Newspapers Examine Child Weight-Loss Techniques
The Los Angeles Times and New York Times recently published stories examining weight-loss techniques for children. Summaries appear below.
- The Los Angeles Times on Monday examined the increasing popularity of weight-loss programs for obese children and the lack of a sufficient number of such programs to fill the need. PowerPlay MD, an eight-week privately funded program offered at several health centers in the Los Angeles area, provides information on portion size, food groups and the importance of daily exercise, in addition to counseling on behavior modification and dealing with other issues, such as teasing. As obesity rates in the United States continue to rise with more than 15% of children between ages six and 19 considered obese, experts said that "parents are a crucial element in their children's weight loss," according to the Times. Experts said childhood obesity rates have increased because of television, computers, video games, junk food, unhealthy school lunches, inadequate physical education programs, scarcity of playgrounds and parks and busy parents that fail to emphasize the importance of physical activity (Stein, Los Angeles Times, 11/29).
- The New York Times on Friday looked at the rise of weight-loss surgery among children. Harvey Sugerman, president of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery, said hospitals nationwide have increasingly conducted gastric bypass surgeries or banding procedures on children as young as age 12. NIH has no formal guidelines for performing weight-loss surgeries on adolescents and experts worry that a dramatically reduced stomach size could cause a loss of calcium, protein and other essential nutrients (Santora, New York Times, 11/26).
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