Childhood Obesity and Overweight Children

Looking out over the yard during recess, Mrs. Nyeberg saw Adam standing apart from a group of the other children who were playing. She knew that once again Adam had been left out of their games. He was endlessly taunted about his weight by the other children and had very few friends at school. At 8 years old Adam was already 40 pounds heavier than the other children.

The Epidemic

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over 9 million children ages 6 to 19 years old are overweight or obese. In a frightening trend, this number has tripled since 1980. In this same time period, childhood obesity has doubled for preschoolers (2-5 years old) and adolescents (12-19 years).

This problem is not limited to the United States but is a growing epidemic in many countries. In a country that is apparently obsessed with weight issues we should be declaring this issue a national emergency.

Ignoring the Issue

Believing that children may surely have "baby fat" or grow out of their weight problems is a fallacy. Overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese adults. This number increases to 80 percent if one or more parent is overweight or obese.

UCSF researcher Robert Lustig, MD, professor of clinical pediatrics at UCSF Children's Hospital notes that the Western diet is the key reason for childhood obesity.

Lustig offers that our high calorie, low fiber diets promote hormonal imbalances that encourage children to overeat. Other factors commonly attributed to the rise in obesity include frequent fast food dining, too little physical activity at school and home, larger portion sizes, and lack of sleep. Another key factor cited in numerous studies, and perhaps the most important – parents.


Parents play an important role in the growth, development, and socialization of children (Darling and Steinberg 1993). Additionally, overweight parents may pass on a combination of genetic predisposition to becoming overweight and unhealthy eating habits to their children. An Australian study showed that fathers who were permissive or disengaged were more likely to have children with a higher body mass index ( ). Obesity in children is far more than a vanity issue. Along with the rise in childhood obesity is a dramatic increase in diseases and conditions that were previously more prevalent in adults.

Health Problems

A new study revealed that obesity in adolescents is related with reduced heart functions and excess cardiac mass. Combined with the tendency to become hypertensive this is a life threatening issue.

Being overweight puts a greater strain on the still developing bodies of children. Childhood obesity puts children at greater risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, joint problems, sleep disorders and more. One in three obese children has excess fat in their liver. This excess fat could lead to hepatitis, cirrhosis or liver failure. Not to mention the emotional toll on children who are subjected to teasing and / or isolation by their peers.

Seek Medical Help

Your physician can determine if your child's weight is healthy. The doctor will use a growth chart to compare your child's BMI to other children of the same age and sex.Cutoff points on these growth charts, established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), help identify overweight children:

o BMI-for-age between 85th and 95th percentiles – at risk of overweight
o BMI-for-age over 95th percentile – overweight

Your doctor will also evaluate your family history, your child's calorie intake and eating habits, other health conditions, and activity level.

Dr. Kal

I was an overweight child and an obese teen. I understand the physical, emotional, and mental pain it can cause. On my blog, I will provide weight loss strategies for children and their parents. Stay tuned.

5 Ways To Fight Obesity And Being Overweight!

Obesity is one of the major problems which leads to many diseases. The most common symptoms of obesity are weight-related issues like type 2 diabetic mellitus, high blood pressure, respiration problem, joint pain and high cholesterol level. Obesity may be caused by genetic factors, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activities and environmental factors. To overcome obesity, you need to maintain some discipline, such as you need to make some changes in your daily diet, do more of physical activities daily. These are the best ways to start losing weight.

Change Your Eating Habits

Dieting is the best way to get over obesity. Some of the people are making themselves hungry to lose weight or follow some fad diet to lose weight in a fast manner. But these are wrong approaches which are generally followed by many individuals. The healthiest and safest way to lose weight fast is to reduce your daily calories intake by adopting healthy eating habits. People should avoid alcoholic drinks, red meat, processed foods, sugary foods, sugary drinks, junk foods, refined cereals, etc because these foods are loaded with lots of calories which hamper your hard work which you are doing for weight loss. Make sure that you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables between meals, make them your snacks as these foods contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients that your body needs for energy requirement and other body functions. Remember, don’t starve yourself to lose weight because starvation increases the food craving. Healthy eating may naturally suppress your appetites by increasing your metabolism and boosting your energy level which directly leads to weight loss.

Get Active

Any type of physical activities play a crucial additional step towards making you fit. Physical activities could be dancing, yoga, gym, swimming, etc. Some of the additional activities such as using stairs instead of an elevator, buying household stuff by walking rather than ordering online, spending some time with kids by playing some outdoor game. These activities add extra value to your physical activities. Being physically active not only supports weight loss but improve overall body functions that are lowering the cholesterol level, making you fit and reducing the risk of injuries. So be involved at least 30 mins of daily activities which help you get rid of obesity problems. Be more active which will keep you healthy.

Proper Monitoring Of Weight

Self-monitoring is the best way to get motivation towards the weight loss. Daily stepping on a scale may help you to maintain your weight as you can track your food intake and you can also track the outcomes of changes in your food intake. Monitoring increases your energy level and vitality.

Reduce Stress

Stress is something you should eliminate while you want to lose weight. This is because stress releases the hormone cortisol which has a strong connection to binge eating and inducing food cravings. So be calm and perform on daily basis meditation which will reduce stress as well as bring positivity towards your weight loss goal.

Weight Loss Supplements

Weight loss requires changes in the diet and physical activities, however, people can go for weight loss supplements for faster results. These supplements work perfectly by reducing hunger and by increasing the metabolic rate.

The best way to overcome obesity is by losing weight through a natural process such as by exercising regularly and following a low-calorie diet. You can also opt for natural weight loss supplements; you just need to research extensively to find a product which is effective and free from side effects.

Wildfires Give Scientists Rare Data On Health Effects Of Chronic Smoke Exposure : Shots

Wildfire smoke filled the sky in Seeley Lake, Mont. on Aug. 7, 2017. Weather effects concentrated the accumulating smoke, chronically exposing residents to harmful substances in the air.


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Wildfire smoke filled the sky in Seeley Lake, Mont. on Aug. 7, 2017. Weather effects concentrated the accumulating smoke, chronically exposing residents to harmful substances in the air.


Jean Loesch and her family live in Seeley Lake, Mont., which saw the longest and most intense smoke from Montana’s wildfires this summer. Loesch has 10 children, adopted or in her foster care, and they are learning what it’s like to have lingering respiratory problems.

Last summer, Loesch says, the smoke was so thick outside, the family couldn’t see the trees across the street, so they stayed inside. It was still really hard to breathe.

“These guys were miserable,” Loesch says. “I think each one of them ended up having to go to the doctor.” Everyone needed inhalers.

The family is usually pretty healthy, but not this year. Loesch got pneumonia and the kids had bloody noses. And now, even with the smoke long gone, the children are still having trouble with their lungs.

“They’ll wake up hacking,” Loesch says “They’ve all been sick. I’ve had to take them in for upper respiratory infections.”

Seeley Lake is in Missoula County, which had several large wildfires that lasted from the end of July through mid-September — weeks longer than usual — and led to the worst season on record for wildfire smoke.

Researchers don’t know a lot about what that kind of extended smoke exposure does to people. Most previous studies have focused on indoor wood-burning stoves, urban air pollution and the effects on firefighters.

But the way the smoke piled up and stuck around a whole town this summer was new. Seeley Lake is in a valley. Every day, as the sun set and evening temperatures dropped, cold air traveled down from the mountain and trapped on the valley floor the smoke from the nearby Rice Ridge fire. This phenomenon is called a temperature inversion.

As the wildfires burned on into the summer, and nights grew longer and colder, the inversions grew stronger. Over time, the accumulating smoke made it even harder for the sun to break through and warm the ground; and that intensified the effect.

The experience was really tough on residents, and it handed scientists an unusual opportunity to learn much more about the health effects of breathing smoke.

Rachel Hinnenkamp is an epidemiologist with the state health department, and has been tracking how many people went to emergency rooms complaining of respiratory-related symptoms during the 2017 wildfire season.

For people who live in Missoula and Powell counties, that number more than doubled in 2017, compared the year before.

“The number of visits in 2016 was 163 and that increased to 378. That’s a statistically significant increase,” Hinnenkamp says.

Researchers can’t say whether all those ER visits were directly related to the Rice Ridge Fire; but Hinnenkamp says most visits happened about a month after the air in the region first became heavy with smoke.

The more a person is exposed to polluted air, the worse it is for their health.

“The smoke that we saw this year in Seeley Lake was like nothing we’d ever seen,” says Sarah Coefield, the air quality specialist for the Missoula City-County Health Department. It’s her job to quantify just how bad the air was.

Pollution from wildfire smoke is typically measured as the concentration of fine particulate matter, she explains. The EPA says a daily average concentration of more than 35 micrograms per cubic meter of polluted air is unhealthy.

