January 3, 2017
Studies are increasingly showing that the epidemic of obesity is rapidly growing, becoming not just a public health crisis for adults, but for entire families. In our recent blog post Childhood Obesity Predictors May Not Be What You Think (Part 1), we found that not only is childhood obesity rising (doubled in the past 30 years), but it has also been strongly linked to parental obesity.
Research on families and obesity reveals that children of overweight parents have an 80 percent chance of also being overweight. You might be tempted to think that the majority of this is due to the family’s genetic predisposition, but researchers have shown that the link between one’s genetics and one’s weight accounts for only a small part of this 80 percent chance. What seems to matter more is your family environment.
In fact, establishing healthy routines for your entire household can support you in staying on track in your own diet and weight loss journey. Being healthy has a reciprocal effect; what you do for your children will positively affect you and vice versa. The key is to identify the problem and work to slowly chip away at it. To get started, try a few of these tips to start implementing healthier routines in your household this week:
1. Enjoy meals together. When everyone sits down together to eat, there’s less chance of children eating the wrong foods or snacking too much.
2. Explore mindful eating and introduce the idea to your family to prevent overeating. For more about mindful eating, read our blog post.
3. Get kids involved in cooking and planning meals. Everyone develops good eating habits together and the quality time with the family will be an added bonus. For easy meals that even the kids can help with, check out these recipes for a week’s worth of healthy meals.
4. Make physical activity a weekly goal with your family, and find ways to make it fun and help bring you all together. For some ideas on fun ways to stay active with your family, check out this slideshow.
5. Talk to your kids. If you struggle with your weight, it may be impacting your kids whether you know it or not. Strive to be open about your struggles and your journey with your children. Model for them the importance of making your health a priority so they can learn to do so for themselves as they grow older. Try daily affirmations for positive body image with your kids. Plus, we don’t have to keep these struggles to ourselves. When we have the support of our family, so many things are possible. You may find that achieving a healthier weight can be more enjoyable, in addition to bringing your family closer together.
Sources: American Heart Association, Obesity Action Coalition
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
December 26, 2016
Finding the motivation to pursue a healthy weight can be difficult sometimes. But a new study out of Stanford University may be able to add an increased sense of urgency and purpose, particularly for parents: Do it for the kids!
Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. While many factors have contributed to this, including increased access to fast foods and higher birth weight, more evidence shows that the factor that puts children at greatest risk of being overweight is having obese parents.
“The findings of this study suggest that at-risk children may be identifiable in the first few years of life,” says W. Stewart Agras, MD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, whose team assessed both established and hypothesized risk factors in a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Pediatrics.
Agras says parental obesity represented the most potent risk factor, a finding that confirms previous observations, and the connection between overweight parents and overweight children is likely due to a combination of genetics and family environmental influences.
Childhood obesity can lead to many other health issues for children. According to the American Obesity Association, pediatricians are reporting more frequent cases of obesity-related diseases such as type-2 diabetes, asthma and hypertension — diseases that once were considered adult conditions.
It can be emotionally conflicting to think about the ways that one’s own health can negatively impact one’s children. But remember that the focus of this study and its findings is not about blame or shaming overweight parents, but rather about prevention. “It’s important to identify risk factors because they may provide a way to alter the child’s environment and reduce the chance of becoming overweight,” Agras says.
Remember: Good health is paramount for many reasons. The first reason is YOU. Obesity can prevent you from living a long, happy, and healthy life. The next reason is the people that you love. You play an integral role in building a healthy family. But while bad eating and exercise habits in children can be passed down from parents, the good news is that we have the power to change those unhealthy habits for ourselves, as well as for our children. Stay tuned for Part 2 for 5 tips for a healthier family….
Sources: American Heart Association, News Medical, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
December 14, 2016
There is an increasing problem in how healthcare providers are approaching obesity and no one is talking about it —because they don’t know how to.
Obesity and its related chronic conditions is one the biggest detrimental health issues in America, but medical schools fail to teach their students — future healthcare providers — how to interact with patients about their weight. This is unacceptable, as this leaves our future medical providers without the knowledge of basic conversational approaches to initiate treatment of one of our country’s leading epidemics.
In an effort to teach and improve providers’ interaction with their patients about obesity, Kognito, a New York City-based company that designs immersive learning experiences with virtual humans to bring about positive changes in health behaviors, created an application for the Apple App Store and Google Play called “Change Talk 2.0.” This application, which has a goal of changing the conversation about childhood obesity, has the user enter a “virtual scenario,” enter a question, and then get feedback from a “virtual family” about the encounter. It was created to offer a simulation-type experience in the hopes that it will make it easier for the provider to broach the sensitive subject of weight to their adolescent patient.
Since launching in 2014, the first iteration of the application boasted 30,000 users. Now that the second version has been released, one would anticipate additional growth and perhaps expansion into virtual simulations that focus on motivational interviewing approaches to obesity with the adult patient population. There’s certainly a market for it. In fact, a survey was conducted of providers that used the original application and a resounding 93 percent said that they would make changes to provide better healthcare to their patients. Eighty-eight percent of the providers made changes within a month after completing the survey.
