Author: David Ludwig, MD, PhD

Back to school: A new report card to measure if your child is obese?

ludwigIt’s a long-honored tradition: several times a year, parents receive report cards showing how their children have done scholastically. But with continuing increases in childhood obesity rates, school districts and states across the country are considering a new type of parental notification: the BMI report card.

BMI, short for body mass index, is a way of measuring weight relative to height. For the more mathematically inclined, BMI is determined as weight (in kilograms) divided by height (in meters) squared. Among adults, a BMI of 18 to 25 is normal, 25 to 30 is overweight and above 30 obese. Because children grow and develop, absolute cut points can’t be used in pediatrics. Instead, a BMI between the 85th and 95th percentile is considered overweight, and above the 95th percentile obese.

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How healthy is your breakfast?

chocolate coated cerealWill a highly processed, sugary breakfast cereal help your kids avoid getting sick this winter? That’s the implied claim on packages of Kellogg’s Cocoa Krispies.

What they don’t advertise is that some version of sugar or partially hydrogenated fat (that is, trans fat) appears four times on the ingredient list.

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