-- Alan Mozes
THURSDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Poor eating and activity
habits, not genetics, are the underlying causes for most cases of
adolescent obesity, new research suggests.
The finding stems from an analysis involving more than 1,000
Michigan sixth-grade students who participated in the Project
Healthy Schools program, which is in place in 13 middle schools
across the state.
"For the extremely overweight child, genetic screening may be a consideration," study senior author Dr. Kim A. Eagle, a cardiologist and a director of the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center in Ann Arbor, said in a center news release.
"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."
The study findings were published in a recent issue of the
American Heart Journal.
The authors noted that, in 1980, just 6.5 percent of U.S.
children aged 6 to 11 years were considered obese, but that
percentage rose to nearly 20 percent by 2008.
The recent study found that 15 percent of the participants were
obese. And almost all had poor eating habits.
Nearly one-third of all the students said they drank a soda the
day before, while fewer than half said they could recall having
eaten two portions of fruits and vegetables in the same time
And while 34 percent of non-obese kids consumed lunches provided
by their school, that figure rose to 45 percent among obese
Only one-third of all the kids reported exercising a half hour
for five days during the previous week. Obese children were much
less likely than non-obese kids to participate in regular exercise
and/or physical education classes, and less likely to be a part of
a sports team.
Among obese children, 58 percent reported watching two hours of
TV in the past day. That compared with 41 percent of non-obese
The finding follows the recent enactment of the federal
government's new "Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010," which is
designed to foster healthier school menus for the nation's 31
million children currently receiving lunch through school-based
For more on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, visit the
White House Web site.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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