jueves, 21 de abril de 2011

Ostracized overweight kids eat more

By Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY 
When overweight children feel left out or ostracized, they tend to eat more and exercise less, new research shows.
The findings come at a time when about one-third of children are overweight or obese, which increases their risk for type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and other health problems.
Scientists at the University of Buffalo have been studying the effects of different situations on kids' food intake and activity levels for several years.
In one new study, they had 40 normal-weight and overweight children play a computer game that replicates ball-tossing.
Under one condition, the children's video characters were excluded or ostracized during the game; and under another, the same children's video characters were included in the game. After playing the computer game under both conditions, the children had a chance to eat as much as they wanted for about 15 minutes.
The findings:
•The overweight kids consumed 200 calories more when their video character was excluded from the game than when the character was included.
•The normal-weight children didn't eat more when their video characters were ostracized.
One possible reason is that overweight kids seek food for comfort after they feel ignored, says lead researcher Sarah-Jeanne Salvy, an assistant professor of pediatrics. She is presenting her research Friday at a meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development in Montreal.
In a similar experiment, 20 normal-weight and overweight children played the same computer ball-tossing game under conditions in which they were either ostracized or included, and then they were given a chance to be physically active. The kids wore accelerometers to measure their activity levels.
Findings: Overweight and normal-weight kids alike were less physically active after their video characters were excluded from the games.
It may be that the children were so focused on dealing with the pain of the ostracism that they stop being as active, Salvy says.
She says the take-home message for parents is to help their children find ways other than eating to deal with rejection and peer adversity: "Kids may need to talk about their feelings and seek comfort in other activities."

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