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Setting a Healthy Example at Home for Adolescents

By: Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, NHLBI

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I had the pleasure of joining NHLBI grantee Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., on a health and wellness panel at CNN’s Fit Nation tour in St. Paul, Minn., last weekend.

A nutrition professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Dr. Neumark-Sztainer has received American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding from the NHLBI for a study on obesity—one of the major topics we discussed, and of course, one of our nation's most challenging health problems. Dr. Neumark-Sztainer's study, called "Project F-EAT: Families and Eating and Activity in Teens," will survey 2,400 teens to find out how factors in their homes and families impact their weight along with related issues such as their body image, weight control practices, food intake, and level of physical activity. A survey is already in place examining factors within the teens' peer, school and neighborhood environments.

Including many African-American, Asian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and American Indian students, this group represents teens who are at a disproportionately high risk of experiencing dietary and weight-related problems. Studies like Dr. Neumark-Sztainer's are of the utmost importance in understanding the multitude of environmental factors that contribute to adolescent obesity. With results in hand, we can then guide parents to create weight-conscious home environments and help their children adopt healthy eating and physical activity habits for life.

left to right Panel host Sanjay Gupta, professor Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., and NHLBI Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D. at the Fit Nation tour in St. Paul, Minn.

(Left to Right) Panel host Sanjay Gupta M.D., professor Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., and NHLBI Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D. at the Fit Nation tour in St. Paul, Minn.


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