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July 6, 2010, 7:19 AM CT

Kids now see more ads for fast food

Kids now see more ads for fast food
Children saw fewer television advertisements for certain foods, including those for sweets and beverages, in 2007 compared with 2003, as per a report posted online today that will appear in the September print issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. However, children now see more fast-food ads, and racial gaps in exposure to all food advertising have increased.

An Institute of Medicine (IOM) report concluded that there was good evidence that television advertising influences the short-term eating habits of children age 2 to 11, and moderate evidence that advertising influences their usual dietary intake, as per background information in the article. In 2006, 10 major U.S. food companies pledged to devote at least half of their child-targeted advertising to healthier products or encouraging good nutrition and healthy lifestyles, an effort called the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. By 2009, 16 companies had signed on. "Given that each company defined their own better-for-you products and also had different definitions of what constituted children's programming, key questions remain," the authors write.

To assess trends in food advertising before and after the initiative, Lisa M. Powell, Ph.D., and his colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago studied television ratings data from Nielsen Media Research for the calendar years 2003, 2005 and 2007.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 29, 2010, 7:19 AM CT

Use public transport system to lose weight

Use public transport system to lose weight
Increasing the availability of public transit systems is one among many modifications to the built environment that offers opportunities for increasing physical activity and reducing the prevalence of obesity and its associated problems. As per a research findings reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and the RAND Corporation observed that construction of a light-rail system (LRT) resulted in increased physical activity (walking) and subsequent weight loss by people served by the LRT. These findings suggest that improving neighborhood environments and increasing the public's use of LRT systems could improve health outcomes and potentially impact millions of individuals.

Public policy implications of the study are significant. "The built environment can constrain or facilitate physical activity. Understanding ways to encourage greater use of local environments for physical activity offers some hope for reducing the growth in the prevalence of obesity," commented lead investigator John M. MacDonald, PhD, University of Pennsylvania. "Given that perceptions of neighborhood environments are independently linked to improved health outcomes, and that individuals who choose to use LRT obtain some relative weight reduction, it would be prudent to encourage public policies that improve the safety and attractiveness of pedestrian environments that link home, work and transit stops to increase use of public transit for commuting to work. Public policy investments in transit should consider potential increases in physical activity as part of the broader set of costbenefit calculations of transit systems. Land- use planning and travel choice have a clear impact on health outcomes. Public transit systems can generate positive health impacts by encouraging greater numbers of users to walk to station stops and maintain more physically active lives. An added benefit of public policy investments in LRT, on top of the general transportation benefits accrued, is the potential reductions in obesity in the population".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 28, 2010, 7:40 AM CT

Intervention lowered obesity rate

Intervention lowered obesity rate
An intervention in middle schools lowered the obesity rate in students at highest risk for type 2 diabetes, those who started out overweight or obese in sixth grade, an NIH-funded study has observed. However, schools that implemented the program did not differ from comparison schools in the study's primary outcomethe prevalence of overweight and obesity combinedwhich had declined 4 percent in both groups of schools by the end of the three-year study.

The goal of the HEALTHY Study was to determine whether changes in school food services; longer, more intense periods of physical education; and classroom activities to promote behavior change would lower risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Conducted from the beginning of the sixth grade to the end of the eighth, the study involved 4,600 students attending 42 middle schools in seven areas of the country. Schools were randomly assigned to implement the program or serve as a comparison school.

"The study shows that a school-based program can help lower obesity and certain risk factors for type 2 diabetes in youth at high risk for the disease," said Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

Scientists were surprised to find that the number of overweight and obese students had declined in comparison schools as well as program schools. "The decline in the number of overweight and obese children in comparison schools was a welcome but unexpected finding," said study chair and main author Gary D. Foster, Ph.D., of Temple University, Philadelphia. "Future analyses will try to clarify the reasons for the improvement in these schools. For example, we'll look at the comparison schools to see if they made healthy changes to the school environment because of increased awareness about the problem of childhood obesity".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 21, 2010, 7:16 AM CT

Cutting carbs is more effective than low-fat diet

Cutting carbs is more effective than low-fat diet
Obese women with insulin resistance lose more weight after three months on a lower-carbohydrate diet than on a traditional low-fat diet with the same number of calories, as per a newly released study. The results will be presented Saturday at The Endocrine Society's 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego.

