Explore the latest research in child nutrition, physical activity, and healthy weight management for children in the links below, with brief summaries written by NJHKI staff.
Obesity declined among children from low-income families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) from 15.9% in 2010 to 13.9% in 2016. The decline was statistically significant among all racial/ethnic groups and in 34 of 56 state WIC agencies.
Australia is facing an obesity epidemic similar to that in the United States. They recognize they don’t have an overarching strategy to tackle obesity. This committee report presents a whole-of-government approach at the federal level is required to develop, resource and deliver a comprehensive National Obesity Strategy and recommends the establishment of a National Obesity Taskforce. It also recommends approaches that would include food labeling, food reformulation, tax on sugary drinks, review of the advertising of discretionary foods, education campaigns, healthcare interventions, and community-based multi-strategy interventions
A Lancet Commission focused on global obesity suggests a reframing to a Global Syndemic (a synergy of epidemics). The three pandemics-obesity, undernutrition, and climate change-¬occur in time and place, interact with each other to produce complex sequelae, and share common underlying societal drivers. The Commission recommends comprehensive actions to address obesity within the context of The Global Syndemic.
The Access to Nutrition Index: US Spotlight Index 2018 was recently published and is the first national assessment of the contribution of America’s ten largest food and beverage manufacturers to addressing nutrition challenges. The aim of the Index is to improve nutrition in the food and beverage sector. It provides comprehensive, independent, comparable and objective information about companies’ products, policies, practices and disclosure. The Index recommends that, though the ten largest food and beverage manufacturers in the United States have made some efforts to tackle obesity and diet-related disease in the market, they must make their product portfolios healthier and ensure their healthy products are accessible to all, particularly to those whose access to healthy food is constrained by low income or geographic factors.
The second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans were released in November. In addition, the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion created the Move Your Way campaign to help health professionals, national organizations, communities, and other stakeholders in physical activity communicate with consumers about the recommendations from the Guidelines. The guidelines are focused on people ages 3 years and older and written for an audience of policymakers and health professionals. The recommendation for preschool-aged children (ages 3 through 5 years) is that they should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. The recommendation for children ages 6 to 17 years of age is 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.
Resources for increasing classroom physical activity in schools
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health released in November 2018 a group of resources to help all students meet the national recommendation for physical activity. Strategies for Classroom Physical Activity in Schools recommends 10 strategies, organized under three categories, that schools can use to improve classroom physical activity. A companion document, Integrate Classroom Physical Activity in Schools: A Guide for Putting Strategies into Practice can help teachers, school staff, school partners, and other physical activity champions assess current classroom physical activity practices; identify opportunities to enhance or sustain classroom physical activity strategies that are already in place; and take practical steps to integrate physical activity into the classroom.
An examination of the most recent data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows a sharp increase in obesity in 2-5 year olds (9.3% to 13.7%) and in 16-19 yr old females (36% to 48%). Racial and ethnic inequities still exist with Non-Hispanic African American and Hispanic children having higher prevalence rates of overweight and all classes of obesity compared with other races.
This review of the literature from Healthy Eating Research focuses on the impact of policy, systems, and environmental changes on promoting a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and reducing screen time in young children in the ECE setting.
The latest version of the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study gives lots of interesting information on the nutrients children are getting in their diets, including that when children are starting to eat mostly table foods it’s difficult to obtain the recommended vitamin D intakes without the use of supplements.
Great resource from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that brings together existing information and practical strategies on feeding healthy foods and drinks to infants and toddlers, from birth to 24 months of age.