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    Fast Food Not The Biggest Cause Of Rising Childhood Obesity
    By News Staff | March 1st 2014 09:00 PM | 18 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    If you work in politics or culture, you are probably quick to attribute fast-food consumption as the major factor causing rapid increases in childhood obesity. Scholars the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill report that fast-food consumption is simply a byproduct of a much bigger problem: poor all-day-long dietary habits that originate in children's homes.

    The analysis led by Barry Popkin, W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of nutrition at UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health, found that children's consumption of fast food is only a small part of a much more pervasive dietary pattern that is fostered at an early age by children's parents and caregivers.

    That pattern includes few fruits and vegetables, relying instead on high amounts of processed food and sugar-sweetened beverages. These food choices also are reinforced in the meals students are offered at school.

    "This is really what is driving children's obesity," said Popkin. "Eating fast foods is just one behavior that results from those bad habits. Just because children who eat more fast food are the most likely to become obese does not prove that calories from fast foods bear the brunt of the blame."

    The study looked at data acquired through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2007 and 2010. The researchers studied the dietary intake of 4,466 children between 2 and 18 years old and whether they ate at fast-food establishments or elsewhere. The children were further categorized as being nonconsumers of fast food (50 percent of the children), low consumers (less than or equal to 30 percent of calories from fast foods; 40 percent of the children) or high consumers (more than 30 percent of calories from fast foods; 10 percent of the children). The researchers then determined which factors were most related to dietary adequacy and risk for obesity.

    "The study presented strong evidence that the children's diet beyond fast- food consumption is more strongly linked to poor nutrition and obesity," said Jennifer Poti, doctoral candidate in UNC's Department of Nutrition and co-author of the study. "While reducing fast-food intake is important, the rest of a child's diet should not be overlooked."

    Popkin said he is certainly no fan of fast-food consumption, but actually knowing where the problem originates is important if we are to invest in solutions that foster healthier habits, including reducing the consumption of sugary drinks and emphasizing more fresh vegetables and fruit.

    "Children who rely on fast foods may tend to have parents who do not have the means, desire or time to purchase or prepare healthy foods at home," Popkin said. "This is really what is driving children's obesity and what needs to be addressed in any solution."



    Published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Source: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


    Comments

    So this is too simplistic! Most kids have poor diets bc they are not adventurous in trying a variety of foods. The 2 main contributers to childhood obesity, in my opinion are the DNA makeup and which parent their DNA seems to favor and second would be the smartphone and tablet syndrome! Not enough physical activity. I have 2 girls who are less active than I would like. The 10 y old eats pasta and sweets only and is skinny while my 9 yo is a much healthier eater and can stand to lose 10 lbs.

    I think,Richard that you talk as though what your children eat is out of your control,which must prove the point of this blog.Your children can only eat what you provide for them since they cannot earn money to buy it themselves'Similarly our bodies can only process what we provide for them .Our bodies are constantly polymerizing amino-acids into proteins for the renewal of our bodies and high activity causes a depolymerization process into ammonia[as urine] and carbohydrates,the latter can be used as energy or stored as fat.No one can live for long on only pasta and sweets without higher protein foods than pasta and sweets and some foods that have vitamins and minerals so i think you must be over-simplistic here.,however i do believe that "fast food" is the culprit for both the inactivity of our children and many adults as well as obesity.By fast food,i mean from the farm to our mouths and even within our bodies.The polymerization of proteins is effected by two things.Time is a factor since it takes time to polymerize long polymer chains with which our bodies can weave new skin and hair.Genetic engineering and modern fast food production techniques do not allow enough time for this polymerization of long chain proteins to be produced,hence the tender meat we eat whereas mature meat should be tough and animals should be allowed enough time to reach maturity i.e breeding stage before they are slaughtered.The second thing that effects polymeri.zation of amino acids to protein both in the food chain and our bodies is an over-abundance of carbohydrates which act as a chain stopper since carboxyl end groups tag onto .amine end groups and block them from further polymeri.ization.hence it is possible to have the same protein levels in fast food as conventional foods but fast food is high carbohydrate protein since it has a higher levet of caboxyl end groups;and when it breaks down through exercise will produce more carbohydrates,hence you can have slimming of fattening protein.

    To address the inactivity of your children,i would suggest you inspire yourself and your kids to get involved in producing the healthy conventional food,giving your animals a chance to breed before killing them for meat and having your own organic garden with composting as the foundation.There is so much amazing truths about life to be seen in the garden,far more interesting than a tablet and you and your children will be getting exactly the right amount of exercise you need to replace the food you eat.

    Greg M.
    This is not feasible for (sub)urbanites unless they make community gardens or small plots in their backyards and go on weekend hunting trips.
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    Greg M.
    "Children who rely on fast foods may tend to have parents who do not have the means, desire or time to purchase or prepare healthy foods at home," Popkin said. "This is really what is driving children's obesity and what needs to be addressed in any solution."
    Regarding only diet, affordability and convenience are two huge factors. Childhood obesity is significantly correlated with lower socioeconomic status, so making healthy choices cheaper and more convenient will help to reduce its prevalence. Do whatever it takes to make this happen, i.e., subsidization of agriculture, etc. At the same time, educate parents and preschool-aged children about healthy eating choices. Toddlers are responsive at this time and will model the behaviours they see in their homes.
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    Hank
    Affordability and convenience were the goals of society for as long as society existed so it is no surprise people who can afford to eat too much will. It is the first time in world history poor people could afford to be fat.
    Greg M.
    Like the oft-cited mice and palatable foods study, except we need to condition people to eat healthy food early in development. We are making the wrong things affordable. 
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    I think if it's "all a joke"then the human race is going to . laugh dying,because that's where it's headed if health costs keep on rising,and by health costs i mean the cost of maintaining a sick society mentally spiritually morally and physically.Sell your overly high priced suburban house and land and buy some very cheap land in the country,build your own house,which could save you half the price tax free keep your health with healthy food and then look for work,people may give you a job passing on your food expertise.

    Greg M.
    Be reasonable. Our souls are corrupted and the end is nigh, plus I'll never own property where I live, so why am I giving a fuck about all of these other costs. Are you trolling?


     
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    Yes. Actually fast food is only one of the wide variety of reasons. Nowadays, many children spend a lot time being inactive. Also use of computers and video games become increasingly popular. So, the number of hours of inactivity may increase.

    Doesn't seem like reason is your speciality Greg ,so I'll pass on you.,.Perhaps someone else who wants to use science 2.0 to cross-pollinate ideas and benefit may be interested in reasonable argument.If you accept Charles Darwin's evolution,your environment effects your life whether politically or other environmental factors.but it sounds like your past caring.

    Greg M.
    I'm being real. You're deluded. Plus, you were WAY overcompensating with your unsolicited description of metabolism in the first post. What's the deal with that?

    The Law of Natural Selection precludes politics. Nothin' natural about them.
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    Hank
    It's one of those weird recent epigenetic 'black box' claims that derives from a modest truth - all of our brains are reconfiguring differently based on different experiences and we inherit stuff so a recent goofy assertion (not by biologists, obviously, so his invoking Darwin is odd) is that voting leads to epigenetic changes - so he may have been born conservative.

    Obviously biologists trashed this idea but social psychologists use the 'you can't prove it isn't true rationale' and mumble about biology having functions and then write more papers based on surveys of college students. It's fine for splashy mainstream news stories like that liberals have prettier daughters, it just isn't science.
    Greg M.
    There appears to be some Lamarckism at work here. The Heritability of Acquired Characteristics [HAC], i.e., epigenetics, is valid, but it requires some sort of mutation caused by the organism interacting with its environment and the modification of the existing genotype, and then the transmission of the gene to the progeny, which does not extend many generations according to current knowledge. Political ideology [of any leaning] is an abstraction that is not genetically inherited and cannot be quantified because we wouldn't know where the hell to begin, Don, so you may have been amygdalish, but experiences in your lifetime would have largely shaped whether you voted right or left at 18. 

    @Hank: Maybe you need to translate for me more often. Don's second post became really alarmist and. . . well, he and I agree that the environment plays an important part shaping the organism, especially early on in development. This was the basis of my earlier posts regarding only diet. You feed toddlers healthy food, make it available in the home, and sell it for cheaper than fast food. Let's start with small, piecemeal social experiments before we begin to go all Jeremiah Johnson and run off to Montana, though.

    I happen to like social psychology. It's something I do while waiting in line for a coffee.  
     
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    I can't for the life of me figure you two and your overuse of complex terms to try and baffle the layman that you know what your talking about and they had better keep out of secret scientists business.One of the arguments Hank has used in the past is that science is about law and so is politics.If hank hadn't been so bigoted himself over Clinton and his anti -nuclear stance{not anti-science,because he certainly knew how to use science to murder his religious enemies the branch davidians]I may have agreed with him about his anti-Darwin science bigotry because of his Baptist background.You should realize Greg that all religion is paternalistic and they think of you as a little child and them as the big daddy.If they get into politics and they do by holding the balance of power then you will still be in the process of being "brought up" by the government.My comment was not meant to be alarmist but any ,even small movement my way from the present system of food production will have an effect if multiplied millions of times.

    Hank
    .One of the arguments Hank has used in the past is that science is about law and so is politics.If hank hadn't been so bigoted himself over Clinton and his anti -nuclear stance{not anti-science,because he certainly knew how to use science to murder his religious enemies the branch davidians]I may have agreed with him about his anti-Darwin science bigotry because of his Baptist background.
    You may have set a new record for being completely wrong in such a short list of words. Maybe it is just a style issue and poor command of language on your part. Darwin was not a Baptist nor am I.  I never said science is about law. It is not bigoted to say that Pres. Clinton was anti-nuclear, since that is fact - bigotry would be claiming that everyone named Clinton must be anti-nuclear because of their name. I never said anything of the kind. I doubt Clinton was "anti-Darwin", whatever that means, nor am I. How can anyone be anti-Darwin anyway? It's like being anti-Henry Ford. It makes no sense.

    Your belief that Pres. Clinton was murdering religious people sends the Crackpot Alert level to Orange.
    Greg M.
    I am not trying to deceive anyone. If there are terms that anyone needs me to explain, I will do it.

    I don't know anything about this other horse shit. Unless it relates to obesity, diet and fast food, leave me the hell out of it.
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    Sorry for the ambiguity hank,the "him'" refers to you Hank and the "his anti-Darwin science{note i did say science] refers to Clinton.According to a documentary about the burning of the branch davidian's compound,the state police seemed to believe that it was unjustified and the way it was done by punching holes around the compound and pumping in first saanan gas and then napalm and igniting it seemed to be deliberate murder of men women and children..My daughter and her family are members of the Baptist cult and when i recently talked to my young grandson about Darwin's evolution he said he wasn't allowed to believe in that at their church.