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Apr 06, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- OBESITY BLAMED ON INACTIVITY

Scientists say the key contributor to adolescent obesity is lack of vigorous physical activity. The researchers from the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine and San Diego State University followed 878 adolescents ages 11 to 15. The study, reported in the journal Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, took note of the effects of diet, physical activity and sedentary behavior on obesity in adolescents. To assess physical activity, the researchers used an accelerometer, a small device worn on a belt that stores data on amount and level of physical activity every minute for a week. The investigators found girls and boys of normal weight participated in two to four more minutes per day of vigorous physical activity than the overweight ones and those at risk for obesity. However, such a difference was noted only among boys when moderate exercise was involved.


Sleep experts say every age has its special sleep needs, which, unfulfilled, can wreak havoc with a child's physical and mental wellbeing. In a National Sleep Foundation poll, specialists offer these tips for parents of newborns 1 to 2 months old: Observe the baby's sleep patterns and identify signs of sleepiness; put the baby in the crib when drowsy, not asleep; place the baby to sleep on his/her back with the face and head clear of blankets and other soft items; and encourage nighttime sleep. For infants 3 to 11 months, they advise parents to: Develop regular daytime and bedtime schedules; create a consistent and enjoyable bedtime routine; establish a regular "sleep friendly" environment; and encourage the baby to fall asleep on his/her own. Tips for caregivers of toddlers 1 to 3 years old include: Maintain a daily sleep schedule and consistent bedtime routine; make the bedroom environment the same every night; set consistent limits; and encourage use of a security object such as a blanket or stuffed animal. For preschoolers, 3 to 5: Maintain a regular, consistent sleep schedule; have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the bedroom; and keep the bedroom cool, quiet, dark and free of TV. For school-age children, 5 to 12: Teach children about healthy sleep habits; emphasize regular, consistent sleep schedule and routine; make the bedroom dark, cool, quiet; keep TV and computers out of the bedroom; and avoid caffeine.


A mouse study suggests cutting calories even in later stages of life may lengthen longevity. The scientists say in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the idea is to reduce calories while avoiding malnutrition. Previous research suggested this strategy in mammals must begin in youth to yield the benefits. However, Stephen Spindler of the University of California, Riverside, and colleagues found that, like fruit flies, mice that began the calorie restriction in late middle-age reaped its benefits almost immediately. Lifespan was extended by about 6 months and cancer-related deaths were delayed, perhaps by decreasing the rate of tumor growth, the authors said. Genetic changes were similar to those observed in rodents started on the diet earlier in life. The effects disappeared when the diet was discontinued. The scientists suggest drug therapies that induce the same patterns of gene activity might produce similar anti-aging effects.


A study indicates the supplement Injuv may help moisturize skin that is becoming dry with aging. As we grow older, the component that helps to hold the moisture within our skin cells becomes depleted, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles, researchers say. Replenishing the component may help moisturize skin, reducing some of the signs of aging, they say. The product contains a special form of a natural substance called hyaluronic acid, thought to be involved in the skin's reconstruction process. "Injuv is a safe, easy way to literally moisturize the skin from the inside out," said Dr. Cathleen London, assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and clinical instructor at Boston University School of Medicine.

(Editors: For more information about OBESITY, contact Sue Pondrom at (619) 543-6163 or For SLEEP, Marcia Stein at (202) 347-3471, ext. 205. For CALORIES, Stephen Spindler at (909) 787-3553 or For SKIN, Gail Anderson at (888) 633-4279, ext. 216 or

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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