Archive for the ‘Child Obesity’ Category

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Diet and Lifestyle Key to Control Chronic Disease and Weight

March 23, 2011

(Article first published as Evolved Dietary Changes Lead to Weight Gain and Chronic Disease on Technorati.)

Diet Has Changed Significantly Over the Past Century

Diet Has Changed Significantly Over the Past Century

Our diet has changed radically over the past century and has become a significant cause of disease and illness as animal based foods account for a quarter of our calories. Processed foods which didn’t exist 100 years ago make up more than 60% of our present diet while naturally healthy vegetables and fruits provide less than 5% of our daily energy.

The food we eat influences our genes and is the leading cause of the rampant rise in heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia and obesity seen today. It’s possible to prevent and even reverse the damage from a poor dietary lifestyle by eating naturally high nutrient density foods.

A Diet of Processed Foods Leads to Illness

Healthy Foods Naturally Provide Nutrients and Keep Insulin Levels Low

Healthy Foods Naturally Provide Nutrients and Keep Insulin Levels Low

We need both calories and nutrients to survive. Modern food manufacturing techniques have removed most of the nutrition from the processed foods which represent such a significant portion of our calories. Vitamins, minerals and a host of essential nutrients provide the fuel we need to neutralize free radicals, facilitate DNA repair, counteract carcinogens and provide an effective immune response. After decades of nutrient deficiency our natural reserves are depleted and the stage is set for the onset of chronic disease often leading to a shortened lifespan.

Antioxidants From Food Predict Risk of Disease and Death

The results of a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition reveals the protective effect of a number of antioxidant nutrients against all causes of mortality. The study authors specifically concluded “Evidence that subsequent all-cause mortality may be predicted by vitamin C intakes and/or status has been obtained in several previous studies, and similarly for carotene and selenium.”

The results of this study and other similar research demonstrate that the concentration of a specific nutrient can be used to accurately predict risk for disease and death. This information underscores the critical importance of eating a natural diet which supplies a wide array of nutrients to lower the risk of chronic illness.

Children Develop a Taste for Junk Food Early in Life

Poor Dietary Habits Begin Early for Many Children and Teens

Poor Dietary Habits Begin Early for Many Children and Teens

Many children are fed a diet of processed junk food from an early age and they quickly develop a taste for salty, sugared and fried foods. The instinct to eat vegetables, fruits and meats in their natural form is erased as their taste buds become satiated with a refined diet impregnated with artificially manufactured chemicals which are more pleasing to the taste.

An analysis reported in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association indicates that 800 of 2200 calories consumed by a typical child each day are attributable to solid fats and added sugar. These macronutrients are commonly known as `empty calories` as they provide scant nutrients and contribute to the growing childhood obesity problem. Children who acquire the taste for junk food early are much more likely to develop weight problems in later life and suffer from early onset chronic illness.

A Natural Food Diet Reverses Disease Progression

The vast majority of children and adults eat less than a quarter of the fruits and vegetables they need to provide minimal protection against disease. Include a minimum of five and optimally ten or more servings each day of fresh vegetables and leafy greens, berries, nuts, seeds, lean protein sources and protective monounsaturated fats. Prepare foods raw or minimally cooked and avoid overheating as this quickly removes nutrients. The human body has an amazing capacity to repair and reverse the effects of a poor diet. Health conscious people view natural foods as medicine which leads to a long and healthy life.

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Childhood Weight Becomes Adult Obesity Problem

November 22, 2010

(Article first published as Childhood Obesity Doubles Adult Risk – Early Weight Loss Intervention Required on Technorati.)

Excess Weight in Early Life Linked to Adult Obesity

Excess Weight in Early Life Linked to Adult Obesity

We’ve always been told that overweight adolescents are just carrying a little ‘baby fat’ and they’ll drop the chubby appearance as they grow older and taller. While this may be true for a small number of children, the vast majorities are being placed at considerable risk for the development of serious illness in middle life and reduced life expectancy.

Children and teens naturally need additional calories and nutrition to fuel their fast paced metabolism and accelerated growth. Researchers are beginning to understand that many diseases including heart disease and cancer begin to develop decades before clinical symptoms are detected. Excess body weight in youth provides the fuel for disease progression in later life. Small changes in diet at an early age can have a significant impact on overall health and longevity.

Study Confirms Childhood Overweight Results in Adult Obesity

The results of a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association shows that nearly 40% of obese adolescents can be expected to become severely obese by the age of 30. This is compared to only 2.5% of healthy weight and slightly overweight teenagers. The study found that gender did play a role in progression to adult obesity, as 37% of males and 51% of females in the study became severely obese in adulthood.

Understanding the Cause of Childhood Obesity

Processed Food Diet is Behind the Obesity Epidemic

Processed Food Diet is Behind the Obesity Epidemic

Childhood obesity rates have doubled over the past 20 years as nearly 16% of adolescents fall into the classification. Chronic childhood health problems have also doubled to 27% in the same period. Many theories abound to explain the problem, but it’s clear that the effects of diet and the environment impact the survival genes that have evolved to keep children alive through their reproductive years. Most children eat nearly twice as many calories as they require and get considerably less exercise than earlier generations.

The Effects of Super Sizing and Fructose

Many things have changed over the past 20 years that contribute to the obesity epidemic we are faced with in our children today. None is more significant than the portion size of meals, the proliferation of processed junk foods and the mass infusion of fructose as a sweetener into many foods and drinks. All of these factors result in altered metabolism and obesity in our youth. To make matters worse, levels of physical activity have declined as kids spend less time burning calories at play.

Ending the Obesity Cycle

Kids Need More Physical Activity to Avoid Obesity

Kids Need More Physical Activity to Avoid Obesity

The latest research shows that the obesity trend will continue through 2050, peaking at 42% of all men, women and children. While these numbers are devastating, they can be reversed with a plan to prevent overweight and obesity in adolescents. Studies show that eliminating the dietary and environmental factors that lead to excess weight can prevent the onset of health conditions that will plaque children into adult life.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that a plant-based diet seems to be a sensible approach for the prevention of obesity in children. While a strict vegetarian diet may not be the answer for all children, lowering caloric intake from fast food restaurants and limiting fructose from sweetened beverages and processed foods will provide immediate results. Children can make dietary and lifestyle changes easier than adults, and just need a little parental encouragement to alter the obesity cycle, lower disease risk in later life and improve longevity.

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Cut Soda to Lose Weight, Improve Health

October 2, 2010

(Article first published as Top Tips to Lose Weight by Eliminating Soda on Technorati.)

Soda is the Leading Cause of Childhood Obesity

Soda is the Leading Cause of Obesity

Soda consumption has increased three-fold over the past half century and the addition of high fructose corn syrup in the 70’s has in large part fueled the present obesity epidemic. More than 20% of the sugar in our diet comes from sweetened beverages and nutritional researchers indicate that for every additional daily serving, the risk of obesity increases by a factor of 1.6. Drinking diet soda also hampers weight loss efforts as the artificial chemicals used to sweeten these drinks play havoc with your appetite control hormones, meaning you don’t get the signal to stop eating.

Empty Calories Drive Obesity and Disease Rates

Many Children Consume More Than 10% of Calories From Soft Drinks

Many Children Consume More Than 10% of Calories From Soft Drinks

The impact of sugary drinks and empty calories has caused more than 23 million children and adolescents to fall into the overweight or obese classification. This will have a significant impact on their future health as the risk for many chronic diseases, especially heart disease and diabetes rises dramatically with excess weight.

An article published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association concludes with the chilling statement, “High added sugar consumption which occurs most commonly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with a constellation of cardiovascular risk factors, both independently, and through the development of obesity.” You can modify the soda drinking habit for you and your family by following these health promoting tips.

Tip 1: Employ Mind Over Matter for Your Health

You have to make a firm commitment to flush sweetened and diet beverages from your diet. For many people, soda is habit forming and very difficult to eliminate from the diet. Go slowly by cutting one serving every few days until you officially kick the habit. Some research indicates that the caffeine in many soft drinks can have a mild addictive effect, so you’ll need to be strong in your resolve to cut soft drinks from your diet.

Tip 2: Make the Switch to Fresh Brewed Tea and Water

Fresh Brewed Tea is the Perfect Alternative to Soda

Fresh Brewed Tea is the Perfect Alternative to Soda

Nothing is more refreshing and thirst quenching than an ice cold glass of fresh brewed iced tea or a glass of filtered water. Stay away from pre-mixed teas and opt for brewing your own tea or make a pitcher of sun tea. You can brew black, green or white tea and add the all natural no-calorie sweetener stevia to suit your taste. Both tea and water provide essential hydration which will hold your appetite in check.

