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Here’s an opinion piece in a Swedish morning paper, highlighting the fact that many hospitals have chosen not to offer any help to obese children:
DN Opinion: “Hospital Closes the Door on Obese Children” (Google translated from Swedish).
Prof. Claude Marcus and others are right that it’s terrible that hospitals fail children with serious medical problems. This is not acceptable. But the problem is even greater: The outcome in hospitals treating childhood obesity is woefully bad. Very few children are treated successfully.
In hospitals that do treat obese children, the treatment is usually based on the outdated idea “eat less, run more”. They seriously advise parents to limit their child’s food intake, dismissing the kids from the table still hungry. They’re then advised to try to make the kids run outside, despite not having had enough to eat.
At the same time they ignore study after study showing that children who eat their fill on a low-carb diet will lose more weight.
Because health care workers ignore inconvenient new knowledge, obese children and their parents are given advice that lead to worse outcomes and unnecessary suffering.
Today’s treatment for childhood obesity isn’t just child abuse. It’s family abuse.
Here’s a suggestion that may improve the situation within the health care system: Let go of the old dogmas about low-fat products and the oversimplified advice on energy balance. When childhood obesity treatment works this poorly, it’s time to wake up.
Here’s what might work better: Give the dietary advice that’s been proven best in scientific studies. Shouldn’t this be obvious? Continue Reading →
A woman in the U.S. has decided not to hand out Halloween candy to obese kids. Instead she’ll hand them a note to give to their parents:
Of course she means well, but this may end up doing more harm than good. Should you give candy to lean kids and a note to obese kids in the same group? And should parents of obese kids really prevent them from trick-or-treating with their friends? Obese kids have enough to feel bad about already, as have their parents.
Here’s my suggestion. Give all kids something better than unhealthful sugary candy for Halloween (small toys, for example).
Parents of obese kids may help them by cleaning out the pantry, removing unnecessary sugar and rapidly-digested starchy foods. Present this as a good thing for the whole family, and the child doesn’t have to feel singled out. As a bonus the whole family will get healthier and leaner.
What do you think?
Can you have a birthday party with no added sugar for kids? Without the soda and candy?
My daughter turned two recently, and we threw a birthday party. You can see the cake above, but what’s inside it? Continue Reading →
Childhood obesity should be prevented as early as infancy, according to a health initiative in Jönköping, Sweden. Unfortunately, the advice seems old-fashioned.
A reader examined this, and told me that in Jönköping they use Stockholm County Council’s Action plan for overweight and obesity. This was hailed as being extremely ambitious when it came out in 2003, and the objective was to halve the proportion of obese citizens within a decade.
Unfortunately, reality came in the way and the plan didn’t exactly succeed – instead of being cut in half, the obesity rate increased greatly!
When you take a look at the latest version of the document it’s not hard to guess why. The dietary advice given is the same old advice that has been shown to be the worst in tests in scientific studies (for children too) and the worst in tests in the recent SBU (Swedish Council for Health Technology Assessment) report: Less fat, more carbohydrates.
For example, they suggest that childhood obesity should be prevented by serving “a large proportion of bread, potatoes, pasta and rice”. This sounds like a recipe for a grand failure. Which is exactly what happened.
Now it’s time to swallow pride, learn something from all the failures, and start following accepted science and proven experience. Adults seeking help deserve this, and our children deserve this. Moreover, licensed health care professionals are required to do so.
Can soda and junk food agitate children? Do soda and junk food induce ADHD-like symptoms? Here’s some more fuel for that fire.
A recent study showed that American children who drink lots of soda have more issues with aggressive behaviour and attention problems:
As usual, this data alone won’t prove that children become disruptive or difficult specifically from drinking soda. This correlation could point to any problem prevalent in families who buy lots of soda. Perhaps the core issue is quickly metabolised, nutrient-poor junk food in general? Continue Reading →
Well it’s obvious isn’t it? Coca Cola, of course.
This isn’t something from the Onion, this is from the actual real world in Canada. And it’s a perfect example of how to make sure that nobody can take your conference seriously.
Here’s the world’s youngest weight-loss surgery patient: a Saudi Arabian two-year-old.
Around 35 percent of the population in Saudi Arabia is obese, compared to, for example, 14 percent in Sweden. Why is obesity such a disastrous epidemic in Saudi Arabia? There are no doubt many reasons, but I can imagine a big one:
Saudi Arabia is a muslim country, where you don’t drink alcohol. Moreover, it’s hot, so you have to drink a lot. So what do you drink? Probably the same thing as in the world’s most obese country, Mexico. Same thing as in the parts of the U.S. with the highest diabetes rates.
There is of course a simple and profitable solution to the problem, that doesn’t affect the soft drink industry. Surgical removal of the stomach in the entire population, including young children.
Or you could find a better and more natural solution.
The food industry has promised to voluntarily stop advertising unhealthy junk food to children. And according to industry-sponsored reports they do live up to these promises.
A new independent scientific review show something completely different: Children are still the targets of lots of advertising. Independent surveys in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America showed little change in the last five years, despite industry’s assurances that things would improve. Here’s comments from the senior author of the study:
Self-regulation simply does not work in a highly competitive marketplace. Asking the companies to restrict their own marketing is like asking a burglar to fix the locks on your front door. They will say you are protected, but you are not.
So what could work? The three things that Big Junk Food fear the most:
- Smarter, better-informed citizens
- Government intervention
Let’s face it: The industry will continue to fight on all three fronts. E.g. by trying to fool & confuse the public á la Coca Cola or spending millions on lobbyists to stop any regulation. Lawsuits may be their biggest vulnerability. But they will fight on all fronts. In a “highly competitive marketplace” they have no other choice.
We should stop expecting the burglar to fix our locks. Yes you too, Michelle Obama.
Do kids get hyperactive by eating too much sugar and junk food? Could it even contribute to problems with ADHD? Parents everywhere seem to believe it. But some experts claim that it’s a myth.
The science seems far from certain. A new review recommends more studies on long-term sugar intake and the risk of ADHD. And a large well-designed study published in 2011 clearly showed that a diet change (including less sugar and processed food) reduces symptoms in most kids with ADHD.
TV-documentaries are no replacement for peer-reviewed science. But the British test in the video above is fascinating. One group of kids celebrate by eating cakes and candy and drinking soda. One group eats more nutritious real food. What do you think happens?
(You can see the introduction, 4 minutes long, here. But the 5 minute summary above tells the whole story.)
Do kids get hyperactive by eating sugar, candy and junk food? What do you think? And is there really any good science to disprove the theory? Leave a comment below.
Here is an update on my daughter Klara, 20 months old. Many people have wondered how she is doing (answer: great) and if she still eats low carb (answer: yes).
Klara still eats like at the time of the 1-year report and about the same as her parents. The main difference is meals at the day care center where there are more exceptions. But it’s a good day care center so at least there’s no low-fat products and very little sugar.
So far, life has been free from sodas, lemonade, cookies and pastry (as well as free from the Swedish grain-based formula). She doesn’t seem to miss sweets and there aren’t any in the house anyway. No jars of store-bought baby food either.
Recently Klara was at a gathering with other children and parents. Most other kids had, for example, cookies and lemonade. Klara had spare ribs, yellow bell-pepper sticks and cherry tomatoes (and water to drink).
Did she get upset asking for cookies instead? No, she happily ate her food. But the kid next to Klara wanted her food instead of crackers. Fortunately there was enough for both of them.
Of course, children never come problem-free, but we’re very fortunate. The most frequent comment from other adults is still the same: Is she always this happy?
It’s easier to be happy when you’re well-fed and not hungry.
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