July 3rd, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
The childhood obesity epidemic is one of the many reasons Organic Authority encourages families to buy organic food, and we’re committed to publishing the latest medical research. Here’s an item that’s of particular importance to our Hispanic readers, but all parents should review it.
A study of more than 2,400 children in 20 U.S. cities suggests Hispanic 3-year-olds have a higher prevalence of obesity than their black or white peers. This disparity does not seem to be explained by socioeconomic factors typically linked to childhood obesity, according to an article in the June issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Researchers know that by the time U.S. children reach adolescence, there are disparities in the prevalence of obesity among racial and ethnic groups, but little is known about the age at which these differences begin to appear. Their origins may lie in the preschool years because eating and exercise habits develop early and a mother’s obesity before and immediately after birth may influence her child’s risk.
Robert C. Whitaker, MD, MPH, and Sean M. Orzol, MPH, of Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., in Princeton, NJ, studied 2,452 children born in 75 U.S. hospitals between 1998 and 2000. Mothers were surveyed in hospitals after giving birth and again one and three years later, answering questions about their ethnic background, education level, income and access to food. The three-year survey was an in-home interview, during which researchers also measured children’s height, weight and body mass index (BMI). Children with BMIs at the 95th percentile or higher for their age and sex were considered obese.
About 19% of the children were white, 52.2% were black, 25.4% were Hispanic and 3.1% were another race or ethnicity. At the three-year interview, 18.4% of all children were obese, including 25.8% of Hispanic children, 16.2% of black children and 14.8% of white children. Hispanic children had significantly higher odds of being obese than black or white children, even when researchers adjusted for three socioeconomic factors linked to childhood obesity: mothers’ education level, household income and food security (access to food).
“This disparity in obesity between Hispanic and non-Hispanic children seems to develop early in life, so future research into modifiable determinants of this disparity should focus on the period from conception to school entry,” the authors conclude.
Studies that look more closely at the ethnic and cultural backgrounds of Latino children would help researchers understand more about the risk factors for obesity in this group, writes Elena Fuentes-Afflick, MD, MPH, of San Francisco General Hospital, in an accompanying editorial.
“There may be cultural differences in the ‘ideal’ body image for children and adults and these differences could contribute to the high rates of obesity among Latino children,” she writes. “For Latino immigrants, who may have experienced hunger as children or witnessed the adverse effects of malnutrition, the ideal image of a healthy baby or child may be an ‘overweight’ image by current body mass standards.”
The research community “must investigate the underlying risk factors and develop effective interventions to improve health and well-being for Latino children and their families,” Dr. Fuentes-Afflick concludes.
Read More:Obesity & Toddlers
June 21st, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Richmond Heights, Missouri-based Panera Bread, with 900 bakery-cafes in 36 states, has introduced a roster of organic sandwich choices for its new Panera Kids menu.
In fact, if you visit your local Panera today, you can use a downloadable “Today I’m Taking Mom to Lunch at Panera Bread” coupon, which entitles you to a free kids’ meal with the purchase of any regularly priced menu item. Click here to find the location nearest you.
“We hope kids will take this opportunity to take mom to lunch and enjoy sharing a meal together,” says Chairman and CEO Ron Shaich.
The Panera Kids menu features sandwiches with natural and organic foods like whole-grain bread, peanut butter and American cheese, each of which is accompanied by organic yogurt and beverages. Choices include:
All-natural peanut butter with grape jelly sandwich
Turkey, ham or roast beef sandwich made with Horizon Organic American cheese
Grilled cheese sandwich made with Horizon Organic American cheese
Horizon Organic low-fat milk, reduced-fat chocolate milk or organic apple juice
Horizon Organic squeezable yogurt
Photo courtesy of Panera Bread
Read More:Panera Bread Launches Organic Kids’ Menu
June 5th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Harsh economic realities often affect our health status. If you live in an affluent or middle-class neighborhood, you have the access and means to buy farm-fresh produce and organic food.
A study published in the May 24 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that older teens (15 to 17) who live in poverty are more likely to be overweight than peers from wealthier families. This is not the first study to link poverty and obesity, and its findings echo past research.
The number of overweight adolescents has more than doubled over the last three decades, putting them at risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, poor quality of life, and increased illness and risk of death in adulthood. Richard A. Miech, PhD, MPH, and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins University found that obesity trends vary by age groups, with a 50% higher prevalence in older adolescents from poor families. In younger teens (12 to 14), poverty played a lesser role.
The culprits seem to be physical inactivity, sweetened beverage consumption and skipping breakfast, according to the researchers.
“The observed differences across older versus younger adolescents are consistent with the greater autonomy that comes with increasing age,” the authors write. “Adolescents aged 15 to 17 years versus those aged 12 to 14 years have more opportunities to purchase their own food and determine their own leisure time pursuits and also have more discretionary income with which to act on their preferences. These results suggest that efforts to reduce health disparities in the United States require monitoring of population health, so that emergent disparities and their underlying causes can be detected and addressed at early stages of their development.”
Read More:Economics & Obesity
May 26th, 2006 - Laura Klein
Local farmers of the LA’s South Central Farm, the nation’s largest urban farm, have been fighting for their life this past week. When a non-profit group tried to acquire 10 acres of the 14-acre garden to turn over to another agency to manage the garden for local farmers, their bid came up $10 million short. Owner, developer Ralph Horowitz, wants $16.35 million for the property.