Applications like “Change Talk” are proving to be indispensable tools for healthcare, and the market is only beginning to scratch the surface. Healthcare and technology will continue to merge, and the ultimate result will be improved healthcare and outcomes for patients. As app developers continue to dip into the healthcare market, healthcare providers will benefit from new technology as an extension of their services, allowing for broader and individualized attention on the patient. If you haven’t already, it’s best to get on board now.
Source: Fast Company
Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation
October 13, 2016
Minnesota doesn’t seem like it would have much in common with New York, but they do share some common ground in the battle against obesity. According to a report published by the nonprofit organization, Trust for America’s Health, Minnesota and New York, along with Montana and Ohio, stand alone as the only four states that have seen their obesity rates decrease between 2014 and 2015. Other than the capital district of Washington, D.C., in 2010, this marks the first time in the last decade that we have seen state-wide decreases in obesity.
This is good news… but how good? Yes, we have four states that have seen a decline in obesity. But the rest of the country’s rate either stayed the same or increased. And even the four states that saw a decrease still have what would is considered high obesity rates. So the question is: What is it that those four states are doing that the others are not (or perhaps not as well), that is steering them into the right direction? Let’s take a deeper look.
There is no one solution to fight the disease of obesity, even with the programs previously mentioned, these states still did plenty more to bring their rates down. The question becomes, what can I do? What can you do? What can WE do?
As a healthcare provider, you can make obesity treatment a main component of your practice; it’s almost a necessity with how obesity has gripped the population. If you are trying to figure out how to get started with one, click here.
It is something that we all have to continue to work at so that not just these states, or the United States, but rather the whole world can lead a healthier lifestyle.
Sources: Montana State University, Healthline
September 14, 2016
A lot of people that are physically inactive throughout the day aren’t so by choice. More and more jobs are in an office setting. These environments are sedentary by nature, and don’t tend to encourage physical activity. While some try to remedy their lack of movement during the day by doing some basic things at their desks, others will do their best to get some exercise in after the workday is over. Some, if they’re smart, try to do both. Nonetheless, our inactivity is costing us more than our just our health. A lot more.
A study conducted by the University of Sydney showed that physical inactivity had a world cost of $67.6 billion in 2013. That’s billion with a “B.” Researchers came up with that hefty total by observing healthcare cost, productivity losses, and disability-adjusted life years for five diseases that are generally associated with physical inactivity and obesity: coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer.
There are a lot of layers to this study and its results, but it starts with the issue of physical inactivity. And this is not just a domestic problem; it’s a global issue. The study included 142 countries which contains 93.2 percent of the world’s population, making this a rather holistic perspective of how much our lack of inactivity is costing us. That isn’t lost on the researchers.
“Physical inactivity is recognized as a global pandemic and not only leads to diseases and early deaths, but imposes a major burden to the economy”, says Dr. Melody Ding, lead author of the study and Senior Research Fellow from the University School of Public Health. The economic burden is a real one. Out of the $805 million Australia paid for inactivity, $91 million was from the private sector.
And while some people pay the price with their wallet, others pay with their health.
Although this is an expensive problem, there seems to be a rather easy solution: We need to be more physically active — especially those at a younger age. Adolescents are practically given every reason to not be active; 3-D televisions, social media, and iPads can make them feel as though they are living a full life while sitting on the couch.
As for adults, there are many short-cuts we can employ when it comes to combatting a sedentary lifestyle. Finding at least some time in the day to be physically active, even at your desk, is a healthier option than succumbing to the outcomes that studies like this suggest. Living a more active lifestyle is always better — physically, mentally and fiscally.
Source: University of Sydney
Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation
February 3, 2016
People that smoke cigarettes know the risk they are taking when doing it. Aside from the commercials they may see on television or their friends telling them about smoking’s pitfalls, they also see the warnings every time they buy a pack with the Surgeon General Warning on the side.
It looks like some want to have similar labels on sugar-sweetened drinks. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine feel that such labels will have a positive effect on deterring parents from purchasing these drinks for their children. Sugar-sweetened drinks such as sodas and sugary juices have been found to have as much as seven teaspoons of sugar per 6.5 ounces. With the newest eating guidelines proclaiming that added sugar shouldn’t exceed 10 percent of a person’s daily calorie intake, that amount is almost double the dietary recommendation, making it a factor in the children obesity rate.
The main reason researchers are advocating for such a label is to better inform parents of the health risks that are included in the over-consumption of such beverages. Obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay are only a few things that children can be exposed to if they are to drink too many of these sugary drinks, dangers that the parent may not necessarily know about or consider when purchasing for their child.
Researchers put this theory to the test by surveying over 2,300 parents that have children between the ages of 6 and 11. They divided the parents into several groups, including: parents that saw no labels on beverages, parents that only saw how many calories were in the beverages, and several groups that saw different alterations of warning labels on the beverages.
When the parents were asked if they would buy sugar-sweetened drinks for their child, 40 percent of the parents that saw the warning labels said they would buy the drink for their child, compared to 60 percent who saw no labels on the beverages, and 53 percent who had calorie labels.
The labels did prove to have positive effects on parents, but there are other questions that arise. Such as will the parents choose healthy alternatives to these sugary drinks? Will they do it on a consistent basis? Will they make sure there isn’t over-consumption regardless of the beverage? But maybe warning labels is a step in the right direction particularly with reversing the increasing trend of childhood obesity. What effect do you think such labels will have on the purchase of sugary drinks?
Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation