Direct from the AMA morning newsletter, I am happy to share this news with everyone! By working together and pooling resources to educate as many mothers about this problem, we are finally seeing some improvement (albeit small) on the childhood obesity front (see below) We have a long way to go to "Turn the Tide" but at least we're heading in the right direction. Very exciting!!
On another note, sadly, 2 studies found that children with food allergies, or those seeking treatment for weight loss, reported bullying mainly by peers, including threatening the food-allergic kids with the food that they are allergic to.The studies found that the children who were victimized due to weight also reported parental bullying and continued bullying in school even after they lost weight! This is crazy! We must teach our children to love one another no matter what our apparent external differences may be. The world will be a better place when/if we do. Please consider talking with your kids about this asap! Thanks!
Obesity down among young children from poor families.
The New York Times (12/26, Tavernise, Subscription Publication) reports that research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association "has found modest declines in obesity among 2- to 4-year-olds from poor families, a dip that researchers say may indicate that the obesity epidemic has passed its peak among this group." The new "study, by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drew on the height and weight measurements of 27 million children who were part of the federal Women, Infants and Children program, which provides food subsidies to low-income mothers and their children up to the age of 5." Heidi M. Blanck, one of the study's authors and the acting director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the CDC, said, "The declines we're presenting here are pretty modest, but it is a change in direction."
The Los Angeles Times (12/26, MacVean) "Booster Shots" blog reports, "The more than 26 million children whose data was included in the study were ages 2 to 4. The prevalence of obesity increased from 13% in 1998 to 15.2% in 2003, but declined to 14.9% in 2010; extreme obesity went from 1.75% in 1998 to 2.2% in 2003, to 2.07% in 2010."
Bloomberg News (12/26, Ostrow) reports, "Researchers attributed the decline to greater awareness of health problems caused by obesity as well as an increase in breastfeeding, which research has shown can reduce the risk." Blanck said, "We're optimistic that with recent investments and recent initiatives we'll continue to see these numbers decline." Also covering the story are Reuters (12/26, Pittman) and WebMD (12/20, Mann).
Childhood obesity leads to type 2 diabetes, which, as a recent study just revealed is not easily treated with pills. Instead kids in the study quickly needed to learn to inject insulin in order to control their blood sugars. Sticking yourself 4-5 times a day and having to calculate the correct amount of insulin to inject based on what you are planning to eat is no easy task. Just ask any type I diabetic...it's NO fun! And uncontrolled blood sugars lead to a flurry of complications later on that are completely preventable, ie, amputations, digestive problems, neuropathies, blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, etc, etc.
So my message to you is - do the right thing. PREVENT TYPE 2 DIABETES IN CHILDREN AND YOURSELVES by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, getting off of the sweets, breads and other carbs and MOVING EVERY DAY. Read below for more details of the study's findings. Have a great day!
From the AMA (American Medical Association) daily newsletter -
"A study on blood sugar control in young patients with type 2 diabetes received moderate print and online coverage. It was the lead story on one national news broadcast and appeared on the front page of one major paper. Most sources portrayed the study's findings as disappointing, and indicative of the difficulties faced by physicians trying to treat young patients with the condition.
The CBS Evening News (4/29, lead story, 2:10, Glor) reported that "the release of a new report offers new insight" on how to treat young patients with type 2 diabetes. During a second segment on CBS Evening News (4/29, story 2, 0:50, Glor), Dr. Robin Goland of Columbia University Medical Center discusses the findings.
The New York Times (4/30, A10, Grady, Subscription Publication) reports, "As obesity rates in children have climbed, so has the incidence of type 2 diabetes, and" the "study adds another worry: the disease progresses more rapidly in children than in adults and is harder to treat."
In a front-page story, the Wall Street Journal (4/30, A1, Winslow, Subscription Publication) reports that the study was published online in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting. The National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases sponsored the research.
The AP (4/30, Chang) reports that that the research included nearly 700 "overweight and obese teens recently diagnosed with diabetes." Participants "had their blood sugar normalized with metformin, then were given one of three treatments to try to maintain that control: metformin alone, metformin plus diet and exercise counseling, or metformin plus a second drug, Avandia [rosiglitazone]."
The San Antonio Express-News (4/30, Finley) reports that "even with the aggressive, two-drug treatment, 39 percent of those children lost the ability to produce insulin on their own and had to switch to insulin shots. That was better than the 46.6 percent failure rate for the metformin and lifestyle group, and 52 percent for those only taking metformin."
"Perhaps the study's biggest paradox was the failure of exercise and dietary counseling to lead to substantial weight loss large enough to help manage or even reverse the diabetes," the Boston Globe (4/30, Kotz) reports.
