Whenever I watch those episodes of Maury where these morbidly obese children are rolling around the stage chewing on Fruit Loops and furniture, I wonder where these parents lost their power. Since when can two and three-year-olds tell you what they are and aren’t going to eat? As a parent, it’s your responsibility to introduce the appropriate foods to your children.
Is having an obese kid child abuse though? Should these children be taken away from their parents? It’s a slippery slope. Removing them from their homes and forcing them to eat better foods could also lead them to associate healthy eating with separation from their families.
The only reasonable solution in my opinion would be to educate the parents of the obese about the benefits of a healthy diet, and how to prepare tasty, yet nutritious meals. Snatching those big ol’ kids out of their custody and stuffing carrots in their mouths, though? I don’t think so.
Should parents of extremely obese children lose custody for not controlling their kids’ weight? A provocative commentary in one of the nation’s most distinguished medical journals argues yes, and its authors are joining a quiet chorus of advocates who say the government should be allowed to intervene in extreme cases.
It has happened a few times in the U.S., and the opinion piece in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association says putting children temporarily in foster care is in some cases more ethical than obesity surgery.
Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital Boston, said the point isn’t to blame parents, but rather to act in children’s best interest and get them help that for whatever reason their parents can’t provide.
State intervention “ideally will support not just the child but the whole family, with the goal of reuniting child and family as soon as possible. That may require instruction on parenting,” said Ludwig, who wrote the article with Lindsey Murtagh, a lawyer and a researcher at Harvard’s School of Public Health.
“Despite the discomfort posed by state intervention, it may sometimes be necessary to protect a child,” Murtagh said.
But University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Art Caplan said he worries that the debate risks putting too much blame on parents. Obese children are victims of advertising, marketing, peer pressure and bullying — things a parent can’t control, he said.
“If you’re going to change a child’s weight, you’re going to have to change all of them,” Caplan said.
Roughly 2 million U.S. children are extremely obese. Most are not in imminent danger, Ludwig said. But some have obesity-related conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, breathing difficulties and liver problems that could kill them by age 30. It is these kids for whom state intervention, including education, parent training, and temporary protective custody in the most extreme cases, should be considered, Ludwig said.
While some doctors promote weight-loss surgery for severely obese teens, Ludwig said it hasn’t been used for very long in adolescents and can have serious, sometimes life-threatening complications.
“We don’t know the long-term safety and effectiveness of these procedures done at an early age,” he said.
Ludwig said he starting thinking about the issue after a 90-pound 3-year-old girl came to his obesity clinic several years ago. Her parents had physical disabilities, little money and difficulty controlling her weight. Last year, at age 12, she weighed 400 pounds and had developed diabetes, cholesterol problems, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.
“Out of medical concern, the state placed this girl in foster care, where she simply received three balanced meals a day and a snack or two and moderate physical activity,” he said. After a year, she lost 130 pounds. Though she is still obese, her diabetes and apnea disappeared; she remains in foster care, he said.
In a commentary in the medical journal BMJ last year, London pediatrician Dr. Russell Viner and colleagues said obesity was a factor in several child protection cases in Britain. They argued that child protection services should be considered if parents are neglectful or actively reject efforts to control an extremely obese child’s weight. [SOURCE]
Would you take one or two pills daily for the rest of your life to ensure you’d never catch HIV? Seems like a development to make sex workers rejoice, but is this even reasonable for the rest of us? According to a 2009 UNAIDS published report, there are approximately 33.3 million people living with HIV/AIDS. One million of those people live in the United States.
When you consider that major cities have higher population concentrations—depending on where you live, it’s likely you interact with people living with HIV/AIDS on a daily basis. What those interactions become depend entirely on your lifestyle, so—are you gonna take those pills?
Two studies released yesterday add to the growing body of evidence that taking a daily pill containing one or two AIDS drugs can keep an uninfected person from catching HIV.
The studies were the first to show protection in heterosexuals; the only earlier one with similarly encouraging results involved gay men.
