Category Archives: Childhood obesity

Aug 20 2014
Comments

The Importance of Emphasizing Healthy Habits for All Children

Carolyn Montoya, PhD, PNP, is associate professor and interim practice chair at the University of New Mexico College of Nursing and a recent graduate of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative at the University of New Mexico College of Nursing.

file

Human Capital Blog: Congratulations on your award from the Western Institute of Nursing! The award honors new nurse researchers. What does it mean for you and for your career?

Carolyn Montoya: In addition to being quite an honor, receiving the Carol Lindeman Award for new researchers from the Western Institute of Nursing motivates me to continue to pursue my research. I am sure people can relate to the fact that being in the student mode is so very intense that once you finish you need some recovery time. Then you start wanting to use the research skills you worked so hard to obtain, and this award has helped to re-energize my commitment to research.

HCB: The award recognizes your study on children’s self-perception of weight. Please tell us what you found.

Montoya: I was very interested to see if there was a difference between how Hispanic children viewed their self-perception in regard to weight compared with white children. Seventy percent of my study population was Hispanic, and my overall response rate was 42 percent. I found that Hispanic children, ages 8 to 11, are not better or worse than white children in their ability to accurately perceive their weight status. Most surprising, and a bit concerning, was the fact that one-third of the sample expressed a desire to be underweight.

Read more

Dec 6 2013
Comments

RWJF Scholar Explores Weight Disparities in Teenage Girls

Janet Tomiyama, PhD, an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health & Society Scholars program (2009-2011), is director of the Dieting, Stress, and Health (DiSH) Lab at the University of California-Los Angeles. She was recently named the 2013 recipient of the Early Career Investigator Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

file

Human Capital Blog: First, congratulations on receiving the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s 2013 Early Career Investigator Award! What does this award mean for your current research and for your career?

Janet Tomiyama: Thank you! Of course, as I’m fighting my way toward tenure, this kind of recognition is really key to my career. I am trained as a social psychologist, but this award was from the field of behavioral medicine. It shows that my work has interdisciplinary appeal, that people in the medical field find it important. It shows me that I was on the right path in trying to broaden my training through the RWJF Health and Society Scholars program and trying to incorporate aspects of medicine and population health. Getting recognition from a field that’s not my own means a lot to me.

HCB: What specific work did the award recognize?

Tomiyama: I was recognized for a paper about racial disparities in chronic psychological stress and body mass index (BMI) among girls between the ages of 10 and 19. Of all the many, many health disparities out there, the disparity in obesity between Black and White girls in adolescence is one of the biggest. I wanted to tackle a big disparity, and I thought stress had something to do with it. I completed the research during my time as an RWJF Health & Society Scholars fellow.

Read more

Aug 1 2013
Comments

Human Capital Network: Weight gain and depression in adolescent girls, talking about genetic markers for cancer, the cost of diapers, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni and grantees. Some recent examples:

RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Maria Katapodi, PhD, RN, FAAN, has developed a program to help women at high genetic risk of breast and ovarian cancer share the news with family members, who might also be at risk,  AnnArbor.com reports. The “Family Gene Toolkit” program pairs patients with a genetic counselor and an oncology nurse to discuss how and why to reveal the results of a positive genetic test to family members.

A study led by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna Rebecca Thurston, PhD, finds that menopausal women tend to underestimate how often they have hot flashes and night sweats, Medical XPress reports. Treatment for these "vasomotor" symptoms (VMS) is tailored to patients’ self-reported data, meaning the current approach may be underestimating the burden on women. “While very common in menopausal women, hot flashes and night sweats can disrupt a woman's quality of life significantly,” Thurston said. “In order to test new treatments, we need to be sure we are assessing a woman's VMS as accurately as possible.”

RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Cynthia Crone, MNSc, APN, CPNP, spoke to the Kansas City Star about a $24 million outreach effort underway in Arkansas to inform residents about how to sign up for coverage in the state’s insurance marketplace, when open enrollment begins October 1. Crone leads the Arkansas Insurance Department's Health Benefits Exchange Partnership division.

In discussing Medicare’s new hospital-payment system that takes patient satisfaction scores into account, Lisa Rosenbaum, MD, an RWJF/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Clinical Scholar, wrote in the New Yorker: “Though there are several factors informing the general likability of physicians beyond how we feel about what they tell us, there is no reason to assume we would be somehow immune to this cognitive bias when it comes time to rate them.”

Read more

May 30 2013
Comments

Human Capital News Roundup: How family structures affect obesity, physical education in elementary schools, ‘study drugs,’ and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni and grantees. Some recent examples:

Smoking and not having a job are the two factors most strongly associated with higher death rates among the country’s least educated white women, according to a study led by RWJF Health & Society Scholar Jennifer Karas Montez, PhD, published today in The Journal of Health and Social Behavior. The study found that the odds of dying for the least educated women were 66 percent greater than for their more highly educated peers between 2002 and 2006, the New York Times reports. Read more about Montez’s research.

