SEARCH

Friday
Oct132017

Quadruplets pursue medical careers to honor late mom

Kelly Murphy(CAMDEN, N.J.) -- Toni Murphy was just 36 when she died in 2001, leaving behind five children, including 2-year-old quadruplet daughters.

Now, Toni Murphy’s quadruplet daughters, Erin, Kelly, Rachel and Casey Murphy, are 18-year-old college freshman fulfilling their mom’s legacy.

Three of the sisters are studying nursing at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. Erin Murphy is studying veterinary medicine at Oklahoma State University.

Toni Murphy worked as a nurse for more than a decade before she died of complications from an infection.

“I wanted to follow in my mom’s footsteps,” Casey Murphy told ABC News. “My dad tells us stories a lot and [it was] just something that I wanted to do.”

The sisters’ father, Michael Murphy, raised the four girls and their older sister, Lyn, 31, on his own after his wife died.

“I’ve got pictures of her up around the house and would always say, ‘Your mother used to do this,’” he said of keeping Toni Murphy’s memory alive. “I kept those stories going to make sure that they knew that she was part of their lives even though they don’t remember too much of it.”

Toni Murphy worked in obstetrics and was also an elementary school nurse and a prison nurse, according to her family.

“Ever since I knew about nurses, I always just wanted to be one,” said Rachel Murphy. “Since I was little, I’ve always wanted to help people.”

Toni Murphy’s daughters each have their own dreams of what they want to do in the medical field. Kelly Murphy is considering becoming a doctor, Casey Murphy wants to work in pediatrics and find a cure for cancer, Rachel Murphy wants to be a flight trauma nurse and Erin Murphy wants to become a veterinarian.

Their older sister, Lyn Murphy, also works in the medical field as an X-ray technician in New Jersey.

"I wanted to follow in the footsteps of both of them," Kelly Murphy said of her mom and older sister. "I just had this passion for helping people and I’m really interested in the human body and how it works."

Michael Murphy said he watched his daughters fall in love with the medical field after shadowing nurses and doctors while in high school.

“It’s nice that they’ve embraced the fact that [their mom] was a nurse and wanted to honor her in that way,” Michael Murphy said. “I never forced them … they fell in love with it.”

Rachel, Casey and Kelly Murphy commute to Rutgers from their family's home in Swedesboro, New Jersey. The three sisters take the same schedule of classes and rely on the same built-in study group that helped them thrive in high school.

“I don’t think we mean to be competitive but we push each other to do the best we can and we’re always anxious to see who did the best,” Rachel Murphy said. “We don’t think of it as competitive but it just kind of happens to be that way.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Oct132017

Mother who was jailed for refusing to vaccinate son: I would 'do it all over again' 

ABC News(DETROIT) -- The Michigan mother who was sentenced to jail last week for refusing a court order to vaccinate her son -- and who has since lost primary custody of her son -- said she would "do it all over again."

"I was trying to protect my kids," Rebecca Bredow, who lives in the Detroit area, told ABC News. "I was trying to stand up for what I believed in, and it was worth it for me to try and take the risk, because I was trying to stop the vaccinations from happening."

"Never in a million years did I ever think that I would end up in jail standing up to try to protect my kids, and standing up for my beliefs," Bredow added.

She said her time in jail "was the longest five days of my life."

Despite losing primary custody of her son, spending five days in jail and the fact that her son was vaccinated anyway, Bredow said standing up for her beliefs "was worth it."

Last week, a judge sentenced Bredow to seven days in jail for refusing to bring her son's vaccinations up to date. Prior to going to jail, Bredow told ABC News that she and her then-husband, Jason Horne, had initially agreed to space out vaccinations for their young son. She and Horne separated in 2008, and she said last week that Horne now wanted their son to receive all of his vaccinations, and she refused.

There are no known benefits for children from delaying vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children who delay vaccines are also at risk of developing diseases during the time that they delay their vaccinations, the CDC added.

Young children also have the highest risk of developing a serious case of disease, according to the CDC. Delaying vaccines leaves children vulnerable at the time when they need the most protection from vaccines.

Bredow said her 9-year-old son's understanding of the situation is limited.

"The court has ordered that I'm not allowed to speak with him about it, which is kind of hard. He's almost 10 years old, so he understands more than the court would say I'm allowed to explain to him," Bredow said. "I don't know what his father has said to him, so I don't know what he's thinking right now."

