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What to say (or not to say) to your overweight child

The Daily Herald – Carrie Dennett

“As a parent, you care about your child’s health. Given the public-health focus on childhood obesity, it would be hard to not be concerned if your child is overweight. The question many parents in this position are grappling with is “Should I say something to my child about the weight — or not?” Research suggests you shouldn’t, because making comments to a child about weight — whether those comments come as teasing, criticism or “helpful” advice — can be counterproductive. Rather than leading to healthful behavioral changes,weight-related comments from family members have been shown to contribute to negative body image and eating disorders. This can lead to weight gain, obesity and eating disorders in adolescence and into adulthood, which is exactly what parents don’t want to see happen.”(more)

Nine of ten US teens don’t get enough exercise

Medical X-Press – Amy Norton

“Over 90 percent of U.S. high school students don’t get enough exercise to stay fit and healthy, and the pattern persists after they graduate, a new study finds. The researchers followed students at 44 high schools for four years, and found that only 9 percent met current exercise recommendations throughout that time. For the most part, those habits held steady after high school—though college students were more active than non-students. There was also some variation among college kids, the study found: Those who lived on campus exercised more than those who lived at home. It’s not clear why those students were more active. They might have been more involved in sports, for example, or simply walked more—running from classes to dorms and other campus buildings, said lead researcher Kaigang Li.”(more)

The Sugar High Is Actually Just a Parenting Myth

The New York Magazine – Cari Romm

“If you give a mouse a cookie, as the children’s book goes, it will ask for a glass of milk. If you give a small child a cookie, as the conventional parenting wisdom goes, it will turn into a wild-eyed, wall-climbing monster, fearsome and uncontrollable until the sugar high has tapered off. Except as writer Laura Geggel explained yesterday on Live Science, that second statement, like the first, is more a good story than anything else. The concept of the sugar high is something of a parenting urban legend; plenty of research has shown that feeding kids sugar doesn’t make them hyper. What it does do, though, is prime their parents to look for signs of misbehavior.”(more)

Can stand-up desks help kids avoid becoming obese?

The Sacramento Bee – Claudia Buck

“Can using a stand-up desk at school help prevent obesity in kids? Possibly yes, according to a study of 193 elementary school students conducted by researchers from the University of Louisville and Texas A&M University. The study, published recently in the American Journal of Public Health, covered third- and fourth-grade students at three Texas elementary schools. Some sat at traditional desks, while others used a “stand-biased” desk, which had a footrest and stool so children could get off their feet when needed. After two years, those at standing desks experienced a 5.2 percent decrease in their body mass index percentile than those using traditional school desks. (BMI or body mass index is a measurement of body fat and an indicator of obesity.) The rates were adjusted for grade, race and gender.”(more)

Good relationships with parents may benefit children’s health decades later

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“Growing up in a well-off home can benefit a child’s physical health even decades later — but a lack of parent-child warmth, or the presence of abuse, may eliminate the health advantage of a privileged background, according to a Baylor University study. “Previous research has associated high socioeconomic status with better childhood nutrition, sleep, neighborhood quality and opportunities for exercise and development of social skills. But good parent-child bonds may be necessary to enforce eating, sleep and activity routines,” said researcher Matthew A. Andersson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences.”(more)

50-country comparison of child and youth fitness levels: US near the bottom

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“An international research team co-led from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and the University of North Dakota studied the aerobic fitness levels of children and youth across 50 countries.The results are available now in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. “Kids who are aerobically fit tend to be healthy; and healthy kids are apt to be healthy adults. So studying aerobic fitness in the early years is very insightful to overall population health,” said Justin Lang, lead author, Healthy Active Living and Obesity (HALO) research group, CHEO and PhD student, University of Ottawa. “It’s important to know how kids in Canada or America fare on the world stage, for example, because we can always learn from other countries with fitter kids.” The study involved analyzing 20-meter shuttle data, also called the beep test, from 1.1 million kids aged 9 to 17 years old from 50 countries.”(more)