News updates: child obesity, breastfeeding and bad fad diets

photo: tempophage via Flickr

photo: tempophage via Flickr

Bad Santa Alert: A study from LSU finds that when kids have a TV in their room, they’re more obese and have increase risk for heart disease.  Even if food intake is the same.  Another bad effect: sleep disturbance.  It’s a clear message for parents who are considering buying Junior a TV for his or her bedroom, Stop!  Don’t make Santa into a Health Grinch.  Exercise equipment, like a bicycle, sports shoes, rec center membership or something else that encourages physical activity is a much better idea.

If you eat food, you’re at risk for cancer.  If this sounds silly, it is.  Consider results from a new study of the state of food-cancer research.  The study suggests that research can find a cancer risk for just about everything we eat.  Granted, the links are mostly very weak, but it brings up a good point: obsessing about tiny risks from this or that food isn’t very helpful.  In fact, it can make you suspicious and fearful about everything.  The one thing we do know about diet and cancer risk is that a plant-based high fiber diet is associated with lower risk, while a meat-heavy processed diet is associated with higher risk.  Picking on individual foods, while you continue to eat a junky diet, isn’t likely to be helpful.

Are you a bad mom if you don’t breastfeed?  Now this topic is sure to bring out the fanatics.  According to one mother’s account in the Chicago Tribune there is actually little concrete evidence that exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, as advocated by the medical experts, really does make babies healthier.  Some surveys show breast fed babies are generally healthier, but is it the breastfeeding or something else about parenting style and involvement?  Breastfeeding is easier for stay-at-home moms.  They don’t send their babies to day care, where the child may be exposed to other adverse health effects.  So is it just the breast milk?  Or is it the parenting style that facilitates breastfeeding?  The pressure to breastfeed can be counterproductive and provoke all kinds of anxiety and guilt in mothers who just don’t want to, or can’t, breastfeed.   Breast milk is certainly better than formula made with contaminated water or over-diluted, as may happen in Third World countries. But modern formula prepared correctly can be just fine.

Bad Diets of 2012: I don’t need to rehash every crazy diet in this spot-on list .  Why do we think losing weight has to involve magic (sprinkling magic crystals on food) or sheer punishment (the KEN ng tube diet) or components stripped out of special foods (acai, raspberries).  With diet season looming, you may be looking for some magic soon.  Good time to repeat this phrase: “Eat Less, Exercise More”.

Hold the Presses!  Doctors admit they are under qualified to treat obesity.  Well, dietitians have known this for decades, so it’s nice the doctors finally admitted it.  Unfortunately the solution, according to this article, is for doctors to get more training so they can add obesity counseling to their already-over-worked days.  NO, NO and NO.  Doctors don’t have the time.  They don’t have the training, and won’t unless they look forward to 4-6 more years of education.  If you want personalized help with weight loss or healthy eating, consult a registered dietitian.

Copyright: All content © 2010-2019 Nutrition Strategy Advisors LLC. Photographs © Donna P Feldman, unless otherwise attributed. Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited.