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childhood obesity

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Dad's Active Childcare Influences Kids Weight

Father's active involvement in physical childcare lowers risk of obesity.

Children of dads who participate in physical childcare tasks such as bathing and dressing them between 2-4 years old are less likely to be obese. The inverse was found to be true, also. These findings were reported at Obesity Week 2016This could be due to the fact that these activities are a marker for more stable homes, leading to better health behaviors.

PositiveTip: Fathers, be actively involved in the care of your children--it could have major impact on their health.

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Heart Hope for Obese Children

A plant-based diet may reduce heart disease risk for obese children

Researchers compared a plant-based diet and the American Heart Association (AHA) diet for heart-health effects on 28 obese children. After only four weeks, both diets showed significant improvements but those on a plant-based diet had additional improvements in BMI, blood pressure, insulin, total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. A plant-based diet included plant foods, whole grains, limited avocado and nuts, no-added-fat. The AHA diet included refined grains, low-fat dairy, selected plant oils, and lean meat and fish in moderation. 

PositiveTip: Overweight or not, choose a plant-based diet for you and your children. 

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What Helps Kids Choose Healthier Foods?

Your child CAN enjoy healthier foods; here's three simple tips.

Three behavioral patterns that help kids eat healthier emerged from an editorial by two physician-scientists at the University of Pennsylvania.

  1. It's logical to choose food that tastes better; take the time to find healthy foods and recipes kids enjoy.
  2. Keeping healthy snacks visible and available (eg.fruit bowl on kitchen table) increases their consumption.
  3. Incentives work. One study found even $0.25 reward doubled fruit & vegetable consumption, even after the testing period.

PositiveTip: Make the healthy choice the easy choice in your home.

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Weighty Impact of Working Mothers

Children of working mothers may be heavier, primarily because of less sleep.

Researchers investigating the links between a preschooler’s weight and their mother’s work schedule found sleep was a primary factor for weight regulation. Children of full time working mothers slept less and had higher BMI’s than children whose mothers worked less than 20 hrs/week. Children’s sleep patterns may mirror mom’s by staying up later for quality time and rising when mom gets ready for work.

PositiveTip: As you juggle home and work life, aim to allow 11-12 hours of sleep for your preschooler.

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Family Meals May Reduce Obesity

Eating together even once a week can reduce teen obesity risk.

Researchers followed 2,117 teens over 10 years and compared teen obesity outcomes in families that ate 0, 1-2, 3-4 or 5+ meals together each week. Compared to kids who never ate family meals, ANY number of family meals helped reduce risk of obesity, even 1 day a week. Researchers suggest that family meals provide opportunities for more nutritious food, healthy eating behaviors and improved emotional connections.

PositiveTip: Eat at least one family meal together each week to improve your family’s long-term health.

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Sleep and Weight Gain in Teens

Obesity is more likely in sleep-deprived teens.

Teens are 20% more likely to be obese at 21 if they get less than 6 hours of sleep per night rather than 8+ hours of sleep. Using data for 10,000 teens over 6 years, researchers found 1 in 5 teens were sleep-deprived. The link between sleep and obesity may be attributed to resulting inactivity and poor food choices made when sleepy.

PositiveTip: Help your teens manage their night-owl activities and get their 8+ hours of sleep so they perform better in school and reduce obesity risk.

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Good News for Children's Obesity

Toddler obesity rates have dropped dramatically in the last 9 years

Obesity researchers looked at trends from 2003-2012 and have found there's been a 43% drop in obesity rates amongst US children aged 2 to 5. Researchers theorize that increased breastfeeding trends and reduced consumption of sugary beverages are primary reasons. Unfortunately these findings are the lone improvement in obesity trends. Researchers found that obesity rates for infants, children 2-19 and adults remain unchanged over the past 9 years.

Positive Tip: Obesity CAN be beaten - one healthy choice at a time.

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Is Your Child As Fit As You Were At Their Age?

Today's kids would lose a race to children 30 years ago.

American Heart Association research has found that children's cardiovascular fitness  has declined around the world by an average of 15 percent. Today's children would run a mile 1.5 minutes slower than kids 30 years ago. In analyzing data of 25 million children from 28 countries, researches found that childhood obesity explained 30-60% of the fitness decline.

PositiveTip: Help the kids in your life find vigorous activities they can enjoy for 60 minutes a every day.

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Pregnancy Weight Gain Leads to Kid's Obesity

Weight gain in pregnancy linked to children's obesity.

When material weight gain during pregnancy was analyzed in over 42,000 women and more than 91,000 of their children, researchers found every kilogram gained was associated with a significant risk of the child being overweight or obese through 12 years old. This data suggest overnutrition during pregnancy may program the unborn for an increased lifetime risk of obesity. Caution: inadequate weight gain also negatively affects the developing fetus.

PositiveTip: Balance is a principle of healthful living. In most things, too little or too much can be harmful.

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Weighty Predictions for Americans

42% of Americans will be obese by 2030 if current trends continue.

The U.S. Centers for Disese Control recently revealed that they are projecting that 42% of Americans will be obese by 2030! The economic burden of these projections comes with a staggering $550 billion price tag. HBO is premiering a four-part documentary on obesity and its risks. The third episode focuses on childhood obesity, and you can watch it online for no charge here.

PositiveTip: Watch The Weight of the Nation with your family, friends and neighbors. To win, we have to lose!