Navigation Links
Could the Childhood Obesity 'Epidemic' Be Ebbing?
Date:4/24/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- After two decades of steadily increasing rates of childhood obesity, at least one state may finally be turning things around.

The rates of obesity in children under the age of 6 in eastern Massachusetts declined during the period between 2004 and 2008, according to a new study.

The researchers also found that the rates of obesity declined more for children who were insured by non-Medicaid health plans.

"In this analysis, we found a substantial decline in obesity prevalence among young children during 2004 to 2008. However, the smaller decrease in obesity prevalence in Medicaid-insured children suggests that the coming years may see a widening of socioeconomic disparities in childhood obesity," wrote the study's authors.

Nutritionist Nancy Copperman, director of public health initiatives at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y., commented on the new findings.

"This study shows some promise that we might be turning the tide on childhood obesity. What isn't clear is if this decline is from the things we're doing to prevent obesity [that] are causing the change they see," Copperman said.

Results of the study are to be published in the May issue of Pediatrics, but were released online April 23.

Between 1980 and 2001, there was a rapid increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity, according to background information in the study. However, most recent national studies have shown that childhood obesity may be leveling off, or in some cases, even on the decline.

Targeting obesity prevention efforts at the youngest children -- those under 6 years old -- may be the most effective, as children at that age are still predominantly influenced by their parents and what their parents eat, and their lifestyle habits are just developing and may be easier to change, according to the study.

To see what was happening to childhood obesity rates for this youngest age group, the researchers reviewed data on more than 300,000 children who were seen for well-child visits between 1980 and 2008 at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, a multi-site pediatric practice in Eastern Massachusetts. The current analysis includes data on 36,827 youngsters who visited their physicians between 1999 and 2008.

Over time, the racial make-up of the study sample changed somewhat. In 1999-2000, nearly 64 percent of the group was non-Hispanic white. By 2007-2008, that number was about 58 percent. The number of black children at the start of the study was roughly 18 percent compared with 13.5 percent at the end of the study. The number of Asian- American children increased during the study from nearly 6 percent to nearly 13 percent.

During the period between 1999 and 2003, the researchers found that the rates of obesity remained relatively stable among the children. However, between 2004 and 2008, the rate of obesity in boys went from 10.5 percent to about 9 percent. In girls, it went from 9 percent to about 6 percent, according to the study.

In both boys and girls, the decline in obesity was more significant for children who were insured by health plans other than Medicaid, the study reported.

The researchers said they don't know exactly what caused this drop, but suspect that reduced maternal smoking during pregnancy, increased rates of breast-feeding, more limited television advertising of sweet foods to young children, and increased screening and counseling for childhood obesity may have all played a role.

"I think this study is great news. It's great that the rate is going down overall, but I haven't noticed a decrease in younger children here, where most of the children are on Medicaid," said pediatric nutritionist Lauren Graf at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

"When families are struggling financially, it's hard to focus on healthy foods. Many families don't have a lot of money to buy or cook food, and families don't always get the right messages from the things that are subsidized," Graf said. For example, she said, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food program provides vouchers for free juice, but drinking sweetened beverages such as juice is a major source of excess calories. She said many families don't realize that too much juice can be bad.

Both Copperman and Graf said the age group studied here is critical, because this is when taste preferences are developing. "Someone who's never had vegetables probably won't like broccoli if they try it for the first time at 7 or 8. When we're young is when taste preferences form, and it's also a time when families have more control. It's the time to establish good dietary habits, and to turn the TV off," Copperman said.

Both experts also said that parents need to be an example of healthy eating behavior for their children.

More information

Get advice on preventing childhood obesity from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Lauren Graf, M.S., R.D., pediatric nutritionist, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; Nancy Copperman, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., director, public health initiatives, Office of Community Health, North Shore-LIJ Health System, Great Neck, N.Y.; May 2012 Pediatrics


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Could Your Personality Be Reflected in Your Pooch?
2. Talking to Yourself Could Have Mental Benefits
3. Healthy Lifestyle Choices Could Cut Cancer Rates: Report
4. New research could mean cellphones that can see through walls
5. Saliva test could dramatically increase detection of oral cancer
6. Feelings of immaturity accompany alcohol misuse into adulthood; discovery could improve treatments
7. Discovery could help to develop drugs for organ transplant and cancer patients
8. BMC study shows diverting passengers to elevators could help reduce falls at Logan Airport
9. Codeine After Surgery Could Endanger Certain Kids: Study
10. Online Tool Could Diagnose Autism Quickly, Developers Say
11. Could Menthol Cigarettes Pose Even Higher Stroke Risk?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Could the Childhood Obesity 'Epidemic' Be Ebbing?
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... First Choice Emergency Room , the largest network of independent freestanding emergency ... its new Mesquite-Samuell Farm facility. , “We are pleased to announce Dr. Ogunleye ... M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical Director of First Choice Emergency Room. , Dr. Ogunleye ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... City, Oklahoma (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 ... ... helping both athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic ... the Oklahoma City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Montreal, Canada (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... the pursuit of success. In terms of the latter, setting the bar too high ... low, risk more than just slow progress toward their goal. , Research from ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have ... these feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as ... Michigan, has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone ... physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If ... at my other children and say he was going to kill them. If we ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Research and ... Excipients Market by Type (Organic Chemical (Sugar, Petrochemical, Glycerin), ... Topical, Coating, Parenteral) - Global Forecast to 2021" ... The global pharmaceutical excipients market is projected ... CAGR of 6.1% in the forecast period 2016 to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Research and Markets ... Issue 52" report to their offering. ... treatment creates a favourable commercial environment for MedImmune to enter. ... base that will serve to drive considerable growth for effective ... serve to cap sales considerably, but development is still in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Revolutionary technology includes multi-speaker listening to conquer ... in advanced audiology and hearing aid technology, has today ... world,s first internet connected hearing aid that opens up ...      (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160622/382240 ) , ... , TwinLink™ - the first dual communication ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: