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"Home Is Where the Fat Is" for North Dakota Kids

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November 19, 2007

Fargo, ND – More North Dakota children, like kids across the nation, struggle with obesity every year, and new research says their parents can help "tip the scales," literally, by setting good examples and providing healthier food choices at home. The study, presented to the American Heart Association, finds that children lose weight with good nutrition and physical activity at school, but they tend to pack it on again when they're at home during the summer months. The same could be said for the long holiday season, when kids are out of school for a few weeks.

Fargo pediatrician Chris Tiongson says it's a valuable, year-round lesson for parents and kids: bad habits at home lead to childhood weight gain.

"Too much time in front of the TV and too much pop; those are the two biggest things people can change. They should be drinking more water and getting out and doing stuff, turning off the TV."

Doctor Tiongson says today, he sees more young people in his office with health problems that used to be for adults only.

"We're starting to see even adult onset diabetes in children now related to their weight, and certainly more blood pressure problems."

Since children tend to grab whatever snacks are quick and handy after school, Tiongson says it should be a parent's priority to make sure those snacks are healthy. The study, "Healthier Options for Public Schoolchildren," was done by the Agatston Research Foundation. Learn more about it online, at www.agatstonresearchfoundation.org.

Dick Layman/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - ND