obese kids bullied, teased at school
If you thought the childhood obesity epidemic might mean there's less stigma for heavy kids, think again. Schoolchildren who are obese are 60 percent more likely to be bullied, and 13 percent more if they are simply overweight, according to a new study. Researchers also found it made no difference whether the child was rich or poor; male or female; white, black or Hispanic; or living in a community where many other children were obese. Nor did it matter if the child had good social skills or did well in school. Bottom line: Parents, teachers and caregivers need to be aware of the risk and be supportive of victims of teasing and bullying, said Dr. Julie C. Lumeng, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan and the lead author of the paper, in the journal Pediatrics.
Cancer group challenges government report
A dire government report on cancer risks from chemicals and other hazards in the environment has drawn criticism from the American Cancer Society, which says government experts are overstating their case. The government's 240-page report, published online last week by the President's Cancer Panel, says the proportion of cancer cases caused by environmental exposures has been "grossly underestimated." It urges the government to strengthen research and regulation, and advises individuals on ways to limit exposure to potential threats like pesticides, industrial chemicals, medical X-rays, vehicle exhaust, plastic food containers and too much sun. The cancer society estimates that about 6 percent of all cancers in the United States — 34,000 cases a year — are related to environmental causes. So why does the cancer society object to the new report? Dr. Michael Thun, an epidemiologist from the cancer society, said overstating the chemical risk may divert attention from things that are much bigger causes of cancer. "If we could get rid of tobacco, we could get rid of 30 percent of cancer deaths," he said, adding that poor nutrition, obesity and lack of exercise are also greater contributors to cancer risk than pollution.
Sugary foods tied to harmful fat levels
People who eat and drink high amounts of added sugars have lower blood levels of so-called good cholesterol and higher levels of harmful triglycerides than those with diets lower in such sweeteners, a new study reports. The researchers gathered data on 6,113 adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, who were asked to recall their food intake during a single 24-hour period, then were grouped according to their consumption of added sugars and had their blood tested. On average, 15.8 percent of participants' calories came from added sugars. When the figure was 25 percent or more, good cholesterol averaged 47.7 mg per deciliter and triglycerides were 114 mg. Those who consumed less than 5 percent of their calories in added sugars had an average of 58.7 mg of good cholesterol, and 105 mg of triglycerides. Where did most of the sugar come from? "Soft drinks are the most commonly consumed example and provide 30 percent of added sugar in the United States,'' said the paper's lead author, Jean A. Welsh, a graduate researcher at Emory University in Atlanta.