Bredow said she has received an "overwhelming amount of support" from her community. "It's helped me get through this, truly," she added.

Benton G. Richardson, a lawyer for Bredow's ex-husband, declined ABC News' request for comment Thursday, but said in a statement last week that "this case is not truly about vaccinations."

Richardson added that Bredow and Horne have been embroiled in an ongoing legal battle, and a court sided with Horne in November 2016, ordering Bredow to vaccinate her son.

Court documents obtained by ABC News state that a court first asked Bredow to get immunizations for her son in November 2016, but state that as of September 2017, the child had not been vaccinated.

"It is our position that this case is not truly about vaccinations," Richardson said. "It is a case about Ms. Bredow refusing to comport with any number of the court's orders and actively seeking to frustrate Mr. Horne's joint legal custody rights."

Bredow denied the claims of her ex-husband's attorney.

"I have been the primary caregiver of my child since he was born. This was not leverage in any way," she said.

Bredow said she is planning on appealing and gaining back primary custody of her son.

The state of Michigan allows parents to opt out of certain vaccines for non-medical reasons. The American Academy of Pediatrics, however, emphasizes the safety and importance of vaccines in a statement on their website.

"Vaccines have been part of the fabric of our society for decades and are the most significant medical innovation of our time," the group said. "Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. Vaccines save lives."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Oct122017

Single case of locally transmitted Zika virus confirmed by Florida health department

iStock/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- A single case of locally transmitted Zika virus has been confirmed on Florida's west coast, according to the state's health department.

The isolated case occurred in Manatee County, south of Tampa and St. Petersburg, after a local couple traveled to Cuba, the Florida Department of Health said in a statement.

After the couple returned home, one partner fell ill to symptoms consistent with Zika virus infection, according to the health department. Evidence from a later investigation suggested that after that partner acquired Zika in Cuba, a mosquito in or near their home bit the infected partner and then later bit and transmitted the virus to the other partner, the health department said.

There is no evidence of an ongoing, active transmission of Zika virus to others, according to the health department.

This is the first case of locally transmitted Zika in the state this year, the department added. A total of 187 known Zika virus infections have been recorded in Florida in 2017, 107 of which were in pregnant women.

The health department has notified mosquito control, which will take measures to reduce the number of mosquitoes in the Manatee County area.

This case of Zika does not meet the requirements to establish a Zika zone, according to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The health department said it will notify the public should it identify any areas of ongoing, active Zika transmission.

Health officials urged those who travel to known areas with Zika virus to use mosquito deterrents for at least three weeks after returning home, as well as condoms to reduce the risk of sexual transmission of the virus.

The health department also urged Floridians to help reduce mosquito populations near their homes and businesses by draining standing water and using repellents.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Oct122017

Women vets pose for pin-up calendar to raise money for fellow vets' health care

PIN-UPS FOR VETS(CLAREMONT, Calif.) -- Nearly two dozen female veterans traded in their uniforms for sky-high heels in an effort to cheer up their fellow veterans -- and more importantly, raise money to provide financial assistance for veterans' health care needs.

Twenty-one veterans, serving a total of 145 years in all branches of the military, posed for Pin-Up for Vets 2018 calendar. The 1940s-style calendar features a weapons' instructor, a surgery technician, an intelligence officer and a military vehicle operator, among others.

The calendar, which serves as a fundraiser to help veterans' hospitals and health care programs, was started in 2006 by Gina Elise. Her grandfather served in World War II.

"At the time, there were many stories in the news about our troops coming back from Iraq, needing medical care that I felt so strongly that I wanted to do something to support our troops and veterans," she told ABC News.

Elise, 35, was inspired to create a pin-up style calendar because "pin-ups were really a symbol of hope to support troops and veterans."

Jennifer Marshall, who served in the Navy for five years, is part of the 2018 calendar.

"It was wonderful," Marshall said of the photo shoot, held on Hofer Ranch in Ontario, California, over three days last summer.

The veteran said the shoot was made even more special because she could bond with fellow service women.

She continued, "And speaking for the other ladies, everyone has expressed how much it means to them to recapture our femininity, give back to the community and have that long-lasting friendship with other veterans."

Since 2006, the calendars have raised nearly $60,000 for veteran hospitals to purchase new equipment as well as provide financial assistance for veterans. It's also help fund the non-profit organizations' "50-State VA Hospital Tour," where they hand-deliver many of the calendars to vets.

"Some of these veteran patients are in the hospital for weeks and months and they won’t have any visitors," Elise said of why she began visiting hospitals. "It’s essential to let our nation’s heroes know how much we value them."

"Undoubtedly, there are a lot of people living in this world who are in need of care, time, and attention," United States Marine Corps veteran Tess Rutherford, who is featured in the 2018 calendar, said in a statement. "But for me, I feel it is my duty ... my responsibility to extend a helping hand to my fellow veteran."

Marshall, who is now an actress living in Los Angeles, agreed. She was initially hesitant to be part of the calendar, but after being involved in Pin-Up for Vets since 2015, she is now one of the organization's most active volunteers, visiting a veterans hospital every six weeks.

"Because they mean so much," she explained. "The visits that break my heart are when veterans tell us that we are their first visitor. That is so upsetting to me. It kind of reminds us why these non-profits that go into hospitals ... are so important."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Oct122017

What life is like now for formerly conjoined twin sisters after separation surgery

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Like many toddlers, Eva and Erika Sandoval spent their third birthday party playing with friends and family, laughing and eating cake -- a Princess Sofia cake from the Disney TV series, “Sophia the First,” for Eva and a Woody from “Toy Story” cake for Erika.

The twin girls each had their own party outfits -- Eva was dressed as Princess Sophia, Erika was dressed as Woody.

But for their parents, Aida and Art Sandoval, this was more than just their daughters’ birthday. It was a miracle.

This was the first birthday the twins, who were born conjoined and who had spent most of their young lives in a hospital, had celebrated as separate individuals. Doctors weren’t certain they would make it this far.

When then-44-year-old Aida Sandoval found out she was pregnant three years ago with twins, she and her husband were surprised but “so excited.” But as they started to plan to add two more to their family of five, the couple received devastating news. Her doctor referred her to a specialist who told her that the twins were conjoined and may not survive.

“[The doctor] asked me to call Art,” Aida said. “And I couldn’t. Like, how do I tell him? … So the doctor had to call him.”

Conjoined twins are a rare phenomenon, and their chances of survival are even rarer. About half are stillborn and only 35 percent survive beyond their first day, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The Sandovals, who live outside of Sacramento, reached out to Dr. Gary Hartman at Lucile Packard Stanford Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California, an expert in the world of conjoined twins and who had six successful separation surgeries under his belt. When Dr. Hartman reviewed the Sandovals’ case, he said he was honest with the couple about the twins’ chances of survival.

“What we told them was [what] we thought [which was] we didn’t know that they could be separated,” he said. “We said, ‘You would need to assume … that they would never walk’ … We weren’t real optimistic about quality of life.”

Doctors gave the Sandovals the option of terminating the pregnancy.

"We talked about it, we talked about it," Art said. "It was like - let’s give them a chance....You know? It’s- if it was meant to be, it's meant to be."

At 33 weeks, Aida gave birth to Erika Rose and Eva Victoria. The girls were joined from the sternum all the way down to the pelvis and they shared a third leg.

The first time seeing them was “very emotional,” Aida Sandoval said.

“They have tubes, they had the little covers over their eyes,” she said. “You can’t carry them, they’re very fragile … you feel helpless because you question yourself, ‘Are we doing the right thing?’ But then you talk to them, you say, ‘You are strong, and you’re going to get through this.’”

The twins spent the first few months of their lives in the neonatal intensive care unit. They weren’t deemed strong enough to go home until they were 7 months old.

When the Sandovals were allowed to finally take them home, Aida said she dressed them in little gowns. Over time, they reached milestones together -- their first words, learning to stand and developing their own personalities, with Eva as the talkative one and Erika as the observer.

But by the time they reached 2 years old, Eva had grown stronger than her sister, and then their health started to decline, so the decision was made to attempt to separate them.

In trying to explain the surgery to the girls, Aida said, “I would always role play, and [say], ‘Some magic is going to happen, and Dr. Hartman is going to be your magician.’”

The surgery was very risky. The American Pediatric Surgical Association said that at that point, only 250 separation surgeries have been successfully performed in the world, and doctors told the Sandovals that there was a 30 percent chance one of the twins would die.