As it becomes clearer that antiretroviral drugs can not only treat the disease but prevent it, pressure is likely to increase on donors to find more money to supply the drugs in African nations ravaged by HIV and on pharmaceutical manufacturers to either sell them cheaply worldwide or release their patents to companies that can.
“This is an extremely exciting day for HIV prevention,’’ said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of AIDS prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One study released yesterday, known as Partners PrEP and conducted in Kenya and Uganda by researchers from the University of Washington, showed that participants who took a daily Truvada pill – a mix of tenofovir and emtricitabine – had a 73 percent lower chance of getting infected. The study was done in 4,758 “discordant couples,’’ those in which one partner was infected and the other was not. Partners who took a Viread pill – which contains only tenofovir – had a 62 percent lower chance.
The second study, called TDF2 and done in Botswana by the CDC, found that those taking Truvada had a 63 percent lower chance of infection. The subjects were 1,200 young adults. [SOURCE]
While I don’t go snatching cigarettes out of people’s mouths, or stuffing pamphlets in their lockers, I just don’t understand why anyone in this day and age could take up—or continue smoking at all. There’s no value to the activity. It’s addictive, expensive, and on average will take at least a decade off of your life. Smoking will kill you.
If you’re a smoker and never cared about the effects of smoking on your own health, perhaps a new study concerning secondhand smoke, and the increased risks of ADHD and learning disabilities in children will convince you otherwise.
Two new studies from the American Academy of Pediatrics look at how exposure to secondhand smoke affects American youths’ learning behaviors and their attitudes toward smoking.
The first found that children exposed to secondhand smoke in the home had a 50% increased risk of developing two or more childhood neurobehavioral disorders compared with children who were not exposed at home.
The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics, estimates that nearly 5 million children younger than 12 are exposed to secondhand smoke at home and up to 8% of them – or more than 274,000 children – suffer from learning disabilities, ADHD and other behavioral disorders.
“[The findings] underscore the health burden of childhood neurobehavioral disorders that may be attributable to secondhand smoke exposure in homes in the States,” the study authors concluded. “This is particularly significant with regard to the potential burden of pediatric mental health care on an overextended health care system, a problem that could be dramatically reduced if voluntary smoke-free home policies were widely adopted,” they added.
The annual medical cost associated with treating a child with a neurobehavioral disorder is about $14,576 per individual, or a national total of about $9.2 billion each year, the report found.
On a more positive note, a second study looked at children 8 to 13 who lived in households with at least one adult smoker, and found that those who described the smell of cigarette smoke as “unpleasant” or “gross” were 78% less likely to start the habit than 8- to 13-year-olds who had a more passive reaction to the smell.
“Experiencing secondhand smoke as ‘unpleasant or gross’ is protective against smoking susceptibility, suggesting that it may reflect a mechanism for targeted prevention efforts,” the authors say.
Still, a recent report from the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse found that nine out of 10 people who meet the clinical criteria for substance abuse began smoking, drinking or using other drugs before they turned 18, and that this is a big concern in teens as they are more likely to try risky things while their brains are still developing.
Experts say setting a good example by not smoking and getting more involved in your child’s activities are among the many things parents can do to help prevent children from smoking.
Teenagers also tend to be vain, and parents are encouraged to highlight some of the negative effects of smoking, like bad breath and bad skin.
The American Lung Association also provides a list of tips for parents on how to talk to children about smoking and to help them quit if they have already started. [SOURCE]
The federal government has launched the Make the Call, Don’t Miss a Beat campaign to increase awareness about heart attacks, the number one cause of death in U.S. women.
Remember when Fred Sanford would clutch his chest and call out to Elizabeth? Heart attack symptoms can actually be much more subtle, and often involve pain or discomfort in other parts of the body.
