Tag Archives: Obesity

U.S. Department of Agriculture ‘School Wellness’ guidelines

1 Mar

Moi has been following the school vending machine issue for a while. In Government is trying to control the vending machine choices of children, moi wrote:
The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. In order to accomplish this goal, all children must receive a good basic education and in order to achieve that goal, children must arrive at school, ready to learn. Ron Nixon reports in the New York Times article, New Guidelines Planned on School Vending Machines about the attempt to legislate healthier eating habits. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/21/us/politics/new-rules-planned-on-school-vending-machines.html?_r=1&hpw
There are studies about the effect of vending machine snacking and childhood obesity.

Katy Waldman wrote the Slate article, Do Vending Machines Affect Student Obesity?

Despite all the recent handwringing (even pearl clutching) over junk food in schools, a study out this month in the quarterly Sociology of Education found no link between student obesity rates and the school-wide sale of candy, chips, or sugary soda. The finding undermines efforts by policy makers to trim kids’ waistlines by banning snacks from the classroom. And it must taste odd to the many doctors and scientists who see vending machines as accessories in the childhood obesity epidemic.
The study followed 19,450 fifth graders of both sexes for four years. At the beginning, 59 percent of the students went to schools that sold “competitive foods”—that is, non-cafeteria fare not reimbursable through federal meal programs. CFs tend to have higher sugar or fat content and lower nutritional value (think the indulgences at the top of the food pyramid, like Coke and Oreos). By the time the students reached eighth grade, 86 percent of them attended schools that sold competitive foods. The researchers, led by Pennsylvania State University’s Jennifer Van Hook, then compared body mass indexes from the 19,450 students, including those who’d spent all four years in junk food-free environments, those who’d left such schools for vending machine-friendly ones, those who’d transferred from vending machine-friendly schools to junk food-free schools, and those who enjoyed access to vending machines for all four years. Regardless of which data sets they contrasted, the researchers were unable to find any sort of connection between obesity and the availability of “unhealthy” snacks in school. In other words, children who could theoretically grab a Snickers bar after class every day for four years were, on average, no heavier than those who couldn’t.
While Van Hook speculated to the New York Times that the findings reflect our tendency to “establish food preferences… early in life,” she also noted in her paper that middle schoolers’ regimented schedules could prevent them from doing much unsupervised eating. (I guess that means that the students didn’t have time to utilize the junk food options they had, which is an issue for another day). In any case, the takeaway is clear. You can’t solve childhood obesity by outlawing vending machines. The obesity epidemic (if it is one) depends on a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors. Maybe a full-court press of school regulations plus zoning laws that encourage supermarkets to come to poor neighborhoods plus government subsidies for fruits and veggies plus crackdowns on fast food advertising plus fifty other adjustments would begin to make a dent in the problem. (Maybe a saner cultural attitude towards food, weight, and looks in general would also help). http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/01/24/junk_food_in_school_do_vending_machines_make_kids_fat_.html

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/government-is-trying-to-control-the-vending-machine-choices-of-children/
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been studying the issue of snacks in schools.

Maria Godoy of NPR reported in the article, New Rules Would Curb How Kids Are Sold Junk Food At School:

If you want to teach kids to adopt healthier eating habits, it’s probably unwise to give them coupons for fast food chains at school.
And those advertisements for sugary sodas on the gymnasium scoreboard? Seems like another mixed message schools are sending kids.
That’s why the White House and U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed new school wellness guidelines Tuesday aimed at cracking down on the widespread marketing of less-than-nutritious foods to kids on campus during the school day. Even though 90 percent of school districts are now meeting the overhauled nutrition standards for school lunches, students are still being flooded with advertising for junk food in schools, according to first lady Michelle Obama.
“The idea here is simple: Our classrooms should be healthy places where kids aren’t bombarded with ads for junk food,” said Obama, who joined USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to announce the guidelines. “Because when parents are working hard to teach their kids healthy habits at home, their work shouldn’t be undone by unhealthy messages at school,” she added in a statement….
Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of elementary-school kids receive coupons for fast food at school through programs such as Pizza Hut’s Book It! Program, which uses pizza as a reading incentive, according to a study published last month in JAMA Pediatrics.
The proposed rules would limit such exposure by allowing only ads and marketing in schools for foods that meet the Smart Snacks in Schools nutrition guidelines. Those standards, which are set to go in effect in the 2014-2015 school year, stem from the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. They aim to boost the healthfulness of foods sold through vending machines, snack bars and a la carte in cafeterias.
Under the stricter guidelines, vending machines branded with images of Coke or Pepsi’s sugar-sweetened sodas would no longer be allowed in schools. Same goes for branding for sugary drinks and snacks on posters and cups.
The snack rules set limits for how much fat, sugar and sodium snacks can contain. But they only apply during the school day. So foods sold at after-school games, for instance, are exempt.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/25/282507974/new-rules-would-curb-how-kids-are-sold-junk-food-at-school?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=share&utm_campaign=
https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2014-04100.pdf

