The Honest Truth About Obesity And Children

Obesity Is a Major Health Concern For Children

The concern over the increasing number of children that are overweight or obese has became a world wide problem. It’s being called an epidemic and has became a major health problem for children and adolescents from 2 to 19 years of age.

Obese children face many health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, respiratory problems, joint and back trouble and even sleep disorders. And, it’s not just a childhood affliction, much of the damage done by obesity is permanent and carried through the rest of their lives.

It also affects their emotional health on a daily basis. Many obese children are subjected to teasing and bullying in their everyday lives from their peers. It can lead to behavior problems, rebellion, defiance and depression.

Inherited genes and gland problems can cause children to be overweight. But, usually stems from unhealthy eating habits and an inactive lifestyle. You can help your child by encouraging them to eat a healthy diet and participate in activities such as swimming and biking.

Incorporate fresh vegetables and fruits into your meals. Grill more foods to remove fat instead of frying them and choose healthier meals when eating out. You can help your child loose weight and have a healthier future!

Obesity Is Permanently Damaging To Children’s Health

In America alone, it is estimated that at least 17% of children and teens between the ages of 2 and 19 are overweight or obese and the numbers are growing every year. And, children and teens that are overweight have an alarming 70% chance of being overweight or obese even after reaching adulthood.

The problems of child obesity don’t just last through childhood. It will follow them into adulthood and cause health problems that will last a lifetime. Obesity has became so wide spread that many health professionals are referring to it as an epidemic!

Supersized To Super Healthy
Supersized To Super Healthy

The factors that contribute to heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, appear more often in overweight children. Other problems stemming from obesity include respiratory disorders, sleep apnea and many orthopedic disorders from damaged joints to back problems.

Once considered a disease that inflicted adults, Type 2 diabetes is showing up in children and adolescents much more often. Diabetes is now afflicting many obese children before they even reach puberty. And, this form of diabetes has been closely linked to being overweight or obese.

Obesity Can Cause Emotional Problems For Your Child

There are many other health problems that obese children potentially face. But, obesity doesn’t just cause physical health problems it also causes problems with emotional health. It’s one of the major causes of depression in this age group.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study on the emotional effects of obesity on children. The study revealed that obese children had the same low outlook on life as children that had cancer and was going through chemotherapy!

Overweight or obese children are often teased, picked on and bullied throughout their young lives. Their self esteem gets beaten away and their hope for the future is very low. They may often feel exiled, alone and even worthless.

Many times the emotional problems that obese children face causes behavior problems. Some children might become rebellious or defiant and lash out. While others may just become the class clown, or do bad things to get other children to like them and accept them.

The Causes Of Child Obesity And How To Avoid Them

The Obesity Cycle (Photo courtesy of
The Obesity Cycle (Image courtesy of

Obesity is now classified as a disease and is expected to be a major health concern for the 21st century. While obesity can be an inherited disease, more often it’s the result of an unhealthy diet and an inactive lifestyle. It can even result from stress in the world around them.

A child going through a divorce or the loss of a loved one may turn to food for comfort. Pay close attention to your child’s eating habits. Do they look for something to eat when they get stressed or upset? Do they turn to food when family members argue?

If you see signs they’re using food to comfort themselves, do your part to remove the stress from their lives. Seek professional help if you have to, counseling may help them learn to deal with their emotions instead of eating.

As a parent you can do your part to help your child by encouraging and even monitoring their diets. Serve foods that are low in fats, cholesterol and sugars. Keep a selection of fresh fruits at hand instead of candy or snacks. Grill more of your foods instead of frying them and make fast food an occasional treat instead of a regular meal!

Plan family outings to encourage activity such as bike rides, hikes or  long walks. Even something as simple as going to the pool for the day will get your children up and moving. Anything that encourages activity can help your child with weight loss. Changing your child’s lifestyle into a healthy one is an investment in their future!

Complications With Childhood Obesity
Complications With Childhood Obesity (Image courtesy of

Written by Connie Corder, Copyright 2013

Child Obesity: A Parent’s Guide to a Fit, Trim, And Happy Child

Child Obesity
Child Obesity: A Parent’s Guide to a Fit, Trim, And Happy Child

Is your child overweight? Do you worry about the effects of excess weight on the health and self-esteem of your family’s youngest and most vulnerable members? If so, you are not alone.

Weight problems among children have now reached epidemic proportions. And its no wonder. High-calorie fast foods and soft drinks are everywhere, and they are heavily promoted in many of the 40,000 TV commercials that kids watch every year.

A nationally recognized expert on child obesity, Dr. Roa uses the latest and best medical evidence available to show you how to help your child avoid or overcome this prevalent and dangerous health problem. In the first part, he gives you the knowledge you need to understand the scope of the problem.

In the second part, he carefully explains a rational approach to helping your child achieve or maintain a healthy weight, including the science of changing people’s behaviour. Dr. Roa makes it clear that despite all the talk about ‘low-carb’ and other fad diets, there are no magic bullets for treating childhood obesity.

But the good news is that armed with the right information, parents can reverse this dangerous trend and succeed in helping their children become fit, trim and happy.

Obesity And Children Book List

Supersized to Superhealthy! Beat Childhood Obesity and Stop Your Kids Getting Fat. Healthy eating for children…

Your Child’s Weight: Helping without Harming

Fed Up!: Winning the War Against Childhood Obesity

Underage and Overweight: America’s Childhood Obesity Epidemic–What Every Parent Needs to Know

Child Obesity: A Parent’s Guide to a Fit, Trim, And Happy Child

The Poisoning of Our Children: Fighting the Obesity Epidemic in America


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Things You Should Know

Some History of ADHD Diagnosis

Many parents in this day and age are told that their child exhibits symptoms of ADHD or ‘attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder’. The term itself has only been coined within the last few decades, but there have been different names for children exhibiting an extreme difficulty in sitting still or paying attention for many years. Certainly in the 19th century, these symptoms likely showed themselves and were simply referred to as the ‘jitters’. However, as time went on, there became a popular belief that the condition was beyond a person’s control and was an actual medical issue.

As names such as “Post-Encephalitic Behavior Disorder.” began to make their appearance as early as 1922, there seemed to be the problem of what to do or how to treat this condition. These children, while usually very bright, were unable to get work done in a conventional environment. Their behaviors were disruptive, and the possibility that this was not something that could be helped urged the medical profession to find answers. In 1937, the first use of stimulants for treatment of these attention disorders was advocated by Dr. Charles Bradley. This was continued in 1956, when Ritalin became the drug of choice for treating this problem.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

It would be 1980 before the medical profession would coin the phrase Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder after observations indicated other symptoms that went along with difficulty in sitting still.

The inability to focus for any period of time or concentrate on studies and schoolwork has made Ritalin and Adderal two of the most prescribed drugs on the market today.

The controversies surrounding over-diagnosis and the unpleasant side effects of these stimulants on the body has many parents questioning exactly what ADHD is and if the medicines given are even doing any good.

Types And Possible Causes of ADHD

Not all cases of ADHD are the same, as each individual child will have symptoms that act out in different ways. However, there are three main types of Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder that most of those diagnosed fall into. These are:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

1.Predominantly inattentive
2.Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive
3.Predominantly inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive combined

Some are able to sit still but have a very short attention span, while others will veer towards impulsive and hyperactive behavior. The combined type, as its name suggests has aspects of both tendencies. These behaviors are not only disruptive in class, they can be a hindrance in education. Often these children are very smart, but with the behavior challenges, it becomes very difficult to focus long enough to learn.

Even though much research is being done into how this disorder happens in the first place, the actual causes are unknown.

Certain links have been found to such things as low birth weight, premature birth, the use of certain things during pregnancy such as alcohol, excessive caffeine, or cigarettes, and the very real possibility of certain environmental exposures.

Children exposed to lead are at a very high risk for behavior disorders because of its effects on the brain. For this reason, lead testing is routinely done with children under age 6.

Sugar snacks are likely to accelerate the hyperactivity, but there is not enough data to support this being an actual cause. However that is not to say that food isn’t something to be concerned about.

Certain Food Additives May Worsen Symptoms of ADHD

Several studies have been done since the 1970’s about the potential of certain food additives making symptoms of ADHD worse.

Food dyes such as Blue #1 and 2, Green #3, and Red # 3, and the preservative sodium benzoate are found in many of the popular snack and convenience foods that are marketed specifically for children and busy families.

If your child has been diagnosed with any type of ADHD, it is advised that an inventory of foods be taken and as many of these additives as possible eliminated from the diet.

ADHD and Food Additives The Honest Information

Treatments for ADHD

The use of stimulants to treat ADHD has much controversy, and many parents resist giving these drugs to their children. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of such stimulants as Ritalin and Adderall for ages 3 and over. While the numbers do show that there is an improvement in a child with ADHD and their behavior when taking these medications, there are also unpleasant side effects. These can include extreme difficulty in falling asleep, very vivid nightmares, and a significant decrease in appetite. These side effects usually subside, but it often requires several trips to the doctor to adjust dosages. Getting a child on a regiment of medication is a step that some parents would prefer to avoid and in turn, they will look for alternative treatments.

Medicine or Diet?

Dr. Ben Feingold (1899-1982), a California pediatric allergist, strongly believed there was a correlation with food additives and hyperactivity. In the seventies, he devised a plan to eliminate certain foods that contained salicylates (a food preservative) and anything else artificial. The diet has been argued by scientific study, which says there is no evidence proving it works. However, for parents and medical practitioners who deal with this on a daily basis, the Feingold diet has met with a lot of positive feedback.

Whether a parent chooses to go the route of medicine or changing diet (or a combination of both), the important thing to realize is that each child is different – and each case of ADHD is different. What is effective for one may not work with another. There doesn’t seem to be any absolutes when it comes to these behavior disorders, and when it comes down to it – a parent knows what works for their child.

“…Many parents have reported that certain foods seem to make the behavior and impulse control worse. There have been extensive studies done as to the effects of certain foods and especially food additives that may cause a child who is ADHD to have even more trouble paying attention and sitting still…”

From ADHD and Food Additives The Honest Information

Managing ADHD And The Family

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is something that affects the whole family. The impulsive behaviors and excessive energy are a challenge, and the whole situation can feel extremely unfair, especially to other siblings. Brothers and sisters of these children often have to take a back seat to dealing with the symptoms and feel they are expected to ‘help’. There is also guilt when the child acts up under their watch. It is very easy for a family to feel overwhelmed and frustrated unless action is taken to manage ADHD.

First and most important, take care of yourself. The only way a parent is going to be any good for their family is to put their health as a priority. Getting enough rest, making sure you eat right and keep up with your own medical care, and taking time to refocus energy are all crucial and in many cases, not always feasible. Check the local programs in the community, such as Easter Seals. They often have respite programs that allow for a “Parent’s Night Out” where there is child care and appropriate activities for both children with disabilities as well as their siblings. If these are not available, plan shifts for family to take turns so each one has some time to themselves as well. A little organization can go a long way in making life easier for everyone involved.

The most important thing to remember when managing ADHD is to acknowledge the child’s limitations in scheduling and completing projects. Until the child is able to develop these skills on his own, it must be done by the parent or caregiver. Consistent structure in the child’s day and keeping active at appropriate times will promote better sleep at night and the basis to develop these habits on their own.

There are many good resources on the web to check for advise or support groups. There are thousands of parents dealing with this issue, and many have found that comparing notes and offering an understanding point of view has helped more than any treatment. You, as well as your child are not alone.

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2012


Risks and Dangers of Antidepressants

“I don’t know what’s wrong. I just want to be left alone.”

These are words that can fill a parent with a sense of helplessness. It is expected that teenagers will have periods of up and down moods, but when the mood stays in a perpetual state of “down”, it can be very concerning. Articles on the subject are filled with the saddest stories of young lives interrupted by suicide, leaving devastated family and friends to decipher the reasons why.

Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms of depression can range from agitation, fatigue, inability to focus or concentrate, a drastic change in sleeping or eating patterns, no interest in activities that were once enjoyed, or complete withdrawal from loved ones and friends. No parent wants to see their child succumb to this, and many seek medical attention. This often includes intense therapy and a complete physical, which may lead to prescribing an antidepressant medication.

According to statistics, at least 20% of teens will be diagnosed with depression at some point. Many of those teens will be prescribed an antidepressant, which is of course intended to alleviate the feelings of despair. Antidepressants are said to work by adjusting the body’s serotonin levels, or the transmitters that regulate moods. The lower these levels are, the more prone a person is thought to be toward depression.


There are many different types of antidepressants on the market today, which generally fall into one of three classes: SSRI’s, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, TCA’s (trycyclic antidepressants) and MAOI’s (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors–made in the 1950’s, these were one of the earliest forms of antidepressants.)

Fluoxetine – Prozac


The most common one prescribed to teenagers is fluoxetine, or Prozac. This falls under the SSRI class, in which the serotonin is inhibited from overloading in the presynaptic cell where it is first transmitted and is increased to the synaptic cleft of the brain. This is supposed to regulate the levels, and ideally keeps the mood on an even keel.

Fluoxetine and its derivatives are the only antidepressants that are approved for children between the ages of 5 and 18. For the cases where it is well-tolerated, there has been relief to some degree for these teens who are in the depths of despair. The problem is, very often cases of depression are over diagnosed, especially in teenagers. Under the best of circumstances, the teen years are filled with an upheaval of emotions and feelings that often overwhelm them. It is important not to mistake the normal ups and downs of growing up with an actual chemical imbalance.

Antidepressants Risks Dangers and Suicidal Thoughts

Considering there are many schools of thought that have serious doubts about their effectiveness when it is warranted, it is essential to make sure your child’s health is in the hands of someone that will exhaust all other possibilities and will do a complete physical exam with blood tests if indeed an antidepressant is prescribed. The reason this should be taken so seriously is because antidepressants have been found to have an extreme side effect in children and young adults. Suicidal thoughts and actions have increased in many of the patients taking them, especially those in their late teens and early twenties. The warning falls under the category of a “black box”, which requires this side effect to be listed plainly in bold print on the prescription itself.

How does it happen that a medication which is intended to treat a disorder that debilitates people to the point of being unable to function has such a horrible potential side effect? One of the reasons may be related to a specific genetic marker. Researchers have found that the serotonin receptor 5H2A has different variations in people. Common variations have been found in those that have ceased medication due to side effects, which may answer why some people experience problems with antidepressants making the problem


Giving antidepressants to anyone who is not actually suffering from depression can take a temporary upset and turn it into a full-blown problem.

A reputable doctor will be cautious in prescribing medications and perform all necessary tests before doing so. If medication is warranted, side effects should be monitored carefully. This holds true of all patients, but especially those between the ages of 15-25. Whatever the reason, be it genetically related or otherwise, the fact is that many people react as badly to the antidepressant as they do the depression – in some cases, much worse.

Even with fluoxetine being approved, the warnings are still plainly listed. It is a very serious side effect to consider – the possibility that this pill may cause a young person to want to commit suicide. Depression is a genuine illness and should receive medical attention without a doubt, however the presence of medication should always be seriously thought out, examined, and carefully monitored. Remember, the pharmaceutical companies are a business. They are set up to make money, and new “wonder pills” are produced daily for us to “make it all better”. This is why it is so important to research any medication prescribed as well as its side effects and how much time has been spent in clinical trials.

Antidepressants and Withdrawal Problems

Another danger in antidepressants is withdrawal. If side effects are present, it is not as simple as “stop taking it”. These medications build up in the body and to suddenly remove them will cause the side effects to become worse. If side effects are present, the physician needs to be contacted immediately so a carefully monitored withdrawal can take place. This usually involves reducing the medication slowly until the body is no longer dependent. There is also the factor of the time it takes for the medication to take effect once started. It takes a few weeks for an antidepressant to have noticeable results, and in the meantime, the person is still left feeling hopeless. This is another reason that therapy must be accompanied with medical treatment.

Should Antidepressants be Avoided?

Should antidepressants be avoided altogether? No, not necessarily. They have been lifesavers for some people, but the fact is there are far too many of these medications coming out that have not had enough time to go through the testing to determine what side effects they have or if indeed they will work at all. For this reason, there are no antidepressants that are approved for teenagers other than Fluoxetine to treat depression. Lexapro, another SSRI, is the exception as it has been approved to treat issues such as Social Anxiety or Obsessive/Compulsive disorders in younger people. Other SSRI’s, such as Paxil have not been approved – and yet doctors prescribed these medications to younger patients until 2003 when the FDA specifically stated that paroxetine (Paxil) was not to be prescribed to children and teens.

The fact is, a pill does not make life better. If needed, it is a tool to assist someone in the ability to see the dreams. It is still up to the person to achieve them.

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2011


Just Say "No" To Drugs (Unless of course we give them to you)



ADHD and Food Additives The Honest Information

Parents of children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are faced with many challenges. Often they have incredibly intelligent kids that won’t slow down, and behavior issues can make everyday life a battle of wills.

Far too often, medications such as Ritalin and Adderol are prescribed without first examining some basic dietary issues that possibly exacerbate the issue. One of these is food additives, in particular, food dyes.

ADHD and Food Additives The Honest Information

ADHD and Potential Dietary Connections

One of the possible causes or contributors to this behavior has been a child’s diet. Many parents have reported that certain foods seem to make the behavior and impulse control worse. There have been extensive studies done as to the effects of certain foods and especially food additives that may cause a child who is ADHD to have even more trouble paying attention and sitting still. While there is no definitive evidence that this is a cause for the disorder, the studies indicate that it does have a negative effect on the existing behavior.

Columbia University conducted a study in 2004 that examined and cross referenced the data from several controlled trials. The study couldn’t make specific recommendations due to lack of additional information about the test subjects, however it did show there was a distinct consistency with the responders and the research indicating artificial food colorings having a neurotoxic effect.

Food Dyes Are Bad!
Food Dyes Are Bad!

The food dyes in particular to avoid are FD&C Yellow No. 6 (also known as “sunset yellow”), FD&C Yellow No. 5 (or “tartrazine”), D&C Yellow No. 10, and FD&C Red No. 40. The best rule of thumb is to always read the labels for the ingredients and avoid an overabundance of food dyes altogether. The list continues to grow as to what is being tested, so the less processed food in the child’s diet, the better.

In another study done in 2007 at the UK’s University of Southampton showed in double blind placebo controlled testing that when sodium benzoate, a preservative in many processed foods was given to two different age groups, hyperactivity and inattentiveness increased. Considering the amount of processed foods in the modern diet, this is indeed a concern. Although this study indicates a particular preservative that may be making ADHD worse, more research is needed to determine what other food additives may have an adverse effect on behavior and impulse control. While it has not been determined at this time that these additives can actually cause this behavior, there is the possibility of pre-existing genetic factors that can make a child more prone to react adversely to these additives.

Another study done at Southampton in 2010 studied the effects of histamine degradation in test subjects of similar ages to the 2007 research. These genetic variations, which are still being researched, may contribute to the different reactions children have.


A Brief History of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2011


Autism the Honest Information

A mother struggles to comfort a toddler who won’t stop screaming. A father wistfully holds a football as he watches his son stare into space, wondering if he will ever play with other children. Two young parents sit in a doctor’s office stunned, as they are informed their child will face a lifetime of challenges. These are scenes playing out all over the world as cases of autism spectrum disorder are on the rise.

The diagnosis of autism often brings more questions than answers. Did I do something to cause this? If not, what did cause this? What can I do for my child? There is also the feeling of disappointment, as everyone has expectations when starting a family. Knowing that a child is going to have challenges is overwhelming, and it is essential for parents to know they did not cause it nor are they alone. There are therapies to assist with communicating and behavior control, along with good support groups.

What Is Autism?

Each case of autism is unique, and cannot be simply summed up. The spectrum is inclusive of a group classified as Pervasive Development Disorders, or delays in social and communication skills.