January 2011




Childhood Obesity Can Begin as Early as Age 9 Months, Researchers Find

Dec. 31, 2010, Los Angeles Times

By Eryn Brown

Everyone loves a roly-poly baby. Still, there is such a thing as an overweight infant, and obese babies – even those as young as 9 months old – are predisposed to being obese later in life, researchers say in the January-February issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.

Childhood obesity is a growing public health problem in the United States. It has been linked to psychological problems, asthma, cardiovascular troubles and a greater chance of developing diabetes.

Hoping to better understand the factors associated with being obese at a very early age – and possibly help parents and health advocates stave off its ill effects – lead author Brian G. Moss of Wayne State University and William H. Yeaton of the University of Michigan analyzed data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, a nationally representative sample of American children born in 2001.

The data included height, weight and demographic characteristics of 8,900 9-month-old babies and 7,500 2-year-old toddlers. Obese children were defined as those who exceeded the 95th percentile for body-mass index (as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and those between the 85th and 95th percentile were considered “at risk.”

Moss and Yeaton found that 32 percent of children were either obese or at risk of obesity by [9 months old]. That figure increased to 34 percent by the time the [children reached 2 years old].

“We weren’t surprised by the prevalence rates we found in our study, but we were surprised the trend began at such a young age,” Moss said in a statement.

Among the patterns that emerged:

  • Boys were more at risk than girls (this contradicted earlier research).
  • Latinos had the highest risk.
  • Geographic location was not consistently associated with being obese or at risk.
  • The family’s socioeconomic status didn’t seem to make a difference at 9 months of age. But by age 2, the kids in the bottom economic 20 percent were most likely to be obese or at risk, while those in the top 20 percent were least likely to be obese or at risk.

No one is suggesting that babies be put on a diet.

But knowing more about the demographic characteristics of very young children who are more likely to become obese could help health officials and parents prevent later health troubles by promoting healthier eating and lifestyle choices.


Original Source: http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-obese-babies-20101231,0,7619490.story

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Publications & Tools

Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 Fact Sheet and Editorial Perspective

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 represents a major step forward in our nation’s effort to provide all children with healthy food in schools. Increasingly schools are playing a central role in children’s health. Over 31 million children receive meals through the school lunch program and many children receive most, if not all, of their meals at school. With over seventeen million children living in food insecure households and one out of every three children in America now considered overweight or obese, schools often are on the front lines of our national challenge to combat childhood obesity and improve children’s overall health. This legislation includes significant improvements that will help provide children with healthier and more nutritious food options, educate children about making healthy food choices, and teach children healthy habits that can last a lifetime.


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Smarter Nutrition

Dec. 18, 2010, The Courier-Journal Editorial Board

On Dec. 13, President Obama signed into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The law sets new childhood nutrition standards, expands the number of students in the free lunch program, gives the federal government more say in what food is and isn’t sold in public schools, and aims to address both childhood obesity and childhood hunger — both of which are too prevalent in the United States. More than 17 million of the nation’s children live in “food insecure” homes and depend on schools for their meals, and one in three American children are either overweight or obese.

The act was supported by the President’s secretaries of Agriculture (“a great day for kids,” said Tom Vilsack), Health and Human Services (“more kids will have access to healthy, balanced and nutritious school lunches,” said Kathleen Sebelius) and Education (“the most significant step forward in the National School Lunch program in 30 years,” said Arne Duncan). …

Sample menus show the marked difference between “before” and “after” school lunches: A cheese pizza with canned pineapple, tater tots and low-fat chocolate milk, for example, will be replaced with a slice of whole-wheat cheese pizza, baked sweet potato fries, grape tomatoes, applesauce, 1 percent milk and low-fat Ranch dip. …

U.S. Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn.: “As a physician, I know smart nutrition leads to healthy and productive lives. With 36.5 percent of our children in Tennessee being overweight, this act goes a long way in ensuring that kids in Tennessee and around the country will have the healthy nutrition they deserve.”

In voicing his support for the act, Sen. Frist enunciated why it should be regarded as very good news for Kentucky’s families and children, too.

More than 32 percent of Kentucky’s population is considered obese. The new standards should be considered a first line of defense for the state’s children against that fate, as well as its attendant health hazards. They also should be considered fortification against the wants of poverty and hunger, and the drains and impediments they impose, especially on our youngest citizens.


Original Source: http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20101218/OPINION01/312180016/Smarter%20nutrition

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CDC Tool Highlights State Obesity Prevention Programs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (DNPAO) has developed a new tool to track obesity policy on the state level. The tool highlights current state activities related to CDC recommended strategies to prevent and control obesity and other chronic disease through healthful eating and physical activity.


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Obesity and Socioeconomic Status in Children and Adolescents: United States, 2005–2008

December 2010, National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief

In 2007–2008 almost 17 percent of children and adolescents aged 2–19 years were obese. Childhood obesity often tracks to adulthood and, in the short run, childhood obesity can lead to psychosocial problems and cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and abnormal glucose tolerance or diabetes. Studies have suggested that obesity is greater in the low income population than in higher income individuals. This data brief presents the most recent national data on childhood obesity and its association with poverty income ratio (PIR) and education of household head. Results are presented by sex and race and ethnicity.


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