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Ways of Preventing Childhood Obesity


What Causes Childhood Obesity?

Childhood obesity has become prevalent in developed countries. One fourth of the children in the US are overweight, and 11% are obese. There is evidence that excessive sugar intake, larger portion size, and the decline in outdoor and physical activity play key roles contributing to the rising rates of obesity worldwide. Hence, both over-consumption of calories and reduced physical activity are factors in childhood obesity.

What is the best way to cure childhood obesity?

Prevention is the best cure for childhood obesity. Obesity can be control through many strategic interventions which include creating the right environment, imbibing physical exercise, and diet. Most of these strategies can be started at home while some can happen at school as children spend much time at school. After-school care services can play a significant role in influencing the diet and physical activity for children at an early age. The faster the plan is initiated, the better for today's generation.

What are the causes of childhood obesity?

Although the exact factors supporting childhood obesity are not entirely understood, it is a proven fact that obesity may occur when the energy intake exceeds the energy spent by children. Genetic factors also play a role in childhood obesity, but it is not the only factor to looked when trying to determine what causes obesity in children. Different outside factors like environmental factors, lifestyle preferences, and cultural conditions are also reasons for the rise in childhood obesity. The following are being considered as factors as well:

Behavioral and social factors

1. Diet: improper regulation of Calorie intake can be a factor as children consume foods of high calories but do not spend it in activities.

2. Fat Intake: Studies show that the fat intake has decreased in some parts while increased in some areas of the country. However, children have a robust system that burns fat efficiently. Hence it cannot be an isolating factor.

3. Other dietary factors: Soft drink intake by children has increased during the past decades and has been a significant cause of the of obesity and type II diabetes. However, no conclusive studies have been published as of now.

4. Physical Activity: Numerous studies have shown that nonphysical activities like watching TV and playing video games have contributed much to an obese population. Parents often encouraged their children to watch television and spend more time inside the home so that they can complete their work and babysit at the same time. Many children have recorded low participation rates in sports and physical education which has added to their chances to become obese.

What are the ways to prevent childhood Obesity?

Having a neighborhood that has a big and safe place to play sports as well as a school which encourages physical activities as a part of school work is the first step to getting children out in the open. A home where physical activity is considered necessary, and the right diet is encouraged will decrease the chances of a child becoming obese drastically. Less time in front of the television and family dinners at the table instead of the TV will be helpful as advertisers are targeting this age group influencing their eating habits to a great extent.

Obesity is a disorder that has multiple causes including depression and the physical and mental health of obese children. Cardio and digestive diseases in adulthood are common in obese children. Over-consumption of calories and reduced physical activity is believed to be the main factors in the occurrence of childhood obesity.

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Everything You Need to Know About a Pulmonary Function Test


A Pulmonary function test involves a set of tests that help to measure the functioning of the lungs. It examines how well the patient is able to breathe and how effectively the lungs are capable of bringing oxygen to rest of the body parts. These tests are also known as Spirometry or lung function tests. Pulmonary function test cost is inexpensive in nature and can be performed at any diagnostic centre of India.

Why are these tests done?

A doctor may order these tests-

  • If one is suffering from symptoms of lung problems.
  • As a part of the routine test.
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of the ongoing treatment.
  • To assess if the lungs are functioning properly before surgery.
A Pulmonary function test is also ordered to test Asthma and several other vital lung conditions. Some of them are-
  • Allergies,
  • Chronic Bronchitis,
  • Respiratory infections,
  • Lung Fibrosis
  • Scleroderma- a disease that affects the connective tissue,
  • Bronchiectasis- a condition in which airways in the lungs are widened and stretched.
  • Sarcoidosis- a condition that causes inflammation to the lungs, liver, lymph nodes, skins, eyes and other tissues.
  • Pulmonary tumour, etc.
How to prepare for the test?

To prepare for a PFT test, the patient needs to consult with the doctor regarding medications. The doctor might ask the patient to stop taking medicines before performing the test. One needs to make sure not to eat heavy meal before the test. This is because, a full stomach just before the test prevents the lungs from inhaling properly. A doctor also asks to avoid in taking food and drinks containing caffeine, such as - coffee, chocolate, tea, etc. One should also avoid smoking and strenuous exercise before the test. He or she should wear loose-fitting clothes.

What are the types of measurement used for a pulmonary test?

Pulmonary function test interpretation can vary from one laboratory to another. However, the types of information that are obtained from this test can be categorized into four groups-

  • Lung Volumes- The lung volumes help to measure the maximum volume of the lungs.
  • Flow Rates- Flowrates help to measure the maximum flow of air that passes in and out the lungs.
  • Diffusing capacity- Diffusing capacity measures the amount of air that can be transferred from the alveolar space to the blood stream capillary.
  • Maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressures- It helps to measure the applied strength of the respiratory muscles.
What are the risk of taking pulmonary function test?

Pulmonary function test or PFT test possesses minimal or no risk and is safe for all. However, as because, the test requires one to breathe in and out quickly, people may feel nauseous and dizzy. It can cause problems if -

  • One recently suffered a heart attack.
  • One had a recent eye, chest, abdominal surgery.
  • The patient has suffered from a severe respiratory infection and heart-related disease.

The author is an avid health blogger who writes about diseases related to respiratory problems, related tests and treatment options.

Sleepless Nights, Unhealthy Hearts?

Chronic wakefulness might leave its mark on cardiovascular system, study suggests
By Alan Mozes

HealthDay News

More worrisome news for people who toss and turn all night: Insomnia appears to be linked to a heightened risk for heart attack or stroke, a research review from China suggests.

"We found that difficulty initiating sleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, or non-restorative sleep were associated with 27 percent, 11 percent, and 18 percent higher risks of cardiovascular and stroke events, respectively," said study co-author Qiao He.

The reasons why aren't fully understood, said He, a graduate student at China Medical University in Shenyang.

However, the study doesn't establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

Sleep specialists say millions of Americans get too little sleep. "In modern society, more and more people complain of insomnia," He said.

Evidence of insomnia's harmful effects on overall health has accumulated in recent years.

"Previous studies have shown that insomnia may change metabolism and endocrine function, increase [nervous system] activation, raise blood pressure," He said. It also can spark a rise in levels of certain inflammation-related proteins. All of these are risk factors for heart disease and stroke, she explained.

For this report, the investigators looked at 15 studies that enlisted nearly 161,000 participants in all. The studies variously explored potential links between insomnia and a range of heart disease concerns, including heart attack, stroke and heart failure.

The association between insomnia and heart attack and stroke risk might even be slightly stronger among women. But that finding did not reach "statistical significance," He's team said in a news release from the European Society of Cardiology.

"However, we do know that women are more prone to insomnia because of differences in genetics, sex hormones, stress, and reaction to stress," said He. "It may therefore be prudent to pay more attention to women's sleep health."

She added that "health education is needed to increase public awareness of insomnia symptoms and the potential risks, so that people with sleep problems are encouraged to seek help."

The findings were published in the March 31 issue of the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

SOURCE: European Society of Cardiology, news release, March 31, 2017

Copyright (c) 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Parents of Kids With Autism May Sacrifice 'Couples Time'

HealthDay News

Raising a child with autism can be so demanding that it saps time from the parents' relationship, a new study suggests.

On average, couples of a child with autism spend 21 fewer minutes a day with their partner than a comparison group of parents, the study found. That's a 128 hour gap over the course of a year.

Still, couples felt they were supporting one another as they navigated everyday life, dealing with issues like who would take their child to occupational therapy or who would cook dinner, said study lead author Sigan Hartley.

"But what did seem to kind of go by the wayside was this time to connect, to just share thoughts and feelings," said Hartley, chair of human ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Whether they're discussing weekend plans, joking around or engaging in sex, that one-on-one time is "so important" for maintaining intimacy, she explained.

Previous studies have shown that, on average, couples with a child on the autism spectrum experience a higher risk of divorce and lower satisfaction in their relationships than parents of children without disabilities, the study authors noted.

The new research was supported by grants from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health. Hartley said the findings are part of a larger, five-year study that is examining how having a child on the autism spectrum shapes, and is shaped by, family dynamics.

Paul Benson, chair of sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, said the study fills gaps in research, such as how autism affects men's relationships with their partners.

Another strength of the study is its comparison of mothers and fathers of children with autism to parents of children without disabilities, he said.

Benson, whose daughter has autism, said the results are important for understanding the mental and marital well-being of these couples and how their relationships might affect children with autism.

The study compared the experiences of 174 couples who have a child with autism spectrum disorder with 179 couples whose children are not disabled.

The researchers interviewed parents and had them independently complete surveys on their level of education, income and family dynamics. The parents also kept daily diaries over a two-week period reporting on their experiences as a couple.

Spending less time together may account for why the couples raising children with autism reported feeling less closeness with their partners than the comparison group.

These couples were no more angry or frustrated with their partners or purposely avoiding them than parents in the comparison group, Hartley observed. But they had fewer positive couple interactions -- things like having a meaningful conversation, sharing a joke or doing something fun together, she said.

It may be the "wear-and-tear" over time that leaves couples feeling emotionally drained, Hartley said.

What's more, fathers of children with autism -- but not mothers -- felt less connected to their partners, the study found. It may be that reduced time with their partner takes a greater toll on men than women, the study authors suggested.

"Dealing with these challenges can be really completely overwhelming, and, in some cases, the fathers 'check out,' " said Benson, who wasn't involved with the study.

To keep their relationships strong, parents need to think about carving out couple time, Hartley recommended. That may mean using respite services so couples can go out without the kids, or setting aside 10 minutes to reconnect, she added.

SOURCES: Sigan Hartley, Ph.D., associate professor, 100 Women Chair in Human Ecology, and Waisman Center investigator, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Paul Benson, Ph.D., professor and chair, department of sociology, University of Massachusetts, Boston; March 9, 2017, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, online

HealthDayCopyright (c) 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


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