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Health leaders discuss polio, alcohol, childhood obesity at WHA

Children's Health • • ObesityMay 24 10

From the 63rd World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, the Associated Press reports on what some “describe as a new strategy to get rid of” polio that focuses on developing solutions to “problems in each country, provides more WHO monitoring, like more teleconferences, and holds governments more accountable.” The plans also provide “[n]ew [polio] outbreak response plans,” according to the AP.

Some “say there is little new [in this strategy] and that if this effort fails ... serious questions about whether to continue the campaign should be raised,” the news service reports.

“Since WHO, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and Rotary International set out to eradicate polio in 1988, they have come tantalizingly close,” the news service writes. “By 2003, cases had dropped by more than 99 percent. But progress has stalled since and several deadlines have been missed.”

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Eating well tough to do for many of Valley’s poor

Children's Health • • ObesityMay 24 10

The smaller the paycheck, the bigger the belly, say many researchers who study poverty and obesity.

It might seem like a paradox, but not having enough money for food doesn’t mean the poor are skinny. The opposite appears to be true: The lower-income are more likely to be heavy than the well-to-do.

“Obesity is an economic issue,” said Cyndi Walter, manager for the California Department of Public Health obesity-prevention program, Project LEAN. Eating well is beyond the reach of many California residents, she said.

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We all have a stake in the obesity battle

Children's Health • • ObesityMay 23 10

Does it seem to you as if the issue of childhood obesity should be solved by now with all of the national and local press coverage?

Whether it’s from a national magazine like Newsweek or our first lady Michelle Obama, this critical health challenge appears and reappears virtually every week with the same depressing statistics.

More than 20 percent of our young children are obese or overweight. One-third are not physically fit. It’s not getting better; it’s getting worse year after year. Enter SummerFest 2010! In its fifth year, SummerFest brings a funfilled day of physical activity, good food, environmental education, music and dance, gardening and health information.

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Obesity and Its Associated Heart Risks

Heart • • ObesityMay 23 10

Obesity is a disorder that is increasing in epidemic proportions, especially in the industrialized world. It’s a disorder that is defined as simply having too much body fat. Because our body is made up generally of water, fat, protein and carbohydrates, as well as a varied array of proteins, vitamins and minerals, if we have too much fat, particularly in the belly and waist area, we’re definitely at greater risk of additional health complications, which include high cholesterol levels, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes as well.

A Heightened Risk Factor For Coronary Heart Disease

Obesity is very much recognized as a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, and this can lead to a higher incidence of heart attacks too. Obesity is known to lower the good cholesterol, or HDL, and it elevates blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well. Obesity can further induce the onset of diabetes too, whether type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and also elevate the body’s blood pressure levels.

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Video Games Get AHA Seal of Approval to Combat Obesity

ObesityMay 21 10

Video games that promote physical activity can help reduce rates of obesity and heart disease, according to the American Heart Association, which will give its seal of approval to millions of Wii games.

The American Heart Association and video game manufacturer Nintendo last week announced a new alliance in which the AHA will give its seal of approval to numerous Wii games that promote physical activity.

Although experts recommend traditional fitness activities, such as jogging, dancing or swimming, to boost heart health and keep off the extra pounds, children and adults in America are increasingly sedentary and obesity rates continue to rise. The Association hopes that by giving the thumbs up to Wii games that require players to get moving, couch potatoes will take the first step toward becoming more physically active, reducing the rate of heart disease.

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County slims down as obesity numbers drop below national average

Obesity • • Public HealthMay 21 10

THE county’s weight problem is widely documented, but people in Lincolnshire now appear to be slimming down.

Latest statistics released by the Department of Health state that, at the end of the 2009-10 financial year, 33.9 per cent of Lincolnshire people were registered with their GP as being obese, compared with an English average of 34.6 per cent.

Although this means a third of people aged 16 and over in Lincolnshire have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more and therefore are clinically obese, it also demonstrates that we are making steps in the right direction.

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Do Farm Subsidies Cause Obesity?

ObesityMay 21 10

Picking up the story, recall that I was invited to testify before the House Agriculture Committee on May 13, to share my views on new farm legislation for 2012. I was expecting a frosty reception, since I have expressed some disparaging views of farm subsidies, and also of the House and Senate agriculture committees, in my newest book. Yet the hearing took a surprising turn. The Committee wasn’t that interested in my views on farm subsidies (they have well established views of their own). Instead they wanted to talk about obesity.

In both my written testimony and in my oral statement I bravely repeated my view that farm bills were too wasteful of taxpayer money, thanks in part to the “logroll” tactics used by the House Agriculture committee. When I was asked by a senior member what I thought the chances were that this tactic could work again in 2012, I said “100 percent.” He said he “took it as a personal compliment” that I had noticed and remarked on the success of this strategy.

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New report from Childhood Obesity Task Force has something for everyone

Children's Health • • ObesityMay 21 10

Michelle Obama’s Presidential Task Force on Childhood Obesity released its findings yesterday. It’s encyclopedic in scope and has something for everyone—from school lunch, to sugar taxes, to veggie subsidies, to dietary guidelines, to obesogenic chemicals. Even farm-to-school programs get a prominent shout-out. The Letsmove.gov blog breaks the 70 recommendations down into these categories:

1. Getting children a healthy start on life, with good prenatal care for their parents; support for breastfeeding; limits on “screen time”; and quality child care settings with nutritious food and ample opportunity for young children to be physically active.