Art Sandoval said they weighed the odds, but in the end they knew their girls were fighters, and he said they believed, “They will pull through this.”

On the morning of the surgery, Dec. 7, 2016, the medical team, led by Hartman, started with a prayer asking for unity, strength and guidance. Hartman’s plan was to separate the organs in the girls’ chests first and then move down the abdomen and finish with the pelvis.

After five-and-a-half hours, the girls were separated successfully, but the surgery was far from over. The medical team realized they didn’t have enough skin to close the girls’ incisions so they had to turn to their once shared third leg.

“They had told us earlier that they may have been able to use that third leg and keep it and give it to Erika, but when it came down to it, there wasn’t enough tissue to cover up Erika. So they had to use the tissue of the leg,” Art said.

“That was really hard,” Aida added. “It’s just like a punch in the gut.”

After 13 hours of surgery, Eva was wheeled into recovery. Her sister Erika followed two hours later. Their parents were on pins and needles until they saw the girls.

“I was excited just to know that they were alive still,” Aida said. “Just to know -- see them breathing.”

In the weeks that followed, Erika, the once smaller twin, thrived, making tremendous progress in physical therapy, but recovery was a bigger challenge for Eva.

Through all of this, Aida was mostly parenting solo as Art, who had to keep working full-time to cover the medical bills, drove the three hours from their home in Sacramento to the hospital in Palo Alto every weekend to visit her and the twins.

Finally, three months after their separation surgery, the twins were allowed to go home. Under the care of their local hospital, Eva and Erika continued to go to physical therapy and were fitted for wheelchairs. At home, the family settled into a new routine, with Aida being able to walk outside with a stroller built for two for the first time.

The best part of this whole journey, Aida said, was “finally bringing them home and being a family.”

“We’ll still say, ‘Dr. Hartman and his team performed magic,’” she continued. “Eva will see her scar and she goes, ‘My sister was right here.’ And I said, ‘Yes, your sister was right there.’”

The girls made amazing progress, surpassing all expectations, but they still have more challenges ahead. They have been on feeding tubes since birth and are just now getting used to eating solid foods.

But they are embracing their independence as typical toddlers, full of curiosity and mischief.

“The worst part is over,” Aida said. “We’re here. We’re done … when you think about it or when you talk about it, those emotions do come back. But right now, it’s just looking forward, looking to the future … and they are vivacious, they are just -- they’re spunky little girls.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Oct122017

Fla. doctor apologizes after video shows him yelling, cursing at patient

ABCNews.com(GAINESVILLE, Fla.) -- A Florida doctor, who was seen yelling and cursing at a patient in a now-viral video, said he did so because the woman was "abusive to the office staff," according to a statement he released on Wednesday.

Peter Gallogly, a physician at the Gainesville After Hours Clinic in northern Florida, said the video was the last minute of an "hour-long episode" with Jessica Stipe, who he says became irate and refused to leave the office. Gallogly also apologized, however, saying he "overreacted."

Stipe, who shared a video of the incident on her Facebook page Monday, said she was "in severe pain and throwing up in the trash can" when she complained about the long wait time and asked for her co-pay back, according to her Facebook post.

She said she called the police after the doctor allegedly snatched her 16-year-old daughter’s phone and shoved her when she attempted to retrieve it, according to the post.

"I asked for my co pay back so I could leave and go back home to bed and try to be seen elsewhere tomorrow because I'm just that miserable," Stripe wrote. "The Dr was mad I wanted my co pay back and was unhappy with having to wait so long and proceeded to cuss me out."

Stipe’s video had more than 310,000 views and over 2,200 shares on Facebook as of Thursday morning.

Gallogly apologized in a statement on Wednesday and said he was defending his staff when he overreacted. He also sent ABC’s Gainesville affiliate WCJB testimonies from witnesses who described Stripe as "irate" and alleged that she threatened them.

"Ms. Stipe had been increasingly belligerent and abusive to the office staff, cursing and threatening them with violence, because she was unwell and had been waiting to seen by me for more than an hour," Gallogly wrote in a statement obtained by WCJB.

He said the situation escalated after Stripe received her refund, but refused to leave.

"I went to the front desk only because after Ms. Stipe received her refund, she refused to leave the office, and continued her abusive behavior towards staff,” Gallogly said.