Here is the press release from the USDA:

Team Nutrition
Local School Wellness Policy
Last Modified: 02/27/2014
Each local educational agency that participates in the National School Lunch Program or other federal Child Nutrition programs is required by federal law to establish a local school wellness policy for all schools under its jurisdiction.
Local wellness policies are an important tool for parents, local educational agencies (LEAs) and school districts in promoting student wellness, preventing and reducing childhood obesity, and providing assurance that school meal nutrition guidelines meet the minimum federal school meal standards.
Wellness Policy – Helpful Links
Proposed Rule
http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/local-school-wellness-policy

Requirements http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/local-school-wellness-policy-requirements

Technical Assistance
http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/local-school-wellness-policy-workgroup-and-guidance

Local Process http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/local-process-how-develop-implement-and-evaluate-wellness-policy

Tools & Resources http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/implementation-tools-and-resources
Monitoring http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/local-school-wellness-policy-administrative-review-process

Funding a Wellness Policy
http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/funding-local-school-wellness-policy

Background
Congress recognizes that schools play a critical role in promoting student health, preventing childhood obesity, and combating problems associated with poor nutrition and physical inactivity. In 2004, Congress passed the Child Nutrition and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Reauthorization Act (Sec. 204 of Public Law 108-205). This act required by law that all LEAs participating in the National School Lunch Program or other child nutrition programs create local school wellness policies by School Year 2006. The legislation places the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each LEA can be addressed.
In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Sec. 204 of Public Law 111-296), and added new provisions for local school wellness policies related to implementation, evaluation, and publicly reporting on progress of local school wellness policies.
On February 26, the proposed rule for wellness policies was published in the Federal Register. Read more about it and comment before the public comment period closes on April 28, 2014.
Implementation Timeline
 As of School Year 2006-2007, all districts were required to establish a local school wellness policy.
 For School Year 2013-2014, LEAs are encouraged to continue reviewing and assessing their local wellness policies and implementing the new requirements. State agencies will be selecting between two options for the Administrative Review, and LEAs will be held accountable for local school wellness policy implementation, assessment, and public updates.
This portion of our site will continue to be updated to reflect the requirements of the 2010 law.

The issue of childhood obesity is complicated and there are probably many factors. If a child’s family does not model healthy eating habits, it probably will be difficult to change the food preferences of the child. Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Related:

University of Illinois Chicago study: Laws reducing availability of snacks are decreasing childhood obesity https://drwilda.com/2012/08/13/university-of-illinois-chicago-study-laws-reducing-availability-of-snacks-are-decreasing-childhood-obesity/

New emphasis on obesity: Possible unintended consequences, eating disorders
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/new-emphasis-on-obesity-possible-unintended-consequences-eating-disorders/

Childhood obesity: Recess is being cut in low-income schools
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/childhood-obesity-recess-is-being-cut-in-low-income-schools/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Even when food comes to food deserts, lifestyle reigns

10 Feb

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART which is actually an update. Moi wrote in ‘Food deserts’: Just how much does personal choice have to do with it?
The Seattle Times published an opinion piece, Op-ed: Bringing relief to food deserts in King County by Anne Vernez Moudon and Adam Drewnowski:

City and county leaders should take more aggressive action to bring relief to food deserts with aggressive development policies and incentives, according to guest columnists Anne Vernez Moudon and Adam Drewnowski. http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2019699347_moudondrewnowskiopedxml.html

Here is the definition of a “food desert”:

Definition for food desert:Web definitions: A food desert is a district with little or no access to foods needed to maintain a healthy diet but often served by plenty of fast food… en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_desert

That got moi thinking whether the issue isn’t as much personal choice as “food dessert.”

First, there is the New York Times article, Studies Question the Pairing of Food Deserts and Obesity by Gina Kolata:

It has become an article of faith among some policy makers and advocates, including Michelle Obama, that poor urban neighborhoods are food deserts, bereft of fresh fruits and vegetables.
But two new studies have found something unexpected. Such neighborhoods not only have more fast food restaurants and convenience stores than more affluent ones, but more grocery stores, supermarkets and full-service restaurants, too. And there is no relationship between the type of food being sold in a neighborhood and obesity among its children and adolescents.
Within a couple of miles of almost any urban neighborhood, “you can get basically any type of food,” said Roland Sturm of the RAND Corporation, lead author of one of the studies. “Maybe we should call it a food swamp rather than a desert,” he said.
Some experts say these new findings raise questions about the effectiveness of efforts to combat the obesity epidemic simply by improving access to healthy foods. Despite campaigns to get Americans to exercise more and eat healthier foods, obesity rates have not budged over the past decade, according to recently released federal data.
“It is always easy to advocate for more grocery stores,” said Kelly D. Brownell, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, who was not involved in the studies. “But if you are looking for what you hope will change obesity, healthy food access is probably just wishful thinking.”
Advocates have long called for more supermarkets in poor neighborhoods and questioned the quality of the food that is available. And Mrs. Obama has made elimination of food deserts an element of her broader campaign against childhood obesity, Let’s Move, winning praise from Democrats and even some Republicans, and denunciations from conservative commentators and bloggers who have cited it as yet another example of the nanny state….
Some researchers and advocates say that further investigation is still needed on whether grocery stores and chain supermarkets in poor neighborhoods are selling produce that is too costly and of poor quality. “Not all grocery stores are equal,” said John Weidman, deputy executive director of the Food Trust, an advocacy group in Philadelphia. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/health/research/pairing-of-food-deserts-and-obesity-challenged-in-studies.html?_r=0

http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/tag/op-ed-bringing-relief-to-food-deserts-in-king-county/
Well duh, it appears that lifestyle choice has a great deal to do with good food choices.

Patti Neighmond reported in the NPR story, It Takes More Than A Produce Aisle To Refresh A Food Desert:

In inner cities and poor rural areas across the country, public health advocates have been working hard to turn around food deserts — neighborhoods where fresh produce is scarce, and greasy fast food abounds. In many cases, they’re converting dingy, cramped corner markets into lighter, brighter venues that offer fresh fruits and vegetables. In some cases, they’re building brand new stores.
“The presumption is, if you build a store, people are going to come,” says Stephen Matthews, professor in the departments of sociology, anthropology and demography at Penn State University. To check that notion, he and colleagues from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine recently surveyed residents of one low-income community in Philadelphia before and after the opening of a glistening new supermarket brimming with fresh produce.
What they’re finding, Matthews says, is a bit surprising: “We don’t find any difference at all. … We see no effect of the store on fruit and vegetable consumption.”
Now, to be fair, the time was short. The store was only open for six months before residents were surveyed. Matthews says most residents knew that the store was there and that it offered healthy food. But only 26 percent said it was their regular “go to” market. And, as might be expected, those who lived close to the store shopped there most regularly.
Matthews says the findings dovetail with other work, and simply point to the obvious: Lots more intervention is needed to change behavior. For one thing, we’re all used to routine, and many of us will just keep shopping where we’ve been shopping, even if a newer, more convenient and bountiful store moves in.
But more than that, he says, many people, particularly in low-income food deserts, just aren’t used to buying or preparing healthy meals — they haven’t had the opportunity, until now.
Alex Ortega, a public health researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, agrees that providing access to nutritious food is only the first step.
“The next part of the intervention is to create demand,” he says, “so the community wants to come to the store and buy healthy fruits and vegetables and go home and prepare those foods in a healthy way, without lots of fat, salt or sugar.”
Ortega directs a UCLA project that converts corner stores into hubs of healthy fare in low-income neighborhoods of East Los Angeles. He and colleagues work with community leaders and local high school students to help create that demand for nutritious food. Posters and signs promoting fresh fruits and vegetables hang in corner stores, such as the Euclid Market in Boyle Heights, and at bus stops. There are nutrition education classes in local schools, and cooking classes in the stores themselves….
The jury’s still out on whether these conversions of corner stores are actually changing people’s diets and health. The evidence is still being collected. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/10/273046077/takes-more-than-a-produce-aisle-to-refresh-a-food-desert

In other words, much of the obesity problem is due to personal life style choices and the question is whether government can or should regulate those choices.

Personal Responsibility:
There is only one person responsible for your life and the vocation you have chosen. That person is the one you see in the mirror in the morning when you wake up. Don’t blame God, your boss, your parents, your former teachers, your coach, your co-workers or your dog. You and only you are responsible for your work life and what you have achieved. The sooner you accept this notion, the sooner you will begin to make changes that lead to a happier and more productive life and career. http://www.corethemes.com/coreconcepts/

It’s all about ME unless I have to take responsibility for ME. The same brilliant minds who think the government can substitute for family have fostered a single parenthood rate of 70% in the African-American community and about 50% for the population as a whole. Given the child abuse and foster care numbers, this plan hasn’t worked well. Sometimes folks have to be responsible for their choices.

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART ©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
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Harvard study: More children showing signs of adult illnesses like hypertension

16 Jul

Moi wrote in Study: Parental education reduces childhood obesity, but more physical activity may be needed:
The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. In order to accomplish this goal, all children must receive a good basic education and in order to achieve that goal, children must arrive at school, ready to learn. There is an epidemic of childhood obesity and obesity is often prevalent among poor children. The American Heart Association has some great information about Physical Activity and Children http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Physical-Activity-and-Children_UCM_304053_Article.jsp#.TummU1bfW-c
Because many children are obese, they are at increased risk of adult diseases.

Alexandra Sifferlin reports in the Time article, Sick Before Their Time: More Kids Diagnosed With Adult Diseases:

Diabetes, obesity and elevated blood pressure typically emerge in middle-age, but more young children are showing signs of chronic conditions that may take a toll on their health.
The latest report on the trend, from researchers at Harvard Medical School found that children and adolescents are increasingly suffering from elevated blood pressure. Published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, the study showed a 27% increase in the proportion of children aged 8 years to 17 years with elevated blood pressure over a thirteen-year period.
The scientists compared over 3,200 children involved in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III in 1988-1994 to over 8,300 who participated in NHANES in 1999-2008. The national survey records health, eating and lifestyle behaviors of the volunteers. More kids in the recent survey were overweight, with larger waistlines than those in the previous cohort. And the children with body mass index (BMI) readings in the top 25% of their age group were two times more likely to have elevated blood pressure than the kids in the bottom 25%.
The kids did not have diagnosed hypertension, which requires a threshold of 140 -90, but elevated blood pressure — anything above 120-80 — at such young ages could prime them for hypertension later. “High blood pressure is dangerous in part because many people don’t know they have it,” said lead study author Bernard Rosner, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in a statement.
The results are only the latest to reveal the first signs of chronic conditions that normally don’t occur until middle-age, in children and teens.
http://healthland.time.com/2013/07/16/sick-before-their-time-more-kids-diagnosed-with-adult-diseases/#ixzz2ZHXGtise

Citation:

Childhood Blood Pressure Trends and Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure
The NHANES Experience 1988–2008
1.Bernard Rosner,
2.Nancy R. Cook,
3.Stephen Daniels,
4.Bonita Falkner
+ Author Affiliations
1.From the Childhood Blood Pressure Trends and Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure, Boston, MA; Professor and Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora CO (S.D.); and Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA (B.F.).
1.Correspondence to Bernard Rosner, Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, 181 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail stbar@channing.harvard.edu
Abstract
The obesity epidemic in children makes it plausible that prevalence rates of elevated blood pressure (BP) are increasing over time. Yet, previous literature is inconsistent because of small sample sizes. Also, it is unclear whether adjusting for risk factors can explain longitudinal trends in prevalence of elevated BP. Thus, we analyzed a population-based sample of 3248 children in National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III (1988–1994) and 8388 children in continuous NHANES (1999–2008), aged 8 to 17 years. Our main outcome measure was elevated BP (systolic BP or diastolic BP ≥90th percentile or systolic BP/diastolic BP ≥120/80 mm Hg). We found that the prevalence of elevated BP increased from NHANES III to NHANES 1999–2008 (Boys: 15.8% to 19.2%, P=0.057; Girls: 8.2% to 12.6%, P=0.007). Body mass index (Q4 versus Q1; odds ratio=2.00; P<0.001), waist circumference (Q4 versus Q1; odds ratio=2.14; P<0.001), and sodium (Na) intake (≥3450 mg versus <2300 mg/2000 calories; odds ratio=1.36; P=0.024) were independently associated with prevalence of elevated BP. Also, mean systolic BP, but not diastolic BP, was associated with increased Na intake in children (quintile 5 [Q5] versus quintile 1 [Q1] of Na intake; β=1.25±0.58; P=0.034). In conclusion, we demonstrate an association between high Na intake and elevated BP in children. After adjustment for age, sex, race/ethnicity, body mass index, waist circumference, and sodium intake, odds ratio for elevated BP in NHANES 1999–2008 versus NHANES III=1.27, P=0.069.
Key Words:
blood pressure
body mass index
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
nutrition surveys
pediatrics
sodium
waist circumference
Received December 10, 2012.
Revision received January 8, 2013.
Accepted May 13, 2013.
© 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.

The issue of childhood obesity is complicated and there are probably many factors. If a child’s family does not model healthy eating habits, it probably will be difficult to change the food preferences of the child. Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Related:

University of Illinois Chicago study: Laws reducing availability of snacks are decreasing childhood obesity
https://drwilda.com/2012/08/13/university-of-illinois-chicago-study-laws-reducing-availability-of-snacks-are-decreasing-childhood-obesity/

New emphasis on obesity: Possible unintended consequences, eating disorders https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/new-emphasis-on-obesity-possible-unintended-consequences-eating-disorders/

Childhood obesity: Recess is being cut in low-income schools
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/childhood-obesity-recess-is-being-cut-in-low-income-schools/

Where information leads to Hope. ©   Dr. Wilda.com
Dr. Wilda says this about that
Blogs by Dr. Wilda:
COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART (c) http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/
Dr. Wilda ©  
https://drwilda.com/

Is Aspartame in milk given to children a good idea?