"The typical diet that physicians recommend for weight loss is a low-fat diet," said the study's main author, Raymond Plodkowski, MD, chief of endocrinology, nutrition and metabolism at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno. "However, as this study shows, not all people have the same response to diets".

People with insulin resistance, a common precursor for Type 2 diabetes, metabolize carbohydrates, or "carbs," abnormally, which may affect their rate of weight loss. For them, Plodkowski said, "the lower-carb diet is more effective, at least in the short term."

At 12-weeks, the study funded by Jenny Craig and using prepared calorie-controlled meals as part of a behavioral weight loss program, observed that the insulin resistant women on a lower-carb diet lost 3.4 pounds more than those on a low-fat diet.

Forty-five obese women between the ages of 18 and 65 years took part in the study, and all had insulin resistance, as found by fasting blood levels of insulin. The scientists randomly assigned the women to either a low-fat or lower-carb diet. The groups did not differ significantly in average body weight, the authors reported. On average, women in the low-fat diet group weighed 213 pounds, while women in the other group weighed 223 pounds.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 9, 2010, 10:59 PM CT

Depression and Abdominal Obesity

Depression and Abdominal Obesity
A newly released study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) confirms the relationship between depression and abdominal obesity, which has been associated with an increased risk for cancer and cardiovascular disease.

"We observed that in a sample of young adults during a 15-year period, those who started out reporting high levels of depression gained weight at a faster rate than others in the study, but starting out overweight did not lead to changes in depression," said UAB Assistant Professor of Sociology Belinda Needham, Ph.D. The study appears in the recent issue of the American Journal of Public Health........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 8, 2010, 6:38 AM CT

Getting extra sleep improves the athletic performance

Getting extra sleep improves the athletic performance
Getting extra sleep over an extended period of time improves athletic performance, alertness and mood, as per a research abstract that will be presented Tuesday, June 8, 2010, in San Antonio, Texas, at SLEEP 2010, the 24th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.

Results indicate that football players' sprint times improved significantly after seven to eight weeks of sleep extension. Average sprint time in the 20-yard shuttle improved from 4.71 seconds to 4.61 seconds, and the average 40-yard dash time decreased from 4.99 seconds to 4.89 seconds. Daytime sleepiness and fatigue also decreased significantly, while vigor scores significantly improved.

"Sleep duration appears to be an important consideration for an athlete's daily training regimen," said main author Cheri Mah of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory in Stanford, Calif. "Furthermore, sleep extension also may contribute to minimizing the effects of accumulated sleep deprivation and thus could be a beneficial strategy for optimal performance".

The study involved seven healthy students on the Stanford University football team. Their ages ranged from 18 to 22 years, and they played a variety of positions on the team. Participants maintained their habitual sleep/wake schedule for two weeks at the beginning of the season to establish their baseline measures.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 7, 2010, 6:51 AM CT

Potential genetic factor in eating disorders

Potential genetic factor in eating disorders
Kelly Klump, associate professor of psychology, studies the biological causes of eating disorders.

For the first time, researchers have discovered a possible biological culprit in the development of eating disorders during puberty: a type of estrogen called estradiol.

The groundbreaking pilot study led by Michigan State University observed that influence of one's genes on eating disorder symptoms was much greater in pubertal girls with higher levels of estradiol than pubertal girls with lower levels of estradiol. The study appears in the journal Psychological Medicine.

Lead investigator Kelly Klump, MSU associate professor of psychology, said prior research had established that eating disorders are influenced by both genetic and environmental factors once a girl hits puberty.

