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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to report outcomes of the UK service level delivery of MEND (Mind,Exercise,Nutrition...Do it!) 5-7, a multicomponent, community-based, healthy lifestyle intervention designed for overweight and obese children aged 5-7 years and their families. Repeated measures. Community venues at 37 locations across the UK. 440 overweight or obese children (42% boys; mean age 6.1 years; body mass index (BMI) z-score 2.86) and their parents/carers participated in the intervention. MEND 5-7 is a 10-week, family-based, child weight-management intervention consisting of weekly group sessions. It includes positive parenting, active play, nutrition education and behaviour change strategies. The intervention is designed to be scalable and delivered by a range of health and social care professionals. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was BMI z-score. Secondary outcome measures included BMI, waist circumference, waist circumference z-score, children's psychological symptoms, parenting self-efficacy, physical activity and sedentary behaviours and the proportion of parents and children eating five or more portions of fruit and vegetables. 274 (62%) children were measured preintervention and post-intervention (baseline; 10-weeks). Post-intervention, mean BMI and waist circumference decreased by 0.5 kg/m(2) and 0.9 cm, while z-scores decreased by 0.20 and 0.20, respectively (p<0.0001). Improvements were found in children's psychological symptoms (-1.6 units, p<0.0001), parent self-efficacy (p<0.0001), physical activity (+2.9 h/week, p<0.01), sedentary activities (-4.1 h/week, p<0.0001) and the proportion of parents and children eating five or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day (both p<0.0001). Attendance at the 10 sessions was 73% with a 70% retention rate. Participation in the MEND 5-7 programme was associated with beneficial changes in physical, behavioural and psychological outcomes for children with complete sets of measurement data, when implemented in UK community settings under service level conditions. Further investigation is warranted to establish if these findings are replicable under controlled conditions.
    BMJ Open 05/2013; 3(5).
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    ABSTRACT: The concept that early growth has long-term biological effects is based on extensive studies in animals dating from the 1930s. More recently, compelling evidence for a long-term influence of early growth on later health has also emerged in humans. Substantial data now support the hypothesis that 'accelerated', or too fast infant growth, increases the propensity to obesity, glucose intolerance, raised blood pressure, dyslipidaemia and endothelial dysfunction, the clustering of risk factors which predispose to the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD). The association between infant growth and these risk factors is strong, consistent, shows a dose-response effect, and is biologically plausible. Moreover, experimental data from prospective randomized controlled trials strongly support a causal link between infant growth and later cardiovascular risk. These observations suggest, therefore, that the primary prevention of CVD should begin from as early as the first few months of life. The present review considers this evidence, the underlying mechanisms involved, and its implications for public health.
    World review of nutrition and dietetics 01/2013; 106:162-7.
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: A routine pediatric clinical assessment of body composition is increasingly recommended but has long been hampered by the following 2 factors: a lack of appropriate techniques and a lack of reference data with which to interpret individual measurements. Several techniques have become available, but reference data are needed. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to provide body-composition reference data for use in clinical practice and research. DESIGN: Body composition was measured by using a gold standard 4-component model, along with various widely used reference and bedside methods, in a large, representative sample of British children aged from 4 to ≥20 y. Measurements were made of anthropometric variables (weight, height, 4 skinfold thicknesses, and waist girth), dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, body density, bioelectrical impedance, and total body water, and 4-component fat and fat-free masses were calculated. Reference charts and SD scores (SDSs) were constructed for each outcome by using the lambda-mu-sigma method. The same outcomes were generated for the fat-free mass index and fat mass index. RESULTS: Body-composition growth charts and SDSs for 5-20 y were based on a final sample of 533 individuals. Correlations between SDSs by using different techniques were ≥0.68 for adiposity outcomes and ≥0.80 for fat-free mass outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: These comprehensive reference data for pediatric body composition can be used across a variety of techniques. Together with advances in measurement technologies, the data should greatly enhance the ability of clinicians to assess and monitor body composition in routine clinical practice and should facilitate the use of body-composition measurements in research studies.
    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 10/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: Because obesity is associated with diverse chronic diseases, little attention has been directed to the multiple beneficial functions of adipose tissue. Adipose tissue not only provides energy for growth, reproduction and immune function, but also secretes and receives diverse signaling molecules that coordinate energy allocation between these functions in response to ecological conditions. Importantly, many relevant ecological cues act on growth and physique, with adiposity responding as a counterbalancing risk management strategy. The large number of individual alleles associated with adipose tissue illustrates its integration with diverse metabolic pathways. However, phenotypic variation in age, sex, ethnicity and social status is further associated with different strategies for storing and using energy. Adiposity therefore represents a key means of phenotypic flexibility within and across generations, enabling a coherent life-history strategy in the face of ecological stochasticity. The sensitivity of numerous metabolic pathways to ecological cues makes our species vulnerable to manipulative globalized economic forces. The aim of this article is to understand how human adipose tissue biology interacts with modern environmental pressures to generate excess weight gain and obesity. The disease component of obesity might lie not in adipose tissue itself, but in its perturbation by our modern industrialized niche. Efforts to combat obesity could be more effective if they prioritized 'external' environmental change rather than attempting to manipulate 'internal' biology through pharmaceutical or behavioral means.
    Disease Models and Mechanisms 09/2012; 5(5):595-607.