Many consumers significantly underestimate the calorie counts of fast food meals, according to a study led by Health & Society Scholars alumnus Jason Block, MD, MPH. One-fourth of study participants underestimated the calories in the meals they ordered by at least 500 calories, USA Today reports, with teens underestimating the most. Among other outlets to report on the findings: United Press International, CBS News, and MedPage Today. Read more about the study.

A survey from Yale and George Mason universities finds that 70 percent of American adults say global warming should be a priority for the nation’s leaders, the Los Angeles Times reports, and an even greater percentage say developing sources of clean energy should be a priority. The survey was co-authored by RWJF Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research recipient Edward W. Maibach, PhD, MPH, who directs the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University.

Read more

Mar 27 2013
Comments

Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge: What’s in the Latest Issue

Have you signed up to receive Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge? The monthly Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) e-newsletter will keep you up to date on the work of RWJF’s nursing programs, and the latest news, research and trends relating to academic progression, leadership, and other critically important nursing issues.  These are some of the stories in the March issue:

RWJF Announces Initiative to Support State Efforts to Transform Health Care through Nursing
RWJF has announced a new $3 million initiative to help states prepare the nursing profession to address our nation’s most pressing health care challenges—access, quality, and cost. The Future of Nursing State Implementation Program will bolster efforts already underway in 50 states and the District of Columbia—the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action—to transform health care through nursing and meet the challenges stemming from an aging and more diverse population. The initiative is providing two-year grants of up to $150,000 to 20 state-based Action Coalitions.

Nation’s Nurse Leaders Convene in D.C.
Nurses and health leaders from across the country assembled in the nation’s capital in early March to advance a national campaign to transform the nursing profession in order to improve health and health care. Hundreds of participants from state Action Coalitions shared ideas and developed plans to move their collective agenda forward at the Campaign for Action National Summit. The summit was designed to help Action Coalition leaders and supporters identify their own priorities and understand those of other Action Coalitions, develop strategic plans to actualize those priorities, come up with new ways to increase their impact, and align state-level work with the national agenda.

Read more

Feb 21 2013
Comments

Human Capital News Roundup: Hormone replacement therapy, monetary rewards for weight loss, student loan debt, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

A study led by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna Emily Goard Jacobs, PhD, finds that the estrogen in hormone replacement therapy may help protect some women from Alzheimer's, when taken beginning at menopause. Health Canal and the Telegraph (United Kingdom) report on the findings. Read more about the study.

New Careers in Nursing, a program of RWJF and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, launched the Doctoral Advancement in Nursing (DAN) project to identify and encourage nurses interested in pursuing doctoral degrees, and to support doctoral nursing students in their studies. The DAN project is scheduled to issue a white paper this summer; it will offer strategies and resources to support doctoral advancement, Healthcare Traveler reports.

Ryan Masters, PhD, a Health & Society Scholar, spoke to NPR’s Shots blog about an editorial he co-authored in the Journal of the American Medical Association that points to problems in a study that found being a “little” overweight was associated with a lower risk of death. “The risk of mortality from obesity compounds and grows stronger as you age,” he said. “In light of our findings, we are… much more concerned about inappropriate denial of the epidemic's consequences for U.S. mortality.”

John H. Cawley, an alumnus and National Advisory Committee Member of the RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research program, spoke to NPR’s Morning Edition about why monetary rewards for employees to lose weight may not work. Cawley’s research finds that three-quarters of people give up on diets even when they stand to earn a monetary reward for losing weight. On the other hand, he finds, people will fight harder to shed weight if they stand to lose money should they fail.

Read more

Feb 15 2013
Comments

Researching the Triggers for Obesity and Diabetes

Gary A. Taubes, MSE, MS, is recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, and co-founder of the Nutrition Science Initiative. He is an award-winning science and health journalist, and author of Why We Get Fat and Good Calories, Bad Calories.

Gary Taubes

Human Capital Blog: Why did you and Dr. Attia start the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI)? What was the problem you saw that needed to be addressed?

Gary Taubes: I spent the better part of a decade, from the late 90s through 2007, doing an extensive journalistic investigation of the research that led us to our established beliefs about the environmental triggers of obesity, type 2 diabetes and their associated chronic diseases, which include heart disease and cancer. During these years it also became clear that the economic burden of these diseases was becoming unsustainable and were driving health care costs in this country. Obesity alone is estimated to cost the health care system $150 billion a year, and add type 2 diabetes and that number might double.

