Tag Archives obesity

Researchers have released a study concluding that rates of childhood obesity are rising rather than declining or stabilizing as previously reported. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers reportedly found that although the prevalence of obesity has increased across all childhood age groups since 1999, “significant increases in obesity and severe obesity” have appeared in children aged two to five and adolescent females aged 16 to 19. Asheley C. Skinner, et al., “Prevalence of Obesity and Severe Obesity in US Children, 1999-2016,” Pediatrics, March 2018. The researchers reported that they observed “disconcerting” racial-ethnic differences in obesity rates, with African-Americans and Hispanics having a higher prevalence of obesity while Asian-American children had a lower prevalence in all age and sex categories. Specifically, the researchers noted “astounding” differences between Hispanic children and those of all other races, finding nearly half of all Hispanic youth overweight or obese. Researchers purportedly…

A policy report announced by Public Health England (PHE) and the U.K. Department of Health and Social Care calls on the food industry to cut calorie content of certain foods—including pizza, ready-made meals, packaged sandwiches, meat products and savory snacks—by 20 percent before 2024. The report recommends reduction of calories through product reformulation, portion-size reduction and promotion of lower-calorie products. According to PHE data released March 6, 2018, overweight children consume up to 500 excess calories per day, while overweight adults consume up to 300 excess daily calories. Along with a continuing program of salt and sugar reduction efforts, PHE also plans to launch a campaign to educate consumers on the calorie content of meals and snacks. According to the report, the U.K. National Health Service spends more than $8 million a year treating obesity-related conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and the next step will be to engage…

The University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity has released a study on TV food advertising viewed by preschoolers, children and adolescents, claiming that “food advertising exposure increased with age for both black and white youth, but black youth viewed approximately 50% or more ads than did white youth of the same age.” F. Fleming-Milici and J. L. Harris, “Television food advertising viewed by preschoolers, children and adolescents: contributors to differences in exposure for black and white youth in the United States,” Pediatric Obesity, December 2016. Based on Nielsen panel data gathered between 2008 and 2012, the study reports that “increases in food-ads-per-hour increased exposure for all youth,” but that greater TV viewing and higher rates of advertising “on youth- and black-targeted networks both contributed to black youth’s greater exposure.” “Four product categories contributed almost 60% of food ads viewed by all youth in 2012: breakfast cereals,…

The RAND Corp. has published a study claiming that “most kids’ menu items offered by the nation’s top 200 restaurant chains exceed the calorie counts recommended by nutrition experts,” according to a December 5, 2016, press release. Relying on the recommendations of 15 child nutrition experts—including Public Health Institute Advisor Lynn Silver and Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity Director Marlene Schwartz—the study authors adopted the following benchmarks: (i) a maximum of 300 calories for the main dishes in children’s meals; (ii) 100 calories for a serving of fried potatoes; (iii) 150 calories for soups, appetizers and snacks; and (iv) 150 calories for vegetables and salads that included added sauces, with the entire meal not to exceed 600 calories. The study singles out fried potatoes as the item “that most often exceeded the calorie guidelines.” As the authors conclude, “Given the high frequency of children dining away from home,…

Her Majesty’s Treasury (HM Treasury) has released the details of a proposed soft-drink levy announced during March 2016 budget talks as part of the U.K. government’s childhood obesity action plan. Slated to take effect in April 2018, the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) would affect the manufacturers of added-sugar soft drinks “with total sugar content of 5 grams or more per 100 millilitres, with a higher rate for drinks with 8 grams or more per 100 millilitres.” The levy exempts beverages with no added sugar—including 100-percent fruit juice—as well as alcohol beverages with alcohol content above 0.5-percent alcohol by volume. The SDIL would also apply to imported soft drinks. HM Treasury has requested comments on the SDIL by October 13, 2016. Among other things, the government seeks evidence and views from respondents about (i) “the types of added-sugar low alcohol products that may be captured by the levy, and the appropriate approach…

The National Academies Press (NAP) has published a report summarizing a March 2015 workshop held by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on The Interplay Between Environmental Chemical Exposures and Obesity. The report summarizes both animal model and human epidemiological studies allegedly linking exposure to environmental chemicals “to weight gain and to glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, inflammation, and other aspects of the metabolic syndrome.” It also examines the “possible biological pathways and mechanisms underlying the potential linkages.” Noting the purported efforts of so-called endocrine disruptors during prenatal and early childhood development, the report focuses on the increase in chemical production alongside obesity rates and raises questions about the metabolic effects of various substances such as “organophosphates and carbamates; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); polybrominated biphenyls and fire retardants; heavy metals; solvents; and plastics, such as phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA).” In addition, the report addresses the potential role of infectious…

At the behest of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) has issued a report examining “the approaches to data collection, analysis, and interpretation that have been used in recent reports on obesity prevalence and trends at the national, state, and local level, particularly among U.S. children, adolescents, and young adults.” Titled Assessing Prevalence and Trends in Obesity: Navigating the Evidence, the report reviews the literature to date, providing “a framework for assessing and interpreting published reports,” as well as “recommendations for improving future data collection efforts and filling data gaps.” Given the various challenges presented by data collection—such as inconsistencies among data sources; insufficient sample size; discrepancies between measured and self-reported data index; and the limitations inherent in trend estimates and interpretations—NAS offers the Assessing Prevalence and Trends (APT) Framework to help stakeholders, policymakers and other “end users” compare various studies…

A study allegedly linking prenatal bisphenol A (BPA) exposure to increased fat mass index (FMI) in children has suggested that the common plasticizer “contribute[s] to developmental origins of adiposity.” Lori A. Hoepner, et al., “Bisphenol A and Adiposity in an Inner-City Birth  Cohort,” Environmental Health Perspectives, May 2016. Using data from 369 mother-child pairs enrolled in the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health New York City birth cohort, the study authors assessed the urinary BPA of mothers during the third trimester of pregnancy and followed up with their children from birth through age 7. Their analysis purportedly shows that although “prenatal BPA concentrations were not associated with birth weight,” they were “positively associated” with FMI, body fat percentage and waist circumference (WC) at age 7 years. Upon closer examination, prenatal BPA exposure was significantly associated with increased FMI and WC in girls, but not boys. As the study further explains, “These…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced revisions to the Nutrition Facts label designed to emphasize “the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease.” In addition to highlighting calories, servings per container and serving-size declarations through a combination of increased type size and boldface, the new labels will (i) require “added sugars” in grams and as a percent daily value, (ii) require Vitamin D and potassium values, and (iii) make Vitamins A and C optional. Citing scientific research, FDA has updated several daily values and eliminated “Calories from Fat,” but increased mandatory serving sizes to better reflect food consumption data. Food packages containing one to two servings that are typically consumed in one sitting must list calories and nutritional information for the entire packaged portion. Manufacturers must also use dual-column labels for 24-ounce sodas, ice cream pints and other foods and beverages that…

New research claims that the daily consumption of artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) during pregnancy is associated with increased infant body mass index (BMI). Meghan Azad, et al., “Association Between Artificially Sweetened Beverage Consumption During Pregnancy and Infant Body Mass Index,” JAMA Pediatrics, May 2016. Using food-frequency questionnaire data from 3,033 mother-infant dyads enrolled in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study, researchers reportedly determined that, when compared to children whose mothers did not consume ASBs during pregnancy, those born to the 5.1 percent of mothers who imbibed ASBs daily were twice as likely to be overweight at age 1. “Infant birth weight was not affected, suggesting that maternal ASB consumption influenced postnatal weight gain rather than fetal growth,” explain the study authors. “These associations were independent of material BMI, diabetes, total energy intake, diet quality, and other known obesity risk factors. No comparable associations were identified for SSB [sugar-sweetened…

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