5 Tips to a Healthier Family (Part 2)

by Robard Corporation Staff January 3, 2017


Studies are increasingly showing that the epidemic of obesity is rapidly growing, becoming not just a public health crisis for adults, but for entire families. In our recent blog post Childhood Obesity Predictors May Not Be What You Think (Part 1), we found that not only is childhood obesity rising (doubled in the past 30 years), but it has also been strongly linked to parental obesity.

Research on families and obesity reveals that children of overweight parents have an 80 percent chance of also being overweight. You might be tempted to think that the majority of this is due to the family’s genetic predisposition, but researchers have shown that the link between one’s genetics and one’s weight accounts for only a small part of this 80 percent chance. What seems to matter more is your family environment.

In fact, establishing healthy routines for your entire household can support you in staying on track in your own diet and weight loss journey. Being healthy has a reciprocal effect; what you do for your children will positively affect you and vice versa. The key is to identify the problem and work to slowly chip away at it. To get started, try a few of these tips to start implementing healthier routines in your household this week:

1. Enjoy meals together. When everyone sits down together to eat, there’s less chance of children eating the wrong foods or snacking too much.

2. Explore mindful eating and introduce the idea to your family to prevent overeating. For more about mindful eating, read our blog post.

3. Get kids involved in cooking and planning meals. Everyone develops good eating habits together and the quality time with the family will be an added bonus. For easy meals that even the kids can help with, check out these recipes for a week’s worth of healthy meals.

4. Make physical activity a weekly goal with your family, and find ways to make it fun and help bring you all together. For some ideas on fun ways to stay active with your family, check out this slideshow.

5. Talk to your kids. If you struggle with your weight, it may be impacting your kids whether you know it or not. Strive to be open about your struggles and your journey with your children. Model for them the importance of making your health a priority so they can learn to do so for themselves as they grow older. Try daily affirmations for positive body image with your kids. Plus, we don’t have to keep these struggles to ourselves. When we have the support of our family, so many things are possible. You may find that achieving a healthier weight can be more enjoyable, in addition to bringing your family closer together.


Sources: American Heart Association, Obesity Action Coalition


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation



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Filed Under: Childhood Obesity | For Dieters | For Providers | Habits | Healthy Eating | Obesity

Childhood Obesity Predictors May Not Be What You Think (Part 1)

by Robard Corporation Staff December 26, 2016


Finding the motivation to pursue a healthy weight can be difficult sometimes. But a new study out of Stanford University may be able to add an increased sense of urgency and purpose, particularly for parents: Do it for the kids!

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. While many factors have contributed to this, including increased access to fast foods and higher birth weight, more evidence shows that the factor that puts children at greatest risk of being overweight is having obese parents.

“The findings of this study suggest that at-risk children may be identifiable in the first few years of life,” says W. Stewart Agras, MD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, whose team assessed both established and hypothesized risk factors in a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Pediatrics.

Agras says parental obesity represented the most potent risk factor, a finding that confirms previous observations, and the connection between overweight parents and overweight children is likely due to a combination of genetics and family environmental influences.

Childhood obesity can lead to many other health issues for children. According to the American Obesity Association, pediatricians are reporting more frequent cases of obesity-related diseases such as type-2 diabetes, asthma and hypertension — diseases that once were considered adult conditions.

It can be emotionally conflicting to think about the ways that one’s own health can negatively impact one’s children. But remember that the focus of this study and its findings is not about blame or shaming overweight parents, but rather about prevention. “It’s important to identify risk factors because they may provide a way to alter the child’s environment and reduce the chance of becoming overweight,” Agras says.

Remember: Good health is paramount for many reasons. The first reason is YOU. Obesity can prevent you from living a long, happy, and healthy life. The next reason is the people that you love. You play an integral role in building a healthy family. But while bad eating and exercise habits in children can be passed down from parents, the good news is that we have the power to change those unhealthy habits for ourselves, as well as for our children. Stay tuned for Part 2 for 5 tips for a healthier family….


Sources: American Heart Association, News Medical, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation




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Filed Under: Childhood Obesity | For Dieters | For Providers | Habits | Obesity | Self Esteem | Setting Goals | Treating Obesity

New App Helps Providers Talk with Patients about Childhood Obesity

by Robard Corporation Staff December 14, 2016


There is an increasing problem in how healthcare providers are approaching obesity and no one is talking about it —because they don’t know how to.

Obesity and its related chronic conditions is one the biggest detrimental health issues in America, but medical schools fail to teach their students — future healthcare providers — how to interact with patients about their weight. This is unacceptable, as this leaves our future medical providers without the knowledge of basic conversational approaches to initiate treatment of one of our country’s leading epidemics.

In an effort to teach and improve providers’ interaction with their patients about obesity, Kognito, a New York City-based company that designs immersive learning experiences with virtual humans to bring about positive changes in health behaviors, created an application for the Apple App Store and Google Play called “Change Talk 2.0.” This application, which has a goal of changing the conversation about childhood obesity, has the user enter a “virtual scenario,” enter a question, and then get feedback from a “virtual family” about the encounter. It was created to offer a simulation-type experience in the hopes that it will make it easier for the provider to broach the sensitive subject of weight to their adolescent patient.

Since launching in 2014, the first iteration of the application boasted 30,000 users. Now that the second version has been released, one would anticipate additional growth and perhaps expansion into virtual simulations that focus on motivational interviewing approaches to obesity with the adult patient population. There’s certainly a market for it. In fact, a survey was conducted of providers that used the original application and a resounding 93 percent said that they would make changes to provide better healthcare to their patients. Eighty-eight percent of the providers made changes within a month after completing the survey.

Applications like “Change Talk” are proving to be indispensable tools for healthcare, and the market is only beginning to scratch the surface. Healthcare and technology will continue to merge, and the ultimate result will be improved healthcare and outcomes for patients. As app developers continue to dip into the healthcare market, healthcare providers will benefit from new technology as an extension of their services, allowing for broader and individualized attention on the patient. If you haven’t already, it’s best to get on board now.

Source: Fast Company

Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation


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Filed Under: Childhood Obesity | Eating Habits | Education | For Dieters | For Providers | Habits | Healthy Eating | Obesity | Treating Obesity

'Tis the 'Weight-Gaining' Season

by Robard Corporation Staff October 20, 2016


I recently saw a picture on Facebook that was captioned: “Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” It’s a common saying, but thought-provoking at the same time. It puts things in perspective and helps you understand that the decisions you make now can affect you in the future.

One thing that we can all do now is decide to make a conscious effort to watch our diet and weight over the next three months; our future selves will thank us for it. Remember, from now until the end of the year we are all likely to gain weight. Why? Blame our friends, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Yes, the holiday season is upon us, and if we aren’t careful we will gain weight that will take a lot of effort and time to lose. Actually, according to findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it will take upwards of five months to lose that weight. Think of all the work you put in throughout this past year trying to reach your fitness goal, only for it to vanish in a span of a few months, then you have start again when the calendar flips to 2017.

So, what do we do? First, let’s all agree that for the majority of us there will be a few days during the holidays that our diet goes haywire. However, the goal should be to minimize those days, which is tough to do when the leftovers in the fridge are begging to be eaten; we have to find ways to control those urges and cravings.

Another thing we can do is make sure we have a consistent exercise plan. With the holiday season comes traveling, relaxation, and at times lack of motivation to workout. But even if it’s just a short walk, commit to do something! It will be easier to get back into your normal workout routine if you are starting somewhere instead of starting from a place where you went an extended period of time with little to no physical activity. Try to keep your regimen as close to normal as possible.

Cornell Food and Brand Lab Director Brian Wansink said it best: “It’s easier to avoid holiday pounds altogether than to lose them after they happen.” With research showing it will take five months to lose three months of weight, it’s hard to disagree. So stay motivated, be consistent and focused on reaching your good health goals. If we’re mindful of watching our weight over the next three months, our future selves will thank us for it.


Source: Cornell Food & Brand Lab

Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation


Sitting on an Empty Wallet: The Cost of Physical Inactivity

by Robard Corporation Staff September 14, 2016


A lot of people that are physically inactive throughout the day aren’t so by choice. More and more jobs are in an office setting. These environments are sedentary by nature, and don’t tend to encourage physical activity. While some try to remedy their lack of movement during the day by doing some basic things at their desks, others will do their best to get some exercise in after the workday is over. Some, if they’re smart, try to do both. Nonetheless, our inactivity is costing us more than our just our health. A lot more.

A study conducted by the University of Sydney showed that physical inactivity had a world cost of $67.6 billion in 2013. That’s billion with a “B.” Researchers came up with that hefty total by observing healthcare cost, productivity losses, and disability-adjusted life years for five diseases that are generally associated with physical inactivity and obesity: coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer.

There are a lot of layers to this study and its results, but it starts with the issue of physical inactivity. And this is not just a domestic problem; it’s a global issue. The study included 142 countries which contains 93.2 percent of the world’s population, making this a rather holistic perspective of how much our lack of inactivity is costing us. That isn’t lost on the researchers.

“Physical inactivity is recognized as a global pandemic and not only leads to diseases and early deaths, but imposes a major burden to the economy”, says Dr. Melody Ding, lead author of the study and Senior Research Fellow from the University School of Public Health.  The economic burden is a real one. Out of the $805 million Australia paid for inactivity, $91 million was from the private sector.

And while some people pay the price with their wallet, others pay with their health.

Although this is an expensive problem, there seems to be a rather easy solution: We need to be more physically active — especially those at a younger age. Adolescents are practically given every reason to not be active; 3-D televisions, social media, and iPads can make them feel as though they are living a full life while sitting on the couch.

As for adults, there are many short-cuts we can employ when it comes to combatting a sedentary lifestyle. Finding at least some time in the day to be physically active, even at your desk, is a healthier option than succumbing to the outcomes that studies like this suggest. Living a more active lifestyle is always better — physically, mentally and fiscally.

Source: University of Sydney


Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation


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Filed Under: Cardiovascular Disease | Childhood Obesity | Exercise | For Dieters | For Providers | Treating Obesity

Sugar-Sweetened Drinks Could Have Cigarette-Like Warning Labels

by Robard Corporation Staff February 3, 2016


People that smoke cigarettes know the risk they are taking when doing it. Aside from the commercials they may see on television or their friends telling them about smoking’s pitfalls, they also see the warnings every time they buy a pack with the Surgeon General Warning on the side.

It looks like some want to have similar labels on sugar-sweetened drinks. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine feel that such labels will have a positive effect on deterring parents from purchasing these drinks for their children. Sugar-sweetened drinks such as sodas and sugary juices have been found to have as much as seven teaspoons of sugar per 6.5 ounces. With the newest eating guidelines proclaiming that added sugar shouldn’t exceed 10 percent of a person’s daily calorie intake, that amount is almost double the dietary recommendation, making it a factor in the children obesity rate.

The main reason researchers are advocating for such a label is to better inform parents of the health risks that are included in the over-consumption of such beverages. Obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay are only a few things that children can be exposed to if they are to drink too many of these sugary drinks, dangers that the parent may not necessarily know about or consider when purchasing for their child.

Researchers put this theory to the test by surveying over 2,300 parents that have children between the ages of 6 and 11. They divided the parents into several groups, including: parents that saw no labels on beverages, parents that only saw how many calories were in the beverages, and several groups that saw different alterations of warning labels on the beverages.

When the parents were asked if they would buy sugar-sweetened drinks for their child, 40 percent of the parents that saw the warning labels said they would buy the drink for their child, compared to 60 percent who saw no labels on the beverages, and 53 percent who had calorie labels.

The labels did prove to have positive effects on parents, but there are other questions that arise. Such as will the parents choose healthy alternatives to these sugary drinks? Will they do it on a consistent basis? Will they make sure there isn’t over-consumption regardless of the beverage? But maybe warning labels is a step in the right direction particularly with reversing the increasing trend of childhood obesity. What effect do you think such labels will have on the purchase of sugary drinks? 

Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation


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Filed Under: Childhood Obesity | Diabetes | For Dieters | For Providers | Obesity

Children Eat Worse at Home than at Daycare

by Robard Corporation Staff September 14, 2015




Providing a child with a proper diet is vital for their future health. But what if we told you that daycare and child care centers are feeding children healthier foods than they get at home? That’s what a recent study from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has concluded.

Let’s start with why child care centers are providing better food choices. These centers base the children’s meals off of guidelines from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. These guidelines include how much fruit, vegetables, and milk a child should be consuming under their care.

The study exposed that once children left the centers, they weren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables, or drinking enough milk. They were also consuming more calories than needed; In fact, the excess calorie consumption (including sweet and salty snacks such as pretzels, crackers, cookies, etc.) was to the tune of 140 additional calories. 
 
This is a dangerous recipe for childhood weight gain — and future health. A retrospective study found that as BMI increased in adolescence the probability of obesity as an adult significantly increased as well. Obese male youths are 18x more likely to become obese adults, while obese female youths are 49x to become obese adults (1).

So, where’s the disconnect? How can there be such a contrast in diet between child care centers and the home? When it comes to children, we first have to look at who’s feeding them. Centers run their diet by guidelines; however, what are the guidelines that parents or caretakers are adhering to? As obesity numbers continue to skyrocket in the United States, it appears that the poor diet habits of adults are trickling down to children. It should come as no surprise that children born to obese mothers are twice as likely to be obese and to develop type 2 diabetes later in life (2).

What can we do? Let’s start with having some guidelines of our own, such as the ones created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics which were created to lay the foundation of the best diet possible. Sure, we can occasionally indulge in crackers or cookies, but if children are eating too many of these, it’s safe to conclude that adults are as well. Let’s apply healthy guidelines in our own diets, and do the same for children. Let’s lead by example.

Source: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center


Additional Sources:
(1) Wang LY, Chyen D, Lee S, et al. The Association Between Body Mass Index in Adolescence and Obesity in Adulthood. Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(5): 512-518, 2008.
(2) Maternal and Infant Health Research: Pregnancy Complications. In U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (accessed March 2011).


Keywords:

Filed Under: Childhood Obesity | Eating Habits | Education | For Providers | Habits | Healthy Eating

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