According to Bloomberg News (4/30, Gale, Gale), "The report didn't say why type 2 diabetes is harder to treat in children, though the researchers suggested the normal growth cycle may be at least partly at fault."
HealthDay (4/30, Reinberg) reports that the researchers also found that "blood sugar control was harder to achieve in black and Hispanic children."
WebMD (4/30, Boyles) points out that "in September of 2010, while the trial was under way, the FDA placed broad restrictions on Avandia's use following reports of heart attacks and strokes in adults taking the drug." Patients "in the Avandia part of the study continued taking the drug following a safety review, and no serious side effects were reported."
MedPage Today (4/30, Fiore) reports, "In an accompanying editorial, David Allen, MD, of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, called the overall findings of the trial 'discouraging' because of the high rates of treatment failure across all three groups.'"
My favorite ranter (and the editor of the peer-reviewed journal, Childhood Obesity) rants about the childhood obesity epidemic...
From Dr. Katz's most recent column...
"Preventive Medicine Column
April 26, 2012
Minding Our Business
I believe we should diligently regulate food marketing to children. You may believe I should mind my business. I agree with you!
There doesn’t seem to be much we can agree on these days across the spectrum of ideologies and politics. But if there is something, it’s that decent adults look out for the well being of children. ‘Loving Parents and Grandparents, Inc.’ could be the most powerful special interest group of all time!
The well being of children is, to varying degrees, the business of every responsible adult. And it’s business we should be minding a whole lot better. The evidence that we have failed to mind this business adequately is overwhelming and incontrovertible, and all but common knowledge.
Epidemic obesity didn’t ‘happen’ to our kids because of some extra-terrestrial invasion we were powerless to withstand. We let it happen. We made it happen- by what we have chosen to condone and prioritize as a culture.
We have made the proliferation and sale of energy-dense, manufactured foods more of a priority than the health of our kids. We have made indulgence of ‘free’ market forces more of a priority than the health of our kids.
And so, predictably, the health of our kids has gone where we sent it: to hell in our hand basket.
Epidemic childhood obesity is just the visible tip of an iceberg of present, and pending peril. We have widespread type 2 diabetes among our children; a generation ago, this was called “adult onset” diabetes. The proliferation of ever more cardiac risk factors in ever younger people is reported in the medical literature at regular intervals. There is actual coronary disease in adolescents. There is ever more bariatric surgery among teenagers. And we have recent evidence that the rate of stroke has risen 35% in children 5 to 14, with epidemic obesity the only smoking gun on the scene to account for it.
All of this is entirely preventable with better use of feet and forks. We don’t need new biomedical advances to eliminate most obesity and 80% of chronic disease; we simply need a societal commitment to use what we already know.
And we are even beginning to get some hopeful evidence that when we do so, it works. The rate of childhood obesity has dipped slightly in recent years in both the New York City schools, and among young children in Massachusetts. In both cases, a dedicated effort underlies these modest, but encouraging results.
Study after study indicates that the foods most assiduously marketed to children are the foods they would be well advised to minimize or avoid. The foods they would be best advised to eat for health promotion are marketed least, not at all, or ineffectively. The inadequate budgets and modest effects of ‘5 a day’ and subsequent campaigns to encourage produce intake are infamous in public health circles.
You might like to think your child is immune to this marketing- and if they aren’t, at least you are. If you think this, I would like to sell you a bridge- and with a little help from Madison Avenue, have no doubt I could do it. Marketing works, and that means we ARE vulnerable to it. It is the art of manipulation, and those who practice it have PhD biologists, psychologists, sociologists, economists, and reams of research on their side.
We know it works because they keep spending money on it. We know it works because of innumerable studies that confirm it. And we know it works because occasionally, someone like Brian Wansink of Cornell brings expert marketing knowledge out of the boardroom and into daylight.
You may accept that marketing works, but feel that the industry should self-regulate. There are lesser and greater problems with this concept.
The lesser problem is that it creates a conflict of interest. How can you do your best job selling what you make when it is also your job not to sell too much of what you make? The business of business is business.
The greater problem is- it doesn’t work. We have volumes of real-world research showing business doesn’t regulate itself effectively. It advertises aggressively the foods most likely to harm our kids, and if some avenue of advertising shuts down, they devise a new and generally better one- such as advergaming.
The well being of children is everybody’s business, and everybody should mind that children are staring down the barrel of a glow-in-the-dark cheese doodle or sugar laden cereal loop at foreshadowed health and foreshortened lives.
So yes, I should mind my business. I’m a parent; this is my business!
As for the businesses that profit from selling excesses of new-age candies to babies, we should be minding them a whole lot better than we do.
Dr. David L. Katz; www.davidkatzmd.com ; www.turnthetidefoundation.org
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