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March 26, 1998 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-26

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20A -- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 26, 1998


Study links


viewing with
obesity in youths

Los Angeles Tunes
While the debate over television's
effects on kids focuses on what they
watch, a new study of some 4,000 chil-
dren underscores the importance of how
much they watch, showing that the more
time kids spend in front of the tube, the
fatter they tend to be.
Moreover, the study firmly docu-
ments for the first time that black and
latino/a youths watch more TV than do
whites, putting them at greater risk of
obesity. Spending more than four hours
a day in front of the TV were 43 percent
of black kids, 30 percent of Mexican
Americans, and 20 percent of non-lati-
no/a whites.
One reason for the ethnic and racial
differences in viewing trends, researchers
speculate, is that parents in urban neigh-
borhoods may discourage their children
from playing outside because of crime.
Thus the fear of crime appears to con-
tribute to the "epidemic of obesity,"
researchers say.
Though it may seem obvious that
watching TV and shirking exercise is
behind the childhood obesity epidemic,
researchers have had surprising difficulty
nailing down those factors, with some
previous studies showing no correlation
between TV viewing habits and kids' fat-
The new study's results, made public
yesterday in the Journal of the American
Medical Association, "are consistent,

make sense, and indicate a serious prob-
lem in the United States," said Steven
Gortmaker, a sociologist at the Harvard
School of Public Health who has studied
TV viewing and obesity.
In the most comprehensive study of
its kind, the researchers analyzed data
from lifestyle interviews with 4,063
children between 1988 and 1994.
Consistent with previous surveys, the
study found high rates of TV viewing
overall: 67 percent watched at least
two hours a day, and 26 percent racked
up four or more hours.
The central finding was that kids who
watched a lot of TV were measurably fat-
ter than those who watched relatively lit-
tle. For instance, children who watched at
least four hours daily had about 20 per-
cent more body fat than kids who
watched fewer than two hours.
Body fat was estimated from height
and weight as well as calipers that mea-
sure the thickness of skinfolds on the
abdomen and back.
The number of kids who are obese,
meaning 30 percent above their ideal
weight, grew by 7 percent from the
early 1980s to the early 1990s, accord-
ing to federal survey data. That trend is
troubling, public health experts say,
because childhood obesity is often a
harbinger of serious weight problems in
adulthood, which contribute to heart
disease, diabetes and other chronic dis-

President Clinton listens to explanations by Rwanda's President Pasteur BiziMingu of a wooden sculpture representa-
tive of the 1994 genocide at Kigal's airport.
Alzheimer 's may afflict more
Americans in the future

The Psychology Peer Advisors Present
On Thursday, Mar 26, from 7-9 PM
4th Floor Terrace of East Hall
Psychology Professors and Advanced Graduate Students
Talk About Their Research
Dr. Marita Inglehart
Director 21st Century Program
Associate Professor, School of Dentistry
Adj. Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychology

scientists find a way to prevent or
cure Alzheimer's, the number of,
Americans with the brain-degenerat-
ing disease could more than triple as
the population ages.
"Many of our nation's baby
boomers have a time bomb ticking
in their heads today," said Stephen
McConnell, a spokesperson for the
Alzheimer's Association, which lob-
bied Congress on Tuesday for $100
million in new research money.
The group's projections - based on
Census data and the prevalence of
Alzheimer's now - indicated that by
2050, when the youngest baby boomers
will be in their 80s, 14 million
Americans could suffer from the dis-
ease, compared with 4 million today.
"And that figure only counts the
patients who are affected, it doesn't

count the husbands and the wives
and the children and the brothers
and the sisters," said Rosemary
Cronin of Dubuque, Iowa, whose
husband Bob was diagnosed with
Alzheimer's four years ago.
Cronin testified Tuesday before
the Senate Appropriations subcom-
mittee that allots money for health
programs. Chair Arlen Specter, (R-
Pa.), said he hopes to boost govern-
ment spending on Alzheimer's
research from about $340 million
this fiscal year to $440 million in
1999, but "candidly, it is easier said
than done"
"On Capitol Hill, you sometimes
get a lot of smiles, but not a lot of
cash," Specter said.
Congressional Republicans and
President Clinton agree that more
money should go to medical research,

