A recent federally-funded study of 17 childhood obesity prevention programs in high-income countries has found that programs that promoted healthy diet and physical activity significantly improved lipid profiles in children.
For those children participating in the programs may reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood.Programs that improved lipid profiles did so whether or not they lowered obesity risk.
The principle investigator for the study was Youfa Wang, MD, PhD, professor of epidemiology and environmental health at the University at Buffalo
School of Public Health and Health Professions and professor of pediatrics in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
He stated: “We found that certain childhood obesity prevention programs had a significant desirable effect on LDL (low-density lipid or ‘bad cholesterol’) and on HDL (high-density lipid or ‘good cholesterol’), even if they did not reduce the risk of obesity.
“This is an important finding,” he says, “because children with poor lipid profiles typically carry them into adulthood, where they are a significant predictor of cardiovascular disease. The lipid profile is modifiable, however, so programs that improve it are likely to help reduce later risk of cardiovascular disease.”
The study, “Effect of childhood obesity prevention program on blood lipids: a systemic review and meta-analysis,” was funded in part by two agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It was published in the September issue of Obesity Reviews, an official journal of the World Obesity Federation.
The first author of the study is Li Cai, MD, PhD, of China’s Sun Yat-sen University, who worked as a postdoctoral fellow under Wang at The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. The other co-authors are Lawrence Cheskin, MD, associate professor and director of the Weight Management Center in The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Yang Wu of The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Renee Wilson, project manager at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Evidence-Based Practice Center.
Cai says: “There are large variations in the intervention programs we examined in terms of design, implementation, sample selection, data collection and the reporting of results. This was a challenge for our meta-analysis.
“We looked at 677 relevant papers and selected for analysis 17 studies that met inclusion criteria. The 17 studies had a total of 13,136 participants,” she says.
“The studies tested interventions that targeted diet, physical activity or both in normal and obese children aged two to 18. None of the studies focused only on overweight or obese children or on children with a pre-existing medical condition.”
The authors point out that a growing body of evidence suggests that dyslipidaemia, an abnormal amount of lipid (e.g. cholesterol and/or fat) in the blood is associated with childhood obesity as well as adult cardiovascular disease.
“Childhood obesity has many long-term health consequences,” Wang says. “Because it is difficult to cure once it develops, prevention in children is important.
“For that reason,” he says, “we also considered the effects of the prevention programs not only on lipid profiles but how much they improved obesity as measured by body mass index (BMI), waist measurement and waist to hip ratio.
The study looked at obesity prevention
programs for students in 10 countries that focused on changes in diet, exercise or both.
“Only 15 percent of the interventions we examined improved both obesity and lipids outcomes and 55 percent had no significant effect on either,” Wang says.
“Two-thirds of the interventions had similar effects in obesity and lipid measures,” he says. “Some had significant effects on both, others had none.”
Wang is an internationally known expert in childhood obesity
and this study was initiated by the team he led while on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University.
The current study by Cai, Wang and others offers new data and analysis of the effects on blood lipids. In another study published in the journal Circulation in May 2014, the team reported the beneficial effects of childhood obesity prevention programs on blood pressure.As parents, what can we learn from this study?
It is always important to teach your children how to have a healthy and active lifestyle. For families that have two parents that work outside the home, it may be too difficult to make time to teach their kids in the home about fitness and healthy eating. If this is the case for your family then I believe it is a smart idea to look into and have your children participate in obesity prevention programs. Even if you don't have obesity in your family history these programs can also help your kids lower their risk of heart disease.
You can check with your school district, YMCA or parks and recreation department to find out if your community has an obesity prevention program for kids.image credit: freedigitalphotos.net
As moms, our default mechanism is to take care of our children and family before ourselves. It’s often a mother’s natural instinct and frankly we don’t have time to do more. The first few years of motherhood, I knew I should workout, eat better and get a few hours of sleep. But of course, I put it on the back burner thinking life would someday get easier. It took me being diagnosed with cancer for the second time to open my eyes. My wellness needed to be a priority. I found that that the key to successfully focusing on bettering my health was to make it a family affair.
For those that think, improving their health takes so much time and energy, I’m here to say, that it doesn’t have to be that way. I'm excited to share my adventures on this vlog for The Healthy Moms Magazine, where I will give quick tips on how to take small steps toward clean eating and finding fitness for the family.
Enjoy the premiere episode.
What are your favorite clean-eating tips or snacks?
Caryn Sullivan is a regular contributor to The Healthy Moms Magazine. She is also the author of the blog http://PrettyWellness.com where she chronicles her adventures with organic health, happiness and beauty. You can follow PrettyWellness on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest for tips and tales on clean eating and healthy living.
Image courtesy of stock images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Your whole family will love this delicious and healthy recipe. Eggplants are packed with vitamins and adding broccolini brings added flavor and fiber to this dish.Eggplant Parmesan
1 eggplant, about 1/2 lb.
3 1/2 Tbsp. 2% milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
1 1/3 cups cooked angel hair pasta
2 cups cooked broccolini (Broccolini
is a green vegetable not unlike broccoli with small florets and long, thin stalks.- Wikipedia)
Photo of Broccolini taken from Wikipedia
1 cup onion chopped
1 Tbs. garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. ground dried thyme
1/2 tsp. ground coarse black pepper
1/4 tsp. red chili pepper flakes
1 tsp. olive oil
6 1/4 cups canned diced tomatoes
3/4 cup vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. parsley, freshly chopped Preparation
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut eggplant into 8 slices, each slice 1/4 inch thick. In a small bowl, beat egg with milk. Dredge eggplant slices in flour, then in egg mild mixture, then in breadcrumbs. In a large saute pan saute eggplant in olive oil over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side. Transfer cooked eggplant slices to a baking dish. Top with marinara sauce and sprinkle cheese over the top. Place in oven and cood for a few minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve 2 eggplant slices with 1/3 cup cooked pasta and 1/2 cup cooked broccolini.Marinara Sauce
Ina large sauce pan, saute onion, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, black pepper and red pepper flakes in olive oil until onions are soft. Add diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add remaining ingredients except for parsley and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours stirring frequently. Stir in parsley.Nutritional Information
Recipe makes 4 servings.
Each 1/2 cup serving contains:
15 g. of protein
56 g. carbohydrates
10 g. fat
63 mg. cholesterol
310 mg. sodium
6 g. fiber