Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Childhood obesity interventions must begin early

15.04.2010
To be a truly comprehensive and successful anti-obesity program, First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign must include interventions that target pregnant women, infants, and pre-school-age children, UCSF experts say.

Janet Wojcicki, PhD, MPH, UCSF assistant professor of pediatrics, and Melvin Heyman, MD, MPH, professor of pediatrics and chief of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at UCSF Children's Hospital, discuss how "Let's Move" might have the greatest impact on reversing the childhood obesity epidemic in the New England Journal of Medicine. Their perspective piece is available online at http://content.nejm.org/ and will appear in the April 21, 2010, issue of the journal.

When the First Lady introduced "Let's Move" in February 2010, she outlined the campaign's central anti-obesity strategies. These include revamping the nutritional labeling of products by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, improving the nutritional standards of school lunches, increasing opportunities for children to engage in physical activity, and improving access to high-quality foods throughout the country.

According to Wojcicki and Heyman, these intervention strategies do have the potential to alter the course of the childhood obesity epidemic to some extent. However, because "Let's Move" focuses primarily on school-age children – many of whom already are overweight or obese – the program in its current form does not constitute a truly comprehensive obesity intervention plan.

"These types of behavioral and nutrition interventions in schools or within the home have only limited success in preventing weight gain in children," the authors say. "Obesity prevention must start as early as possible, since school-age children already have an unacceptably high prevalence of obesity and associated medical conditions."

The authors cite the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which found that nearly one-third of American children two years and older are overweight or obese, and even higher proportions among low-income children and ethnic minorities.

With those numbers in mind, Wojcicki and Heyman assert that in order to have the greatest impact, "Let's Move" must include prevention efforts that directly target pregnant women, infants and pre-school-age children.

"Including prevention efforts for these groups will have the longest-term effect on the obesity epidemic in the United States," they say.

For example, Wojcicki and Heyman recommend that "Let's Move" incorporate interventions that aim to reduce weight gain and cigarette smoking in mothers-to-be. Studies have shown that excessive weight gain and smoking during pregnancy each are associated with an increased risk for obesity later in life.

The authors also advocate for interventions designed to increase the amount of time infants are breastfed and the amount of sleep babies get, as shorter-than-recommended durations of breastfeeding and suboptimal amounts of sleep also put a child at greater risk for becoming obese. According to Wojcicki and Heyman, these types of interventions are crucial to include in a comprehensive obesity prevention effort, because they affect a child's lifetime risk of obesity.

"By directly emphasizing the potential risks for lifetime obesity that present in infancy and early childhood and providing the structure and direction for interventions in these areas, the campaign could increase its overall impact on reversing the childhood obesity epidemic," they conclude.

Wojcicki currently is investigating pre- and post-natal factors that might shape future dietary habits and the development of obesity in a group of Latino families. The children are entering their third year of life, and already Wojcicki and her team of researchers at UCSF have found patterns of eating behavior that may lead to future weight problems. Wojcicki's research is supported by funding in part from the NIH and from philanthropic support.

UCSF Children's Hospital creates an environment where children and their families find compassionate care at the forefront of scientific discovery, with more than 150 experts in 50 medical specialties serving patients throughout Northern California and beyond. The hospital admits about 5,000 children each year, including 2,000 babies born in the hospital. For more information, visit http://www.ucsfchildrenshospital.org.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.

Follow UCSF on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ucsfnews

Related Links:

UCSF Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition Research:
http://www.pediatrics.medschool.ucsf.edu/gi/research/studies/
index.aspx#nutrition

Kate Vidinsky | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsf.edu
http://www.ucsfchildrenshospital.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht FAU researchers demonstrate that an oxygen sensor in the body reduces inflammation
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>