PhD Oral Defense of Tamara Cohen, School of Human Nutrition
Childhood obesity is a complex disease. It stems from different etiologies and can cause a multitude of health consequences, including altered musculoskeletal health, placing these children at an increased risk of fractures. Both pathological and environmental factors, including eating behaviors, influence a child’s weight. Interventions aimed at reducing adiposity in children with obesity should be family-centered and focus on achieving sustainable reductions in adiposity while supporting bone health. Further, interventions should focus on changes in lifestyles: the role of physical activity (PA) in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is established, as is the role of weight-bearing types of activities on bone health. Research has established the role of milk and milk products in achieving optimal bone development, whereas their role in modulating long-term changes in adiposity are not clear. The global aims of this dissertation were to test the effects of increased milk and milk products and weight-bearing types of PA on changes in: (1) body composition; (2) bone outcomes and biomarkers of bone health; and (3) eating behaviors and plasma leptin, in children with obesity participating in a 1 year (y) family-centered lifestyle intervention.