
AP Video