child obesity may be caused by children's eating habits

Eating Habits Impact Child Obesity

Julian Omidi discusses a Norwegian study that looked to answer why some children put on more weight than others.

It seems when it comes to weight gain, some people struggle more than others. This is true in both children and adults. A study performed in Norway looked to find the factors that caused some children to gain weight faster than others.

Conducted by researchers at NTNU’s Department of Psychology, they found that the way children relate to food was crucial on the positive or negative impact on their health. Children who are triggered by the sight and smell of food were more likely to have a higher Body Mass Index or BMI. It was less about hunger and more about the stimuli. The reasoning behind some people’s reaction to food stimuli is still unclear.

The study is part of a larger body of work where the researchers look at children’s development and their psychology over several years. They looked at the data of children at ages 2, 4, 6 and 8 years. The study found a sort of chicken and egg scenario: does BMI increase appetite or does appetite increase BMI?

The researchers stated that it went both ways. Those with larger appetites were more likely to have higher BMI’s but when a person’s BMI increased, they were more likely to be stimulated more by food thus eating more. The older a child gets, around 6 to 8, the less likely they were to stop eating after they should have been satiated.

Silje Steinsbekk, one of the researchers, points out that many children find it difficult to know when they are full. Though it is important for children to judge how much food they should eat, Steinsbekk recommends parents learn to regulate their children’s food intake. That way, they’ll know the appropriate time to stop eating.

This is just another key piece to solving the puzzle of child obesity. There are many factors that come into play with obesity in children. If your child has a weight problem, the more informed you can become on child obesity, the better you can help them treat their obesity. Consult your physician to learn how to manage your child’s weight in order for them to live a healthy life style.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi is the co-founder of The Children’s Obesity Fund, a nonprofit that works to eliminate child obesity.

 

 

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Child Obesity Programs Help Children in Neighborhoods

Julian Omidi, co-founder of The Children’s Obesity Fund discusses a study in Australia that found obesity programs in neighborhoods helped short term weight loss.

The battle to win against child obesity has taken many different methods to try to reduce the weight of young children. According to an Australian study, neighborhood programs may be able to help this goal. Today, we’ll look at the study and how this might be something organizers could implement in America.

From 2009 to 2012, parents and children from ages 6 to 15 attended obesity treatments twice a week for 10 weeks. After the program, researchers measured the children’s weight and weight related behavior of the 2,812 participants.

The children had beneficial changes in Body Mass Index, waist circumference, self-esteem and screen time. These changes were more prevalent in children who completed at least 75% or more of the program. The benefits also included their diet, as the children were less likely to eat sugary foods.

The study was started because one in four children ages 5 to 14 were obese. The treatment was based off a UK treatment MEND which was reshaped in an Australian context Go4Fun. MEND was redesigned because of the success it had in the UK.

Prior to the study, the effectiveness of after school treatment programs for child obesity wasn’t well documented. The Go4Fun program shows that, at least in the short term, child obesity treatment after school programs could help children who are obese. At least in the Go4Fun program, both children and parents were involved. That way, the parent could help implement changes into a child’s day-to-day routine.

Whether these types of programs could be converted to American ideologies is yet to be found. It is important for children and parents in neighborhoods to become informed about the consequences of child obesity. They also need to be informed about the changes they can make to their diet and daily physical activity to make a better future.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi is the co-founder of The Children’s Obesity Fund which works to rid the world of child obesity.

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The Weight of Obesity on a Family

Julian Omidi discuss how obesity can impact the entire family, and is especially harmful to children who are at risk of child obesity.

Much has been written lately about obesity, especially with the rising awareness of the risks associated with child obesity. Ultimately, obesity is a family affair, starting with parents and ending with children. Today, let’s look at the ways obesity can impact the entire family.

Obese Parents Set Up Children for Obesity

Recently, it has been found that obese mothers could hardwire their children for obesity once born. In a study, researchers found that cells created from the womb of obese mothers had 30% more fat than average weight mothers. Though it is still unclear if there is a direct link to obesity during pregnancy and a child’s likeliness to become obese.

However, if a child is raised in a household where the parents are obese, they may be more likely to become obese themselves. Through learned behavior a child could pick up unhealthy eating habits. The children may also be less likely to be physically active because their parents engage in more sedentary behavior. Much of what a child learns comes from their parents.

Parent’s Denial my Cause a Child to Live in Obesity

Another study found that many parents are blind to their children’s obesity. Part of this stems from a lack of knowledge about healthy Body Mass Index, which measure the amount of fat a person has. Another factor causing this is the lack of knowledge of proper nutrition. The research presented found that a parent’s ability to identify a child’s weigh problem has declined over the years. This could be attributed to the old saying, “love is blind.”

With that said, families have a significant chance to positively impact their children in order to prevent child obesity. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their guidelines, which encourage parents to become more active and authoritative in making healthy food choices for their children. They recommend that parents put the healthy food in a visible place in the kitchen. They also recommend that parents purchase less sugary beverages like soda and sports drinks.

Grandparents help Child Obesity

A study found that when grandparents provided emotional support to their children as well as their grandchildren, this provided an opportunity to improve a child’s quality of life and reduce the chance of child obesity. The elimination of stress helped the children live healthier lives.

As you can see, there are many ways obesity impacts a family. The deteriorating health of parents and children create more stress and an overall unhealthy environment to live in. If families want to be happier, they must be healthier. This could greatly impact the quality of life in years to come.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi is the co-founder of The Children’s Obesity Fund, a nonprofit that advocates the reduction of child obesity.

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Parents sometimes don't see child obesity in their children

Parents Often Don’t See Child Obesity

In today’s entry, Julian Omidi a recent study that examined parent’s perception of preschool children’s weight over the last two decades.

Previous studies have examined parent’s perception of their children’s weight. One such study was published in Europe. Last week, a new study was published examining parent perceptions of their preschool children over the last two decades. Let’s look at their findings and the impact it has on our society as a whole.

The study, published in Childhood Obesity, observed findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study. These occurred in two phases, from 1988 to 1994, and then 2007 to 2012. The survey asked parents to label their children as overweight, underweight and just right. The earlier survey showed 96.6% of parents believed their children to be just right, while the second phase those number lowered to 94.9%.

Of those people, as much as 78.4% people believed their obese children were ‘just right.’ The ability for parents to appropriately perceive their child’s weight lowered by 30% between the two surveys. Showing that parents are less likely to adequately determine their children’s weight.

These perceptions could be a part of the problem with child obesity in this country. If parents are unable to properly see their children as obese, they will be less likely to do something about their child’s obesity. Thus, child obesity could remain an issue for young children.

The report’s findings show that the perceptions of parents needs to change to appropriately treat child obesity. In order to do so, pediatricians must inform parents of possible red flags about their children’s weight by measuring the child’s BMI and other indicators. By doing so, parents will know to look into healthier alternatives like physical exercise and healthier nutrition.

We all must do our part to stop child obesity. Whether it is through education, mentoring or advocacy. The more we understand the causes of child obesity, the more we will be able to treat those suffering from the disease.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi is the co-founder of The Children’s Obesity Fund. He advocates for healthy living for children in America and throughout the world.

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social media helps political process

Social Media’s Role in the Political Process

In today’s blog, Julian Omidi discusses how you can become active in the political process using social media platforms.

One of the greatest advantages of living in America is our ability to participate in the political process. Through the development of social media platforms as well as the Internet, it is now easier than ever to become part of the political dialogue. This is especially true since we are nearing election season.

Candidates for both the Democratic and Republican parties have been announcing their campaigns. Most recent, Hilary Clinton made headlines launching her campaign. Using the power of social media, her candidacy went viral.

You personally can utilize your social media profiles to raise your voice. What are you passionate about? What differences do you want to make in the country? What do you find unjust? Websites like Facebook and Twitter are all great to share this information.

Additionally, these platforms are an incredible way to access information in an instant. You can educate yourself on political topics. You can research laws, bills and candidates for political office.

Another great use of social media is getting in touch with your representatives. You can advocate your support for their campaign or office, as well as raise concerns about relevant issues.

Sadly, this generation has become one of the least participating politically. Voting polls have been at an all-time low. People are disengaged, even though the tools are right at their fingertips. Various nonprofits have tried to increase awareness and recommend political advocacy, but it is falling short.

Hopefully for the upcoming 2016 presidential election there will be higher voter turnouts than there have been for the more recent local and midterm elections. The only way government can change is by the combined voice of the people. Social media allows us to connect on a larger scale when used properly. This was clear with revolutions in Egypt as well as other countries. If the younger generation can learn to stick up for their beliefs, they may be able to create change within the political system.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi is the co-founder of civicduty.org, a nonprofit that advocates participation in the political process.

 

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child obesity could impact our future

Child Obesity Could Impact America’s Future

In today’s blog, Julian Omidi discusses how child obesity could negatively impact the future of America. He looks at the statistics on child obesity that hurt so many US children.

If children are our future, what then does our future look like as a country suffering from child obesity? It has been noted that within the last forty years, child obesity has tripled in young children and nearly quadrupled in teenagers. Today, let’s look at the negative consequences child obesity could have on America’s future.

Lowered Productivity

Education is one of the fundamental building blocks for success. Those who are obese have been shown to perform lower than their peers. A study in the journal Clinical Pediatrics reported children who excessively ate fast food by fifth grade underperformed in math, science and reading compared to their peers by the eighth grade. This was up to 20 percent lower. What does this mean?

Children who are obese will likely underachieve and seeing how a large percentage of the population of children are obese, than the nation will under achieve. Our education rankings internationally are already some of the lowest compared to other wealth nations. By allowing children to remain obese, we jeopardize a nation that has high productivity.

Lower Life Expectancy

Gone untreated, child obesity can turn into adult obesity. This has a variety of negative results on a person’s health. This includes potential heart disease, Type-2 Diabetes as well as other medical conditions. All of which can take a toll on the expectancy of a person’s life by eight years.

America Must Stop Child Obesity for a Healthier Future

If America wants to remain an economic power throughout the world, we must take a firm stance on child obesity. By solving this problem, it is possible to see an increase in performance by children during their educational years. Thus, possibly allowing them to go to better universities that could set up better careers.

It’s clear to see that child obesity is a problem. The future of an entire nation could be impacted by it. Through education and activity, our children could possibly lower their risk for obesity during their childhood as well as adults.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi is a co-founder of The Children’s Obesity Fund, a nonprofit that works to eliminate child obesity.

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animals teach us about companionship

Learning About Companionship from Animals

In today’s blog, Julian Omidi discusses the lessons humans can learn about companionship from animals by citing three separate studies.

There’s a reason why dogs are nicknamed “man’s best friend,” it’s because their incredible ability for companionship. They are excited to greet you at the end of the day. They are there to protect you when you are all alone. Humans can learn from animals about true companionship.

Companionship Reduces Stress

A 2002 study researched the impact having an animal for companionship had on the stress levels of humans performing a math test. The participants that had a cat or dog in the room had less spikes in heart rate during the test. Additionally, they had lower resting heart rates at the beginning of testing. True companionship lowers stress in times of struggle.

Companionship lowers Anxiety

Another study measured anxiety levels of children 3 to 6 while visiting a physician. The children had two appointments. One where a dog unrelated to them was in the room. The second, where a dog was not present. The study tested heart rate, blood pressure and behavioral distress. The appointment in which the dog was present showed lowered levels in all three rates.

Companionship Makes you Stronger

Companionship should also make you stronger. This can be both mentally and physically. For instance, a study involving seniors with pets examined their mobility to perform “daily activities.” These included tasks like bending over, climbing stairs, kneeling and stooping. Seniors who had pets outperformed non-pet owners. Like a good companion, the animals helped these people become stronger and more mobile with age.

When we look to our furry friends, we can take away many messages about companionship. This includes loyalty, friendliness and simple sources of joy. It can be easy to lose sight of the fundamentals of companionship for humans because of the complexities we face on a daily basis. Often times we become so wrapped up in ourselves that we forget about others in our lives. We forget that we truly need some form of companionship to remain healthy and well-adjusted humans. Take time to think about how you could be a better companion to your friends and loved ones.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi,

Julian Omidi is the co-founder of Animal Support, a nonprofit organization that looks at the betterment of animals.

  1. Allen K, Blascovich J, Mendes WB (2002). Cardiovascular reactivity and the presence of pets, friends, and spouses: the truth about cats and dogs. Psychosom Med. Sep-Oct;64(5):727-39.
  2. Nagengast SL, Baun MM, Megel M, Leibowitz JM (1997). The effects of the presence of a companion animal on physiological arousal and behavioral distress in children during a physical examination. J Pediatr Nurs. Dec;12(6):323-30.
  3. Raina P, Waltner-Toews D, Bonnett B, Woodward C, Abernathy T (1999). Influence of companion animals on the physical and psychological health of older people: an analysis of a one-year longitudinal study. J Am Geriatr Soc. Mar;47(3):323-9.

 

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Get Involved: Civic Duty in 2015

In today’s blog, Julian Omidi discusses ways you can be politically involved throughout 2015.

When we think of civic duty, we must think broader. How are we helping the political process and our nation as a whole? This year, think of the ways in which you can get involved. In today’s blog post, I will ways you can use your time and resources to help the political process.

Volunteer for Elected Campaigns

All of us have special skills of some kind. How can you use your specialized skills for an elections campaign? With the recent announcements of various presidential candidates it is vital that you learn how you can help elect the officials you would like to see in office. Could you go door to door to inform your fellow neighbors? Can you provide your services at a candidate’s campaign headquarters?

Giving Political Donations

Maybe you don’t have the time to volunteer for a campaign. One way to get involved is through political donations. Campaigns need financing to run efficiently. Your dollars can go a long way for a campaign when you contribute. This is the perfect way to know you are working to make a difference.

Vote

Last year and again this spring, voting polls have shown record lows. Fewer people are getting out of the house to elect officials. What’s the problem with this? A majority of the nation is not being heard. They are allowing others to make decisions for them without dissent. The only way to have a valid opinion about the government operations is to take action. Voting is one of the easiest ways to do so.

If you have never gotten involved in the political process, you will be surprised at how rewarding it is. Through donations and action, you are able to help the operations of the political process. You will connect with like-minded individuals who would like to see a change in how Washington is ran.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi is the co-founder of various nonprofit organizations including civicduty.org which encourages individuals participate in the political process.

 

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Americans Less Engaged in Civic Duty

Julian Omidi Charity

Julian Omidi is interested in increasing civil engagement in America. Here he writes about the dismal findings of a recent poll concerning Americans’ views on civil duties.

This may not come as a surprise, but a recent poll shows America’s sense of civic duty is slipping compared to 30 years ago. Nearly across the board, indicators showed a decline in engagement.

The poll, from the Associates Press-GfK, was designed to be similar to one taken in 1984 by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. It asked Americans about the importance of six civic duties: volunteering, serving on a jury, reporting crime, knowing English, being informed about public issues and voting.

Changing View of Citizenship

Participants were asked to rate the importance of each activity on a scale. Of the six categories, only volunteering and voting were rated as highly as in 1984. Nearly 90 percent of those polled rated reporting a crime, knowing English, voting and serving on a jury as “somewhat important” civic duties. Those who said these are “very important” duties dropped by 13 percent in three decades.

Nearly two-thirds of young Americans ranked reporting a crime as “very important.” That is a clear majority, but still less than the 86 percent who ranked it so 30 years ago.

Younger Americans were more likely to rate volunteering as “very important.” This is an increase from 19 percent in 1984 to 29 percent today. The number of Americans over 50 years of age who rated volunteering “very important” declined over the same period.

What does this say about America?

Experts are interpreting the data in a number of different ways. Most would agree that an increase in civic engagement would be better for the country and its citizens. There is a growing movement to increase civics education in school. Students’ knowledge in civics has been declining for some time.

Growing discontent with the government is certainly a factor. Many people feel the system no longer serves them. Only 37 percent of Americans think it’s important to keep up with the news and public issues. A majority, 56 percent, believed so in 1984. Younger Americans are even less inclined.

Whatever the cause, a solution isn’t clear. There are indications of a coming shift on both sides of the political aisle. Perhaps something more than a shift will be necessary to turn things around.

A solid civics education is the foundation for being a good citizen. We need to encourage children to understand our history and the way our nation functions. This poll was very revealing, and could help us create a way forward.

Thanks for reading,

Julian Omidi

The Omidi Brothers, Julian Omidi and Michael Omidi, are the founders of several charities, including Civic Duty.

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Animal Welfare Making Progress in China

Julian Omidi - Animal Rights

Julian Omidi writes about an animal rights law that will likely take effect in China late in 2015.

Animals in China have it a little easier. A new animal-welfare law is set to take effect and one of the nation’s prominent zoos is stopping animal performances.

China has been known its their weak stance on animal rights. On Dec.17, a Chinese paper affiliated with the Communist Party announced that the National People’s Congress is moving forward with landmark animal welfare legislation. This law will extend protections to captive animals and those in the wild.

The amendment won’t likely become law until late 2015, when parliament takes it up. Considering China’s record on these issues, this is a considerable victory for animal rights groups. Animals in zoos and on farms will have better lives as a result.

A long way to go

Animals in China have long needed help. Nearly all of the country’s 180 zoos feature performance animals. These include black bears riding bicycles, macaques on bicycles and tigers doing circus tricks. Many of the big cats have their teeth removed for the safety of the human performers.

The law will attempt to curb the selling and consuming of animals as well, though it only applies to wild animals in captivity and in those living in the great outdoors. If it passes, this law will be the first law recognizing animal welfare in the nation.

A recent study by the International Fund for Animal Welfare showed that China leads the globe in illegal wildlife trade. Reptiles, birds, and ivory are among the most widely traded illegal animal products, with ivory topping the list.

Much needed relief

This long-needed change could be the first of many. It seems, as we progress, our compassion extends. Larger nations adopting these concepts and practices serve as examples to smaller nations with less incentive for change.

With so much illegal trade in China, we will likely see a positive effect from this law. The Chinese culture needs to change, however. These animals and products are highly valued. Until the public realizes the harm they cause, laws may not have the desired effect. It is, however, a step in the right direction.

The Omidi Brothers, Julian Omidi and Michael Omidi, are champions of animal rights and cofounders of Animal Support.

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