Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Study: Children are obese because of bad habits, not heredity

Researchers at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center have found poor health habits, not heredity, are making children fat.

Check-ups of 1,003 Michigan sixth-graders showed children who were obese were "more likely to consume school lunch instead of a packed lunch from home and spend two hours a day watching TV or playing a video game," reports Newswise, a research-reporting service.

"For the extremely overweight child, genetic screening may be a consideration," said study senior author Kim A. Eagle, a cardiologist and a director of the UM Cardiovascular Center. "For the rest, increasing physical activity, reducing recreational screen time and improving the nutritional value of school lunches offers great promise to begin a reversal of current childhood obesity trends."

On Dec. 13, President Obama signed the Health, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which will improve the nutritional content of school lunches in an effort to combat childhood obesity. The move will affect nearly 32 million children.

In 1980, only 6.5 percent of U.S. children aged 6 to 11 were obese. In 2008, 19.6 percent were. (Read more)

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