Obesity is on the rise in today’s society, especially in our very own country. Whether it be in children or the older generations, there is a mutual agreement that the quality of life of a person is dramatically changed if he/she suffers from obesity.
Various measures are taken to overcome this situation every day. Individuals may go through vigorous sessions of exercise, long durations of dieting, or even extensive methods such as gastric bypass. Even after going through all that, why do so many still suffer from obesity? It may be hard to stick to a long-term plan of diet and exercise in a time when salads are more expensive than a burger and gym memberships cost a lot more money than sitting on the couch. Whatever the reason may be, it is time that we understand that there are internal factors beyond the capabilities of an individual that could potentially affect the risk for obesity.
According to a study conducted at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, internal factors within an individual could be related to the likelihood of obesity. The authors, agreed, that if these factors were identified in children earlier on, there could be a higher chance of preventing obesity later on in their lifetime. Identifying the relationship between resting state functional connectivity and eating behaviors was the primary goal of the study. In order to do so, data was collected from 38 children in the Rockland Sample of Enhanced Nathan Kline Institute, ages 8-13, who were randomly selected. The fact that the Rockland Sample was representative of the U.S. population according to the 2010 census made it possible for the results of the study to be generalized to the whole U.S. population. Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire and MRI scans which assessed the inferior parietal lobe, frontal lobe, and nucleus accumbens were obtained from each child. The results showed that decreased inhibition and increased impulsivity were related to childhood obesity. Therefore, the researchers concluded that an increase in response inhibition and a decrease in impulsivity could lead to a decrease in adiposity, decrease in food approach behaviors, and an increase in food avoidance behaviors.
Dr. Cowan, from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine stated, “We think mindfulness could recalibrate the imbalance in the brain connections associated with childhood obesity.” One way of preventing obesity from childhood is mindfulness, or being in a state of mind in which the individual can assess personal thoughts or motivations, that lead to actions, from afar. Mindfulness can be a way of increasing response inhibition and decreasing impulsivity which could lead to prevention of childhood obesity. As the saying goes, “nipping it in the bud” will prevent a whole lot of havoc later on.
Elsevier. “Brain study reveals mindfulness could help prevent obesity in children: Research links imbalance in brain connections to childhood obesity.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160121092312.htm>.
Summarizing the entire research article to fit under 540 words was pretty difficult. My lack of knowledge in statistics and the vocabulary used in the research made it challenging to accurately portray everything the study wanted to support. In the original news article, I noticed there were many inconsistencies when compared to the study, and thus I wanted to incorporate details from the actual research which made the study a reliable source for the information given.
Compared to the news article, my summary emphasized the random sampling, as well as the ability to generalize the results to the population of the U.S. Also, in the original article, the information tried to explain how mindfulness does lead to lack of obesity. The research study, however, explicitly shows that no causality can be predicted from the results of the study. Therefore, it was my job to summarize that functional connectivity in the brain is related, to some extent, to eating behaviors, but they are not directly connected, which means it is not a direct cause.
After completing this assignment, I truly do appreciate journalists for the time and effort they invest into summarizing research studies. It is clear that they have spent hours trying to decipher the true purpose behind the research studies, but their job is to also attract readers. In order to balance the portrayal true information from the study while also engaging readers within a limited character limit is definitely not an easy job. I also believe that the readers have a responsibility to be mindful when reading such articles to know what to believe and what not to believe. It is crucial, especially in this day and age, to always have a reason why you believe the provided information, and if that means doing some research behind it, then that is what it takes to be an informed reader.