2. Empowering parents and caregivers with simpler, more actionable messages about nutritional choices based on the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans; improved labels on food and menus that provide clear information to help make healthy choices for children; reduced marketing of unhealthy products to children; and improved health care services, including BMI measurement for all children.

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Heart group backs video games in obesity campaign

ObesityMay 20 10

Nintendo is partnering with the American Heart Association to promote its popular Wii gaming console.

The unlikely partnership Monday comes amid growing concern about obesity among kids who spend much of their time with television and video games.

But the AHA says it is giving the Wii its iconic heart branding because it will encourage sedentary Americans to take the first step toward fitness. The Wii comes with a controller that encourages people to physically move as they play.

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For capitalists, obesity is a sign of marketing success

ObesityMay 20 10

Hold the skinny jeans, we’re in the middle of a massive obesity epidemic. Every night we have to stare at stock footage of Americans waddling around in their maxed-out sweat pants on the nightly news. It’s clear; we’re fat. Our kids are fat. Our pets are fat. According to some Wall Street insiders, the trader who accidentally entered the wrong number of share orders and nearly crashed the entire market — his fingers are fat.

If you combine overweight and obese, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association about 70 percent of us are fat. That’s nearly three out of four people in the US — a whopping majority.

But when we talk about this plague that will ensure this generation will die younger than their parents, we always wag our fingers at the “poor choices” fat people are making. It’s a way of blaming the victim, not addressing the issue and not offending business. It’s a well-worn creed spouted often and rarely thought about. And we’re still fat.

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Emphasis On Obesity Surgery Abroad

ObesityMay 18 10

Expat South Koreans are traveling back to their homeland for the best in obesity surgery at affordable prices in state of the art, high-tech and accredited facilities in Seoul, South Korea.

PlacidWay, a medical tourism portal based in Colorado, has been watching a growing trend in Asian Americans opting for healthcare in Asia, taking advantage of lower costs, state of the art and high-tech equipment, facilities and training without the long waits and astronomical cost of the same surgeries and procedures as found in the United States.

“The emphasis is on obesity surgery with expat South Koreans traveling back from the United States to Korea,” says Pramod Goel, CEO of PlacidWay.  “Education and access to information regarding weight loss and obesity facilities and clinics in Southeast Asia offer Asian Americans the opportunity to receive excellent, experienced and affordable healthcare in their native homelands.”

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Obesity turning into global epidemic, say experts

Obesity • • Public HealthMay 17 10

Stressing that obesity is turning into a global epidemic, affecting children, adolescents and adults in both developed and developing nations, on the eve of the World Hypertension Day, experts revisited the health hazards of excessive body weight.

“Being overweight can lead to high blood pressure or hypertension, which in turn causes fatal conditions such as stroke, heart failure, weakening and expansion of blood vessels and kidney failure,” said Dr NP Singh, senior consultant, Fortis Hospital, Mohali. He said obesity was now the world’s worst nutritional problem, causing more ill health and deaths than poverty and infectious diseases.

“Unfortunately, increasing urbanisation, sedentary lifestyle and eagerness to adopt Western ways have resulted in more and more Indians joining the 1.5 billion victims of high blood pressure all over the world,” he said.

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The road map to solving childhood obesity

Children's Health • • ObesityMay 17 10

White House domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes says first lady Michelle Obama is speaking quite literally when she says the goal of her Let’s Move campaign is “solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation.”

“That is literally achievable,” Barnes said in an interview for the new POLITICO video series, “The Politics of America’s Youth.” “In the 1970s, about 5 percent of the nation’s child and adolescent population was considered obese. Now, that’s shot up to 20 percent. We set the goal of 2030. So we’ll go from 20 percent childhood obesity to 5 percent childhood obesity by the year 2030.”

The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, appointed by President Barack Obama, this month delivered a 124-page Report to the President, with 70 recommendations in five areas: early childhood, empowering parents and caregivers, health food in schools, access to healthful, affordable food and increasing physical activity.

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Effects of weight on kids’ heart rate vary by income

Children's Health • • ObesityMay 12 10

Overweight children from lower- and middle-income neighborhoods may fall short of their thinner peers in one measure of cardiovascular fitness—but the same may not be true of those from more affluent areas, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that among 480 children and teenagers who underwent treadmill exercise tests, those with a high body mass index (BMI) tended to have a slower heart rate recovery after their workout—but only if they were from lower- or middle-income neighborhoods.

Extra pounds did not generally seem to affect heart rate recovery among kids from the highest-income areas, the study found.

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The Threat of Childhood Obesity

Children's Health • • ObesityMay 11 10

Recently, a group of retired military officers who call themselves “Mission: Readiness” released a report claiming that childhood obesity has become “a national security threat,” as more than a quarter of young Americans ages 17 to 24 are too overweight for military service. Sharing the concerns raised by first lady Michelle Obama, who has her own campaign to promote nutrition and healthy practices among youth, these ex-military men called on Congress to pass legislation aimed at improving school lunch programs and providing school-based resources to combat obesity. U.S. News asked William Dietz, a medical doctor and pediatrics expert who directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, to discuss the nation’s problems with childhood obesity and what parents can do to encourage healthy choices by their children. Excerpts:

How serious is childhood obesity in America right now?

I would say it’s a highly significant problem. About 17 percent of children and adolescents are affected. As they grow into adulthood, we can anticipate that, if obesity persists, then every major system in the body is affected. We also know that about 10 percent of the national healthcare budget is spent on obesity and its related problems. It’s quite clear that, if we don’t control obesity, we’re going to have a hard time controlling medical costs more generally.

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