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Harvard Study: Snack Foods And Soda Not Linked To Obesity
The Center for Consumer Freedom ^ | September 21, 2004 | The Center for Consumer Freedom

Posted on 09/21/2004 3:25:10 PM PDT by BattleFlag

Harvard Study: Snack Foods And Soda Not Linked To Obesity


From the rhetoric coming out of last weekend's obesity-lawsuit-pushing Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) conference in Boston, you'd think snack foods and soft drinks were the number one cause of childhood obesity. But the sue-first-ask-questions-later food cops and trial lawyers apparently didn't bother to consult researchers across town at Harvard, who last week provided the latest evidence that snack foods and soda are actually not a cause of childhood obesity.

After studying more than 14,000 American children, a team of six Harvard doctors found that snack food and soda do not contribute to childhood obesity. The study, which was published in the October issue of the International Journal of Obesity, concluded: "Our data did not offer support for the hypothesis that snacking promotes weight gain." Earlier this year, researchers at Penn State reported substantially the same thing. They found "no statistically significant relationship between the percentage of calories from ice cream, baked goods, candy or chips and BMI [Body Mass Index] score" for adolescent girls.

The Harvard research specifically contests what is perhaps public-health activists' most cited study -- a 2001 paper by fat-tax advocate David Ludwig, which claimed that soda consumption is a major factor in childhood obesity. After referring to Ludwig's conclusion, the Harvard study reports:

The inclusion of sugar-sweetened beverages in the snack food category did not meaningfully change the results. Regardless of the definition of snack foods, there was not a strong association between intake of snack foods and weight gain.
There is good reason to believe the recent Harvard report over Ludwig's. With only 548 children to study (versus Harvard's 14,000), Ludwig admits that his study had "limited statistical power."

The new Harvard study helps reinforce the growing understanding that physical activity, not food, is the primary cause of childhood obesity. According to former FDA Commissioner Dr. Mark McClellan: "In a debate in which foods themselves are being held to be largely responsible for increasing levels of obesity, actual levels of caloric intake among the young haven't appreciably changed over the last twenty years."

A growing body of research corroborates McClellan's point. Earlier this year, research published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that "insufficient vigorous physical activity was the only risk factor" for overweight children. And a 2003 study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine summed it all up by recommending "a focus on increasing energy expenditure, rather than reducing caloric intake."

Copyright © 1997-2004 Center for Consumer Freedom. PO Box 27414, Washington, DC 20038, Tel: 202-463-7112, E-mail: info@consumerfreedom.com


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: foods; health; lawsuit; nannystate; obesity; snack
Please, don't confuse the trial lawyers with logic and fact.
1 posted on 09/21/2004 3:25:11 PM PDT by BattleFlag
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To: BattleFlag

Ignore all studies. Ignore all polls.

This has been my mantra for many years.


2 posted on 09/21/2004 3:27:03 PM PDT by Mears
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To: BattleFlag
snack foods and soda are actually not a cause of childhood obesity.

Is this from Scrappleface, The Onion or DEBKA?

3 posted on 09/21/2004 3:33:47 PM PDT by harrycarey
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To: BattleFlag

My [very wide] ass!


4 posted on 09/21/2004 3:34:32 PM PDT by null and void (If we took the bones out, it wouldn't be crunchy, would it?)
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To: BattleFlag
Finally, some good news!

Michael M. Bates: My Side of the Swamp

5 posted on 09/21/2004 3:35:56 PM PDT by Mike Bates (Irritate a liberal. Buy "Right Angles and Other Obstinate Truths.")
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To: BattleFlag
Harvard Study: Snack Foods And Soda Not Linked To Obesity
My massively-swollen butt and cottage-cheese thighs argue otherwise! My enormous girth takes issue with that claim! My plaqued-out arteries all testify against the researchers of Harvard! Every quivering, sweating, jelly-like inch of me balks at their so-called study! I shall eat ten sticks of butter like snickers bars and wash them down with six Red Bulls to express my indignation!
6 posted on 09/21/2004 3:37:11 PM PDT by Asclepius (protectionists would outsource our dignity and prosperity in return for illusory job security)
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To: BattleFlag

The truth is that is is simply a balance between calories taken in and calories burned. A kid who is on the cross country track team and who runs a good number of miles a day can eat all the junk food he wants and not gain an ounce..... but the kid who sits in front of a TV will not burn off those junk food calories fast enough.


