Adolescents whose mothers follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and refrain from smoking may be 75 per cent less likely to develop obesity, according to a study.
The findings also suggested that children of women who maintained a healthy body weight and did not smoke had 56 per cent and 31 per cent lower risk of obesity respectively.
“The study demonstrates that an overall healthy lifestyle really outweighs any individual healthy lifestyle factors followed by mothers when it comes to lowering the risk of obesity in their children,” said Qi Sun, from the Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in the US.
For the study, published in the journal The BMJ, the team examined data from 24,289 children aged between nine and 18 years of age, who were born to 16,945 women. They looked at the association between a mother’s lifestyle and the risk of obesity among their children and adolescents.
The results showed that 5.3 per cent of the group developed obesity during a median five year follow-up period. Maternal obesity, smoking, and physical inactivity were strongly associated with obesity among children and adolescents.
While the greatest drop in obesity risk was seen when mothers and children followed healthy lifestyle habits, many of the healthy habits had a noticeable impact on the risk of childhood obesity when assessed individually.
The risk of obesity was also lower among children of mothers who consumed low or moderate levels of alcohol compared with those whose mothers abstained from alcohol.
Further, mothers’ dietary patterns were not associated with obesity in their children, possibly because children’s diets are influenced by many factors, including school lunches and available food options in their neighbourhoods. (IANS)
Heart diseases are one of the leading causes of ill health and mortality in India, but with some precaution, keeping your heart healthy is not all that difficult. This is a health and lifestyle news.
“Cardiac ailments killed more Indians in 2016 (28 percent) than any other non-communicable disease. Its prevalence is increasing in developing countries like India,” says Dr. Punish Sadana, Principal Consultant, Department of Cardiology, Max Hospital, Dehradun.
Here are a few common factors that contribute to cardiovascular diseases in all age groups: unhealthy eating, being overweight or obese, physical inactivity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes. smoking/alcohol use, and depression.
No matter what your age, everyone can benefit from lifestyle changes.
As per the doctor, you should eat heart-healthy. Choose a healthy eating plan. The foods you eat may decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke. Choose foods low in saturated fat, trans-fat, and sodium. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, fish, nuts, legumes, and seeds. In general, red meats such as beef, pork, and lamb, have more saturated fat than chicken or fish, limiting the same. Select low fat dairy products such as Greek yogurt, skimmed milk, and cottage cheese. Limit your sugar intake by drinking sugar-free beverages.
Getting physically active also helps. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. This can include brisk walks, swimming, bicycling, jump rope, etc.
Limit kids’ screen time. If they spend all their time watching TV/phones and sitting in front of the computers now, they are likely to do the same thing as adults.
Schedule a time for meals and stick to it.
Get some exercise as a family.
Assign active chores to kids.
Find a doctor and have regular wellness exams.
Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke.
Tame your stress. Learning stress management techniques not only benefits your body, but also your quality of life.
Juggling family and career leaves many adults with little time to worry about their hearts. Know your family history. Having a related family member with heart disease increases your risk as well.
Attain a healthy weight. You may notice your metabolism slows down in your 40s. Avoid weight gain by following a heart-healthy diet. It is also crucial to get plenty of exercise.
With age comes an increased risk for heart disease. Your blood pressure, cholesterol and other heart-related numbers tend to rise. Take care of them. Exercising regularly and eating smaller portions of nutrient-rich foods may help you maintain a healthy weight. (IANS)
Adolescents bullied about their weight or body shape are more likely to use alcohol or marijuana than others, according to a new study.
According to the study, published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, the link between appearance-related teasing and substance use was the strongest among overweight girls, raising special concerns about this group.
“This type of bullying is common and has many negative effects for adolescents. The combination of appearance-related teasing and the increased sensitivity to body image during adolescence may create a heightened risk for substance use,” said study lead author Melanie Klinck from University of Connecticut in the US.
The study, conducted at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, involved 1,344 students, aged 11-14 years, from five public middle schools near Hartford, Connecticut. They were asked if siblings, parents or peers teased them about their weight, body shape or eating during the past six months.
More than half (55 per cent) of the participants, which included three out of four overweight girls (76 per cent), 71 per cent of overweight boys, 52 per cent of girls and 43 per cent of boys who weren’t overweight, reported weight-based teasing.
The participants were also asked about their alcohol and marijuana use.
The study showed frequent weight-based teasing was associated with higher levels of alcohol use, binge drinking and marijuana use.
In a follow-up survey six months later, weight-based teasing was also found to be linked to alcohol use and binge drinking.
Previous research had found boys had greater substance use possibility in their teens and early adulthood, but girls begin taking alcohol and drugs at an earlier age compared with boys.
According to the researchers, those trends may be related to the societal pressures for girls to adhere to unrealistic body image ideals. It can damage their sense of self-worth and contribute to eating disorders and self-medication through substance use to cope with teasing or fit in with peers.
“These findings raise larger issues about how society places too much emphasis on beauty and body image for girls and women, and the damaging effects that may result,” said study researcher Christine McCauley Ohannessian. (IANS)
Many wealthy nations are letting the world’s younger generations down by failing to curb planet-warming emissions, a U.N.-backed report said Wednesday, warning climate change posed an urgent threat to the health and future of every child and adolescent.
A new global index showed children in Norway, South Korea and the Netherlands had the best chance at survival and well-being thanks to good health care, education and nutrition.
But a ranking of countries by per-capita carbon emissions put those and other rich nations, including the United States and Australia, close to the bottom on that measure, as major contributors to global health threats driven by climate change.
“Countries need to overhaul their approach to child and adolescent health, to ensure that we not only look after our children today but protect the world they will inherit in the future,” said former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, co-chair of the international commission that produced the report.
Child flourishing, sustainability and equity
It said dramatic progress had been made in improving children’s lives in the past five decades but economic inequalities meant the benefits were not shared by all.
And the heating up of the planet and damage to the environment, among other stresses, meant every child faced an uncertain future, it added.
“Climate disruption is creating extreme risks from rising sea levels, extreme weather events, water and food insecurity, heat stress, emerging infectious diseases, and large-scale population migration,” said the report by more than 40 experts.
Commission member Sunita Narain, director general of the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, said that in her region of South Asia the main environmental threats came from water shortages and contamination, as well as air pollution.
Children’s health today “is at grave risk because of environmental degradation,” she added.
They are victims of a problem they did not cause — a situation that is particularly acute for the poor, she noted.
“The biggest inequity that we need to confront today is the inequity (of) climate change,” Narain told journalists.
The “sustainability” part of the index ranks countries on how their per-person emissions compare with a 2030 target giving a two-thirds chance of keeping global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.
Of the top 25 countries with the best score on emissions, all but two were African.
That contrasts starkly with the “flourishing” part of the index, where many African nations did badly on children’s health, education, nutritious food and protection from violence.
Not one country performed well on all three measures of child flourishing, sustainability and equity, concluded the commission convened by the World Heath Organization, The Lancet medical journal and U.N. children’s agency UNICEF.
Protect and respond
Another key threat identified was exploitative marketing practices that push fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco at children, increasingly through social media channels.
Report author Anthony Costello, professor of global health and sustainability at University College London, said children’s data was being harvested via online games and sold to big technology firms which then target youth with advertising.
“This is totally unregulated,” he said. “We think that there needs to be much greater attention to the protection of children around the world.”
They should also be placed at the center of efforts to achieve the global development goals agreed in 2015, he added.
Few countries have recorded much progress toward achieving those goals, which include ending poverty and hunger by 2030 and tackling climate change, the report noted.
Children should be given a bigger voice in policy decisions that affect their futures, it said — something they are already demanding through social movements like the school climate strikes that have mobilized students worldwide since mid-2018.
Jennifer Requejo, a UNICEF adviser on statistics and monitoring, said children could be involved through measures such as setting up local youth committees, informing them about their rights and having them participate in data collection.