Stories about: Optimal Weight for Life

This week on Thrive: Dec. 7 – 11

Here’s a quick look at what Thrive was up to last week.

Why are suicide clusters more common in teens? Children’s Global Fellow Stephen Sullivan, MD, MPH, addresses the global burden of surgical diseases. KABC in Los Angeles interviewed Children’s Hanno Steen, PhD, about a urine test that quickly identifies cases of appendicitis. Children’s Center for Young Women’s Health youth advisor, Erica, writes a compelling review of the movie, Precious. The HealthMap team gives us our final H1N1 update. David Ludwig, MD, PhD, director of Children’s Optimal Weight for Life Program, just published a commentary in JAMA expressing concern about the widespread use of artificial sweeteners in soft drinks. Our Mediatrician talks about how negative portrayals of black women in movies affects teens. We give a roundup on all of the news this week on the fight for what our children should be eating and drinking.

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The fight for kids' food

boy appleThe fight for what our kids eat continues to rage on. The battle has moved from the home to  school lunch rooms, fast food restaurants and grocery store shelves. Fresh versus frozen. Organic and local versus imported produce. Natural versus artificially sweetened beverages.

There’s no denying that we all care about what our kids consume. Yesterday, Children’s director of the Optimal Weight for Life Program, David Ludwig, MD, PhD, wrote a piece expressing concern about the widespread use of artificial sweeteners in soft drinks. (The Washinton Post recently featured Dr. Ludwig on this topic. Also read more of Dr. Ludwig’s articles on children’s health here.)

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Children's patient featured on PBS series about type 2 diabetes

Minnie Ortiz, a patient of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Optimal Weight for Life Program, is being featured on a new PBS Web video series called Living with My Type 2. Here’s her introductory video, where she talks about not even knowing what type 2 diabetes was before she was diagnosed with it and how, after the death of her mother left her without someone to talk with, she writes in her journal to express the concerns she has about her health.

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Obesity and the custody conundrum

fatkidThere is a story the media find irresistible, revisiting it on a regular basis: The government takes over custody of a morbidly obese child, accusing the parents of neglect and endangerment.

These stories continue to shock us, touching upon a wide range of hot button issues including extremes in physical appearance, parental responsibility, government intrusion into private lives, and the health of this generation of children. Unfortunately, these sensational cases tell us very little about the obesity epidemic and the needs of kids today.

Clearly, parents bear much responsibility for the well being of their children. Research has clearly linked child neglect and abuse with increased risk of obesity. One hundred years ago, a neglected child was likely to be underweight. Today–with junk food everywhere and opportunities for physical activity increasingly difficult to find–obesity has become the final common pathway for many emotional and psychological problems in childhood.

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