Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Teen obesity tied to poor mom-child relationship according to study

Dec 28 (Reuters) - Toddlers who have poor relationships with their mother are more likely to pack on extra weight as they grow up, according to a U.S. study.

Researchers who followed nearly 1,000 children into their teens found that more than 25 percent of those who scored lowest on mother-child relationship tests as toddlers went on to become obese at age 15, findings in Pediatrics said.

By contrast, only 13 percent of the children who had a good relationship with their mother became obese.

While that doesn't prove cause and effect, researchers say other work has shown links between children's emotional and intellectual development and how they interact with their mother at a young age.

It's possible that a stressful childhood could make a lasting impression on children's brains, said Sarah Anderson, who worked on the study.

"There is an overlap in the brain between the areas that govern stress and energy balance," said Anderson, at the Ohio State University College of Public Health in Columbus.

"This stress response could be related to obesity through appetite regulation."

The study was based on 977 children who were videotaped while playing with their mother at about one, two and three years of age.

Researchers then assessed the toddler's relationship to their mothers based on the mother's ability to recognize her child's emotional state and respond with warmth, as well as the child's tendency to explore its environment freely, a measure of "attachment security."

A quarter of the toddlers had a "poor-quality" relationship to their mothers, whereas 22 percent achieved perfect scores at each session.

At 15 years, 26 percent of the children with relationship trouble were obese -- twice as many as those without such problems.

However, the gap narrowed as more factors were taken into account, including maternal education and household income.

David Gozal, a pediatrician who was not involved in the study, agreed, although he said unhealthy food and a lack of physical activity and sleep are likely to play a bigger role.

Still, stress -- both via genetic reprogramming and behavioral changes -- may also have an impact, and a poor mother-child relationship could be part of that, he said.

"What you see in adulthood is obviously the cumulative effect of what has happened earlier in life," said Gozal, physician-in-chief at the Corner Children's Hospital in Chicago.

Today, 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But Anderson said that even if poor relationships at home contributed, there is no point in chiding mothers.

"Blaming parents is not likely to solve anything. It's important to recognize that there are many competing demands on parents," she added.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ohio puts 200-pound third-grader in foster care

I know this news is old, but I'll post it anyway since obesity is a huge problem that we can deal with if we can just promote eating healthy foods and exercise. I feel sorry for the 8-year-old kid and I hope he’ll not be traumatized because of it.

People need to open their eyes and eat healthy, stay away from junk foods and exercise a lot.

CLEVELAND (AP) — An Ohio third-grader who weighs more than 200 pounds has been taken from his family and placed into foster care after county social workers said his mother wasn't doing enough to control his weight.

The Plain Dealer reports that the Cleveland 8-year-old is considered severely obese and at risk for such diseases as diabetes and hypertension.

The case is the first state officials can recall of a child being put in foster care strictly for a weight-related issue.

Lawyers for the mother say the county overreached when authorities took the boy last week. They say the medical problems he is at risk for do not yet pose an imminent danger.

A spokeswoman says the county removed the child because caseworkers saw his mother's inability to reduce his weight as medical neglect.

Information from: The Plain Dealer,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Health Benefits and Cons of Coffee

Health Benefits of Coffee

Brain Gains. Moderate coffee drinking—between 1 and 5 cups daily—may help reduce risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as Parkinson’s disease, studies suggest. How? Coffee’s antioxidants may prevent some damage to brain cells and boost the effects of neurotransmitters involved in cognitive function, say experts. ­Preliminary studies have noted that as coffee (or tea) intake rises, ­incidence of glioma, a form of brain cancer, tends to drop. Some ­researchers speculate that compounds in the brews could activate a DNA-repairing protein in cells—possibly preventing the DNA damage that can lead to cells becoming cancerous.

Defeating Diabetes. Studies link frequent coffee consumption (4 cups per day or more) with a lowered risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Scientists suspect that antioxidant compounds in coffee—cholorogenic acid and quinides—may boost cells’ sensitivity to insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar. While most of the research didn’t assess whether the brews were caffeinated, decaf may be even better, since other studies have found that caffeine tends to blunt the insulin-sensitivity boost.

Hearty Benefits. Some studies show that moderate coffee drinkers (1 to 3 cups/day) have lower rates of stroke than non-coffee-drinkers; coffee’s antioxidants may help quell inflammation’s damaging effects on arteries. Some researchers speculate that the compounds might boost activation of nitric oxide, a substance that widens blood vessels (lowering blood pressure). More java isn’t better: a 5-cup or more daily habit is associated with higher heart disease risks. Researchers ­believe excessive caffeine may sabotage the antioxidants’ effects.

Liver Lover. Though the research is limited at best, it appears that the more coffee people drink, the lower their incidence of cirrhosis and other liver diseases. One analysis of nine studies found that every 2-cup increase in daily coffee intake was associated with a 43 percent lower risk of liver cancer. Possible explanation: caffeine and antioxidant chlorogenic and caffeic acids in coffee might prevent liver inflammation and inhibit cancer cells.

Health Cons of Coffee

Java Jones. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, it can cause irritability or anxiety in high doses (and what’s "high" varies from person to person). How? Chemically, caffeine looks a lot like adenosine, a "slow-down" brain chemical associated with sleep and relaxation of blood vessels. Caffeine binds to adenosine receptors on nerve cells, leaving no room for adenosine to get in—so nerve cell activity speeds up, blood vessels constrict—and you get a caffeine buzz (or irritable jitters).

Of course, if you caffeinate yourself daily, you’ll likely develop tolerance to its effects and the jitters will subside. But that also means that eventually you’ll need a regular caffeine fix just to reach your baseline level of alertness. And your body will adapt by producing more adenosine receptors, making you more sensitive to the effects of adenosine. So if you don’t have your daily cup, you’ll likely develop withdrawal symptoms like extreme fatigue and splitting headaches (caused by ­constricted blood vessels).

A Sleep-Stealer. If you’re having trouble sleeping it might help to cut down on caffeinated coffee, or to drink it only early in the day. Generally it takes about 6 hours for the caffeine to clear your system, although it varies from person to person. The sleep-robbing effects may worsen as we age, too, a recent study suggests.

Cholesterol Caution. Boiled or unfiltered coffee (such as that made with a French press, or Turkish-style coffee) contains higher levels of cafestol, a compound that can increase blood levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Choose filtered methods instead, such as a drip coffee maker.

Prudence for Pregnant and Nursing Women. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology says it’s safe for pregnant women to get a moderate amount of caffeine (no more than 200 mg, equivalent to 2 cups of coffee per day), but warns that it’s still not clear if higher intakes could increase risk of miscarriage. Since ­caffeine can pass into breast milk, nursing moms should cut down if their babies are restless or irritable.