My research led me to two major conclusions. One is that our understanding of what fundamentally causes obesity may be incorrect: that it may not be what researchers refer to as an "energy balance" disorder— that we merely consume more calories than we expend—but rather a hormonal/regulatory defect, just like any other growth disorder. This was the hypothesis embraced by European clinicians prior to the Second World War. What I learned in my research was that this hypothesis vanished with the war and the evaporation of the relevant medical research community. Instead we all came to believe that obesity is simple–caused by eating too much or being too sedentary or some combination of the two—and this is what our national guidelines have communicated to the public and to individuals. While this has happened, the nation has waxed fatter and fatter.

The second conclusion of my work and my books was that the research in nutrition and obesity has simply never been rigorous enough to establish reliable knowledge in this field, one way or the other. There are a lot of good reasons for this, in particular that doing rigorous experimental trials with humans is difficult and exceedingly expensive. But without these experiments, we're just guessing when we say we know why humans get fat. It's quite likely that one reason we've seen an obesity epidemic is because our fundamental understanding of the disorder itself and how to cure and prevent it is incorrect. And if this is true about obesity, it's true about diabetes and heart disease as well.

Read more

Feb 14 2013
Comments

Human Capital News Roundup: Chronic migraines, food recall ‘message fatigue,’ longevity and obesity, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

Health Canal reports on a study led by RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumna Joanna Kempner, PhD, that examines the social stigma surrounding chronic migraine sufferers. “The enduring image of the typical migraine patient is a white, middle-class woman who just isn’t good at handling stress,” Kempner said. “She is seen as neurotic and weak, a stigma that has been hard to change.”

RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar alumna Ruth Taylor-Piliae, PhD, RN, FAHA, was featured in MyHealthNewsDaily, an online health care news digest, for her study suggesting Tai Chi can reduce the number of falls in adults who have survived a stroke. Taylor-Piliae, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Nursing in Tucson, surveyed 89 stroke survivors and found that practicing Tai Chi helps alleviate balance problems that afflict many survivors. Read more about her work.

Medpage Today reports on research co-authored by William K. Hallman, PhD, director of the Rutgers University Food Policy Institute and recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, about how to motivate consumers to look for and discard recalled food products. Hallman participated in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory committee meeting this week on breaking through food recall “message fatigue” [free subscription].

Read more

Feb 8 2013
Comments

Human Capital News Roundup: Food billboards, pharmaceutical company gifts to medical students, tracking asthma, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

An op-ed in the Star-Ledger reflects on the contributions of Tom Kean, former governor of New Jersey, during his more than two decades of service on the RWJF Board of Trustees, including eight years as chairman of the Board. Learn more about Kean’s commitment to leadership and service.

The Washington Post reports on an inhaler with a built-in Global-Positioning System (GPS), designed by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumnus David Van Sickle, PhD, MA, that sends a signal with the time and location to a remote server every time a patient uses it. The data is then sent regularly to patients and physicians to help provide more comprehensive treatment. The data can also be used to find asthma “hot spots” in cities, where attacks are triggered, Health & Society Scholar Meredith Barrett, PhD, said. Read more about Van Sickle’s work here and here.

Judi Hilman, director of the Utah Health Policy Project and an RWJF Community Health Leader, gave comments to the Deseret News about decisions and deadlines Utah will have to meet in 2013 to comply with the health reform law.

Read more

Jan 24 2013
Comments

Human Capital News Roundup: Gun violence, incarceration and psychiatric disorders, extremes in body weight, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

RWJF Clinical Scholars program alumnus Arthur Kellerman, MD, MPH, FACEP, was quoted in a Washington Post story on the Obama Administration's push to renew federal funding for public health research on gun violence. Language initially included in a 1996 appropriations bill has, he said, "virtually stopped good public health science on [gun research] for the last 10 to 15 years.” White House lawyers recently concluded that the law doesn’t prohibit such research. Kellermann, also an alumnus of the RWJF Health Policy Fellows program, co-authored an article on the subject in the Journal of the American Medical Association with Clinical Scholars alumnus Frederick Rivara, MD, MPH.

RWJF Health & Society Scholars Program Director and Health Policy Fellows alumna Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, was also in the news discussing gun violence. Boufford wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Idaho Statesman and Long Island, New York's Newsday, about the public health effects of gun violence. “As a society, we address public health threats by identifying the root causes, reducing exposure, and instituting protective measures…  In the same way, we must protect Americans from irresponsible gun use,” she writes.

A study by RWJF Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research recipients Jason Schnittker, PhD, and Chris Uggen, PhD, finds that incarceration increases the risk of mood disorders such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and dysthymia after release. That, in turn, is strongly related to disability and increased incidence of substance abuse and impulse control disorders. United Press International, Medical Xpress and Science Day are among the outlets to report on the findings. Read an RWJF Human Capital Blog post about the study.

Read more