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New study shows links lunch and tv to childhood obesity

Posted on Aug 21, 2013 by Maggie LaBarbera

A new study is being released in the September issue of Pediatrics*.  

This study highlights a possible link between childhood obesity in middle school age children and 

  • school lunch food choices
  • watching 2 or more hours of  TV a day

The study looked at sixth graders (1714) to study their habits and differences that could be correlated to obesity or being overweight.

Here are some of the findings:

Food Choice Impacts:
  • Interesting girls who drank 2 glasses a day of milk tended to not be overweight - however made no difference in boys
  • however, they did not provide more information about specific food lunches, their general statement was previous research indicates that school lunches tended to be low in nutrition and higher in calories (ie fat and sugar)
Activity Impacts:
  • Boys who played sports tended to have a healthy weight
  • they did not find a difference in boys who play video games and obesity
Health impacts to kids who were overweight:
  • Children who were obese had poor cardiovascular profiles
  • lower HDL (you want more HDL because this helps your body lower your cholesterol level)
  • higher triglycerides (this is fat found in your blood)
  • higher blood pressure (high blood pressure puts more strain on your heart because it has to pump harder to move the blood through higher pressure - over time this can lead to heart problems)
  • higher heart rate recovery (this is a measure for how long it takes for your heart to come down to its normal rate after doing strenuous activity - a healthy heart can do this quickly)

So what does this all mean?

It means that kids need to eat a healthy, balanced lunch.  The girls that drank milk had a healthier weight probably because milk was in place of a sugary drink.  

Children are growing and need foods high in calcium and vitamin D and milk provides both of these.  A glass of milk at each meal will help their bones and teeth.  Milk is also filling so it leaves them more satisfied.  

I think it also indicates the importance of getting children active and limiting TV time.  It is just too easy with all the new fall shows premiering to sit in front of the TV from dinner to bedtime.  Try limiting kids TV time.  If you have a DVR, you can record the shows and watch  their favorite shows at set family TV time.  Find other activities that kids can do after school that they enjoy.  If kids are active afterschool with a non-screen activity, get home and eat dinner, help clean up, take a 30 minute after dinner walk, do their homework, that will leave an hour or two to enjoy a little TV, brush their teeth and go to bed!



Packing a Healthy Lunch Box…easier than you think!


Parents Guide To Making a Healthy Lunch For Kids


Tips For Parents - What To Do When Children Won't Eat Their Lunch



1 Comment

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013 @ 06:49 PM

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Great info, thanks for keeping us healthy & updated! You Healthy Minded Nurse Friend, Ms. Dawn

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