but not on where it will come from and
how it should be spent.
Alzheimer's is an irreversible neu-
rological disorder that destroys brain
cells, robbing people of memory. It
most commonly shows up in people
older than age 65. Medicare, the
cash-strapped health program for the
elderly, spends on average more than
$3,000 a year extra on each senior
citizen who has it.
New drugs may help slow its
progress, and substances such as vit-
amin E have shown preventative
potential, but more study is needed,
said Dr. Steven DeKosky, director of
the University of Pittsburgh's
Alzheimer's Disease Center.
"If we don't start now, with this
money we are asking from
Congress, it will be too late,"
DeKosky said.

Continued from Page 1A
withheld funds to institutions that us
them. This was defeated in a 22-15 v
in the first recorded roll call vote
minority preferences in the state's histo
"Some people thought the 10 per
would not have been enough to persua
a committed racist institution like t
University of Michigan," Jaye said.
When Engler's budget was propos
the Senate and House Appropria
committees, his recommendation
increase funding to colleges and unive
ties by 1.5 percent immediately receiv
criticism from committee members
state university administrators.
"My reaction was it doesn't ev
approach the general inflation rate
1998," said Sen. John Schwarz (R-Ba
Creek), chair of the Sen
Subcommittee on Colleges a
Universities. "'This won't wor'
The approved proposal includ
money that the government does not c
rently have in its general fund,:
Schwarz said the committee has idd
fied possible sources to fund the iner
The revenue conference bete
Engler's budget officials and
Legislature held in May could ideiit
extra funds for the increase.
"A little more light will be shed o
sources of funds for the increase in
Wilbanks said.
Engler spokesperson John Tru
said the excess funding is not there, so t
governor will have a tough time signi
this proposal.
"We will not sign a budget that is
balanced. We have not seen the fundin
Truscott said. "We need to see progra
names and dollar amounts that will
State Sen. Alma Wheeler Smith
Salem Twp.) said that finding the funds
a challenge, but one she is optimis
"Our only challenge is to find the d
lars in the general fund," Smith said. "
remain hopeful, but the governor ha
stop cutting taxes."
Schwarz said he knows "it will
some convincing to get the governor
sign it."
The Senate, beginning with
Appropriations Subcommittee f
Colleges and Universities, has bee di
cussing and debating the fundi
increase for the past six weeks. Aft
hearing from college and university o
cials about the possible ramifications o
1.5-percent increase, the committ
decided to raise the increase to 3 perce
"There would be no way at a 1.5-pe
cent increase that students could e
qualify for the tuition tax cr
Schwarz said.
The House Appropriations Commit
will have a chance to change the propo
al when it takes up debate next mont
but Wilbanks said she hopes it also wi
see the need for more than a 1.5-perce
"Many of the House members reacte
similarly to the Senate members whe
the budget was proposed," Wilbanks
"They were similarly concerned witi
"We're cautiously optimistic," she ai
In addition to the 3-percent across-th
board increase, the senate recommende
that six universities receive additio
funding to allow their minimum spen
ing per student to reach $4,300. Smii
said this increase will help schools pr
vide competitive academic programs.
"A minimum threshold for some of t
institutions is very helpful," Smiths

Dr. Patricia Shannon
Postdoctoral Research Fellow,
Institute of Human Adjustment

Dr. David Winter
Department of Psychology

Enter through the Church Street Entrance.
The elevator is to the left.
Go to the 4th floor and follow the signs to the Terrace.


77{{1 t'

Animation Festival
ay, Saturday and Sunday, March 27-29
at the Michigan Theater


Friday, March 27
Kuenzel Room, Michigan Union
Brian Lamb Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, C-SPAN
Reception follows

4-5:30 pm

Saturday, March
Anderson Room

C&D, Michigan Union


8:30-9 am
9-11 am

Challenges to Industry
Leo Hindery President, Tele-Communications Inc. and Chief Executive Officer, InterMedia Partners
ELi Noam Director, Columbia Institute for Tele-Information, Columbia University

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