Here’s a list of seven actual symptoms you should be aware of courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. If you suffer from any of the below symptoms listed, and the pain or discomfort lasts more than five minutes, call 911:
1. Unusually heavy pressure on the chest, like there’s a ton of weight on you
Most heart attacks involve chest pain or discomfort in the center or left side of the chest. It usually lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. It may even feel like heartburn or indigestion.
2. Sharp upper body pain in the neck, back, and jaw
This symptom can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or upper part of stomach (not below the belly button). Pain in the back, neck, or jaw is a more common heart attack symptom for women than it is for men.
3. Severe shortness of breath
This symptom can come on suddenly. It may occur while you are at rest or with minimal physical activity. You may struggle to breathe or try taking deep breaths. Shortness of breath may start before or at the same time as chest pain or discomfort, and can even be your only symptom.
4. Cold sweats, and you know it’s not menopause
Unexplained or excessive sweating, or breaking out into a “cold sweat,” can be a sign of heart attack.
5. Unusual or unexplained fatigue (tiredness)
Sudden and unusual tiredness or lack of energy is one of the most common symptoms of heart attack in women, and one of the easiest to ignore. It can come on suddenly or be present for days. More than half of women having a heart attack experience muscle tiredness or weakness that is not related to exercise.
6. Unfamiliar dizziness or light-headedness
Unlike in the movies, most heart attacks do not make you pass out right away. Instead, you may suddenly feel dizzy or light-headed.
7. Unexplained nausea (feeling sick to the stomach) or vomiting
Women are twice as likely as men to experience nausea, vomiting, or indigestion during their heart attack. These feelings are often written off as having a less serious cause. Remember, nausea and vomiting may be signs that something is seriously wrong, especially if you have other symptoms.
In a previous post, my heart sunk mighty low as it’d been brought to my attention that diet soda has been linked to heart attack and stroke. Since then, I’ve curbed my consumption, and now “only” drink one diet soda a day. I’ve managed to stop drinking caffeinated sodas completely, but if heart attacks and strokes couldn’t stop me, this latest news will!!
More bad news, diet soda drinkers: data presented recently at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Scientific Sessions suggest that diet drinks may actually contribute to weight gain and that the artificial sweeteners in them could potentially contribute Type 2 diabetes.
In one study, researchers from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, looked at aggregate data from 474 older adults in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging, or SALSA. At the time of enrollment and at three follow-up exams thereafter, all participants reported their diet soda intake and were measured for height, weight and waist circumference. The researchers wanted to track any association between diet soda drinking and body fat over time.
What they found was that all participants saw their waistlines expand, but those who reported drinking diet soda had 70% greater increases in waistline growth than non-drinkers 9.5 years later. Among frequent drinkers — those who consumed two or more diet sodas a day — waistline growth was 500% greater than among non-drinkers. Researchers said their results were adjusted for other contributing factors like diabetes status, leisure-time physical activity level and age. [SOURCE]
Americans have gotten a lot of flack over the years for being supersized, but our high rates of obesity may not be for the reasons we thought after all.
Sure we eat too much, but it’s not how much we’re eating in one sitting, it’s what we’re eating throughout the day.
According to a new study published by Health.com, portion control isn’t the main reason Americans are overweight. Much of our weight gain can be blamed on snacking.
Within the timeframe the study was conducted, there was a 12% increase in portion size, versus a 29% increase in the number of snacks we consume.
In the mid-2000s, government surveys show, the average American adult ate about 2,375 calories per day, nearly one-third more than he (or she) did in the late 1970s. What accounts for all those added calories?
According to a new study, the biggest single contributor to the sharp rise in calorie intake has been the number of snacks and meals people eat per day. Over the past 30-odd years, the study found, Americans have gone from consuming 3.8 snacks and meals per day to 4.9, on average — a 29% increase. [SOURCE]
Doctors interviewed blame advertisements and the increased availability of snack foods for the problem.
For clarity, the snacks the doctors are talking about aren’t fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s the potato chips, candy bars, cookies, etc. that are doing us in. I’ve never really been a fan of chocolate or potato chips, so this has never been my issue. But there’s a reason I don’t keep Golden Oreos and Spree candies in the house!
