March 05, 2015 Categories: Scientific Conferences & Meetings, Heart News

Tip headlines:

  • Some ethnicities more prone to childhood weight gain

  • Teen Battle Chef Program boosts academic, nutrition behaviors among NYC youth

Embargoed until 4 p.m. ET, Thursday, March 5, 2015 – Abstract 33

Some ethnicities more prone to childhood weight gain

Hispanic/Latinos, African Americans and American Indians tend to gain weight earlier in life than European Americans, which suggests obesity prevention should be targeted to children and teens in these minority populations.

Researchers studied weight transition patterns in U.S. populations 18 years and older. They found:

  • At age 18, 49 percent to 73 percent of Americans were normal weight, with European/American females being most likely to maintain normal weight and American Indian females the least likely.

  • Between ages 18 and 30 years, the population of normal weight American Indian males decreased by almost 7 percent a year. Notable transitions to overweight and obesity starting at 18 were also seen in American Indian females, Hispanic/Latino males and African American females.

  • American Indian females were the most likely to be overweight at age 18.

For all populations, adults were more likely to go from overweight to obese than obese to overweight until their late middle ages. After that, there were small decreases in adults classified as obese.

Difficulties retaining normal body weight throughout life support evidence-based obesity prevention efforts targeted at children and adolescents, especially in these minority populations, researchers said.

This study was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Christy L. Avery, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, N.C. 

Embargoed until 4 p.m. ET, Thursday, March 5, 2015 – Abstract P257

Teen Battle Chef Program boosts academic, nutrition behaviors among NYC youth

Teen Battle Chef, a component of the HealthCorps in-school “Living Labs” program, used cooking and nutrition education to promote positive behavioral change among New York City youth.

Researchers studied the impact of the Teen Battle Chef program, a high school based program that teaches culinary skills, which was implemented by HealthCorps into the curriculum at 14 high schools, where 176 students participated in it. Forty students who didn’t take the program served as a comparison group.

The researchers found when compared to controls, the Teen Battle Chef group:

  • Were more likely to report increased energy and consume more fruits and vegetables and were less likely to drink soda.

  • Showed increased overall dietary quality and experienced greater improvement in their ability to discuss the value of local foods.

  • Had higher average SAT scores and their school attendance rate was 95 percent, versus 86 percent for the overall school population.

This study offers strong evidence that Teen Battle Chef, a component of the HealthCorps Living Labs program, helps youth develop leadership, teamwork, culinary skills, nutrition knowledge, improved academic performance and participation and more, the authorsresearchers said.

This study did not receive outside funding.  

Erica Irvin, B.S., research scientist, HealthCorps, New York, N.Y.

Note: Actual  presentation time is 5 p.m. ET Thursday, March 5, 2015.

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