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).
This statement is somewhat intuitive as tougher neighborhoods house generally less educated residents, carry higher risks of crime & violence when outside, and provide less access to fresh fruits and vegetables (read about food deserts here).
New research corresponds with this intuition. A study in the Oct. 20 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) found a correlation between where people live (a low-poverty area vs a high-poverty area) and their risk for obesity and diabetes. In this study, families with ties to the Housing and Urban Development Dept in numerous metropolitan cities were invited to partake in a randomized lottery to receive housing vouchers to move in to neighborhoods with either low, high or control (they can choose any area to live in) levels of poverty. Those living in the low-poverty neighborhoods had lower BMIs (body-mass indexes) and lower hemoglobin A1c levels (a 3-month average of blood sugar levels used to define and monitor control of diabetes).
This research is significant in that it gives neighborhood developers an opportunity to attempt to design healthier home environments for those living in higher poverty areas. Read the full article here.
Dr. Maltz earned a Medical Degree and Master in Public Health from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, TX. She completed a combined Internal and Preventive Medicine Residency at UTMB in June, 2011. She then completed a 2-year Integrative Medicine Fellowship at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT, during which she simultaneously underwent an intensive 1000-hour curriculum created by The University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Program founded by Dr. Andrew Weil.