"Despite repeated requests from the office staff, she repeatedly demanded to see me instead of leaving," he added.

The Gainesville Police Department has opened a criminal investigation into the incident, according to the Gainesville Sun.
 
Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Oct122017

Community pulls together to help make an ill boy's wish of becoming a ninja come true

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The community of Sacramento, California, pulled together to help a boy with a congenital heart condition fulfill his dream of becoming a real-life ninja.

Bryant Mordinoia, 5, was diagnosed with his condition the day he was born, his father Justin Mordinoia told ABC News today.

When asked what he wished for by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northeastern California and Northern Nevada, Bryant immediately said he wanted to become a real-life ninja because "ninja's fight bad guys."

"He’s the sweetest kid, he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body," Mordinoia said of his son. "He is a very loving kid, a little bit shy. He's opening up today ... he's having a blast."

"He had his first open heart surgery at two months old," Mordinoia added. Bryant was scheduled to have another open heart surgery this year, but his father said doctors pushed it back in hopes that he could grow a little stronger first.

Mordinoia added that Bryant has been obsessed with the Lego Ninjago movie.

"If we’re at home, and Netflix is on, if its not Lego Ninjago there's a problem," Mordinoia added. "He walks around the house kicking and punching."

The Make-A-Wish Foundation set up ninja training for Bryant and then called on community members to come cheer him on as he saved Sacramento from an evil villain.

Bryant will be "called upon to save Sacramento and chase the villain around town with action-packed altercations," the invitation from the Make-A-Wish Foundation stated.

Throughout the day, Bryant helped catch a villain who tried to steal an elderly woman's purse outside of the Bank of the West, and then helped free a police officer who was held hostage by the villain in a series of elaborately orchestrated showdowns by the Make-A-Wish foundation and with the support of the community.

"He won't stop talking and is loving every minute of it," Mordinoia said of the festivities for Bryant held today.

Mordinoia added that the support his family has received from the community went "over and above" what he expected, saying that hundreds of people came to cheer Bryant on as he fought off bad guys.

"I didn't expect it to be half of what it is now, there's hundreds of people here," the father said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Oct112017

Boy with terminal cancer wishes for Halloween cards from around the world

Britney Horton(BIDDEFORD, Maine) -- The family of a terminally ill boy is asking strangers to lift his spirits by sending him greeting cards for his favorite holiday of Halloween.

Now, Brock Chadwick has received nearly 1,000 cards from places as far away as Singapore.

"It's definitely very exciting and he's happy," mom Brittney Horton told ABC News. "You can tell he hasn't been the greatest but it's lifted him for sure."

Horton of Biddeford, Maine, said her son, Brock, 7, was diagnosed in February with glioblastoma, a high-grade cancer in his brain and spine.

"A recent MRI scan showed that he has more tumors both throughout his brain and spine and basically those tumors are starting to cause his body problems," Horton said. "He just recently had a seizure so it's getting scary."

A nurse at Maine Children's Cancer Program at Barbara Bush Children's Hospital said Brock is one of their patients, but could not comment further due to privacy laws.

"To cheer him up, Horton said that Brock's great-aunt began a movement called "Brocktoberfest," requesting Halloween cards from people through the her "Team Brock" Facebook page since he loves the holiday so much.

Soon cards, candy, books and pictures came pouring in from all over the world including France, the United Kingdom and Scotland.

"I didn't think it was going to be this many," Horton said. "I was expected maybe a couple hundred, definitely not this."

With help from his sister, Aubri-Ella, 3, Brock has begun opening almost 1,000 cards. On Tuesday alone, he counted 75 packages, Horton said.

Each card is filled with well-wishes and Halloween jokes

"It's made him smile a whole lot more," Horton said.

Brock hopes to be either the Hulk or Captain America for Halloween

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Oct112017

Puerto Ricans face growing threat from disease after Maria, experts fear

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN JUAN, P.R. ) -- Three weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the 3.4 million U.S. citizens living on the island are now facing a growing public health threat – disease brought about by the conditions after the storm ravaged the island. And experts fear that this situation could get worse before it gets better.

The storm, which officials already blame for 44 deaths, has left nearly 90 percent of the island still without power, and a third of potential water sources undrinkable. While 97 percent (65 of 67) of hospitals are now open, only 43 of these hospitals have electricity, and even those with electricity may be running at limited capacity.