The underlying effects of the genes, however, were unknown.

"The reason we see an increase in genetic influences during puberty is that the genes for disordered eating are essentially getting switched on during that time," said Klump. "This research was trying to figure out why. What's turning on the genes during puberty? And what we found is that increases in estradiol apparently are activating genetic risk for eating disorders".

Estradiol is the predominant form of estrogen in females and is responsible for the growth of reproductive organs and also influences other organs including bones.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 25, 2010, 7:00 AM CT

Sugar in drinks and blood pressure

Sugar in drinks and blood pressure
Research led by Liwei Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Public Health at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, has observed that there is an association between sugary drinks and blood pressure and that by cutting daily consumption of sugary drinks by just one serving a day, people can lower their blood pressure. The research is published online in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association

"We found no association for diet beverage consumption or caffeine intake and blood pressure," notes Dr. Chen, "suggesting that sugar may actually be the nutrient that is linked to blood pressure and not caffeine which a number of people would suspect".

The research, which was supported by a grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, analyzed dietary intake and blood pressure of 810 adults measured at baseline, 6 and 18 months. After known risk factors of hypertension were controlled for, a reduction in sugar-sweetened beverage consumption of one serving per day was linked to a drop of 1.8 mm Hg in systolic pressure and 1.1 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure over 18 months.

After additional adjustment for weight change over the same period, a reduction in the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was still significantly linked to blood pressure reduction.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 15, 2010, 7:44 PM CT

Men with bigger wallets have bigger waistlines

Men with bigger wallets have bigger waistlines
In Canada, in stark contrast with the rest of the world, wealthy men increase their likelihood of being overweight with every extra dollar they make. The newly released study was led by Nathalie Dumas, a graduate student at the University of Montreal Department of Sociology, and presented at the annual conference of the Association francophone pour le savoir (ACFAS).

"Women aren't spared by this correlation, but results are ambiguous," says Dumas. "However, women from rich households are less likely to be obese than women of middle or lower income".

Dumas used data from the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). This provided access to information from some 7,000 adults aged 25 to 65. Dumas' research is unique because she took into consideration the sex of individuals as well as their body mass index (BMI) to differentiate the overweight from the obese.

"A number of epidemiological studies have established that the odds of being overweight or obese decrease as family income increases," says Dumas. "But we don't know why this relationship is inverted for Canadian men. As per the CCHS, the richer they are, the fatter they are".

So why are rich men and poor women more likely to be obese in Canada? Dumas researched all existing literature and concluded a socioeconomic hypothesis could only explain the link of obesity and income for women. Yet no hypothesis could explain the phenomenon observed in Canadian men.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 4, 2010, 6:29 AM CT

Less sleep more pounds

Less sleep more pounds
Adolescents who don't get enough sleep may gain more than some extra time to play video games or text their friends. They also may gain weight, as per research being presented Tuesday, May 4 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Other studies have shown a relationship between sleep and weight issues, especially in young children. However, this is one of the first studies to document an association between sleep duration and weight in adolescents, even after controlling for calorie intake, activity level and depressive symptoms.

In research led by Leslie A. Lytle, PhD, from the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children's Research Institute, study researchers collected data on 723 adolescents (mean age 14.7 years) about how long they slept on weeknights and weekends, and how frequently they experienced sleep problems. On three separate occasions, scientists also asked the youths about the foods and beverages they had consumed the previous day to determine how a number of calories they consumed.

To measure activity, participants wore accelerometers on their belts for seven days. Unlike pedometers, which count the number steps walked, these highly specialized devices measure movement on three different planes. In addition, the wearer cannot see any data on how active they are.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Exercise can't stop the aging process, but experts at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston say that for the elderly, whether it's weight training, walking, swimming or biking, 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week is a good prescription for aging."It's never too late to start exercising," said Dr. Robert Roush, an associate professor of medicine-geriatrics at BCM. "Being physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay some diseases and disabilities as people age.".

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