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Childhood Obesity Tripled

Author: Oksana Aron, MD Source: Weight Loss NYC Sep 18, 2009
childhood obesityChildhood obesity is not only on the rise -- it's tripled over the past 25 years.

According to a report in Academic Pediatrics by an obesity expert at Brenner Children’s Hospital, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, children are not just becoming overweight and obese. Many more are becoming severely obese, which can greatly impact their health. Severe childhood obesity is classified as a child with a body mass index (BMI) that's at least or greater than the 99th percentile for age and gender.

Researchers found the following facts in the study:
  • Severe obesity among children jumped from 0.8 percent in 1976-80 compared to 3.8 percent in 1999-2004. There are now more than 2.7 million severely obese children in the U.S.

  • The highest increases in severe childhood obesity occurred among blacks and Mexican-Americans and those who live below the poverty level. Severe obesity rates for Mexican-American children went from 0.9 percent in 1976-80 to 5.2 percent in 1999-2004.

  • A third of the children considered severely obese were classified as having metabolic syndrome, which is a group of risk factors such as higher-than normal blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin levels that make them more susceptible to experiencing heart attack, stroke and diabetes.
--ScienceDaily

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Got Vitamin D?

Author: Oksana Aron, MD Source: Weight Loss NYC Sep 7, 2009
vitamin DVitamin D has always been an important part of our daily diet, and now it's been linked to successful weight loss.

Vitamin D deficiency has commonly been associated with obesity, but the question remains whether it causes obesity, or if obesity causes the deficiency.

In a new study presented at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., researchers shared their findings based on an 11-week study that measured circulating blood levels of vitamin D in 38 overweight men and women before and after they followed a diet plan of 750 calories a day fewer than their estimated total needs. The goal was to find out whether baseline vitamin D levels before going on a calorie-restricted diet would affect weight loss.

The findings included the following:
  • Subjects had insufficient vitamin D levels on average.
  • Higher baseline vitamin D levels predicted greater loss of abdominal fat.
...baseline, or pre-diet, vitamin D levels predicted weight loss in a linear relationship. For every increase of 1 ng/mL in level of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol—the precursor form of vitamin D and a commonly used indicator of vitamin D status—subjects ended up losing almost a half pound (0.196 kg) more on their calorie-restricted diet. For each 1-ng/mL increase in the active or "hormonal" form of vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol), subjects lost nearly one-quarter pound (0.107 kg) more.

Although further research on vitamin D's active role in weight loss is needed, it is still recommended as a necessary part of a healthy diet. —ScienceDaily

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Your Social Circle Can Make or Break Your Dieting Habits

Author: Oksana Aron, MD Source: Weight Loss NYC
There is strength in numbers when it comes to getting the support you need from those closest to you, like family and friends, and it's especially important to your diet and overall health.

We previously blogged about how children are more likely to eat more when dining with friends who consume more calories, based on a study of teens and tweens published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In the same vein, there is further research that shows obesity can be contagious.

In a 2007 study spanning 32 years of a social network of 12,000 adults conducted by Harvard researcher Nicholas Christakis and fellow colleagues, it was found that a person is 37 percent more likely to be obese if a spouse is, 40 percent more likely if a sibling is and 57 percent more likely if a friend is.

The reasoning behind these facts is that adults eat more in the presence of family and friends than with strangers, and that socializing with overweight individuals can affect their perceptions of what the norm is regarding eating habits.

Finally, there's the idea that we just like to hang with people that are like ourselves. Cornell food sociologist Jeffrey Sobal explains that "especially among two overweight people, there's a sort of permission-giving going on. We're encouraging each other to eat more."


Wanting to be proactive about losing weight doesn't mean dropping overweight friends because making the decision to eat healthier can just as easily influence those around you to do the same.

--TIME

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