“The hurricane has left us in a critical situation with regards to medical infrastructure needed to save lives,” said Dr. Rajeev Fernando, chief of infectious diseases at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital in New York, in an email to ABC News. Fernando is joining a team of doctors in Puerto Rico in order to help treat patients and protect them from disease-related threats to their health. And he says that he expects that the number of sick Puerto Ricans could climb, since many infections take two to three weeks to manifest.

“Acute diarrheal diseases are a big concern and are commonly seen after flooding,” he said, adding that mosquito-borne diseases may also pose a threat due to the abundance of standing water from floods.

But he also noted that another threat – a life-threatening infection known as leptospirosis – could also put the lives of many at risk.

In fact, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo A. Rossello said on Wednesday that health officials at the CDC have already begun investigating four recent deaths to determine whether the disease, which is rare in the United States, might be behind them.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans. And while people can get it from livestock and domestic pets, rats and other rodents can also spread it.

Direct contact with these animals or contact with their urine – through contaminated food or water, or through cuts and scrapes – can lead to infection. And because those affected by floods are also more likely to cut or injure themselves and potentially come into contact with contaminated water and surfaces, they face a much higher risk of getting this disease if this bacteria is present in the environment.

The disease can be deadly. According to a 2010 review from the Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Leptospirosis, fatality rates can be as high as 30 percent. Symptoms run the gamut from fever, to kidney failure, liver failure, pulmonary hemorrhage and a dangerous inflammation of the tissues around the brain and spinal cord known as meningoencephalitis.

The treatment for the disease is a course of antibiotics such as penicillin and doxycycline that costs less than $1 per day. But because of the difficulties in mobilizing medical supplies within Puerto Rico after the storm, patients with severe infections may not have access to these life-saving antibiotics.

Various medical groups are calling for additional funding to support efforts to provide Puerto Rico with the tools needed to prevent the spread of disease. The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) released a statement Wednesday urging congress to approve disaster relief funds providing “essential medicines, healthcare supplies, clean water, safe food, and health infrastructure restorations for victims,” all of which are vital for infection control.

But whether these efforts will manifest in time to prevent a wave of flood-related diseases has yet to be seen.

“If we don't act swiftly, I anticipate things are going to get a lot worse before they get better,” Fernando said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Oct112017

Childhood and teenage obesity is on the rise worldwide

Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- The number of obese children and teenagers worldwide is ten times higher than it was four decades ago, according to research from the World Health Organization and Imperial College London published in The Lancet. In addition, 213 million boys and girls were overweight but not obese last year according to the study, which looked at data from 200 countries.

In real numbers, 124 million young people ages 5 to 19 were obese in 2016 compared to 11 million in 1975, the study showed. Researchers analyzed data from 2,416 population-based studies that measured the height and weight of 31.5 million people between the ages of 5 and 19.

“These data highlight, remind and reinforce that overweight and obesity is a global health crisis today, and threatens to worsen in coming years unless we start taking drastic action,” Fiona Bull, program coordinator for surveillance and population-based prevention of noncommunicable diseases at WHO, said in a statement.

In the U.S., 7.5 million boys and 6.1 million girls were obese in 2016, the study found. In comparison, 1.6 million girls and 1.7 million boys were obese in the U.S. in 1975.

In recent years, obesity rates have become more stable in high-income countries, including the U.S., but they continue to rise in low- and middle-income countries, Majid Ezzati, lead author of the study and professor at Imperial College’s School of Public Health, said in a statement.

“These worrying trends reflect the impact of food marketing and policies across the globe, with healthy, nutritious foods too expensive for poor families and communities,” Ezzati said in a statement.

In many middle-income countries in Latin America, East Asia and the Caribbean, children and teenagers have quickly gone from being mostly underweight to mostly overweight. The trend puts these children at a greater risk of disease, said Ezzati.

“The trend predicts a generation of children and adolescents growing up obese and at greater risk of diseases, like diabetes,” he said. “We need ways to make healthy, nutritious food more available at home and school, especially in poor families and communities, and regulations and taxes to protect children from unhealthy foods.”

More children and teenagers worldwide are moderately or severely underweight than obese, but that will change by 2022 if the obesity rates continue to grow as fast as they did in the last 40 years, according to the study.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.







ABC News Radio