Joan Baez, Julia Butterfly Hill and John Quigley have all taken a perch high in a tree to protest the eviction of more than 300 local farmers. Darryl Hannah has showed her support by pitching her tent on the ground accompanied by local media and other supporters.
Local community gardens like this are critical to the health and welfare of our children’s future. Inner city children face an uphill battle with obesity and diabetes on a constant rise. The latest statistic I heard in the news was that one in three children are at risk of developing diabetes. With cheap over processed foods as the mainstay of these kids diets, families and children are losing touch with tasty, nutritious, organic and natural foods and it’s putting their health at risk. If we don’t educate families and their children about the importance of good nutrition and continue to make fresh, organic produce and vegetables available at an affordable price to everyone, most importantly our children, their long term health and our health care system face an uphill battle with continued rising health care costs.
If we use tasty, nutritious food as a form of preventative medicine and educate ourselves just a little bit, and it doesn’t take much, and quit looking for the quick fix in get skinny quick diets and live a well balanced life that’s rich in tasty, nutritious, organic and natural foods (after all that’s how the Europeans live) we could begin to turn around America’s obesity crisis around amongst children and adults alike.
Instead of focusing on how much an organic tomato costs, probably about $.50 more, if that, than a conventional tomato and it actually has sweet tomato flavor which children will probably love, lets focus on the quality and excellent flavor in our foods while ensuring our long term health by living a well balanced life full of tasty, nutritional rich foods that could potentially mean less doctor visits in the future.
As day six approaches in this protest, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made a statement of support from City Hall Thursday, to affirm his dedication to achieving permanent protection for the nation’s largest inner-city community garden. A stewardship plan is being put together for the long-term vision of the Farm.
If you would like to help in any way or make a contribution go to www.southcentralfarmers.com to make a donation and find out more.
Stay tuned ….
Read More:Darryl Hannah, Joan Baez, Julia Butterfly Hill, John Quigley show their support for the nation’s largest inner-city community garden in South Central LA, as they face eviction
April 5th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Here’s another reason to choose fresh, organic food: The number of overweight/obese children, adolescents and men increased significantly between 1999 and 2004, according to a study in the April 5 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Between 1980 and 2002, obesity prevalence doubled in adults 20 and older, and overweight prevalence tripled in children and adolescents ages 6 to 19.
Dr. Cynthia L. Ogden and colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined national measurements of weight and height in 2003–2004 and compared the data with estimates from 1999–2000 and 2001–2002 to determine if the overweight trend is continuing. They found 17.1% of children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 were overweight, and 32.2% of adults 20 and older were obese in 2003–2004. The prevalence of extreme obesity among adults was 4.8%. There was a significant increase in the prevalence of overweight in female children and adolescents (13.8% in 1999–2000 to 16% in 2003–2004). There was also an increase in the prevalence of overweight in male children and adolescents from 14% to 18.2%.
Among men, the prevalence of obesity increased significantly from 1999–2000 (27.5%) to 2003–2004 (31.1%). Among women, no significant increase in obesity was observed between 1999–2000 (33.4%) and 2003–2004 (33.2%). The prevalence of extreme obesity in 2003–2004 was 2.8% in men and 6.9% in women.
“These prevalence estimates, based on a 6-year period (1999–2004), suggest that the increases in body weight may be leveling off in women,” the authors write.
Read More:The Latest Obesity Stats
November 23rd, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
Organic Authority is firmly committed to educating parents about the dangers of childhood obesity and the importance of teaching children to eat properly.
Ironically, Thanksgiving—the holiday when we gobble down the biggest meal of the year—may serve as “a turning point in winning the war on childhood obesity and improving family health,” according to a new campaign from KidsPeace, a national charity that assists children who are dealing with trauma, depression, eating disorders and the daily stresses of life.
“Join the Fight, Help Kids Eat Right” has two key goals:
- Attack obesity’s physical and nutritional aspects by encouraging families to eat adult-supervised, healthful home-cooked meals—beginning with Thursday’s Thanksgiving dinner.
- Attack obesity’s underlying emotional precursors by encouraging families to use the dinner hour to problem-solve with kids.
Children who regularly eat dinner with their families face fewer health and behavioral risks, according to major studies. Unfortunately, a recent national study by KidsPeace and Boys & Girls Clubs of America revealed that 51% of U.S. parents say their children don’t eat enough nutritious foods—and roughly 40% eat home-cooked meals with their kids less than once a day.
“It’s not always just what our kids are eating,” says KidsPeace President and CEO C.T. O’Donnell. “Sometimes, it’s what’s eating our kids. America has more diets and more diet advice than any nation on earth, but our kids keep getting bigger and bigger. We will never win this battle until we help kids eat right and solve the emotional roots of overeating. Research shows that sitting families down at the dinner table works to improve physical and behavioral health. Perhaps the archetypal American meal embodied by the Pilgrims’ famous dinner is the model and paradigm upon which we can rebuild healthy families in this modern age. If we’re to win this battle, we have to fight it over the dining room table, as well as on the battlefields of our children’s day-to-day lives. Now’s as good a time as any to start.”
KidsPeace is offering free obesity prevention brochures: one for parents and one for teens (downloadable PDF files).
Read More:Thanksgiving: An Opportunity to Combat Childhood Obesity?