Tip 3: Keep Non-Sweetened Alternatives Handy

Make sure you always have plenty of cold alternative drinks ready to serve at a moment’s notice. One of the most appealing attributes of soda and fruit juices is that they’re readily available and provide a fast sugar rush which many people mistakenly believe results in more energy. The sugar high is temporary as blood sugar spikes out of control and drops quickly, forcing you to go for another jolt. Naturally sweetened tea and water provide essential hydration without the dangerous metabolic swing.

Empty calories from soda and fruit juice consumption account for a disproportionate number of calories consumed for many children and adults. Extensive research details the negative effects of these drinks on our long term health and increasing waistlines. You can slowly cut back and eliminate sweetened beverage by substituting healthy fresh brewed teas and water once you’ve made a permanent commitment to make the switch. Cutting these nutrient void drinks will have a lasting and beneficial effect on your health and weight loss goals.

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Low-Cal Sweeteners Assist Weight Loss Goal

July 25, 2010

(Article first published as Low-Calorie Sweeteners Key to Weight Loss, Reduced Calorie Diet on Technorati.)

Millions of Americans struggle to lose weight every day, as they desperately try to find the right key to open the door to improved health and fat reduction. This task is made even more difficult thanks to the never ending assault of glitzy junk food and fast food marketing efforts. People trying to lose weight want to make the right choices, but are persuaded otherwise by ridiculous weight reduction promises, pills and fad diets.

Low-Calorie Sweeteners Lower Total Daily Calories

Low-Calorie Sweeteners Lower Total Daily Calories

The effectiveness of low-calorie sweeteners has been questioned frequently, but the results of a study published in the journal Appetite indicate that diet aids can significantly reduce a person’s caloric intake and the tendency to overeat, thus assisting in weight loss. While there is some controversy around recommending artificial sweeteners, the all natural sugar substitute stevia receives high marks as an alternative and was found to be highly effective toward promoting weight loss in this research.

Use low-calorie sweeteners as an important tool toward your healthy weight loss goal. Any weight reduction program must incorporate a variety of lifestyle changes and proper motivation to deliver the desired end result. Start making the changes today which will burn body fat and lead to vibrant health.

Prepare Your Mind to Lose Weight

Your Mind Must Be Ready For Weight Loss

Your Mind Must Be Ready For Weight Loss

Your brain must be coordinated with your body to drop the pounds permanently. So many people think of a diet as a temporary event which has a beginning and an end, leading to ultimate failure. Your new enhanced lifestyle does have a beginning, but if you view your journey with an endpoint, forward progress will end and any lost weight will return with a few extra pounds as a survival mode warning.

Learn to Eat Better

Solid nutritional education should be a part of our childhood schooling. There’s no better time to learn the importance of food, when knowledge will assist and promote your health for the rest of your life. Childhood obesity continues to skyrocket and sadly, children are illiterate when it comes to proper, healthy diet, believing fast food and processed fare are appropriate substitutes for fresh vegetables, fruits and lean protein. Teach your child about good nutrition by example and cook most meals at home, saving dining out for special occasions.

Work It or Lose It

Weight Loss Will Ultimately Fail Without Exercise

Weight Loss Will Ultimately Fail Without Exercise

Aside from a well balanced diet, nothing is more important to your health and weight loss goal than physical activity. Exercise boosts the production of endorphins in the brain which combats depression and enhances mood and spirit. Further, exercise encourages healthy blood sugar and insulin control, lowering the risk from metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Moderate exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days a week is all you need for optimal benefit.

Start Your New Lifestyle Today

There’s no time like the present when it comes to taking charge of your life. Motivate your mind through an understanding of the importance of reducing fat and dropping weight. Your overall health, and quite possibly your life depend on adopting a reduced calorie diet with plenty of physical activity. Use all available resources such as low-calorie sweeteners and reduced calorie foods to assist in reaching your healthy weight target, and never look back!

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Top Foods That Halt Weight Loss

July 21, 2010
(Article first published as Top Foods to Kick for Weight Loss Success on Technorati.)

The rampant marketing of health destroying foods is responsible for the vast majority of overweight and obese Americans. Junk foods laced with high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and refined carbohydrates have become the core of the American diet, causing metabolic imbalance and excess fat storage around the abdomen.

The New York Times reports the results of a study from the International Journal of Obesity, indicating that obese people have rapidly declining health after the age of 40. This is based on the fact that 60% of those who were found to be obese were receiving prescription medications for a variety of conditions related to their weight.

These finding are certainly not surprising considering that obesity is directly linked to increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, stroke, dementia, certain cancers, elevated triglycerides and oxidized LDL cholesterol. While obesity threatens the health and lives of millions, there’s reason for hope.

Losing as little as 5 to 10% of total weight can reverse many of the detrimental effects of obesity and restore good health. There are a number of foods lurking in every kitchen which will derail the best weight loss efforts – avoid these foods and you’ll be well on the road to reaching your weight loss goal.

Soda and Sweetened Beverages
The number one source of excess calories, soft drinks and fruit juices are packed with nutritionless calories and high fructose corn syrup. These calories are particularly evil as they’ve been shown to encourage fat storage around the abdomen.

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcoholic beverages contain no nutrients and are high in calories. Alcohol is broken down in the liver to fatty acids which are then available for storage in the liver leading to fatty liver disease and eventually to cirrhosis.

Mayonnaise and Margarine Spreads
Spreads are another weight loss buster, loaded with trans fats created during the manufacturing process. Don’t fall for the latest marketing efforts of some manufacturers indicating their product is made with healthy Omega-3 fats. These fats are unstable once processed and of no benefit to you.

Processed Deli Meats

Deli meats are as far from a natural meat source as you can find. Aside from the fact you have no idea what ingredients are in each slice, they’re loaded with excessive amounts of sodium and cancer causing nitrites.

Sausage and Hot Dogs
Hot dogs may be an American staple, but they’re loaded with calories and along with sausage and other processed meats have been implicated with a 40% increased risk of digestive cancers. They’re inexpensive and taste great, but these meats will derail your quest for weight loss.

Salad Dressings
Most salad dressings are filled with sugar (from HFCS) and trans-fats. They’ll quickly turn a healthy salad into a caloric time bomb. Make your own salad dressing using olive oil, lemon, vinegar and spices which will enhance the natural flavor of the vegetables, rather than overpower your greens with a veil of artificial flavors.

Many people understand the importance of losing weight, evidenced by the fact that 70% are dieting at any given time. Studies confirm that obesity sharply increases disease risk and requires the use of medications in an attempt to manage pending illness. Eliminate critical ‘danger foods’ from your kitchen, and you’ll be on the path to healthy weight loss and improved quality of life.

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Weight Loss Steps to Prevent Obesity

July 20, 2010

(Article first published as Prevent Obesity, Achieve Weight Loss Success for Life on Technorati.)

Obesity Can Double the Risk of Premature Death

Obesity Can Double the Risk of Premature Death

Obesity rates continue to increase at a staggering rate, increasing the risk of heart attack, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and many cancers. In fact, obesity has surpassed smoking as the leading preventable cause of death in America. A study presented to the International Congress on Obesity reveals an even more sobering statistic – men who enter adulthood obese face a twofold increased risk of dying prematurely.

This underscores the critical importance of maintaining a healthy weight through childhood and into our teen years, as fat which is stored during the developmental years has a direct impact on our risk of illness and longevity as we phase through adulthood. Fortunately, by adopting a healthy lifestyle and weight loss program, we can reverse the risks which lead to an early demise, and avoid becoming a grim statistic.

Phase 1: Educate Children from an Early Age

Children Must Learn Healthy Eating Habits

Children Must Learn Healthy Eating Habits

Information from this study makes it clear that the growing epidemic of overweight and obese children is leading to a shortened lifespan for our next generation. This problem is simply rooted in poor diet and lifestyle, as children are being raised with the notion that fast food through a drive thru window, sweetened beverages and sugary snacks make up a healthy diet.

The average family eats 4 or more times a week at a fast food restaurant, in many cases consuming more than twice the calories they should for a single meal. Couple this high calorie, low nutrition eating style with virtually no physical activity, and you have the recipe for a health disaster.

Children need to be educated on how to eat healthy and stay active in much the same way as they are taught to read. This class must be taught at home. A child’s mind is pliable, and adopting a diet of nutritionally balanced, reduced calorie meals prepared at home will become a life skill they’ll retain as they get older. Reserve dining out for special occasions only, allowing you to control meal ingredients and portion sizes. Limit television and video games while encouraging regular physical activity.