7 posted on 09/21/2004 3:51:14 PM PDT by Apple Pan Dowdy (... as American as Apple Pie)
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To: Apple Pan Dowdy
The truth is that is is simply a balance between calories taken in and calories burned. A kid who is on the cross country track team and who runs a good number of miles a day can eat all the junk food he wants and not gain an ounce..... but the kid who sits in front of a TV will not burn off those junk food calories fast enough.

I think you get the point of the article that it's a lack of activity that is the biggest contributor to obesity in children and adults. If one is sedentary and take in too many calories (which can come exclusively from non "junk" foods), they will gain weight. So it appears that it's a behavioral thing.

Unfortunately for the litigious, there is little money in suing yourself.
8 posted on 09/21/2004 3:57:40 PM PDT by BattleFlag
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To: BattleFlag

It always comes down to "asstime."


9 posted on 09/21/2004 3:59:31 PM PDT by Old Professer (The Truth always gets lost in the Noise.)
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To: Old Professer
"It always comes down to "asstime."

LOL! Spoken like a true professor!
10 posted on 09/21/2004 4:03:06 PM PDT by BattleFlag
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To: BattleFlag
A study that does not find a statistically significant link between two factors does not prove that one factor does not cause the other. It simply means that the study failed to find a link if a link actually exists. Now if a study cannot find a statistically significant link it is probable that in reality the link does not exist, but it is still possible that the a real link was masked by other factors that the study could not control. I'm not taking sides in this particular debate. I'm just pointing out that a statistically insignificant result, doesn't prove a thing. Researchers tend to gloss over this fact, because they don't want to admit that their study was a waste of time and taxpayer's money.
11 posted on 09/21/2004 4:08:33 PM PDT by Pres Raygun
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To: BattleFlag

I have 3 kids. My twin daughters are much more active than my son. They swim almost every day in the summer. They play outside more than he does. He is a computer geek kid.

My son is very skinny. One of my twin daughters is a good weight. My other daughter is heavy. My daughters eat a lot more than my son. They always have. They want seconds on almost every meal.

My heavy daughter really put on weight one summer when she was about 3 or 4. She was just old enough to open the refrigerator, and I didn't figure out until later that she was going in and getting juice boxes drinking them and throwing them away. After a few months and a few pounds later, I found out and started keeping juice boxes in the garage.

I won't let my daughters eat seconds on high calorie food now. I tell them they can have seconds on vegetables and fruits.

My girls are both big. One of them is almost 8 and weighs 76 pounds. She's tall, and I hope she grows into her weight. I don't believe in a little girl dieting. I do think she eats too much candy and junk from parties, holidays, etc.


12 posted on 09/21/2004 4:14:35 PM PDT by luckystarmom
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To: BattleFlag

Insufficient vigorous activity? There isn't enough time in the day for kids to work off the fat and calories from a lot of this stuff. Better answer: if you can't/won't work it off, don't eat it.


13 posted on 09/21/2004 4:17:37 PM PDT by mewzilla
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To: BattleFlag
Most kids do not have access to the types of recreation that was available to children of earlier generations. Things like climbing tree, riding horses, and walking through the woods are replaced with safe activities. TV watching is an activity that has less risk than playing hopscotch on a sidewalk full of child molesters. We are raising a generation of safe, indoctrinated, and fat children.
14 posted on 09/21/2004 4:24:51 PM PDT by jonrick46
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To: Asclepius
I shall eat ten sticks of butter like snickers bars and wash them down with six Red Bulls to express my indignation!

Bleeeeeck!!!!

Drink the sugar free Monster energy drink! They rock and TASTE GOOD something the Red Bulls don't.

15 posted on 09/21/2004 4:31:46 PM PDT by Nov3 (They knifed babies, They raped girls, They forced children to drink their own urine)
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To: Mears

Ignore all studies. Ignore all polls.



You are one smart and I'll bet happy individual. It is a wonder only half the US population is crazy. One week they are told this- the next week - nope this and blah bla bla.
I guess many Americans don't have much of a life except following polls and studies.
Oh well to each his own.
I hope you converted a few tonight.