12 Mar

Moi wrote in New emphasis on obesity: Possible unintended consequences, eating disorders:

The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is reporting in the study, School Obesity Programs May Promote Worrisome Eating Behaviors and Physical Activity in Children:

Report Highlights

82% of parents report at least one school-based intervention aimed at preventing childhood obesity within their children’s schools.

30% of parents of children age 6-14 report worrisome eating behaviors and physical activity in their children.

7% of parents say that their children have been made to feel bad at school about what or how much they were eating.

B.A. Birch reports about the Mott study in the Education News article, Report: School Food Programs Could Trigger Eating Disorders:

David Rosen, a professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, said:

We have to be really careful that we’re not putting things out there, particularly to younger kids, that might be misinterpreted, not be given appropriate supervision, and being done in ways that kids can, or some kids, can go off in dangerous directions and have bad outcomes.”

Rosen believes it is important that parents talk to their children about what they’re being told at the schools and to keep an eye out for worrying behavior.

Parents need to know what’s going on in school. They need to be able to talk with their kids about the information they’re getting in schools, be attentive to any changes they’re seeing in their kids, particularly if those behaviors seem to persist or seem to be getting worse.

We think the parents ought to be talking to schools about this kind of education.”

The schools must also take responsibility, says Rosen. Officials should pay attention to the outcomes of their programs. http://www.educationnews.org/k-12-schools/report-school-food-programs-could-trigger-eating-disorders/

The key is moderation in both eating habits and exercise. The latest battle in the obesity fight in the school lunch program centers on adding Aspartame to milk consumed by children.

Allison Aubrey reports in the NPR article, Can Milk Sweetened With Aspartame Still Be Called Milk?

The dairy industry has a problem. Despite studies demonstrating milk’s nutritional benefits, people are drinking less and less of it.

Even children are increasingly opting for water or other low-cal options — including diet soda and artificially sweetened sports drinks.

So how can milk — especially school kids’ favorite, chocolate milk — compete in the low-cal arena? The dairy industry has a strategy: Swap the sugar that’s added to flavored milks for a zero-calorie sweetener such as aspartame (or other options such as plant-based stevia).

Now, in order to pull this off, the dairy industry has some regulatory hoops to jump through. Currently, if dairy producers want to add an artificial or no-cal sweetener, the resulting beverage is no longer allowed to be called milk (it wouldn’t meet the FDA’s technical definition of milk).

So the dairy industry is petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to change the standard of what qualifies as milk. The industry wants the iconic MILK label to remain on the front of the package, without any mention of the reduced calories — or the added artificial sweeteners (at least, not on the front label). And the FDA has opened up this petition for public comment.

“Kids don’t like the term ‘low-calorie,’ ” says Greg Miller of the National Dairy Council. “It’s a turnoff.”

Some school districts have banned flavored milk because of the high-calorie content. And some studies suggest that when you take chocolate milk out of schools, consumption of milk declines. During a phone interview, Miller told The Salt that the industry’s petition is aimed at offering school districts a lower-calorie milk option that kids will actually want to drink.

Miller says the petition does not seek to change existing regulations that require added sweeteners (such as aspartame or stevia) to be named in the list of ingredients — usually found on the back of a container.

“We are not trying to be sneaky,” Miller says.

But so far, lots of folks seem skeptical of the plan.

More than 90,000 people have joined a new online petition organized by SumOfUs.org, a consumer advocacy group, opposing the dairy industry’s petition.

And nutrition experts are weighing in, too, including Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who has studied the links between sugary drinks and obesity. If the goal is to reduce the amount of calories that kids get from sweetened beverages, then removing sugar from flavored milk is one option, he says.

“If the option is flavored (milk) with diet (sweetener) vs. regular sugar, then diet (sweetener) is favored,” he wrote to us in an email.

But he says there’s no evidence that kids need flavored milk, such as chocolate milk. “It has not been shown to increase milk intake,” he says. The dairy industry disagrees.

And the dairy industry’s petition is also facing opposition from school food advocates.

“I think it’s unconscionable,” says school chef Ann Cooper, who’s been working to reform the way kids eat at school. She argues that parents and students will have a hard time discerning what’s in the milk. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/03/06/173618723/can-milk-sweetened-with-aspartame-still-be-called-milk

The effects of Aspartame on children has been studied.

For a concise description of Aspartame’s effects on children, see Cydney Walker’s Livestrong article, The Effects of Aspartame on Kids:

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that has been implicated in causing health problems since its use in processed foods and medications. It is made from two naturally occuring amino acids, L-phenylalanine and L-aspartic acid; when combined, it provides a sweetness that is 200 times greater than regular sugar, as stated by Aspartame Information Center. Testing was performed on the sweetener and the Food and Drug Administration provided the sweetener with the title of GRAS, generally recognized as safe.