Phase 2: Use Motivation to Solidify Your New Lifestyle

Motivation is Key to Permanent Weight Loss

Motivation is Key to Permanent Weight Loss

In order to hit your ideal weight loss goal, you need to master the mechanics of proper weight management. The tools are provided by eating a nutritionally balanced, calorie restricted diet with no junk food and participating in a regular exercise regimen. Beyond the basics, you also need to reward yourself for your accomplishments, and this requires motivation, driven by the knowledge that you’re working to improve the quality and length of your life.

The best motivation is to track your progress. Keep a daily record of the foods you eat, carefully recording portion sizes, total calories and weigh food when applicable. When you estimate portions, you set yourself up for failure. Finally, weight yourself using a digital scale no more than twice each week, keeping a log of how you’re proceeding toward your weight loss goal. Remember, the excess weight didn’t suddenly appear overnight, and losing those extra pounds will take some time and effort.

Weight loss can be a matter of increased lifespan for many overweight and obese people. Depending on the amount of weight you need to lose, and when in life those extra pounds appeared, you may be able to make a significant impact on how long you live. Diet and exercise are important components to achieve your weight loss goal, and harnessing your psyche provides the necessary motivation to experience enhanced quality of life for many years to come.

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Obesity Leads to Premature Death, Achieve Weight Loss Success for Life

July 20, 2010
(Article first published as Prevent Obesity, Achieve Weight Loss Success for Life on Technorati.)

Obesity rates continue to increase at a staggering rate, increasing the risk of heart attack, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and many cancers. In fact, obesity has surpassed smoking as the leading preventable cause of death in America. A study presented to the International Congress on Obesity reveals an even more sobering statistic – men who enter adulthood obese face a twofold increased risk of dying prematurely.

This underscores the critical importance of maintaining a healthy weight through childhood and into our teen years, as fat which is stored during the developmental years has a direct impact on our risk of illness and longevity as we phase through adulthood. Fortunately, by adopting a healthy lifestyle and weight loss program, we can reverse the risks which lead to an early demise, and avoid becoming a grim statistic.

Phase 1: Educate Children from an Early Age

Information from this study makes it clear that the growing epidemic of overweight and obese children is leading to a shortened lifespan for our next generation. This problem is simply rooted in poor diet and lifestyle, as children are being raised with the notion that fast food through a drive thru window, sweetened beverages and sugary snacks make up a healthy diet.

The average family eats 4 or more times a week at a fast food restaurant, in many cases consuming more than twice the calories they should for a single meal. Couple this high calorie, low nutrition eating style with virtually no physical activity, and you have the recipe for a health disaster.

Children need to be educated on how to eat healthy and stay active in much the same way as they are taught to read. This class must be taught at home. A child’s mind is pliable, and adopting a diet of nutritionally balanced, reduced calorie meals prepared at home will become a life skill they’ll retain as they get older. Reserve dining out for special occasions only, allowing you to control meal ingredients and portion sizes. Limit television and video games while encouraging regular physical activity.

Phase 2: Use Motivation to Solidify Your New Lifestyle

In order to hit your ideal weight loss goal, you need to master the mechanics of proper weight management. The tools are provided by eating a nutritionally balanced, calorie restricted diet with no junk food and participating in a regular exercise regimen. Beyond the basics, you also need to reward yourself for your accomplishments, and this requires motivation, driven by the knowledge that you’re working to improve the quality and length of your life.

The best motivation is to track your progress. Keep a daily record of the foods you eat, carefully recording portion sizes, total calories and weigh food when applicable. When you estimate portions, you set yourself up for failure. Finally, weight yourself using a digital scale no more than twice each week, keeping a log of how you’re proceeding toward your weight loss goal. Remember, the excess weight didn’t suddenly appear overnight, and losing those extra pounds will take some time and effort.

Weight loss can be a matter of increased lifespan for many overweight and obese people. Depending on the amount of weight you need to lose, and when in life those extra pounds appeared, you may be able to make a significant impact on how long you live. Diet and exercise are important components to achieve your weight loss goal, and harnessing your psyche provides the necessary motivation to experience enhanced quality of life for many years to come.