This is absolutely scary to me as a parent and hopefully to you as well. This is another reason to insure that phys ed programs and recess stay in school as well as getting the junk food machines out of schools.
Yours in Fitness and Health,
Waistlines Growing in Kids
By Lucy Williams, Ivanhoe Health Correspondent
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Children in the United States are getting fatter, not fitter. If you're in doubt, pull out the measuring tape -- the waistlines of American children are growing faster than ever.
Between 1988 and 2004, abdominal obesity increased more than 65 percent in children ages 2 years to 19 years, reveals a new study. Abdominal fat is linked to metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular risks, and other harmful health conditions. Some studies have suggested waist girth could be a better health indicator than other measurements.
"Belly fat, or central fat, is more strongly correlated with medical complications of obesity, like lipid problems, cholesterol problems, and insulin resistance," study author Stephen Cook, M.D., of University of Rochester Medical Center's Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong in Rochester, New York, told Ivanhoe. "The fact this increased as much as BMI data is concerning."
BMI, or body mass index, data is commonly recorded during a medical examination. But the measurements may not effectively indicate a child is at risk for health problems because it combines muscle mass and fat mass in the same measurement. A child with low muscle mass and high fat mass could appear healthy by BMI standards but actually have an unhealthy amount of body fat. Waist circumference is a more accurate indicator for dangerous fat mass.
"Waist circumference is meant to measure the fat under the skin and around the organs," said Dr. Cook. "We know that is particularly detrimental, so it's concerning because we saw it increase more than regular measures of obesity in the same time period."
He said it's an alarming indicator that children in this country face greater health risks than ever before despite attention to the obesity epidemic.
"Even with effort and attention we've around obesity, the rates really haven't slowed down," Dr. Cook said. "That's the first thing we'd like to see, the rates slow down and level off and hopefully reverse this trend."
Parents should closely evaluate all factors that contribute to their child's activity levels and diet. Parents aren't the only ones who can contribute to the health and well being of children. Dr. Cook said community resources could help keep a child's fitness in check.
"It's important to look at everything that involves lives of parents and children -- schools, childcare, interactions with doctors and pediatricians -- every aspect that may be helping or serving families," he said. "Parenting programs work a lot with families who may need help with parenting skills, offering food and modeling eating behaviors and physical activities."
Parents may think their children eat healthy and get plenty of exercise, but they may be overlooking some unhealthy routines and diet pitfalls, like too-frequent trips through the drive-through or a lack of veggies on the dinner table. With childhood obesity on the rise, it's increasingly important for parents to be aware of all factors that contribute to childhood obesity, according to Dr. Cook. "It's looking at the details as well as looking at the big picture," he said.
Corrected citation. Thank You Lucy
SOURCE: Ivanhoe interview with Stephen Cook, M.D., University of Rochester Medical Center's Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong in Rochester, N.Y.; PEDIATRICS, 2006;118:e1390-e1398