Men’s Health Magazine has published a list of America’s least active cities. There are 100 cities listed, #1 being the most active.
San Francisco (pictured) is the #2 most active city in America receiving an A grade. Which city do you think is #1?
Lexington, KY is the LEAST active city in America, receiving an F grade, and spot #100 on the list!
Here is the methodology for their criteria:
We looked at where and how often people exercise (Experian Marketing Services); the percentage of households that watch more than 15 hours of cable a week and buy more than 11 video games a year (Mediamark Research); and the rate of deaths from deep-vein thrombosis, a condition linked to a lot of sitting (CDC). And since some people define “exercise” loosely, we gave credit for any physical activity in the past month (CDC). [SOURCE]
Below is their published list with the city’s ranking, name, and letter grade:
100 Lexington, KY F
99 Indianapolis, IN F
98 Jackson, MS F
97 Charleston, WV F
96 Oklahoma City, OK F
95 Tulsa, OK F
94 Little Rock, AR F
93 Nashville, TN F
92 Laredo, TX F
91 Birmingham, AL F
90 Charlotte, NC F
89 Corpus Christi, TX F
88 Memphis, TN F
87 Wichita, KS F
86 Sioux Falls, SD F
85 Fort Wayne, IN F
84 Omaha, NE F
83 Toledo, OH F
82 Lincoln, NE F
81 Louisville, KY D-
80 Greensboro, NC D-
79 Des Moines, IA D-
78 Columbus, OH D
77 Las Vegas, NV D
76 Cincinnati, OH D
75 Jacksonville, FLD
74 Billings, MT D
73 El Paso, TX D
72 Lubbock, TX D
71 Buffalo, NY D+
70 Houston, TX D+
69 Columbia, SC D+
68 New Orleans, LA D+
67 Tampa, FLD+
66 San Antonio, TX D+
65 Winston-Salem, NC D+
64 Plano, TX D+
63 St. Louis, MO D+
62 Bakersfield, CA D+
61 Cheyenne, WY D+
60 Fargo, ND D+
59 Fresno, CA C-
58 Cleveland, OH C-
57 Detroit, MI C-
56 Dallas, TX C-
55 Virginia Beach, VA C-
54 Chesapeake, VA C-
53 Kansas City, MO C-
52 Milwaukee, WI C-
51 Durham, NC C
50 Fort Worth, TX C
49 Raleigh, NC C
48 Orlando, FLC
47 Pittsburgh, PA C
46 Albuquerque, NM C
45 Riverside, CA C
44 Stockton, CA C
43 Jersey City, NJ C+
42 Newark, NJ C+
41 Providence, RI C+
40 Richmond, VA C+
39 Sacramento, CA C+
38 Philadelphia, PA C+
37 Santa Ana, CA C+
36 Baton Rouge, LA C+
35 Phoenix, AZ B-
34 Norfolk, VA B-
33 New York, NY B-
32 St. Petersburg, FLB-
31 Chicago, IL B-
30 Baltimore, MD B-
29 Colorado Springs, CO B-
28 Aurora, CO B
27 Los Angeles, CA B
26 Boise, ID B
25 Anchorage, AK B
24 Honolulu, HI B
23 Burlington, VT B
22 Wilmington, DE B
21 San Diego, CA B+
20 Madison, WI B+
19 Tucson, AZ B+
18 Boston, MA B+
17 San Jose, CA B+
16 Manchester, NH B+
15 Portland, OR B+
14 Austin, TX A-
13 St. Paul, MN A-
12 Miami, FLA-
11 Bridgeport, CT A-
10 Minneapolis, MN A-
9 Denver, CO A-
8 Atlanta, GA A-
7 Portland, ME A-
6 Reno, NV A-
5 Salt Lake City, UT A-
4 Washington, DC A
3 Oakland, CA A
2 San Francisco, CA A+
1 Seattle, WA A+
Where does your city rank?