Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Childhood obesity interventions must begin early, experts say

Date:
April 15, 2010
Source:
University of California - San Francisco
Summary:
To be a truly comprehensive and successful anti-obesity program, First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign must include interventions that target pregnant women, infants, and pre-school-age children, experts say.

To be a truly comprehensive and successful anti-obesity program, First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign must include interventions that target pregnant women, infants, and pre-school-age children, UCSF experts say.

Related Articles


Janet Wojcicki, PhD, MPH, UCSF assistant professor of pediatrics, and Melvin Heyman, MD, MPH, professor of pediatrics and chief of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at UCSF Children's Hospital, discuss how "Let's Move" might have the greatest impact on reversing the childhood obesity epidemic in the New England Journal of Medicine. Their perspective piece is available online and will appear in the April 21, 2010, issue of the journal.

When the First Lady introduced "Let's Move" in February 2010, she outlined the campaign's central anti-obesity strategies. These include revamping the nutritional labeling of products by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, improving the nutritional standards of school lunches, increasing opportunities for children to engage in physical activity, and improving access to high-quality foods throughout the country.

According to Wojcicki and Heyman, these intervention strategies do have the potential to alter the course of the childhood obesity epidemic to some extent. However, because "Let's Move" focuses primarily on school-age children -- many of whom already are overweight or obese -- the program in its current form does not constitute a truly comprehensive obesity intervention plan.

"These types of behavioral and nutrition interventions in schools or within the home have only limited success in preventing weight gain in children," the authors say. "Obesity prevention must start as early as possible, since school-age children already have an unacceptably high prevalence of obesity and associated medical conditions."

The authors cite the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which found that nearly one-third of American children two years and older are overweight or obese, and even higher proportions among low-income children and ethnic minorities.

With those numbers in mind, Wojcicki and Heyman assert that in order to have the greatest impact, "Let's Move" must include prevention efforts that directly target pregnant women, infants and pre-school-age children.

"Including prevention efforts for these groups will have the longest-term effect on the obesity epidemic in the United States," they say.

For example, Wojcicki and Heyman recommend that "Let's Move" incorporate interventions that aim to reduce weight gain and cigarette smoking in mothers-to-be. Studies have shown that excessive weight gain and smoking during pregnancy each are associated with an increased risk for obesity later in life.

The authors also advocate for interventions designed to increase the amount of time infants are breastfed and the amount of sleep babies get, as shorter-than-recommended durations of breastfeeding and suboptimal amounts of sleep also put a child at greater risk for becoming obese. According to Wojcicki and Heyman, these types of interventions are crucial to include in a comprehensive obesity prevention effort, because they affect a child's lifetime risk of obesity.

"By directly emphasizing the potential risks for lifetime obesity that present in infancy and early childhood and providing the structure and direction for interventions in these areas, the campaign could increase its overall impact on reversing the childhood obesity epidemic," they conclude.

Wojcicki currently is investigating pre- and post-natal factors that might shape future dietary habits and the development of obesity in a group of Latino families. The children are entering their third year of life, and already Wojcicki and her team of researchers at UCSF have found patterns of eating behavior that may lead to future weight problems. Wojcicki's research is supported by funding in part from the NIH and from philanthropic support.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Francisco. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wojcicki JM, Heyman MB. Let's Move -- Childhood Obesity Prevention from Pregnancy and Infancy Onward. N Engl J Med, April 14, 2010 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1001857

Cite This Page:

University of California - San Francisco. "Childhood obesity interventions must begin early, experts say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100414184213.htm>.
University of California - San Francisco. (2010, April 15). Childhood obesity interventions must begin early, experts say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100414184213.htm
University of California - San Francisco. "Childhood obesity interventions must begin early, experts say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100414184213.htm (accessed December 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Healthier Lifestyles Could Prevent 4 In 10 Cancer Cases

Healthier Lifestyles Could Prevent 4 In 10 Cancer Cases

Newsy (Dec. 26, 2014) If patients had led healthier lifestyles, Cancer Research UK found about 40 percent of cancer cases could have been prevented. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
When Healthy Eating Becomes Dangerous

When Healthy Eating Becomes Dangerous

Newsy (Dec. 26, 2014) Experts say fad diets can lead to orthorexia, a disorder that can cause physical and emotional distress. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Issues New Warning About Pure Caffeine Powder Usage

FDA Issues New Warning About Pure Caffeine Powder Usage

Newsy (Dec. 24, 2014) The FDA cites two deaths this year linked to pure caffeine powder as warnings of the potentially fatal substance. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alarming CDC Lab Report Reveals Ebola Sample Mix-Up

Alarming CDC Lab Report Reveals Ebola Sample Mix-Up

Newsy (Dec. 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report claiming a lab tech in Atlanta might have been exposed to the Ebola virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins