Dec 12 2011

Don’t Eat When You Are Not Hungry! Are You Being Told By Your Doctor That Your Child Is Overweight? Most Statistics Say NO! Nutrition Labeling Moving to the Front of the Package (FOP). News You Can Use!


We are all guilty of eating when we are not really hungry. Some call it stress, while others say they just need to have something to keep them busy. Others say they don’t know why they are eating-they just eat and eat and eat. Is it due to the TV commercial for that juicy burger or oven hot pizza? How about just sitting and watching television. Have you worn out the path to the kitchen?Whatever the reason is, it’s not hunger that is stimulating this “extra” eating. And this “extra” eating  piles on the calories, lots of them! In between snacks and non hunger related snacking made up of carbs and fats are responsible for a large amount of the overweight and obesity we are seeing. So how do we change this persistent habit? A new study by a group of researchers at the University of Minnesota led by Kerri Boutelle, Ph.D. and published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, demonstrates that by improving the responses to the clues of truly being hungry and decreasing the responses to non hunger related eating, children can be trained to respond better to hunger and less to other stimuli (e.g. television commercials focusing on food). Boutelle and her group were also able to train children to understand body clues better and to respond better to being satiated from a meal and not to overeat. Lesson: This study shows that hunger, satiety, overeating and non hunger related eating, are all behaviors that can be targeted for training and teaching. We can help our children to be better in touch with their feelings and to better understand when they are reacting to a non hunger stimulus. Here is an idea-shouldn’t we be able to select the commercials that will play during the programming that our children are watching ? TV commercial selection-the next frontier!


Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, led by Eliana M. Perrin, M.D., MPH, reviewed National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, collected on almost five thousand kids ages 2 to 15, with an elevated BMI, and found that only 22 percent of parents reported that they were told that their child was “overweight.” Only 58 percent of parents of children classified as “obese” by BMI criteria, were informed by health care providers that their children were obese. Lesson: As a parent, get involved in the health check up of your child. Ask about his or her weight. Ask whether the weight is normal, over or under established guidelines. Find out what the recommendations are depending on the status. Get connected! Don’t wait for the information to get to you-or not get to you!


A new front of the package (FOP) nutrition labeling system will soon start showing up on our foods. Beginning with the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, food companies were required to disclose nutrition information (servings per container, total calories, sodium, cholesterol, carbohydrates, proteins, sugar, etc. ) on the back of the package. Jumping to 2011-the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), have determined that they can make a bigger impact with FOP nutrition labeling, not only to detail the elements inside the food, but also to  “increase   the proportion of consumers who readily notice, understand and use the available information to make more nutritious choices for themselves and their families, and thereby prevent or reduce obesity and other diet related chronic disease.” A sneak peak at the components to be on the FOP label include the following: calories, saturated fats, trans fats, sodium and added sugars.  In addition, a symbol system designed to help consumers “distinguish between products of greater or lesser nutritional quality” will also be present. Lesson: FOP nutrition labeling will be here soon! It will be a welcome evolution to the original nutrition labeling system and hopefully will be easier for everyone to understand. It will also be a new push by the FDA/USDA to empower all of us with the information to make healthier choices for us and our children!


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