Efforts to improve the nutritional quality of school food and increase time for students to exercise have helped childhood obesity rates decline in West Virginia, the Herald-Dispatch reports. Student health screenings show that 27.8 percent of fifth graders were obese during the 2011-12 school year, compared to 28.9 percent in 2010-11.
Few Americans Know Obesity Risks
While most Americans know that obesity causes conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, few know the full list of health risks caused by the condition, the Associated Press reports. For example, only a small percentage know that obesity can cause cancer, arthritis, sleep apnea and infertility.
Study: Few Children Meet Screen Time, Physical Activity Requirements
Fewer than four in 10 elementary aged children meet recommended guidelines for physical activity and screen-time, Education Week reports. Children spend too much time with screens — including watching television and going online — and not enough time being active.
RWJF, YMCA Team Up to Create Policy Change
A joint effort by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and YMCA of the USA to create policy and environmental changes in six states to reduce childhood obesity led to 2,705 policy changes, the Chicago Tribune reports. Examples of changes include serving healthier food in schools, an increase in availability of fruits and vegetables at corner markets, increasing physical activity opportunities in school and at after-school programs and promotion of active transportation options, such as bicycle and walking trails.
Editor’s Note: PreventObesity.net is a project of RWJF.
Daycare Centers Increase Healthy Food Options
Using subsidies provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, many daycare centers are improving the nutritional quality of food they serve to their young students, Time reports. Teaching kids healthy habits before they even enter elementary school is an important part of preventing obesity, experts say.
Study: Genes Play Role in Obesity
While diet and exercise still play a large factor in obesity, a new study finds that the “degree to which one gains weight from a high-fat diet is largely determined by genetics,” the Huffington Post reports.
New Apps Could Help Promote Healthy Habits
CNN reports that digital health technology was a big part of this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Technology companies unveiled apps that use sensors to monitor everything from fitness routines, daily routines and sleep habits. Those apps then wirelessly stream that data to the cloud.
Expert: Parents Must Talk to Kids About Obesity
New York pediatrician Dr. Joanna Dolgoff chatted with the Los Angeles Times this week about the importance of parents talking to their children about obesity. Dolgoff says few parents acknowledge the issue — many would rather talk to their kids about drugs or sex before obesity — which makes it difficult for children figure out how to get healthy.