PUBLICATIONS & TOOLS
- Data Collection Instruments for Obesogenic Environments in Adults: A Scoping Review
- School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study
CHILDHOOD OBESITY RESEARCH & NEWS
- Women with Obesity Prior to Conception are More Likely to Have Children with Obesity
- When it Comes to Food, One Size Doesn't Fit All: World's Largest Scientific Nutrition Research Project Reveals Even Identical Twins Have Different Responses to Food
- Study Links Poor Sleep with Poor Nutrition
- Efficacy of a Home-Based Parent Training-Focused Weight Management Intervention for Preschool Children: The DRIVE Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial
- Being Teased About Weight May Lead to More Weight Gain Among Children, NIH Study Suggests
Childhood Obesity Rates Decline Among WIC-Enrolled Children
June 2019, NCCOR
Today, obesity rates in the United States are high, affecting 93.3 million American adults and 13.7 million American children. However, new data recently shared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shares additional signs of progress in declining prevalence of childhood obesity in some populations.
New data showed that obesity among WIC-enrolled 2- to 4-year-olds decreased from 15.9% in 2010 to 13.9% in 2016. Between 2010–2016, all age, sex, and major race/ethnic groups saw modest improvements in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among young children enrolled in WIC. About 1 in 5 American kids was enrolled in the program in 2016.An earlier report with WIC program participants the same age also found declines in obesity between 2008 and 2011, in 18 states.
The reasons for the declines in obesity among young children in WIC have not yet been determined but may include WIC food package revisions and local, state, and national initiatives. Changes in the WIC program include reducing the amount of juice allowed and switching from high-fat to low-fat milk. While childhood obesity remains a major public health issue, these findings indicate that progress is possible and being made.
Publications & Tools
Did you know that NCCOR and its partners have published more than 50 peer-reviewed research articles? Access the full list here on our website.
Data Collection Instruments for Obesogenic Environments in Adults: A Scoping Review
The rise in obesity prevalence has increased research interest in the obesogenic environment and its influence on excess weight. The aim of this study was to review and map data collection instruments for obesogenic environments in adults to provide an overview of the existing evidence and enable comparisons.
School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released its School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study. The study assessed the impact of updated school nutrition standards under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, a law that reauthorized several federal child nutrition programs. The study gathered data from more than 1,200 schools nationwide on the nutritional quality of school meals, school compliance with the standards, meal costs and revenues, and student participation.
Childhood Obesity Research & News
Women with Obesity Prior to Conception are More Likely to Have Children with Obesity
EurekAlert!, June 11, 2019
A systematic review and meta-analysis identified significantly increased odds of child obesity when mothers have obesity before conception, according to a study published June 11 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Nicola Heslehurst of Newcastle University in the UK, and colleagues.
Obesity is a leading cause of life-long poor health globally, and is significantly associated with inequalities. Capitalizing on opportunities for early-life prevention of obesity is a priority for public health, global health and clinical practice. Understanding the association between childhood obesity and maternal pre-pregnancy weight status would inform policy and practice by allowing resources to be channeled into intervention. In the new study, Heslehurst and her colleagues aimed to estimate the extent to which a mother’s pre-pregnancy body mass index is associated with the weight status of their children. This systematic review included 79 observational studies that investigated maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index and childhood weight status.
The results revealed significantly increased odds of child obesity with maternal obesity (OR 3.64, 95% CI 2.68-4.95) and maternal overweight (ORs 1.89, 95% CI 1.62-2.19). Significantly increased odds were observed for child overweight/obesity (OR 2.69, 95% CI 2.10-3.46) and for child overweight (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.25-2.59) with maternal obesity. This study provides substantial evidence for the need to develop interventions that commence prior to conception, to support women of childbearing age with weight management, in order to combat intergenerational obesity. According to the authors, paying more attention to the preconception period in obesity prevention interventions may help to address the complex early-life inequalities associated with obesity development.
When it Comes to Food, One Size Doesn't Fit All: World's Largest Scientific Nutrition Research Project Reveals Even Identical Twins Have Different Responses to Food
EurekAlert!, June, 10, 2019
The first results were revealed from the largest ongoing scientific nutrition study of its kind today, led by an international team of leading scientists including researchers from King’s College London, Massachusetts General Hospital and nutritional science company ZOE, showing that individual responses to the same foods are unique, even between identical twins.
Presented at both the American Society of Nutrition and the American Diabetes Association conferences, the findings demonstrate that old-fashioned, one-size-fits-all dietary guidelines are too simplistic and that a personalized approach to nutrition is likely to provide better long-term health benefits.
The researchers measured how blood levels of markers such as sugar, insulin and fat change in response to specific meals, along with data on activity, sleep, hunger and gut bacteria (microbiome) in thousands of participants in the US and UK, mostly pairs of twins.
ZOE is using machine learning techniques to analyze this wealth of detailed nutritional data and is developing a consumer test and app, giving people the power and confidence to choose the right foods that optimize their personal metabolism, control weight and maintain good health.
The team is also announcing a major expansion of its work in collaboration with scientists at Stanford and Tufts Universities. The next phase will recruit more than a thousand volunteers across the US who want to understand their own personal responses to food and contribute to cutting-edge nutritional science by taking part at home. Find out more at https://joinzoe.com.
This groundbreaking nutrition research project was born out of the Twins UK Study – a unique 25-year investigation of health and lifestyle in 14,000 twins led by Tim Spector, Scientific Founder of ZOE, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London and author of The Diet Myth.
After realizing that genetically identical twins had very different food preferences and responses, Spector teamed up with technologists Jonathan Wolf and George Hadjigeorgiou to create ZOE, setting up a series of scientific studies in the US and Europe involving thousands of volunteer health enthusiasts and top researchers in the field of nutrition and health.
The key research findings presented at the ASN and ADA are:
1,100 UK and US adults (60% twins) were studied for two weeks of regular blood sugar (glucose) monitoring of blood sugar, insulin, fat levels (triglycerides) and other blood markers in response to a combination of standardized and freely chosen meals.
The results reveal a wide variation in blood responses to the same meals, whether they contained carbohydrates or fat.
For example, some participants had rapid and prolonged increases in blood sugar and insulin, which are linked to weight gain and diabetes. Others had fat levels that peaked and lingered in the bloodstream hours after a meal, raising the risk of developing heart disease.
This large variation is only partly explained by genetic factors (less than 50% for glucose, less than 30% for insulin and less than 20% for triglycerides) and there is only a weak correlation between an individual’s responses to fat and carbohydrates.
Identical twins who share all their genes and most of their environment often had different responses to identical foods. The study also finds that identical twins shared just 37% of their gut microbes – only slightly higher than the 35% shared between two unrelated individuals.
Surprisingly, the proportions of nutrients such as fat, proteins and carbohydrates listed on food labels explain less than 40% of the differences between individuals’ nutritional responses to meals with similar amounts of calories. There are also large differences in responses to the same meals depending on the time of day they are eaten.
The results suggest that personal differences in metabolism due to factors such as the gut microbiome, meal timing and exercise are just as important as the nutritional composition of foods, supporting the idea that simple nutritional labeling is insufficient for assessing food.
ZOE’s machine learning algorithm makes predictions about an individual’s personal nutritional response that is strongly correlated with real-life measurements, and will continue to improve as the company’s dataset grows.
Professor Spector said, “The sheer scale and detail of our scientific project is such that for the first time we can explore tremendously rich nutrition data at the level of an individual. Our results surprisingly show that we are all different in our response to such a basic input as food. It was a real shock to see that even identical twins have such different responses.”
Dr. Andrew Chan, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital said, “It is reassuring that our genetic makeup only partially explains how our bodies respond to food. This underscores that our metabolism is not fixed – we have the power to change it. One exciting avenue is to tailor our diets to the bacteria in our gut that helps us metabolize nutrients.”
“For the first time, we’re expanding large-scale nutritional research beyond blood sugar. These findings show that the responses to food of a number of key metabolic markers – including triglycerides, insulin and blood sugar – are highly individualized. No one has been able to combine data on this scale before,” added Dr. Sarah Berry, Associate Professor in Nutritional Sciences at King’s College London and Scientific Advisor at Zoe.
“For most of us, the food we eat is the most important medicine we take. And yet we are all profoundly confused about what is good for us. We believe that combining science and machine learning can solve this, by understanding for the first time our individual responses to food,” said ZOE co-founder and CEO, Jonathan Wolf.
“We believe that everyone deserves to understand how they respond to food so that they can make confident decisions about what to eat and be in control of living a healthier and more enjoyable life,” said ZOE co-founder and President, George Hadjigeorgiou.
Study Links Poor Sleep with Poor Nutrition
EurekAlert!, June 9, 2019
Many Americans get less than the recommended amount of sleep, and many do not consume the recommended amounts of important vitamins and minerals. A new study suggests the two factors may be connected.
