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TODAY news for Thursday, June 8, 2006

School of Allied Health Professions news

Author addresses community about achieving healthy weight for children

Sherri Flynt
Sherri Flynt, MPH, RD, LD, speaks about childhood obesity.
Sometimes old adages prove to be unwise. A community event April 19 about childhood obesity highlighted one such instance.

“To say that a child will always grow into his or her weight is probably misleading,” said Sherri Flynt, MPH, RD, LD, the evening’s speaker, co-author of the book SuperSized Kids: How to Rescue Your Child from the Obesity Threat, and an LLU alumna.

As part of the free event, held at the San Bernardino Hilton, each member of the audience was entitled to a free copy of SuperSized Kids, which includes an eight-week plan for reducing the supersize threat to your family.

About 100 people came to the event.

According to Ms. Flynt, extra weight on children has become such a problem that today, overweight children are at risk for a slew of health complications such as:

•   type II diabetes
•   hypertension
•   high cholesterol
•   fatty liver disease
•   orthopaedic problems
•   sleep apnea
•   stroke
•   cancer
•   cardiovascular disease, and
•   early onset of puberty.

Many of these conditions used to be associated primarily with adults, but as childhood obesity has increased, more children face them.

Overweight children also face numerous psychosocial complications, Ms. Flynt said.

After painting for the audience just how bleak the picture for overweight children can be, Ms. Flynt explaine
Diana Torres and Andrew Gutierrez
Loma Linda resident Diana Torres and her grandson, Andrew Gutierrez, 10, along with the rest of the audience received a free copy of SuperSized Kids.
d why childhood obesity has become such a problem in approximately the past 25 years and how it can be prevented and changed.

She addressed five areas that are important for reaching healthy weight in children.

•  Family involvement is key, Ms. Flynt explained. The whole family together must make the positive lifestyle changes that an overweight child needs. Eating meals together as a family is important.

•  Children should get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep raises stress, which tends to cause weight gain. And when people are tired, they make poorer food choices and exercise less, she said.

•  The time children spend in front of media—videogames, television, and the computer—should be monitored. Ms. Flynt explained that watching television lowers the metabolism to the same level as during sleep—reading burns more calories.

•  Exercise and movement are important. Find out what activity children enjoy doing. Make it fun, do it as a family, and do it often, Ms. Flynt said.

•  Choosing the right foods is another key. A meal plate should be covered half with vegetables, one quarter with starches, and one quarter with protein, Ms. Flynt said. Give children win-win food choices.

Ms. Flynt ended her presentation by challenging the audience members to think of one little lifestyle change they can make in their family.

“Small changes reap huge benefits,” she said.

Ms. Flynt is an LLU alumna who now works as head of Florida Hospital’s Center for Nutritional Excellence. For more information about the authors and the book, visit www.supersizedkids.com.

This event was co-sponsored by LLU School of Allied Health Professions (SAHP) and LLU Children’s Hospital and was the kick-off event for SAHP homecoming 2006.

By Heather Reifsnyder

TODAY news for Thursday, June 8, 2006