The county’s air quality monitors max out at 1000 micrograms. In Seeley Lake this summer, Coefield says the monitors maxed out 20 times.

“So there were 20 hours that we don’t know what the actual number was over a thousand,” she says.

Most public health guidelines aim to protect groups that are the most vulnerable to wildfire smoke in the short term — children, pregnant women, older people and those with chronic heart and lung diseases.

But the off-the-charts summer in Seeley Lake is bad news even for people who aren’t at high risk, says Chris Migliaccio, an immunologist and assistant professor in the University of Montana’s School of Pharmacy.

“Usually these exposures are maybe a couple weeks at high levels,” Migliaccio says. “This was over a month at really unprecedented levels. We have no idea what the long term effects are.”

He’s part of a team of UM researchers trying to fill in those gaps in knowledge. Working with the county health department, they’ve started tracking a group of Seeley Lake residents, documenting changes in their physical and mental health over time.

One thing Migliaccio predicts the scientists might see is an uptick in respiratory infections — because those fine particulates in wildfire smoke can damage and even kill cells in the lungs that get rid of the harmful substances people inhale. And that leads to more people having a compromised immune system.

“I can’t tell you, ‘You will be susceptible. You will get the flu.’ But because of these exposures, you’re probably at an increased risk,” he says. “We haven’t done these studies. And that’s something we want to follow with this Seeley Lake cohort we’ve started building up. Let’s follow them. Let’s see how they do this winter.”

Right now, the biggest hurdle to getting that information is funding. The health scientists are applying for grants to keep their research going. They hope to track people for years, to find out whether the health impacts of extended smoke exposure dissipate — or linger.

This story is part of NPR’s reporting partnership with Montana Public Radio and Kaiser Health News.

Infertility: Can Your Own Body Be Its Own Worst Enemy?

There are so many causes for infertility and they are usually external factors such as lifestyle choices. Smoking, eating unhealthily, drug use and environmental factors all play a role in infertility. However, your own body can also play a role in infertility and sometimes it can be your own worst enemy.

The body’s own antibodies can affect the ability to conceive. In men, anti-sperm antibodies can be your own worst enemy. While antibodies are supposed to fight off foreign bodies such as germs and bacteria that enter the body, you wouldn’t expect it to fight off sperm that is produced by the body. However, in some cases, these antibodies will attack the sperm thus preventing fertility in a variety of ways. The antibodies could prevent the sperm from being able to properly travel through the woman’s cervical mucus. It could also impair the sperm from fusing with the egg. In certain cases, it could inhibit the sperm’s ability to penetrate the egg to begin fertilisation. The risk of developing antibodies is not the same for all men and some men are prone to this condition. Sometimes this occurs naturally while other times it may be the cause of a vasectomy reversal, surgery on the male genitals or it could be related to previous infections or injury.

Your body’s production of hormones could play a role in infertility. Hormonal imbalances in women could affect the body’s ability to release an egg or to ovulate. Your body could be producing too much or too little of a particular hormone. Luckily, hormonal imbalances can be easily detected and solutions include hormone supplements.

Blocked fallopian tubes can also affect fertility. Infections, damaged tubes, scar tissue, endometriosis or adhesions can block the fallopian tubes. This can make it practically impossible for the egg to get to the uterus and, consequently, the sperm cannot get to the egg. If the blockage is limited to a small area, a fertility specialist may remove the blocked portion via open tubal surgery. An alternative fertility treatment solution includes IVF.

You may think that it’s something you’re doing that causes the infertility and sometimes it may be. But it can also be your own body that is fighting against you. So it is important to see a fertility doctor who can advise what the cause of infertility may be so that you can have a plan on how to proceed onward.

More Children Hiring Personal Trainers – Combating Childhood Obesity

More and more parents are hiring personal trainers to work with their children to help combat childhood obesity. Thousand of children who are turning to professionals to get in shape. Last year, more than 1 million American youngsters used personal trainers to lose weight, improve fitness or improve their sports skills. Some statistics show that about 30% of children ages 6 to 11 are overweight while about 15% are obese. With PE classes on the decline, it's no surprise that many parents are turning to personal trainers for help. If you're looking for ways to get your kids more active, a personal trainer could be the perfect solution.

Personal Training for Kids

One reason parents are turning to personal trainers is to help their kids excel at sports. Another major reason, of course, is help in managing weight problems. Whatever the reason, the decision to hire a personal trainer should be up to you and your child. One thing we do know is that getting kids and teens to exercise can be tough … forcing your child into a type of activity or exercise he does not like can backfire and not every child will enjoy working with a personal trainer.