Agression

The Aspartame Information Center states to date, no studies have shown conclusive evidence that aspartame causes aggressive behavior in children. Dr. Paul, a pediatrician, states that in small amounts found in medication, aspartame is safe for children. Drinking diet drinks is not considered safe as the amount of aspartame consumed by a small child is twice the recommended amount.

Brain Tumors

Aspartame has been stated to cause brain tumors in monkeys used to test the safety of the artificial sweetener. Osteopathic physician Dr. Mercola states that long-term use of phenylalanine products increases byproduct of diketopiperazine. This chemical is made by your body when metabolizing aspartame into the respective amino acids and formaldehyde. Diketopiperazine is a cause for concern because this chemical is implicated in causing brain tumors, especially when consumed from liquid products. Liquids that contain aspartame that are stored for long periods can have an increase in diketopiperazine levels. James Gurney, a researcher investigating brain tumor incidence, states brain tumors in both children and adults have increased since the release of aspartame in the 1980s, but concludes after review of multiple studies that the occurrence of brain tumors caused by aspartame is unlikely. When consumed in moderation, aspartame doesn’t pose a threat to the development of brain tumors in children.

Nerve Cell Death

Excitotoxins are chemicals that stimulate your nerve cells to fire continuously, and can cause premature death. Aspartic acid found in aspartame turns into a nerve cell stimulator with glutamic acid that is circulating around the blood. According to Dr. Mercola, 75 percent of the neurons are killed before chronic disease is noticed and diagnosed. This is critical for children because the blood brain barrier that usually protects an adult brain from exocitoxins is not developed enough in children. Higher levels of glutamate and aspartic acid in children’s brains could lead to heightened brain activity in children, thus causing behavioral problems.

Depression

Phenylalanine is the other component of aspartame that may predispose children to mood disorders. Phenylalanine accumulates in the blood of persons without phenylketonuria, which is a genetic disorder where phenylalaine isn’t broken down and collects in the brain. According to Dr. Mercola, phenylalanine, when combined with carbohydrates, can increases the blood and brain levels of the amino acid in persons without phenylketonuria. Increased phenylalanine levels interupt serotonin levels, causing depression.

For reliable and official information about aspartame www.Aspartame.net

http://www.livestrong.com/article/343251-the-effects-of-aspartame-on-kids/

Resources:

Aspartame withdrawal and side effects explained – Here’s how to protect yourself
http://www.naturalnews.com/035126_aspartame_side_effects_withdrawal.html#ixzz2NJ1PaBZ4

The History of Aspartame http://leda.law.harvard.edu/leda/data/244/Nill,_Ashley_-_The_History_of_Aspartame.html

Clearly the scope of the science is outside moi’s expertise, but she has a strong caution against allowing this additive to milk consumed by children. There are some big $$$ interests and those who want children to consume HEALTHY FOOD will have to remain vigilant.

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Report: Obesity is a public health issue

6 Jun

The recent “Weight of the Nation” conference focused on the public health aspects of obesity. Obesity is an important issue for schools because many children are obese and aside from health risks, these children are often targets for bullying. In Childhood obesity: Recess is being cut in low-income schools moi said:

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. In order to accomplish this goal, all children must receive a good basic education and in order to achieve that goal, children must arrive at school, ready to learn. There is an epidemic of childhood obesity and obesity is often prevalent among poor children. The American Heart Association has some great information about Physical Activity and Children                                                                                        http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Physical-Activity-and-Children_UCM_304053_Article.jsp#.TummU1bfW-c

Unfortunately, many low-income children are having access to physical activities at school reduced because of the current recession.

Sandy Slater is reporting in the Education Nation article, Low-Income Schools Are Less Likely to Have Daily Recess

Here’s what we know:

Children aged six to 17 should get at least one hour of daily physical activity, yet less than half of kids aged six to 11 get that much exercise. And as kids get older, they’re even less active.

The National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends that elementary school students get an average of 50 minutes of activity each school day – at least 150 minutes of PE per week and 20 minutes of daily recess.

• Kids who are more active perform better academically.

As a researcher and a parent, I’m very interested in improving our understanding of how school policies and practices impact kids’ opportunities to be active at school. My colleagues and I recently conducted a study to examine the impact of state laws and school district policies on PE and recess in public elementary schools across the country.

During the 2006 to 2007 and 2008 to 2009 school years, we received surveys from 1,761 school principals in 47 states. We found:

On average, less than one in five schools offered 150 minutes of PE per week.

Schools in states with policies that encouraged daily recess were more likely to offer third grade students the recommended 20 minutes of recess daily.

Schools serving more children at highest risk for obesity (i.e. black and Latino children and those from lower-income families) were less likely to have daily recess than were schools serving predominantly white students and higher-income students.

