ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
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Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Body Fat, Muscle Distribution Linked to RA Disability
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
CANCER
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
Healthy Behaviors Slow Functional Decline After Cancer
CAREGIVING
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
DIABETES
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
Antioxidants Abound in Cereals, Popcorn, Whole-Grain Snacks
Myrrh May Lower High Cholesterol
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Lead Exposure in Childhood Linked to Criminal Behavior Later
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
FITNESS
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
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3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim

Something as simple as sitting down to dinner together as a family can go a long way in helping a child fend off obesity.

That's just one of the findings from new research that suggests that family behaviors can have a significant impact on the weight of preschool children. Other behaviors that may help youngsters stay slim include getting adequate sleep and limiting time in front of the TV.

"Four-year-olds who regularly ate dinner with the family, got enough sleep and watched less than two hours of TV a day were 40 percent less likely to be obese," said the study's lead author, Sarah Anderson, an assistant professor of epidemiology in the College of Public Health at Ohio State University in Columbus.

"One of the things that's potentially useful about recommending these routines, if they're suggested as part of obesity-prevention counseling, is that they may have other benefits, too. And, for pediatricians and other clinicians, we don't have easy, effective treatments for obesity in children, so it's very important to try to prevent obesity," said Anderson.

Results of the study are scheduled to be published in the March issue of Pediatrics.

The study included a nationally representative sample of 8,550 four-year-old children. One parent of each child answered researchers' questions about the family's routines and behaviors.

From this group of children, 18 percent were considered obese, which means their body mass index (a measurement that includes weight and height) is greater than the 95th percentile when compared to others of their age and gender.

Just 14.5 percent of the children were exposed to all three of the study behaviors on a regular basis: Eating the evening meal as a family five or more nights a week, getting more than 10.5 hours of sleep per night, and watching less than two hours of TV, video or DVDs a day.

The researchers found that in children routinely exposed to all three of these behaviors, the obesity rate was 14.3 percent. In children who weren't exposed to any of these behaviors, the obesity rate was 24.5 percent.

Anderson said that each behavior was associated with a 17 percent reduction in the risk in obesity.

These findings held true even when the researchers controlled for factors that may affect a child's risk of obesity, including maternal obesity, race, gender, socioeconomic status and living in a single-parent household.

Anderson pointed out that this study could only find an association between these behaviors and a child's risk of obesity. The study was not designed to assess cause and effect.

"We don't know if it's the routines per se, or if it's the parenting associated with these routines or something else correlated with these routines, but we do know these routines are associated with a lower incidence of obesity," said Anderson.

"These are relatively simple things that you can do in your home that change the health environment of your child. Not only will it help your child with obesity risk, but plenty of other studies have shown that it will also help with behavior and cognitive development. These are great changes to make if they're not already in place," said Dr. Jennifer Helmcamp, a pediatrician and director of the Jump Start Pediatric Weight Management Clinic at Scott & White Healthcare in Round Rock, Texas.

If it seems impossible to institute all three of these behaviors, Anderson said that any one of them alone can have an effect. "Each of these routines was related to a lower risk of obesity, so you can choose to try the one that you think you'll have the most success with. If you're already doing one, consider doing another," she suggested.

Helmcamp said it can be hard to institute some of these behaviors. But she suggested that parents "make these behaviors a priority. Sit down and figure out how you can make it happen. Maybe your child doesn't need to be involved in four or five different activities."

She said if it's tough to eat together five times a week, shoot for at least three nights a week. And, she also recommended removing TVs from children's bedrooms, which can help with limiting screen time and with getting enough sleep.

A second study in the March issue of Pediatrics found that preschoolers aren't the only age group that can be influenced with positive behaviors. This study, which included 81 obese teenaged girls, found that when girls read a book that featured an overweight girl who learns about nutrition, physical activity and improving her self-esteem, readers reduced their body mass index percentile more than girls who didn't read the book.

SOURCES: Sarah E. Anderson, Ph.D., assistant professor, epidemiology, College of Public Health, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; Jennifer Helmcamp, M.D., staff pediatrician, and director, Jump Start Pediatric Weight Management Clinic, Scott & White Healthcare, and assistant professor, pediatrics, Texas A&M Medical School, Round Rock, Texas; March 2010 Pediatrics