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Childhood Obesity

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NEWS
January 21, 2010
This letter is written in response to the article "Panel urges obesity tests for kids as young as 6" by Kelly Brewington (Jan. 18). Ms. Brewington has done a thorough review of this topic, and we applaud the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force for calling attention to this alarming trend, a trend that has significant impact beyond just the weight of our community. Research is clear that poor nutrition and physical inactivity has broad reaching consequences. America's childhood obesity rates have tripled in the last 30 years, exposing 9 million kids to a variety of potential long-term health consequences.
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NEWS
March 31, 2014
Reporter Meredith Cohn 's recent article about the World Health Organization's new sugar recommendations highlighted the concerns of medical and public health experts over the epidemic of childhood obesity ( "Officials urge consumers to cut back on sugar," March 21). Sugar in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages is in fact the leading contributor to the obesity epidemic. According to the Institute of Medicine's 2012 report, a full 20 percent of the nation's weight increase since 1977 can be directly attributed to sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks, energy drinks and sweetened juices and teas.
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HEALTH
By Andrea K. Walker and By Andrea K. Walker | July 30, 2012
The Y of Central Maryland is expanding a childhood obesity program with a $280,000 grant from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. The two year grant from the region's largest health insurer, will allow the Y of Central Maryland extend its Fit N Fun childhood obesity program to 20 camps, 80 before- and after-school sites, seven early-childhood development centers and 15 Head Start sites. Since 2008, Fit N Fun has reached over 40,000 children and their families in the region. CareFirst has given almost $1.3 million toward the program.
NEWS
March 23, 2014
Thank you for your editorial describing Dr. Vivek Murthy's qualifications to serve as our nation's next surgeon general. Moreover, thank you for chastising the National Rifle Association's irrational, unfounded attacks on Dr. Murthy ( "Another NRA victim," March 20). Let me offer a few facts and my firsthand observations of Dr. Murthy's skills and abilities. As your editorial notes, he truly is accomplished in several key aspects of delivering health care directly to patients, teaching medical students, conducting research and setting up innovative private sector information systems for doctors.
NEWS
May 18, 2012
As physicians who treat overweight children in Maryland daily, we strongly support the views expressed by Horizon Foundation CEO Nikki Highsmith Vernick in her recent commentary on childhood obesity ("A healthier way to snack," May 15). We urge parents to speak with their pediatricians about healthy food and beverage options for their children. We further suggest that parents advocate for their child's school to provide healthy alternatives to sugary foods and beverages that are often found in vending machines and school cafeterias.
NEWS
March 31, 2014
Reporter Meredith Cohn 's recent article about the World Health Organization's new sugar recommendations highlighted the concerns of medical and public health experts over the epidemic of childhood obesity ( "Officials urge consumers to cut back on sugar," March 21). Sugar in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages is in fact the leading contributor to the obesity epidemic. According to the Institute of Medicine's 2012 report, a full 20 percent of the nation's weight increase since 1977 can be directly attributed to sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks, energy drinks and sweetened juices and teas.
HEALTH
By Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun | November 9, 2011
Jay Perman feels a touch ashamed now of the thoughts he had when he first started seeing droplets of fat in the livers of adolescent patients. Like any person on the street might, the pediatrician believed these hefty kids simply needed to stop gorging themselves on fried foods and sweets. He had yet to grasp the big picture. Decades later, as the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Perman has an entirely different take on childhood obesity. He regards it as the leading pediatric health challenge of our time, an endlessly complicated tangle of social, economic and medical problems with the potential for devastating, nation-changing effects.
EXPLORE
January 7, 2013
Howard County is missing the mark on childhood obesity. If Howard County really wants to reduce childhood obesity, they need to work with our school system to protect the health of our students. They will need to protect time designated for recess and increase the time allotted for physical education in school across all grades. The current requirements are creating the obesity epidemic and failing our students. They need to allow opportunities for students with poor grades to participate in after-school physical activities. Howard County should look to New York state's requirements for physical education guidelines, which require 120 minutes per week.
NEWS
By Elizabeth Goudie | January 22, 2014
Childhood obesity is an epidemic in Baltimore, with the first signs seen in many children before they even reach traditional school age. Sixteen percent of the pre-kindergartners, ages 4 and 5, at one Northwest Baltimore public school were overweight, according to a 2013 survey of 150 students, and 12 percent of them were considered obese (above the 95th weight percentile for their ages and heights). Nearly half of the fourth-graders at that same school were overweight, and one in five of them was obese.
NEWS
By Peter L. Beilenson and Rich Krieg | July 24, 2011
A recent Harvard School of Public Health study indicated that potatoes, especially chips or fries, but even boiled ones, contribute more to weight gain than other foods. But rather than putting the question to rest, the finding prompted the U.S. Potato Board to provide the public with precisely the opposite advice: "There is no evidence that potatoes, when prepared in a healthful manner, contribute to weight gain. … In fact, they are one of the most naturally nutrient dense vegetables available.
NEWS
By Elizabeth Goudie | January 22, 2014
Childhood obesity is an epidemic in Baltimore, with the first signs seen in many children before they even reach traditional school age. Sixteen percent of the pre-kindergartners, ages 4 and 5, at one Northwest Baltimore public school were overweight, according to a 2013 survey of 150 students, and 12 percent of them were considered obese (above the 95th weight percentile for their ages and heights). Nearly half of the fourth-graders at that same school were overweight, and one in five of them was obese.
NEWS
By Jill Hummer | December 16, 2013
Relieved by Michelle Obama's recent foray into higher education policy, Politico Magazine last month dubbed her soft focus first ladyship up to that point a "feminist nightmare. " On the surface, there may be something to this claim. For example, Mrs. Obama's Let's Move website currently features her gardening with school children and cooking with Elmo from Sesame Street. But feminists are wrong to say that Michelle Obama has not been active in policy. Just because her policy activism has more to do with children - and less to do with abortion rights and birth control access and paycheck fairness - does not mean she has been a retro throwback to the Mamie Eisenhower era. In fact, when I teach courses on public policy, I regularly use Michelle Obama as a case study to highlight important aspects of the policy making process.
NEWS
August 14, 2013
As The Sun recently noted, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report explaining that obesity rates in the nation have declined ("Tide may be turning on U.S. childhood obesity - CDC," Aug. 6). Hooray! But if you look beneath that shiny veneer here in Maryland, you'll find that the glass is really half full. It's true that our state's obesity rate in low-income preschoolers, after decades of rising, began to level off from 2003 through 2008 and is now showing small declines.
NEWS
July 9, 2013
Our leaders in Washington face tough budget issues ("Obama budget would have big impact in MD," April 11). But one proposal we should all agree on is for targeted investments in local pre-kindergarten learning. As a grandfather, I support giving America's children a better educational start. As a retired Army general, I see this as a sound investment in making our next generation more competitive and contributing to our national security. The defense department estimates that 75 percent of all Americans age 17-24 are unable to join the military.
NEWS
July 6, 2013
I applaud Rep. Steny Hoyer for voting to cut Big Agriculture's wasteful subsidies ("New farm bill dies in House in GOP revolt," June 21). Since 1995, $18 billion in taxpayer subsidies have gone to junk food ingredients such as soy oils and high-fructose corn syrup. This wasteful spending has been a major contributor to childhood obesity. One in five young people are obese. I am a mother of a two-year-old boy. As a mother, I want the best for my son. However, the federal farm bill has given 4 percent of agribusinesses 74 percent of the agricultural subsidies since 1995.
EXPLORE
January 7, 2013
Howard County is missing the mark on childhood obesity. If Howard County really wants to reduce childhood obesity, they need to work with our school system to protect the health of our students. They will need to protect time designated for recess and increase the time allotted for physical education in school across all grades. The current requirements are creating the obesity epidemic and failing our students. They need to allow opportunities for students with poor grades to participate in after-school physical activities. Howard County should look to New York state's requirements for physical education guidelines, which require 120 minutes per week.
NEWS
By Patrice Green | August 4, 2008
For me, it was the last straw. As a physician, I've worried for years about how common obesity and diet-related diseases are becoming among our nation's young people. But I was absolutely floored by the American Academy of Pediatrics' recent recommendation that children as young as 8 should be prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication when lifestyle changes don't seem to help. Second-graders on Lipitor? That recommendation has raised concerns about the effects these powerful drugs might have on developing young bodies.
NEWS
By Yeganeh June Torbati, The Baltimore Sun | October 19, 2010
The usual stars of the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore — the wild cats, hulking elephants and graceful cranes whose habitats are re-created on the grounds — lost some of the spotlight Tuesday to the players, cheerleaders and mascot of the Baltimore Ravens, as the team and zoo played host to about 120 local schoolchildren for an annual community service event. Tuesday was the NFL/United Way's annual "Hometown Huddle," a leaguewide day of service, which this year is focused on combating childhood obesity by getting kids to be more active.
NEWS
By Joe Burris, The Baltimore Sun | December 27, 2012
Jean Pfefferkorn, a Howard County Public Library staff member, posted an online item about a week ago on seasonal affective disorder, which carries symptoms ranging from increased appetite to suicidal thoughts. Dr. George Groman, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine's Howard County General Hospital, explained in another post that there's good and bad cholesterol — and the ideal number for the two combined is below 200 milligrams per deciliter. Dr. David Monroe, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins, posted an item last spring on the way synthetic marijuana, known by such names as Spice and Black Mamba, is sending teen users to the emergency room.
NEWS
By Luke Lavoie and Kevin Rector, Baltimore Sun Media Group | December 11, 2012
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman moved Tuesday to ban the sale of high-sugar drinks such as soda in parks, libraries and other county properties and at county-sponsored events - hoping yet again to make the county a progressive model. "I believe Howard County government should lead by example," Ulman said. "That's why today I've signed an executive order to increase the availability of healthy beverage options in our county departments and programs. "The vending machines will look different, starting right away," Ulman said at an event in Ellicott City.
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