Disease and Conditions
Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity

By Dr. L. Lee Coyne

When are we going to take action? The World Health Organization has, over the last 5 years, repeatedly raised the alarm over the rising incidence of obesity and the associated health risks created by this voluminous (pun intended) problem. The incidence of obesity is doubling every 5 years. Even worse is the estimate that up to 20% of school age children are obese - not just over weight. We blame poor physical activity habits, excess television viewing, too much web surfing, too many video games and junk food addictions along with other poor nutritional habits. All factors play a role. It is called a lifestyle that supports obesity. To change, lifestyles must change.

Obesity represents the storage of excess calories. Excess calories are stored as fat when the food we eat rapidly changes to sugar (or is already sugar), which increases the insulin production by the pancreas. Insulin is the storage hormone and while insulin is elevated the body will not and can not metabolize fat.

A recent study published in The Lancet medical journal targets “Liquid Candy” (sugared drinks) as the major culprit in these insulin/obesity wars. The study, conducted on 548 11 – 12 year olds over a 2 year period in schools across Massachusetts found that each sugared drink (included Hawaiian punch, lemonade, Kool-Aid, sweetened ice tea, soft drinks and flavored waters) increased the BMI (body mass index) by 0.18. If they increased their daily soft drink intake, each extra soda made them 60 % more likely to become obese. Fifty-seven per cent increased their intake during the study with a quarter of them drinking 2 or more cans each day.

On a daily basis, the average teenager is getting 15 – 20 teaspoons (225 – 300 calories) of added sugar from sugared drinks and this consumption has doubled over the last decade.

Although “Liquid Candy” is not the only culprit it is a big one but through life style choices / changes it is a factor that is within our control.

See also Childhood Obesity

About the Author:

Lee Coyne, Ph.D. is a nutritional consultant, lecturer and author of several weight loss books, including Fat Won't Make You Fat. Dr. Coyne is also the creator of the "Lean Seekers Nutritional Coaching Program" that trains individuals on a "Better Balanced Diet" as a way of eating for better health and weight management. He may be reached at 1-800-668-4042 or by e-mail dr.coyne@leanseekers.com

Copyright Lee Coyne, Ph.D., reprinted with permission.

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