Safer, Healthier Options To Treat Childhood Obesity

Good to get confirmation, albeit indirectly, from time to time that natural treatments are indeed the best, safest and only true means to make a significant impact on disease conditions like childhood obesity, especially from well-known organizations like the American Heart Association (AHA). Case in point were a number of studies discussed during an AHA conference last weekend in Washington, D.C. that show how modifying one's exercise and diet do wonders to fight the childhood obesity epidemic in this country.

In one study, a strict exercise/diet program was instrumental in reducing the risk factors for atherosclerosis in teens in as short a time interval as two weeks. Why the concern about atherosclerosis? Signs of hardening of the arteries can be found in kids as young as 10!

Twenty obese teens were placed on a modified diet of high-fiber, low-fat and low-cholesterol foods and did 2-3 hours of aerobic exercise -- activities like swimming, tennis and volleyball -- daily for two weeks. Not surprisingly, all the major markers for obesity in the blood -- total cholesterol (21 percent), LDL cholesterol (25 percent) and trigylcerides (39 percent) -- fell sharply, along with signs of oxidative stress and body mass index.

Although the lead researcher believed a modified diet designed to combat oxidative damage was the key to these lower numbers, I believe exercise and nutrition go hand-in-hand to fight obesity.

A second study found a full-service, medically-supervised program resulted in improved food choices and more physical activity for kids. Although that's not feasible for many people, the results after three months speak volumes:

  • The amount of time kids devoted to watching TV every day dropped by 30 percent.
  • The number of kids who ate at least two servings of vegetables daily rose to 65 percent, meaning less junk food.
  • Some 80 percent of parents believed their kids were more active than others, meaning more exercise.

Forbes.com April 29 2005

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