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Childhood Obesity

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NEWS
November 3, 2010 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times
Free toys and fatty foods are a bad combo meal. At least that's what San Francisco supervisors decided when they voted Tuesday to ban Happy Meals and other fast-food fare from offering a free toy with meals that contain more than set levels of calories, sugar and fat. The measure, which the San Francisco Chronicle reports requires a final vote next week, was controversial before the vote, a Los Angeles Times article reports,  "with...
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SCIENCE
April 7, 2014 | By Monte Morin
Ever wonder why some sounds are described as "high" and others "low," or why melodies are described as rising or falling? Well, a team of cognitive scientists has, and they argued that humans are hard-wired to assign spatial positions to different types of noises. In a paper published Monday in the journal PNAS, researchers in Germany found that people were more likely to identify high-pitched noises - think of a mosquito's buzz - as originating from elevated positions. Low-pitched noises, however - like the thud of a rock - were assumed to come from low elevations.
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NEWS
June 27, 2011 | By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey / For the Booster Shots blog
TV advertisements for sugary and fatty foods are playing a role in childhood obesity and ought to be taken off the air, a leading group of pediatricians says. In a policy statement released Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Communications and Media rips "the media" for contributing to child and adolescent obesity, ticking off the many ways in which screen time is a negative influence. The group called on doctors to ask Congress and regulatory groups to ban advertisements for junk food and fast food during kids' programming, as well as advertisements targeted to children via cellphone and other media.
SCIENCE
April 7, 2014 | Mary MacVean
Are the millions of dollars spent to try to reverse childhood obesity a good investment? One answer might be found in the cost if the condition goes unchecked: about $19,000 per obese child in lifetime medical costs, researchers reported Monday. That's $14 billion just for the obese 10-year-olds in the United States, according to researchers at the Duke Global Health Institute and the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore. They reported their results in the journal Pediatrics.
NEWS
November 1, 2012 | By Mary MacVean
Sixty percent of the cause of the rise in childhood obesity rests with the parents, according to parents who took a Yale survey about food marketing. The parents assigned the rest of the cause to an unhealthy food environment. Parents buy an estimated $58 billion in food and beverages annually, so the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity wanted to know what they thought about marketing to children.  It conducted an online survey of 2,454 parents of children ages 2 to 17 in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
NEWS
December 15, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Some encouraging news on the childhood obesity front: Obesity levels among kindergartners through eighth-graders in New York City have gone down, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. The decline, says the report, is to date the largest drop on record in a large U.S. city in this population, and it may be due to a comprehensive intervention that included the tried-and-true recipe of better food and more physical activity. The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released today finds that, from 2006 and 2007 to 2010 and 2011, obesity prevalence in kindergartners through eighth-graders in city public elementary and middle schools declined 5.5%, from 21.9% to 20.7%.
SCIENCE
March 5, 2014 | By Monte Morin
Apparently casinos are good for losing more than just cash. A study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. found that adding slot machines to California casinos was linked to a modest reduction in obesity rates for Native American children. Specifically, researchers found that for every one-armed bandit added per child, there was a corresponding 0.19% reduction in obesity risk. Study authors based their conclusions on an examination of 117 California school districts that encompass tribal lands.
NEWS
January 3, 2012 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
The childhood obesity ad is short, stark and to the point: A child named Tina says she doesn't like going to school because the other kids pick on her. "It hurts my feelings," she says. Then text appears: "Stop sugarcoating it, Georgia. " Children's Healthcare of Atlanta felt not enough was being done to curb sky-high obesity rates in the state (Georgia has one of the highest childhod obesity rates in the country). Its Strong4Life campaign recently kicked off with a series of ads with kids and their parents talking about the toll that obesity can take.
SCIENCE
April 7, 2014 | Mary MacVean
Are the millions of dollars spent to try to reverse childhood obesity a good investment? One answer might be found in the cost if the condition goes unchecked: about $19,000 per obese child in lifetime medical costs, researchers reported Monday. That's $14 billion just for the obese 10-year-olds in the United States, according to researchers at the Duke Global Health Institute and the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore. They reported their results in the journal Pediatrics.
NEWS
July 14, 2010 | Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times
Community-based interventions to halt childhood obesity are gaining popularity as schools, local governments, parents and health clubs work together to help kids slim down and eat more healthfully. First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign helped push the issue to the forefront. But some interventions may be working better than others, according to a study presented this week at the International Congress on Obesity in Stockholm, Sweden. Researchers looked at the success of three three-year community intervention programs, each targeting a different age group of more than 1,000 children -- kids younger than 5, primary-school age children and teens.
SCIENCE
March 5, 2014 | By Monte Morin
Apparently casinos are good for losing more than just cash. A study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. found that adding slot machines to California casinos was linked to a modest reduction in obesity rates for Native American children. Specifically, researchers found that for every one-armed bandit added per child, there was a corresponding 0.19% reduction in obesity risk. Study authors based their conclusions on an examination of 117 California school districts that encompass tribal lands.
SCIENCE
February 25, 2014 | By Melissa Healy, This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom for details.
Americans are still carrying too much weight, but a new federal study offers a glimmer of hope amongst the nation's smallest eaters: Between 2003 and 2012, obesity among children between 2 and 5 years of age has declined from 14% to 8% -- a 43% decrease in just under a decade. And much of that reduction has come in the past three to four years, as efforts to address a burgeoning child obesity crisis have escalated. The new figures came as First Lady Michelle Obama and her "Let's Move" campaign against childhood obesity launched new initiatives designed to reduce marketing for unhealthy foods and beverages seen by children in schools.
OPINION
February 21, 2014
Re "Produce trucks feed a need," Column One, Feb. 19 Produce trucks traversing neighborhoods, providing fresh produce and other items: great idea. But readers should know that bringing food to neighborhoods was once common in Los Angeles. I lived in the Los Feliz district, and these trucks went all over the city. Before supermarkets and big-box stores, trucks had regular neighborhood routes and brought a variety of food. There must be some folks who recall deliveries of dairy items from Adohr Farms and bread and sweets from Helms Bakery.
SCIENCE
January 29, 2014 | By Mary MacVean
Children who are overweight in kindergarten have four times the risk of becoming obese by eighth grade, researchers reported Wednesday - in just one of the ways they said that the risk of becoming overweight or obese could start even before birth. Put another way: “Half of childhood obesity occurred among children who had become overweight during the preschool years,” the scientists wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine. And as kids got older, their chances of becoming obese fell.
NEWS
January 9, 2014 | By Mary MacVean
A group of big food companies sold 6.4 trillion fewer calories in the United States in 2012 than it did in 2007, an independent evaluator said Thursday in a report on the pledge manufacturers made to First Lady Michelle Obama's program to end childhood obesity. The news release from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the evaluation, is an early look at the effort  -- which it said far exceeded the companies' 2010 promise. The original pledge was to remove 1.5 trillion calories from the U.S. marketplace by 2015.
NEWS
September 9, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
The news is not always all good when obese teenagers lose weight. Such young people seem to be at risk for developing eating disorders that slip the attention of health professionals, scientists report. “Physical complications of semistarvation and weight loss, which are red flags in a low-weight individual, are often misdiagnosed in these patients,” and referrals for eating disorder treatment get delayed as a result, the scientists wrote in this week's issue of the journal Pediatrics.
NEWS
June 19, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
Ninety percent of Americans said schools should take a role in combating obesity -- a surprising cut away from the idea that being overweight is a personal choice. That doesn't meant people don't see that they need to take action as well for themselves and their families, according to the results of a Field Research poll released Wednesday. “It really indicates a sea change in how people view the problem,” Loel Solomon, vice president for community health at Kaiser Permanente, said in an interview.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 8, 2011 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times
A growing number of Californians consider obesity to be a "very serious" problem facing children in the state and believe unhealthy fare in schools should be restricted, according to a statewide poll released Tuesday. "They recognize the seriousness of the childhood obesity epidemic and understand that changing public policies is the key to creating healthier communities," said Dr. Robert K. Ross, president and chief executive of the California Endowment the Los Angeles-based nonprofit that funded the Field Poll survey.
SCIENCE
August 6, 2013 | By Brad Balukjian
Obesity among low-income preschool-age children has declined slightly in many states, including California, providing some evidence that the battle against childhood obesity may finally be turning, according to researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The percentage of obese children among low-income 2- to 4-year-olds from California dropped from 17.3% to 16.8% between 2008 and 2011, and declined in 18 other U.S. states or territories. Obesity prevalence increased in only three states, according to a study summarizing the findings.
NATIONAL
July 20, 2013 | By Matea Gold and Kathleen Hennessey
WASHINGTON - Shortly after she launched her signature anti-obesity initiative more than three years ago, Michelle Obama signaled she would take on a contentious issue: advertising for snacks, soft drinks, sugary cereals and fast food aimed at children. She denounced ads that use cartoon characters to push junk food. She bluntly told executives "to step it up" to improve the foods they market to children. And she promoted a White House "action plan" on obesity that praised a federal effort to come up with voluntary marketing guidelines - the most significant attempt in decades to limit ads targeting children.
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