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AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- Prevention programs may be the best way to fight child obesity, U.S. researchers said.

A study examining regional changes in child obesity between 2000-2005, published in the journal Obesity, found a local obesity prevention program combining state and local community nutrition and exercise programs with media attention, and an evidence-based school health approach in the El Paso, Texas, region, was most effective statewide in decreasing childhood obesity.

The El Paso fourth graders had a decrease of 13 percent in obesity prevalence.

"Data from the El Paso region show us that obesity prevention efforts, when implemented on a broad scale, can be successful," study leader Deanna Hoelscher of the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, Austin, Texas, said in a statement.

Hoelscher said the results of the study -- called SPAN, or Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition -- illustrated the importance of measuring prevalence at the local level rather than relying on national or state estimates to monitor trends.

Yesterday I listened to Charlie Rose interview former FDA honcho David Kessler about his book on food.

While I agree that Big Ag and food manufacturers have been remiss in their efforts to enhance the addictive power of their products with sugar, salt and fat (as trans-fats), as well as the addition - not mentioned by Kessler - of artificial coloring, flavorings, HFCS, aspartame and sucralose, flavor enhancers such as MSG and Senomyx all add to the problem.

What I also did not hear Kessler mention is the direct connection between many of the vaccines to diabetes and to obesity. The Hepatitis vaccine is one of the main culprits. A new study on vaccines shows brain inflammation and injury following this particular vaccine.

Other concerns of mine relate to the use of non-fat dairy products when children need fat for growth and brain function as well as energy.

Then think of the USDA pyramid and its heavy weight on grains and pasts as well as other carbs, not so good when more vegetables and limited whole fruit make more sense.

But then I'm not from Big Ag or the government...

Read more: Childhood Obesity Campaign: Issues in Health

A Different Kind of School Lunch

Light on what happened to the healthy pyramid

School lunches get nutritional makeover
Published: Oct. 21, 2009

Recommendations by the Institute of Medicine are expected to be used to make over U.S. school lunch and breakfast menus, nutrition advocates said.

Margo G. Wootan, nutrition policy director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, said schools shouldn't wait for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's final regulations to implement Institute of Medicine's sensible new school meal standards.

"The USDA should help schools work toward the new standards, so by the time they are required schools are already most of the way there," Wootan said in a statement. "When Congress reauthorizes child nutrition legislation, it also should give USDA and school districts the resources and support they need to make these healthier meals appeal even to the most finicky of young eaters."

The recommendations, which the Agriculture Department will write into regulations, will increase the amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in school meals; reduce the content of sodium and trans fat; and ensure low- or no-fat milk is provided, Wootan said.

The changes will help address the biggest problems in children's diets and foster healthier eating habits, advocates said. However, the Institute of Medicine unfortunately didn't recommend limits on added sugars, Wootan said.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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