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Childhood obesity rates continue to balloon despite health goals, researchers say

1 commentBy Caroline Scott-Thomas , 13-Apr-2012

US children would have to consume an average of 161 calories fewer each day to reach the government’s failed 2010 goal of reducing childhood obesity prevalence to less than 5%, and current trends point to a continued increase, according to a new study.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 17% of US children and adolescents aged 2-19 are obese, and the rate has nearly tripled since 1980. The authors of this latest study , published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, suggest that despite ongoing initiatives to reduce childhood obesity, children are continuing to gain weight, at an average rate of 1.54kg per decade.

“Aggressive efforts are needed to reverse the positive energy imbalance underlying the childhood obesity epidemic,” the researchers wrote.

While the prevalence of obesity and its health and fiscal burdens have been the subject of extensive research, they claim that estimates of population-wide energy reductions needed to meet public health goals are less well understood, and current strategies are “too few, too small, and too fragmented”.

Extrapolating from current trends in childhood weight gain, US children and adolescents are on track to gain an average 1.8kg by 2020, they said.

The federal government set a formal ten-year goal for childhood obesity reduction in 2000, as part of its Healthy People 2010 strategy for improving public health. After the 2010 target was missed, new goals for 2020 were significantly relaxed, and the latest aim is to reduce childhood obesity by 10% from 2005-2008 levels by 2020. This would bring overall prevalence down to 14.6%.

The researchers wrote that averting an increase in childhood and adolescent obesity would require an average reduction of 41 calories per day, and an additional reduction of 23 calories a day would be needed to meet the 2020 target. In order to reach the 2010 goal of reducing childhood obesity to less than 5% of children and teens, an additional reduction of 120 calories per day would be necessary.

“It is clear that a 5% target was extremely ambitious (even for 2020),” they wrote.

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A Calorie is not a Calorie

This article points to a major flaw in our efforts to combat obesity—demonizing the lowly calorie. When you consume a calorie, just who decides whether it goes to fat storage, tissue repair or energy needs? The simple answer is the brain. When the brain is working normally, it auto-regulates fat storage based on whether or not it perceives a famine on the horizon. How does it do so? By monitoring glucose levels.

In primitive man glucose levels were an accurate way to access food supply. In modern man this is no longer true for two reasons—excessive fructose and high glycemic carbohydrates. It is now clear that excessive fructose is the driving force behind insulin resistance and central obesity. When you have insulin resistance and consume high glycemic carbohydrates, your brain is exposed to magnified glucose spikes followed by a drop below normal called hypoglycemia.

The brain doesn’t know how to read glucose spikes but it does know how to read hypoglycemia—it’s time to eat. When you respond by eating another high glycemic carbohydrate you end up with another glucose spike and crash. These repeated episodes of hypoglycemia are interpreted by your brain as a possible famine on the horizon and it then pushes you to store extra fat at any caloric intake.

What’s even worse these toxic magnified glucose spikes eventually trigger a chronic brain disorder called Carbohydrate Associated Reversible Brain syndrome or CARB syndrome. Learn more at: http://carbsyndrome.com.

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Posted by William L. Wilson, M.D.
15 April 2012 | 01h08

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