Schools that offered 150 minutes of weekly PE were less likely also to offer 20 minutes of daily recess, and vice versa. This suggests that schools are substituting one opportunity for another instead of providing the recommended amount of both.

Schools with a longer day were more likely to meet the national recommendations for both PE and recess.

http://www.educationnation.com/index.cfm?objectid=ACF23D1E-229A-11E1-A9BF000C296BA163&aka=0

The gap between the wealthiest and the majority is society is also showing up in education opportunities and access to basic health care. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/childhood-obesity-recess-is-being-cut-in-low-income-schools/

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Weight of the Nation” conference was held in May and it focused upon the public health aspects of obesity. Here is an excerpt from the press release for the conference report:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

IOM Report Identifies Key Obesity-Prevention Strategies to Scale Back ‘Weight of the Nation’

WASHINGTON (May 8, 2012) — America’s progress in arresting its obesity epidemic has been too slow, and the condition continues to erode productivity and cause millions to suffer from potentially debilitating and deadly chronic illnesses, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.  Solving this complex, stubborn problem requires a comprehensive set of solutions that work together to spur across-the-board societal change, said the committee that wrote the report.  It identifies strategies with the greatest potential to accelerate success by making healthy foods and beverages and opportunities for physical activity easy, routine, and appealing aspects of daily life.

The report, which was released today at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Weight of the Nation” conference, focuses on five critical goals for preventing obesity: integrating physical activity into people’s daily lives, making healthy food and beverage options available everywhere, transforming marketing and messages about nutrition and activity, making schools a gateway to healthy weights, and galvanizing employers and health care professionals to support healthy lifestyles. The committee assessed more than 800 obesity prevention recommendations to identify those that could work together most effectively, reinforce one another’s impact, and accelerate obesity prevention.

Specific strategies that the committee noted include requiring at least 60 minutes per day of physical education and activity in schools, industry-wide guidelines on which foods and beverages can be marketed to children and how, expansion of workplace wellness programs, taking full advantage of physicians’ roles to advocate for obesity prevention with patients and in the community, and increasing the availability of lower-calorie, healthier children’s meals in restaurants.

“As the trends show, people have a very tough time achieving healthy weights when inactive lifestyles are the norm and inexpensive, high-calorie foods and drinks are readily available 24 hours a day,” said committee chair Dan Glickman, executive director of congressional programs, Aspen Institute, Washington, D.C., and former secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture.  “Individuals and groups can’t solve this complex problem alone, and that’s why we recommend changes that can work together at the societal level and reinforce one another’s impact to speed our progress.”

The report’s proposed strategies and action steps aim to support individuals’ and families’ abilities to make healthy choices where they work, learn, eat, and play.  For example, healthy food and beverage options should be available at competitive prices everywhere that food is offered and an effort should be made to reduce unhealthy products.  Fast-food and chain restaurants could revise their recipes and menus to ensure that at least half of their children’s meals comply with federal dietary guidelines for moderately active children and charge little or no more for these options, the report says.  Shopping centers, convention centers, sports arenas, and other public venues that make meals and snacks available should offer a full variety of foods, including those recommended by the dietary guidelines.

Americans are surrounded by messaging that promotes sedentary activities and high-calorie foods and drinks, the report notes.  The food, beverage, restaurant, and media industries should step up their voluntary efforts to develop and implement common nutritional standards for marketing aimed at children and adolescents up to age 17.  Government agencies should consider setting mandatory rules if a majority of these industries have not adopted suitable standards within two years.  To increase positive messaging about physical activity and nutrition, government agencies, private organizations, and the media could work together to develop a robust and sustained social marketing campaign that encourages people to pursue healthy activities and habits….

The IOM report was sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine provides objective, evidence-based advice to policymakers, health professionals, the private sector, and the public.  The Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and National Research Council together make up the independent, nonprofit National Academies.  For more information, visit http://national-academies.org or http://iom.edu.

Contacts:

Christine Stencel, Senior Media Relations Officer

Shaquanna Shields, Media Relations Assistant

Office of News and Public Information

202-334-2138; e-mail news@nas.edu

Citation:___________________________________________________________________

Copies of Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation are available from the National Academies Press; tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu.  Additional information is available at http://www.iom.edu/AcceleratingObesityPrevention. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).

Physically fit children are not only healthier, but are better able to perform in school.

Related:

Louisiana study: Fit children score higher on standardized testshttps://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/louisiana-study-fit-children-score-higher-on-standardized-tests/

School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children                                                                https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/school-dinner-programs-trying-to-reduce-the-number-of-hungry-children/

Children, body image, bullying, and eating disorders         https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/children-body-image-bullying-and-eating-disorders/

The Healthy Schools Coalition fights for school-based efforts to combat obesity                                                                https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/the-healthy-schools-coalition-fights-for-school-based-efforts-to-combat-obesity/

Seattle Research Institute study about outside play https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/childrens-physical-activity/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

New emphasis on obesity: Possible unintended consequences, eating disorders

29 Jan

The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is reporting in the study, School Obesity Programs May Promote Worrisome Eating Behaviors and Physical Activity in Children:

Report Highlights

82% of parents report at least one school-based intervention aimed at preventing childhood obesity within their children’s schools.

30% of parents of children age 6-14 report worrisome eating behaviors and physical activity in their children.

7% of parents say that their children have been made to feel bad at school about what or how much they were eating.

B.A. Birch reports about the Mott study in the Education News article, Report: School Food Programs Could Trigger Eating Disorders:

David Rosen, a professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, said:

“We have to be really careful that we’re not putting things out there, particularly to younger kids, that might be misinterpreted, not be given appropriate supervision, and being done in ways that kids can, or some kids, can go off in dangerous directions and have bad outcomes.”

Rosen believes it is important that parents talk to their children about what they’re being told at the schools and to keep an eye out for worrying behavior.

“Parents need to know what’s going on in school. They need to be able to talk with their kids about the information they’re getting in schools, be attentive to any changes they’re seeing in their kids, particularly if those behaviors seem to persist or seem to be getting worse.

“We think the parents ought to be talking to schools about this kind of education.”

The schools must also take responsibility, says Rosen. Officials should pay attention to the outcomes of their programs.

http://www.educationnews.org/k-12-schools/report-school-food-programs-could-trigger-eating-disorders/

The key is moderation in both eating habits and exercise.

The media presents an unrealistic image of perfection for women and girls. What they don’t disclose is for many of the “super” models their only job and requirement is the maintenance of their appearance. Their income depends on looks and what they are not able to enhance with plastic surgery and personal trainers, then that cellulite can be photoshopped or airbrushed away. That is the reality. Kids Health has some good information about Body Image  Michael Levine, PhD of the National Eating Disorders Association has written, 10 Things Parents Can Do to Help Prevent Eating Disorders:

1. Consider your thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors toward your own body and the way that these beliefs have been shaped by the forces of weightism and sexism. Then educate your children about (a) the genetic basis for the natural diversity of human body shapes and sizes and (b) the nature and ugliness of prejudice.

􀁹 Make an effort to maintain positive attitudes and healthy behaviors. Children learn from the things you say and do!

2. Examine closely your dreams and goals for your children and other loved ones. Are you overemphasizing beauty and body shape, particularly for girls?

􀁹 Avoid conveying an attitude which says in effect, “I will like you more if you lose weight, don’t eat so much, look more like the slender models in ads, fit into smaller clothes, etc.”

􀁹 Decide what you can do and what you can stop doing to reduce the teasing, criticism, blaming, staring, etc. that reinforce the idea that larger or fatter is “bad” and smaller or thinner is “good.”

3. Learn about and discuss with your sons and daughters (a) the dangers of trying to alter one’s body shape through dieting, (b) the value of moderate exercise for health, and (c) the importance of eating a variety of foods in well-balanced meals consumed at least three times a day.

􀁹 Avoid categorizing and labeling foods (e.g. good/bad or safe/dangerous). All foods can be eaten in moderation.

􀁹 Be a good role model in regard to sensible eating, exercise, and self-acceptance.

4. Make a commitment not to avoid activities (such as swimming, sunbathing, dancing, etc.) simply because they call attention to your weight and shape. Refuse to wear clothes that are uncomfortable or that you don’t like but wear simply because they divert attention from your weight or shape.

5. Make a commitment to exercise for the joy of feeling your body move and grow stronger, not to purge fat from your body or to compensate for calories, power, excitement, popularity, or perfection.

6. Practice taking people seriously for what they say, feel, and do, not for how slender or “well put together” they appear.

7. Help children appreciate and resist the ways in which television, magazines, and other media distort the true diversity of human body types and imply that a slender body means power, excitement, popularity, or perfection.

8. Educate boys and girls about various forms of prejudice, including weightism, and help them understand their responsibilities for preventing them.

9. Encourage your children to be active and to enjoy what their bodies can do and feel like. Do not limit their caloric intake unless a physician requests that you do this because of a medical problem.

10. Do whatever you can to promote the self-esteem and self-respect of all of your children in intellectual, athletic, and social endeavors. Give boys and girls the same opportunities and encouragement. Be careful not to suggest that females are less important than males, e.g., by exempting males from housework or childcare. A well-rounded sense of self and solid self-esteem are perhaps the best antidotes to dieting and disordered eating. http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/nedaDir/files/documents/handouts/10Parent.pdf

Beautiful people come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. The key is to be healthy and to live a healthy lifestyle.

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

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