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    ABSTRACT: The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) for 6 mo after birth. However, the time at which breast milk ceases to provide adequate energy and nutrition, requiring the introduction of complementary foods, remains unclear. Most studies that investigated this issue were observational and potentially confounded by variability in social circumstances or infant growth. We hypothesized that EBF infants would consume more breast milk at age 6 mo than infants receiving breast milk and complementary foods. We measured anthropometric outcomes, body composition, and breast-milk intake at age 6 mo in infants who were randomly assigned at age 4 mo either to 6-mo EBF or to the introduction of complementary foods with continued breastfeeding. We recruited 119 infants from health centers in Reykjavik and neighboring municipalities in Iceland. In 100 infants who completed the protocol (50/group), breast-milk intake was measured by using stable isotopes, and complementary food intakes were weighed over 3 d in the complementary feeding (CF) group. Breast-milk intake was 83 g/d (95% CI: 19, 148 g/d) greater in EBF (mean ± SD: 901 ± 158 g/d) than in CF (818 ± 166 g/d) infants and was equivalent to 56 kcal/d; CF infants obtained 63 ± 52 kcal/d from complementary foods. Estimated total energy intakes were similar (EBF: 560 ± 98 kcal/d; CF: 571 ± 97 kcal/d). Secondary outcomes (anthropometric outcomes, body composition) did not differ significantly between groups. On a group basis, EBF to age 6 mo did not compromise infant growth or body composition, and energy intake at age 6 mo was comparable to that in CF infants whose energy intake was not constrained by maternal breast-milk output.
    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 05/2012; 96(1):73-9.
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate whether dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and quantitative ultrasound (QUS) classify the same children as 'abnormal' (SD (z) score (SDS) ≤-2). Speed of sound (SOS) was measured at the radius and tibia using QUS and lumbar spine bone mineral density (BMD) using DXA in 621 subjects aged 5-20 years; healthy 412, cystic fibrosis 117 and obese 92. BMD SDS positively (p<0.001) and tibia SOS SDS negatively correlated with size (p<0.05). Disagreement between DXA and QUS for 'abnormal' scans occurred in 6-31%. Those with abnormal BMD and normal SOS SDS had lower mean BMI SDS than those with normal BMD and abnormal SOS SDS. SOS measurements were unobtainable in some children, especially in the obese group. DXA and QUS identify different individuals as 'abnormal'. Agreement between BMD and tibia SOS is lower in obese subjects. Without a gold-standard, it is difficult to determine which technique is more 'correct'.
    Archives of Disease in Childhood 05/2012; 97(9):822-4.
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    ABSTRACT: Obesity is widely assumed to be associated with economic affluence; it has therefore been assumed to become more common with economic development. However, obesity has also been associated with poverty. These contrary findings highlight the need for an examination of the contribution of social and economic factors to the global distribution of obesity. Males and females may be differently exposed to social and economic inequality, however few studies have considered possible gender differences in the association between socio-economic indices and obesity prevalence. We analysed between-country associations between obesity prevalence and three social or economic indices: per capita gross domestic product (GDP), the Gini index of national wealth inequality, and the gender inequality index (GII). We considered the genders separately, the gender average, and also the gender difference (female excess) in obesity prevalence. Across 68 countries listing sample size, there were 3 obese women for every 2 obese men. Within populations, obesity prevalence in males and females was strongly correlated (r = 0.74), however, only 17% of the female excess prevalence was accounted for by the gender-average prevalence. In both genders, there was a positive association between obesity prevalence and GDP that attenuated at higher GDP levels, with this association weaker in females than males. Adjusting for GDP, both the Gini index and GII were associated with excess female obesity. These analyses highlight significant gender differences in the global distribution of obesity, and a gender difference in the association of obesity prevalence with socio-economic factors. The magnitude of female excess obesity is not constant across populations, and is greater in countries characterised by gender inequality and lower GDP. These findings indicate that improving women's status may be a key area for addressing the global obesity epidemic over the long term, with potential benefits for the women themselves and for their offspring.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 04/2012; 75(3):482-90.
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    International Journal of Epidemiology 02/2012; 41(1):229-35.
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    ABSTRACT: Data on clinical safety and efficacy are ideally collected in a randomized clinical trial or, failing this, an observational study. Suitable outcomes vary depending on the intervention and population group, and certain outcomes such as growth may test both efficacy and safety. The use of growth as an important safety outcome has some limitations since it is currently not clear what represents an 'optimal' growth pattern. Several issues currently make the conduct and interpretation of infant nutrition trials challenging. These include difficulties in recruiting exclusively formula-fed infants, particularly given the emotive nature of infant feeding; the involvement of industry leading to real or perceived conflicts of interest; increased regulation and bureaucracy; and particular issues with long-term follow-up studies, notably cohort attrition. This paper addresses the implications of these issues and some potential solutions.
    Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 01/2012; 60(3):200-3.
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence suggests that rapid postnatal weight gain is associated with increased risks of being overweight or obese later in life and of co-morbidities, such as diabetes, the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. In children as young as two years of age, as well as in adults, an appetitive system-linked impulsivity trait has been demonstrated to be linked with increased overweight, and postulated to act via increased food intake, through greater responsiveness to food and lower self-inhibitory control skills. In this study, we hypothesized that growth in infancy, a critical window for metabolic programming, would be predicted by measures of infant surgency/extraversion, assessed using the Rothbart Infant Behaviour Questionnaire (revised version). Anthropometry was measured at birth and at 3, 6 and 12 months, and weight gains expressed as increases in standardized scores, allowing for adjustment for gender and age, including gestational age. We used conditional weight (CW), a residual of current weight regressed on prior weights, to represent deviations from expected weight gains, from 0 to 3, 3 to 6 and 6 to 12 months. Controlling for significant sociodemographic correlations, multiple regression analyses showed significant prediction of CWs at 3 months but not of CWs at 6 or 12 months by surgency/extraversion. These pilot findings of association between infant growth, during a critical period, and surgency/extraversion, early correlates of impulsivity, warrant further investigation, to ascertain implications for childhood and later weight and body composition.
    Appetite 10/2011; 57(2):504-9.
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