Healthy eating contributes to an overall sense of well being, and is a cornerstone in the prevention of a number of conditions, including heart, disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, dental caries and asthma. For children and young, people, healthy eating is particularly important for healthy growth and cognitive development. Eating behaviors adopted during this period are likely to be maintained into adulthood, underscoring the importance of encouraging health eating as early as possible. It is recommend consumption of at least five portions of fruit and vegetables day, reduced intakes of saturated sat and salt and increase consumption of complex carbohydrates. A survey of young people aged 11-16 years found that nearly one in five did not eat breakfast before going to school. Recent figures also show alarming numbers of obese and overweight children and young people.
A systematic review was conducted to examine the barriers to, and facilitators of, healthy eating among young people (11–16 years). The review focused on the wider determinants of health, examining community- and society-level interventions. Seven outcome evaluations and eight studies of young people's views were included. The effectiveness of the interventions was mixed, with improvements in knowledge and increases in healthy eating but differences according to gender. Barriers to healthy eating included poor school meal provision and ease of access to, relative cheapness of and personal taste preferences for fast food. Facilitators included support from family, wider availability of healthy foods, desire to look after one's appearance and will-power. Friends and teachers were generally not a common source of information. Some of the barriers and facilitators identified by young people had been addressed by soundly evaluated effective interventions, but significant gaps were identified where no evaluated interventions appear to have been published, or where there were no methodologically sound evaluations.
It adopted a conceptual framework of ‘barriers’ to and ‘facilitators’ of health. Research findings about the barriers to, and facilitators of, healthy eating among young people can help in the development of potentially effective intervention strategies. Interventions can aim to modify or remove barriers and us to build upon existing facilitators. This can framework has been successfully applied in other related systematic reviews in the area of healthy eating in children.
Scientists Explore Brain, Cortisol, and Weight Loss Connections
Weight-management studies led by U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are helping determine why some dieters lose more weight than others from keeping the weight off. Chemist Nancy L. Keim and scientist Kevin D. Laugero are conducting the investigations, which may lead to successful, science-based strategies for weight management. Both are with the USDA’s Agricultural research service Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Daivs, California.
“The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 35 percent of adults and 18 percent of kids and adolescents age 6 through 19 are overweight or obese. Both conditions are associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic disorders.”
In the investigation, 29 obese but healthy woman from the ages of 20-45 participated in a 12 weeks weight-loss regimen. The researchers assessed several factors related to weight management and included the volunteer’s patterns of decision making, and changes in their levels of cortisol, a stress-associated hormone. The amount of weight that volunteers lost varied greatly from zero to 27 pounds. They ate about the same food/meal but they controlled their calorie-intake.
The scientists also found that dieters who lost the…