Obesity & Diabetes
Childhood Obesity Caused by Flu.....Really?
Looking for Answers in All the Wrong Places
Researchers released a report in October 2010 hypothesizing the potential link between a specific strain of virus that causes the common cold and childhood obesity. The story made national headlines and surprisingly has spurred serious debate.
We just have to put this under the "REALLY?" heading of life. How far will our nation go before focusing on a common sense approach to our growing problems with childhood and adult obesity? Where are the reports concerning the lack of recess time in schools, the cut back in school athletics, and the challenges of latch key children who lack a safe environment to be physically active?
Childhood obesity has reached 40% levels in some states and we have parents now wondering if Johnny's waddle is more directly linked to his sniffles than to his super sized bowl of cocoa puffs and five hours of coach time per day?
We respect the scientific method but as a nation we seem to be studying our way around problems that have time tested results. Americans were not overweight a generation ago and that cold virus was just as prevalent then as it is today.
"Obesity and body weight regulation is far more complex than is typically discussed, and these data support the idea that a viral infection could be one important cause of obesity," postulated study senior author Dr. Jeffrey B. Schwimmer, director of the weight and wellness program at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.
Not to pick on Dr Schwimmer, he did go on to say: "Regardless of the extent to which this impacts body weight, there's no question that eating healthfully and having regular, fun physical activity is good for you. The reason we care about these behaviors is improving health."
The headlines spread across the country however did not relate this last caveat. Most people only saw headlines of the cause and effect relationship between cold viruses and obesity.
He also made things worse when he told MSNBC: "This shows that body-weight regulation and the development of obesity are very complicated issues. It’s not simply a case that some children eat too much and others don't."
Dr. Schwimmer is right that body weight regulation is complex but over eating, poor diets and lack of movement throughout the day are the top three contributors to obesity. We would assert that a cold virus ranks down the list so far that it should not be reported by the mainstream press. There is a cure for obesity for most children and adults and it comes in the form of continual movement through the day and a healthy diet.
Ever see a fat Amish person? Think their children don't suffer from colds?The average Amish individual walks 18,000 steps a day and are a model of fitness in America. You won’t find them at 24 hour fitness working on the pecs or biceps either. We would be willing to bet they don’t catch as many colds also.
We would contest Dr. Schwimmer's out of context quote with a call for a healthy diet and an emphasis on physical activity. This kept children lean and healthy for generations before this and would go a long way to restoring the health of our nation's children again.
We need to focus on what we already know. Movement is critical to health. We also need to change the structure of their environment and emphasize physical activity or we are doomed to more reports citing potential causes of obesity when the real reason for it is"“sitting" right in front of us.