The dangers of ignoring the other epidemic during the COVID-19 pandemic

Heavy set woman sitting on a bench

Jason Block contributes his public health expertise to this op-ed in The Washington Post on the acute (and chronic) risks of ignoring the obesity issue in the U.S. “The reason obesity is so stigmatized is that people think of weight as a choice . . . It’s especially unfair when we have a society that makes opportunities to gain weight so ubiquitous.”

Is childhood weight linked to early exposure to antibiotics?

A study in Pediatrics contributes to the evidence that links early exposure to antibiotics with higher body weight in five-year old children. Lead author of the study is Jason Block, MD, a Harvard Pop Center faculty member and former Harvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar. Learn more in this news item.

Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages is down, but still too high among some groups

A study by Harvard Pop Center faculty member Sara Bleich, PhD, published in the journal Obesity finds that while the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages is on the decline among both children and adults, it is still too high among adolescents and young adults, and certain racial and ethnic minority populations. Learn more in The New York Times, The Guardian, and on the Harvard Chan School website.

Youths getting too much screen time face increased exposure to obesity-related risk factors

Harvard Pop Center faculty member Steven Gortmaker, PhD, is co-author on a study that has found that teens who spend 5 hours or more per day behind a screen (e.g., tablet, computer, videogame, smartphone, television) face greater exposure to obesity and/or risk factors for obesity such as increased sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, and inadequate physical activity and sleep.

Lippert on the association between neighborhood crime and BMI/activity levels

RWJF alumnus Adam Lippert has recently published an article titled “Neighborhood Crime Rate, Weight-Related Behaviors, and Obesity: A Systematic Review of the Literature” in Sociology Compass.  The piece, which is a review of current literature, identifies the effects of neighborhood-level crime on obesity and physical activity outside of socioeconomic correlates. Findings from this review suggest a positive correlation between the crime rate in an area (especially violent crime) and higher…

Children who are physically abused or witness domestic violence at increased risk of higher BMI as adolescents

Harvard Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Program alumnae Margaret Sheridan, PhD,  and Katie McLaughlin, PhD, are co-authors on a study in Child Abuse & Neglect that finds that children who witnessed domestic violence had almost six times the odds of being overweight or obese as adolescents.

More to obesity than BMI; a cluster analysis exploring subgroups

Harvard Pop Center Bell Fellow Fahad Razak, MD, and Pop Center Executive Committee Member S V Subramanian, PhD, have co-authored a study published in the Journal of Public Health that clusters the obese into subgroups, such as heavy drinking males, and affluent and happy elderly, to better understand and formulate strategies to target obese individuals.