The research is based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. Compared with people who got more than seven hours of sleep per night–the amount the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends for adults–scientists found that people who got fewer than seven hours of sleep per night on average consumed lower amounts of vitamins A, D, and B1, as well as magnesium, niacin, calcium, zinc and phosphorus.
The study also found a greater number of nutrients were associated with poor sleep in women than in men. This number was reduced if women took dietary supplements, suggesting that supplements can help fill the gaps where a person’s diet is not providing the necessary nutrients.
“This work adds to the body of growing evidence associating specific nutrient intakes with sleep outcomes,” said lead study author Chioma Ikonte, director of nutrition science at Pharmavite, LLC. “Our findings suggest that individuals with short sleep duration might benefit from improving their intake of these nutrients through diet and supplementation.”
Ikonte will present the research at Nutrition 2019, the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting, held June 8-11, 2019 in Baltimore. In addition to the findings on sleep duration, the research suggests nutrients may also play a role in sleep disorders, poor sleep quality and trouble falling asleep.
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that our bodies require but do not produce. As a result, they must come from our diet. Globally, billions of people suffer from at least one micronutrient deficiency.
Previous studies have demonstrated important roles for micronutrients in growth and development, disease prevention and healing, and normal bodily functions, including sleep. Magnesium, for example, helps the body produce melatonin and other compounds involved in sleep. Some studies suggest zinc plays a role in sleep regulation.
However, the researchers cautioned that the study was a retrospective analysis, not a randomized controlled study, so cannot prove cause and effect.
“Whether chronic short sleep causes nutrient insufficiency or the nutrient insufficiency causes short sleep still needs to be determined,” said Ikonte. “A clinical study that investigates [impacts of] supplementation with these nutrients on sleep outcomes is needed to demonstrate cause and effect.”
Pharmavite, LLC is a company that sells dietary supplements.
Efficacy of a Home-Based Parent Training-Focused Weight Management Intervention for Preschool Children: The DRIVE Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, June 6, 2019
To pilot-test a home-based parent training intervention aimed at maintaining body weight among children at risk for obesity (> the 75th body mass index percentile).
Sixteen parent–child dyads were randomized to a health education or Developing Relationships that Include Values of Eating and Exercise (DRIVE) intervention arm. The DRIVE curriculum was a structured parenting program to promote healthy weight in children by relying on behavioral principles to promote skill acquisition in the family’s natural setting. Body weight and waist circumference were measured at baseline and weeks 9 and 19.
Body mass index z-score, body weight, and percent body weight increased in children in the health education arm vs DRIVE at weeks 9 and 19. Body weight, percent body weight, and waist circumference decreased in parents in DRIVE vs the health education arm at week 19, whereas no differences were shown at week 9.
Conclusions and Implications
The DRIVE program mitigated weight gain in a small sample of at-risk children and showed promising results in reducing weight in parents. Home-based interventions emphasizing parent–child interactions are indicated as a practical model to deliver weight management in children.
Being Teased About Weight May Lead to More Weight Gain Among Children, NIH Study Suggests
National Institutes of Health, May 30, 2019
Youth who said they were teased or ridiculed about their weight increased their body mass by 33% more each year, compared to a similar group who had not been teased, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health. The findings appear to contradict the belief that such teasing might motivate youth to change their behavior and attempt to lose weight. The study was conducted by Natasha A. Schvey, Ph.D., of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. It appears in Pediatric Obesity.
The study involved 110 youth who were an average of 11.8 years of age when they enrolled. The participants were either overweight (defined as a body mass index (link is external) above the 85th percentile) when they began the study or had two parents who were overweight or obese. At enrollment, they completed a six-item questionnaire on whether they had been teased about their weight. They then participated in annual followup visits for the next 15 years.
The researchers found that youth experiencing high levels of teasing gained an average of .20 kg (.44 lbs) per year more than those who did not. The authors theorize that weight-associated stigma may have made youths more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as binge eating and avoiding exercise. Another possible explanation is that the stress of being teased could stimulate the release of the hormone cortisol, which may lead to weight gain.
Jack A Yanovski, M.D., of the NICHD Section on Growth and Obesity, is available for comment.
Schvey, NA. Weight-based teasing is associated with gain in BMI and fat mass among children and adolescents at risk for obesity: a longitudinal study. Pediatric Obesity. 2019.