New Slightly Revamped Recs to Fight Child and Youth Obesity

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More official recommendations to treat and prevent childhood obesity that are pretty much similar to all other official governing bodies' recs. That's not a bad thing. It continues to reinforce the messages to parents, pediatricians and communities in general.

The American Medical Association (AMA) convened a group of experts under the banner Expert Committee on the Assessment, Prevention and Treatment of Child and Adolescent Overweight and Obesity (The committee is also co-funded by Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). It's a long report and breaks down the recommendations into stages, Stage 1 aimed to prevent weight gain and Stage 4 for aggressive weight management. The gist of the recommendations for kids (and parents to encourage) are as follows:

1. Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day (personally I don't think this is enough... but perhaps a more realistic goal for kids)
2. Consume no sugar-sweetened beverages (nada!)
3. Eat a daily breakfast
4. Limit meals outside of the home (i.e. more meals at home and fewer restaurant/fast food meals)
5. Family meals should happen at least 5-6 times per week
6. Limit portion sizes
7. Parents - Allow the child to self-regulate his or her meals and avoiding overly restrictive behaviors (i.e. refrain from telling your child to "clean her plate")
8. Limit screen time to two or fewer hours per day
9. NO television in the room where the child sleeps
10. Engage in one hour or more of daily physical activity


Of course the report gets into more detail and more specifics. But again these are all great recommendations and we need to continue to encourage parents and children to try to stick to them so they become the norm. And of course as adults we must be models of behavior. To read more go to http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/11759.html.

Have a fruit and veggie filled day!
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About the Author

Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition advocate, consultant and educator.

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