16 posted on 09/21/2004 4:37:14 PM PDT by snakeoil (A+Bert)
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To: BattleFlag
High fructose corn syrup(a low-cost sugar substitute) is in almost everything that tastes sweet. It is a main cause of obesity. Check your labels...you'll even find it in spaghetti sauce. Contrary to old nutritionist beliefs, it's no longer a matter of equal calories being burned to those taken in. Not all calories are equal.
17 posted on 09/21/2004 4:39:59 PM PDT by A Navy Vet (www.opgratitude.com)
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To: BattleFlag

Sex doesn't cause pregnancy either! (not)


18 posted on 09/21/2004 4:43:28 PM PDT by chilepepper (The map is not the territory -- Alfred Korzybski)
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To: Pres Raygun
I think it's not debatable that so called junk food can certainly contribute to obesity as can any food product that contains calories. I had always heard "eat fruit, eat fruit" and I discovered that my love of grapes was an impediment to my weight loss program because of the fructose content.

But for purposes of litigation a single culprit must be defined. Simply being one of many possible causes doesn't do the plaintiff's case any good.
19 posted on 09/21/2004 4:51:12 PM PDT by BattleFlag
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To: BattleFlag

I'd say it's a combination of junk food and video games.


20 posted on 09/21/2004 4:54:16 PM PDT by dougherty (I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. - Michelangelo)
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To: jonrick46

I have kids these days, and mine are much more active than I was. They swim almost everyday in the summer. They ride their bikes more than I did. I didn't scooter, but they do. My kids also have a great, very cool swingset. It's much nicer than the one that I had. It has monkey bars and a fort house to climb up on. Mine just had swings.

My girls love to jump rope, and they'll spend a long time doing that.

We also live near a wonderful bike/walking trail that connects to hundreds of miles of trails around the SF Bay Area. We can either walk or bike on that. In a couple of years, my kids will be able to do part of it by themselves (if they're in a group).

My brothers ran around more than me, but I just played in my house or in my backyard. I did get a trampoline when I was in junior high, and I don't think my kids will get one of those because I don't think one will fit well at my house.


21 posted on 09/21/2004 11:55:52 PM PDT by luckystarmom
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To: BattleFlag
"I think you get the point of the article that it's a lack of activity that is the biggest contributor to obesity in children and adults. If one is sedentary and take in too many calories (which can come exclusively from non "junk" foods), they will gain weight. So it appears that it's a behavioral thing.Unfortunately for the litigious, there is little money in suing yourself."

You are right! Thats what I was trying to say... only you said it so much better! You are right about the law suits too. Perhaps its the attornies who are really pushing this one.

22 posted on 09/22/2004 4:45:37 AM PDT by Apple Pan Dowdy (... as American as Apple Pie)
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To: BattleFlag

Eating too much of these are linked to obesity, eating too much of anything without exercise will get you fat.


23 posted on 09/22/2004 4:46:48 AM PDT by cyborg (http://mentalmumblings.blogspot.com/)
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To: luckystarmom

Many children are stuck in apartment complexes that won't even let them play on the grass. So, they need a bicycle to ride to a place where they can play. If they had a bicycle it would get stolen unless they rolled them back into their apartment. Then, the apartment manager would write a rule that "no bicycles will be stored in the apartment." How can these kids win?


24 posted on 09/22/2004 1:35:24 PM PDT by jonrick46
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To: jonrick46

Is that any different than what it was 20 or 30 years ago?

I don't think so.

Anyone living in Manhattan (or other big city) is going to have a tough time getting exercise, but that's because they are in a big city. It's not because it's a different time.

All kids have access to walking. It doesn't take much. I remember in college, I didn't have time to exercise. I quit using elevators. I would use the stairs. Our college library was 7 stories, and the study areas were on the upper floors. I also lived on the fourth floor of my dorm. I walked up and down stairs, and I stayed very fit in college.

I think if kids in apartment complexes would walk just a little more then they could get plenty of exercise.


25 posted on 09/22/2004 2:33:13 PM PDT by luckystarmom
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To: BattleFlag

I always thought obesity is more lifestyle related then eating. Like 30 years ago, people ate more and also they had more active lifestyle.


26 posted on 09/23/2004 10:20:08 PM PDT by Ptarmigan (Proud rabbit hater and killer)
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To: harrycarey

"Is this from Scrappleface, The Onion or DEBKA?"


cBS..


27 posted on 09/23/2004 10:22:56 PM PDT by IamConservative (A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.)
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To: luckystarmom

I agree with the benifits of walking. However, when the choice is between TV and walking, TV wins.


28 posted on 09/24/2004 1:05:25 AM PDT by jonrick46
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