What they're saying…

Friday, November 16, 2007

Nov. 12

The Joplin Globe, on Washington University study:

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered something about children on the heavy side that most adults learned through frustrating years of trial and error: Taking off weight may not be easy, but it can be much easier than keeping the pounds off.

The study, which ran from 1999-2004 at a university clinic, found that obese youngsters kept their weight down if they were on a maintenance program, but tended to gain back if they didn't have some sort of support system in place.

In evaluating obese children who were able to take off about 11 percent of their weight, researchers found:

Children in a group with no further instruction started to regain weight.

Those in a group who focused on self-monitoring and vigilance of weight and who used other behavioral skills kept their weight down, at least in the beginning.

Youngsters who were guided into physical activity and healthy eating, were counseled on body image and who made friends with physically active peers did the best.

While the number of overweight children included in the study was insufficient to provide definitive observations on the best approach to help children lose pounds and keep them off, researchers at least focused attention on how medical science might help children deal with the problem of obesity.

We believe a key to unlocking the door is parental awareness that childhood obesity is not just a passing phase and that behavior can be modified if moms and dads get and stay involved.

A good start might be limiting the time children sit in front of the television or play on the computer, and getting them into a physical exercise routine with other kids, such as basketball or another sport.

Health risks associated with obesity include the onset of type 2 diabetes, asthma, high cholesterol and hypertension and even orthopedic problems. Many of these youngsters will grow into overweight adults.

There are no easy, guaranteed solutions. More detailed studies such as that done by Washington University give promise. So, too, would more concerned parents.

Nov. 11

The Kansas City Star, on Kansas City smoking ban:

Kansas City's weak smoking ordinance would be significantly toughened if voters approve an initiative petition that is likely to be on a 2008 ballot.

Supporters of the initiative have gathered half the signatures needed to place a new smoke-free measure before voters. It would cover bars and restaurants, which regrettably were not included in the ordinance passed by the City Council in 2004.

However, there's no reason for city officials to delay protection for workers and customers in those businesses. Mayor Mark Funkhouser and the council could remove the need for the petition drive by swiftly approving a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants.

That would put Kansas City in good company. Most large area cities have smoke-free ordinances, including Overland Park, Olathe, Independence and Lee's Summit.

In the absence of City Council action, the petition campaign should proceed. If elected officials won't act, voters deserve the chance to protect the health and welfare of thousands of Kansas Citians.

Nov. 11

Jefferson City News-Tribune, on honoring Reserve and National Guard members.

As we take time to honor our military veterans, let us be sure to include our citizen-soldiers -- the men and women who serve in the Reserve and National Guard.

Unlike the full-time members of the Armed Services, members of the Reserve and Guard are largely part time.

The Reserve -- like their respective full-time members in each branch of the Armed Services -- is federal and answers to the military chain of command that leads to the commander in chief, the president.

National Guards are state entities ultimately under the authority of the respective states' governors.

Members of the Reserve and Guard typically have full-time civilian jobs. They train on weekends and during designated periods each year.

They may be summoned for a range of duties that often are linked to natural disasters. They may assist rescue operations, deliver emergency supplies or help restore order.

With our full-time military stretched throughout various conflict zones overseas -- including Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo -- members of the Reserve and Guard have been deployed to the Middle East, Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

Like full-time military personnel, they endure the same dangers and deprivations when deployed.

Reserve and Guard members serve in combat zones and face gun battles and bombings.

They must endure extreme temperatures and nomadic conditions.

They sacrifice time with spouses, children, extended family, friends and co-workers, often missing opportunities to share holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.

And they do so without complaint.

Like their full-time peers, members of the Reserve and Guard know that signing up constitutes a commitment to serve their country. ...