Kids’ summer camp takes off kilos

Camp for overweight children helps prevent adult obesity.

scale 88 (photo credit: )
scale 88
(photo credit: )
Overweight and obese youngsters can more easily lose kilos when they are having a good time, learning a new lifestyle and sharing their experience with others. The Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital, at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer claims that its summer camp for overweight children – now in its 10th year and reportedly the only one of its kind in Israel – has had great success in getting them to lose weight and keep it off. The camp is lead by Dr. Orit Pinhas-Hamiel, head of the hospital’s pediatric endocrinology clinic; Dr. Gal Dubnov-Raz from the exercise, nutrition and lifestyle clinic; and a large team of physical education instructors, dietitians and drama therapists. The camp runs from July 13 to July 30 at a Wizo dormitory facility in Petah Tikva, and the target ages are six to 17, separated in groups.
The most important difference from most other summer camps is that the children remain overnight – protected from the effects of summer, which can promote overweight. A no-sleep-over option is also available.
As most obese adults were overweight as children, dealing with the problem at a young age can save lives.
While their normal-weight friends are having fun at the beach and pool, the overweight feel left out. Boredom at home just triggers more eating.
The camp participants are certainly not starved; rather they are taught what healthful food to eat and how to overcome the urge for junk food. Sports, martial arts, dancing, drama-therapy and sessions on nutrition are provided, along with support groups for parents and children after the camp is over. A constant message is how to improve one’s body image and self confidence, alongside healthy lifestyle habits.
The Safra research team examined the long-term effects of last year’s camp and found that the average participant lost 3.5 kilos during their stay. Six months later, half were still losing weight, and 62 percent had a lower body mass index than before the camp. Their blood pressure also improved.
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US SMOKES EVEN DEADLIER Although the US smoking rate is relatively low, the amount of carcinogens in American-made cigarettes is higher than in many other countries, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. The researchers analyzed chemicals from cigarettes smoked by 126 people in the US, Canada, England and Australia and took urine samples from the participants. They found a correlation between the amount of one tobaccospecific, cancer-causing nitrosamines that entered the mouth and the amount of its breakdown product that appears in the urine.
“We know that cigarettes from around the world vary in their ingredients and the way they are produced,” Dr.
Jim Pirkle of the US Centers of Disease Control told UPI.
“All these cigarettes contain harmful levels of carcinogens, but these findings show that amounts of tobacco-specific nitrosamines differ from country to country, and US brands are the highest in the study.”
DECIDING WHO CAN GIVE Some patients who suffer brain damage and go into a coma may be suitable for donating organs for transplant, while others are not. A new tool may help neurologists predict which coma patients may be candidates for organ donation, according to a study just published in Neurology. Organ donations must take place within an hour of when the heart stops beating.
Coma patients and other people with irreversible brain injuries are often potential organ donors because their other organs are usually healthy.
“Neurologists must often predict whether the patient will be a candidate for organ donation, but the existing tools are not designed for people with critical brain disease or they require the patient to be taken temporarily off ventilator support to conduct the test,” said study author Alan Yee of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “This new test is a significant improvement because it can be conducted before the patient is taken off breathing support and is designed for people with critical brain disease,” Yee said.
For the study, Yee and his colleagues analyzed the information from all patients during a seven-year period from the neurologic intensive care unit at the Mayo Clinic whose life support was withdrawn. Those who were brain dead or who did not have support for breathing were not included in the study. A total of 149 comatose people were included. After the withdrawal of life support, the heart stopped beating within 60 minutes for 75 people.
The study identified four factors that make it more likely that a person with irreversible brain damage will be a suitable candidate for organ donation – no corneal reflex, no cough reflex, no motor response and high scores on the oxygenation index.
For the corneal reflex, people blink when the cornea is touched with a small piece of cotton or dripping water solution into the eye. People who do not have a corneal reflex are more likely to be candidates. People who do not have a cough reflex also are more likely to be suitable for organ donation. For the cough reflex test, a chemical irritant is placed near the patient to see if the cough reflex will expel the irritant. Responses to painful stimulation can also be tested. People who have no motor movements in response to pain and people who have extensor movements on their own or in response to pain are also more likely to be candidates for organ donation. Extensor motor response is a reflex movement of straightening the arms and legs. People who have a score greater than 4.2 on the oxygenation index, which is a test of how well the lungs are functioning, are also more likely to be good candidates for organ donation.
The study found that people with all four factors were 93% more likely to die within 60 minutes of withdrawal of life support than people with none of these factors. People with one of the four factors were 65% to 76% more likely to die within 60 minutes.
“This research will need to be validated with further studies, but it would be a valuable tool that could help improve organ donation rates after cardiac death, and also help optimize the allocation of medical resources,” said Yee.