Professor John Worobey’s Lecture on Childhood Obesity

John Worobey Picture

Professor John Worobey of Rutgers University provided two background articles for his lecture on obesity in children:
1) “A narrative literature review of the development of obesity in infancy and childhood,” by Sally Robinson, Katie Yardy and Victoria Carter. J Child Health Care 2012 16: 339.
2) “Do not eat the red food!: Prohibition of snacks leads to their relatively higher consumption in children,” by Esther Jansen, Sandra Mulkens, Anita Jansen. Appetite 49 (2007) 572–577.

It has been suggested for the last 2 decades that obesity in children is largely the result of poverty and income inequality, but the data was not strong until the last few years when the rates of both poverty and obesity increased to high rates. These changes allowed the statistical analysis to show that they are linked in a significantly way. The Robinson article is a review of studies and describes the factors that are associated with increased obesity in children. Some of these factors are “no brainers,” but other are a little surprising. Later on in the semester, Dr. Yanhong Jin will lecture on the role of the Built Environment in obesity, and you will be surprised at how our our physical environment influences childhood obesity.

The second article by Jansen and co-workers describes original research that demonstrates that restricting food in children can often have the opposite effect, in that the children then seem to crave the food that was previously restricted. These experiments are easily influenced by experimental design, but the basic take home message from the Jansen article is that it is not a good idea for parents to go to the opposite extreme and restrict food in a blatant way or put high pressure on children to eat in a particular way.

Dr. Worobey’s lecture will cover the wide area childhood nutrition.  His recent publications are:

Worobey, J. (2013). Preventing infant obesity – It’s never too soon to start (Editorial). Journal of Food & Nutritional Disorders, 2. http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2324-9323.1000e109

Worobey, J., Fonseca, D.M., Espinosa, C., Healy, S., & Gaugler, R. (2013). Child outdoor physical activity is reduced by prevalence of the Asian Tiger Mosquito, Aedes albopictus. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 29(1), 78-80. http://www.bioone.org/doi/pdf/10.2987/12-6296R.1

Worobey, J., Borrelli, A., Espinosa, C., & Worobey, H.S. (2013). Feeding practices of mothers from varied income and racial/ethnic groups. Early Child Development and Care http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03004430.2012.752735

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