If your child does express interest in working with a trainer, you might wonder what a trainer can do for your child. A good trainer can help her find activities she can enjoy while teaching her the proper way to exercise for her age and goals. A trainer can also teach her how to lift weights, which has a number of benefits for kids and teens such as:

  • More strength
  • Protection from injuries
  • Better health
  • Higher self-esteem and confidence

A trainer can help determine what your child is capable of and teach your child how to exercise safely, effectively, and most importantly, how to have some fun so these habits stick into adulthood.

Other reasons you may want your child to work with a trainer are:

  • Sports specific training. Athletes often need specialized training and kids who want to pursue sports may want or need help from a professional to strengthen their bodies, increase their power and endurance and protect them from injuries.
  • Guidance for exercise. You may feel at a loss if your child wants to exercise or lift weights and you're not sure you have the expertise to show them what to do. If that's the case, the right personal trainer can help you set up a good program that fits your child's age, goals and fitness level.
  • Dislike of organized sports or group fitness. Some kids may not like typical PE or sports, but still want to get in shape. Working one-on-one with a trainer can be a safe environment for them to get fit and strong without feeling self-conscious.

According to the Max Fitness Academy in Sherman Oaks, CA, children under 18 accounted for 17 percent of the 6.3 million people who used trainers in 2006. Max Hany Mikhaiel, the Academy's CEO and founder of the non-profit Drive Kids to Be Fit, partly attributes the jump to parents' concern about child obesity: The American Obesity Association estimates that about 30 percent of children from 6 to 19 are overweight.

With cutbacks in physical education programs across the country, Max says that many children are not getting regular exercise in school unless they play an organized sport. Drive Kids to be Fit, was developed as a fun and effective way to teach kids good nutrition and exercise habits. The non-profit organization is a community partner in National Institute of Health's We Can! Program, a national initiative to reduce the number of overweight and obese children. "The goal is to reach every single overweight kid in the country," says Max, "by getting them involved in community activities." Getting them out of the house and into being active. " The 15-week program is currently available at Max Fitness Academy and free to qualified low income children ages 8 – 13 and will be launched in several local area schools this fall. Trainers and Nutritionists from Max Fitness Academy will visit schools to teach 1 h hour classes on good eating habits, weight training and cardiovascular exercise.

So today's parents see a personal trainer as a phys-ed tutor who can help a struggling child get fit. Certified in teen and pre-teen fitness, fitness trainers agreements that self-esteem typically booms as a child's body image improves. "When you are strong, no matter what your age, you are braver about everything else," Max says. He defends parents who hire trainers for their children, equating the expense to that of other outside lessons like dance or music.

These days, it seems as though everyone is talking about overweight and obesity and what to do about it. Why is it such a big deal? Because, as a nation, we've been getting steadily heavier. The number of adults who are obese has increased dramatically, even in the past decade or so. And it's not just a slightly larger waistline that might come with middle age. It's weight gain that damages our health. According to national data analyzed, it's estimated that 65 percent of Americans are now overweight or obese, and more than 61 million adults are obese. Adults are not the only ones who've been getting heavier. Children have been getting heavier as well. The percentage of children and teens who are overweight has more than doubled since the 1970s. About 16 percent of children and teens are overweight.

The Downside of Overweight

People have lots of reasons to care if they weigh too much, both in the short run and over the long haul. In the short run, when a child is overweight, it can be hard to keep up with friends, play outside at recess, or wear the latest styles. Other kids at school can sometimes tease. Excess weight can be hard for adults, too. Clothes feel too tight, it's not always easy to be active, and one can tire easily.

Those extra pounds also have long-term consequences for both adults and children. Overweight is linked to increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, certain cancers, and other chronic conditions. Health experts are specifically concerned about the long-term consequences of excess weight in children. For example, type 2 diabetes was once rare in children. Now, it is estimated to account for 8 to 45 percent of newly diagnosed cases of child diabetes. Most cases of type 2 diabetes in children occur in those who are overweight. And overweight children are likely to become overweight or obese adults.

It's one thing to think about the national epidemic of obesity, but as a parent, what can you do about it? The two main ways to encourage and maintain a healthy weight and prevent overweight are to make smart food choices and to be physically active.

That is what Max Fitness Academy's Drive Kids to Be Fit and is all about – giving you lots of ideas that can help you and your family take action for a healthy weight.