Category: Maternal & Childhood Obesity

Ga. schools get grants to fight childhood obesity


Maternal & Childhood Obesity, Obesity in America, Obesity in the News

Georgia health officials have announced that 21 schools have gotten grants to help fight childhood obesity. Here’s info from the Associated Press, featured on the Atlanta CBS website:

The grants total $87,000 and come from the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Governor’s SHAPE initiative. The schools include elementary, middle and high schools throughout the state.

Twelve schools got up to $5,000 to implement physical activity and nutrition plans, while nine others got $3,000 to develop plans. The money will also be used for training and technical assistance.

Health officials say children are more physically active if their schools schedule and promote physical activities. Georgia ranks third in the nation for overweight and obese children.

SHAPE is a statewide initiative that brings together the government, philanthropic, academic and business communities to fight childhood obesity in Georgia.

Are pediatricians skipping blood pressure checks on kids?


Maternal & Childhood Obesity, Obesity in the News

Interesting story rounding the news today about a study recently published in Pediatrics.

From Reuters:

Using government survey data, researchers found that pediatricians failed to take kids’ blood pressure at about one-third of routine check-ups between 2000 and 2009.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute both recommend that children have yearly screenings for high blood pressure, starting at age 3.

From the American Council on Science and Health:

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco based their findings on data from two annual government surveys of doctors’ practices and emergency rooms, dating from 2000 to 2009. Led by medical student Daniel J. Shapiro, the researchers found that during routine check-ups, pediatricians were measuring children’s blood pressure only two-thirds of the time.

Furthermore, during all pediatric visits — including visits for an illness or injury — blood pressure was checked even less frequently: only one-third of the time. “If a child is ill, in pain, or crying, a doctor might not want to check blood pressure because it could be falsely elevated,” points out Dr. Margaret Riley, professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan, who was not involved in the study.


UGA researchers seeking young ones for nutrition study


Maternal & Childhood Obesity, Obesity Initiative at UGA

The Maternal and Child Nutrition Research Lab of the Department of Foods and Nutrition is looking for 4 to 6 year old boys and girls to participate in body composition research.


  • We need boys and girls for one session that takes around 45 minutes
  • Sessions can be on a Saturday for your convenience
  • There will be a questionnaire about activity level and dietary habits
  • The child’s body composition will be measured by the BOD POD Body Composition system

Participants will receive a copy of their body composition results.

Please contact Christina Whitworth at 706-542-7611 for more information about this study.

Folate, obesity during pregnancy linked to childhood health


Maternal & Childhood Obesity, Obesity Initiative at UGA

You may already know that being overweight or obese puts you at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers, but obesity also affects us in ways that we don’t yet fully understand.

This recently became clear in my own research, which focuses on a B-vitamin called folic acid. Folic acid is necessary for all kinds of important functions in the body, but you may have heard of it in relation to birth defects. That’s because women who take enough folic acid before they become pregnant are much less likely to have children with severe, sometimes fatal birth defects like spina bifida and anencephaly.

I’ve spent the majority of my career working to improve maternal and child health by finding out how much folic acid women need to prevent birth defects, and making sure they know about it. But some recent studies suggest that what works for women of normal weight isn’t working for women who are overweight or obese, and I want to find out why.

Lynn Bailey is the department head and a professor of Foods & Nutrition in UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences. She is the leader of the Obesity Initiative’s Maternal & Childhood Obesity team.

Check out this video that describes Bailey’s latest research and what the Maternal & Childhood Obesity team is doing to combat this serious problem.

Start with childhood obesity, says Georgia public health commissioner


Maternal & Childhood Obesity, Obesity Initiative at UGA, Obesity Policy

Dr Brenda FitzgeraldGeorgia ranks second in the nation for childhood obesity at 21.3 percent and third in the nation for children who are overweight or obese at 37.3 percent, said Barbara Fitzgerald, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health and State Health Officer.

Fitzgerald visited the University of Georgia on July 31 to give an update on adult and child obesity in Georgia, and current local and state initiatives to address the epidemic.

The key is to focus on children in the schools, she said, describing the Georgia SHAPE program, which pulls in several of the state’s departments, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Atlanta Brace Foundation, and the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation.

Georgia SHAPE measures students through FITNESSGRAM, a tool that evaluates five different parts of health-related fitness — aerobic capacity, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. Parents and schools receive reports about individual, school, and state-level data to highlight areas of improvement.

Under a new initiative patterned after a program at Sope Creek Elementary in Marietta, students could participate in additional physical activity throughout the day.

The regular academic schedule is maintained and classroom time is not reduced, but students partake in 20-minute exercises in the morning as they arrive to school.

The big perk is the low cost of physical activity, Fitzgerald noted.

Fitzgerald supports regulations that provide 30 minutes of daily physical activity for every student, which schools could implement through structured recess, “Brain Breaks,” or curriculum-based physical activities.

She also discussed regulations that require physical education in the middle school setting, and the state will have more concrete data about Georgia’s 400 middle schools and their physical education programs after the first year of fitness testing is complete.

In addition, Fitzgerald plans to encourage schools to engage in join-use agreements with communities to open school grounds on weekends for afterschool play. These are especially important in low-income, inner-city and rural settings that may lack other recreation facilities, she noted.

  • Fitzgerald, a board-certified Obstetrician-Gynecologist and a Fellow in Anti-Aging Medicine, has practiced medicine for three decades. As Commissioner, Dr. Fitzgerald oversees various state public health programs including Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Maternal and Child Health, Infectious Disease and Immunization, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Emergency Medical Services, Pharmacy, Nursing, Volunteer Health Care, the Office of Health Equity, Vital Records and the State Public Health Laboratory. Dr. Fitzgerald also directs the state’s 18 public health districts and 159 county health departments. Prior to joining DPH, Dr. Fitzgerald held numerous leadership positions.