By Jamell Andrews
Most children will take a processed snack pack or treat over fruits and veggies any day, but with childhood obesity becoming an epidemic, finding ways to make healthy foods more appealing is more important than ever.
Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the last 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with more than 1 in every 3 children being considered overweight or obese. This increases their risk of joint problems, heart disease, and much more.
It’s good to know that in our day and age, medical knowledge and the ability to obtain information have increased so vastly, compared to even just a few decades ago. But even now, prevention is a fundamentally important way to maintain our health and that of our children, so that we won’t need medical interventions too often.
And what are some of the most essential ways to keep our children healthy the natural way? Here are five that should be on every family’s list.
It’s common knowledge that people’s life expectancies in developed countries have increased in the last 50 years, as science has uncovered new ways to prevent, treat and cure illnesses. But a study has found that people who were obese or overweight as teenagers are not living longer than similar people did five-plus decades ago.
The life expectancy of an American born in 2011 was 78.7 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the average lifespan has increased by more than 10 years since 1950. But the death rate for people in the study who had been obese or overweight as teens did not show improvement during that time.
In January, 2014, General Mills foods announced that it would no longer use genetically modified organisms (GMO’S) to make its original cereal, Cheerios. While Cheerios has never contained GMO oats, the company will now use non-GMO cane sugar, instead of GM beet sugar.
Growing numbers of consumers and advocacy groups are raising concerns about the safety of using genetically altered crops in our food supply; consumer pressure is behind the decision by General Mills.
A review of global studies measuring fitness levels among children found that today’s kids have become progressively less fit than children from the last previous decades. The studies, which examined the fitness levels of 25 million youths, found that modern kids can’t run as fast or as far as kids from as recently as a decade ago.
The study, which was led by Grant Tomkinson, an exercise physiologist at the University of South Australia, reviewed 50 previous studies on running fitness, a key measure of cardiovascular health and endurance. The children were aged 9 to 17 and were from 28 countries; the studies had been done between 1964 and 2010; 20 million children were from Asia.
You are a mom who understands that we are what we eat; you want to be sure that your children eat healthy, fresh, wholesome foods. Because these foods do not have toxic, artificial preservatives or non-nutritious fillers in them, you know that many of them spoil much faster.
A tummy ache, or worse, can happen in a snap, if the food has excess bacteria — and bacteria can multiply very quickly when the food isn’t kept cold enough or hot enough.
Before we knew it, summertime was over, and it was time for our kids to go back to school. We may no longer be able to fix elaborate breakfasts before the kids rush to school; but there are certainly plenty of breakfast choices that are healthy, tasty, and easy to prepare.
We all know by now that eating breakfast is important, as it fuels our bodies and minds for the day ahead. But what kind of breakfasts are nutritious and healthy?
The American Psychiatric Association estimates that between 3 and 7 percent of American children suffer from attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, though some studies show even higher rates. ADHD diagnoses have increased by an astounding 66 percent since 2000.
Many children now take prescription drugs, chiefly stimulants, to combat the symptoms of ADHD — hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention.
Because it’s a growing problem, studies continue being done to try to determine if there are More »
Because we love our children unconditionally, it is very easy for parents to become blind to any physical problems their kids may have. When a child becomes overweight, parents tend to think he or she is just a little plump or that it is just a passing phase that will end at the next growth spurt. Children do indeed go through phases and their bodies are constantly involving, so in many cases there is nothing to worry about when a child has a couple of extra pounds. But parents do need to watch closely, because weight problems can get out of hand faster than you may think.
There are countless reasons why parents need to keep an eye on their children’s weight. First, there are the basic reasons of health. Children who are overweight can develop health problems that may plague them for life. Second, children set many of their lifelong habits during these years, and teaching your kids to eat well and exercise turns into a great gift later on. Meanwhile, there are also social factors; kids who are obese or even just overweight often face teasing and bullying, which raise a whole additional set of issues.
Acne can inflict the young and the old but is most common during our teenage years. The acne that teenagers suffer from is called acne vulgaris and is triggered by puberty’s reproductive hormones surging through their bodies. These raging hormones make the sebaceous glands enlarge and increase the production of sebum. The pores produce a kind of protein called keratin. The increased sebum and production of keratin, dead skin cells and bacteria block the hair follicles which stops the sebum being able to get through the skin pores. Acne is when the skin erupts because it is infected and inflamed by the bacteria and sebum clogged hair follicles.
At a time in your child’s life when he is already often angry and confused, angry skin can really get him down. The diet your teenager sticks to can greatly affect his skin’s health. This is where you can More »
Many parents have strange approaches to giving their kids caffeine. On one hand, we do not think of coffee and even tea as being appropriate beverages for young children, yet on the other hand, many parents allow their children to drink soft drinks practically to their hearts’ content. And while soft drinks are lower in caffeine than coffee, they have a good amount of it, and they deliver all the caffeine-related effects that coffee does. So while caffeine More »
By Jamell Andrews
Getting kids away from their TVs, computers, and gadgets is one of the greatest challenges today’s parents face, and it is not getting any easier. Many parents understandably want their kids to be up to date with all the modern technology, but for every gadget and game our children gain, something is lost. Today’s kids are losing interest in the simple enjoyment of outdoor activities and sports. If we do not push back against this trend, we may be raising a generation of overweight and unhealthy grownups.
When I was little, every Sunday, my mom used to drive my brother and I to my grandmother’s house, where she would take us to church. After church, we always stopped by the local grocery store and somehow, someway, my brother and I would finagle our way into each getting a box of cereal. And this wouldn’t be any ordinary cereal, it was SUGARY cereal. Oh the joy! My grandmother would then drive us back to her house, where we would jump out of the car, and run inside, wanting to show my mom what we got. Now, sugar wasn’t really allowed in our neck of the woods, so my mother would give a big sigh, and make a compromise that we could eat it, as long as we mixed it with a non-sugary cereal (such as Cheerios). This lasted until my grandmother got too old to drive, which meant my mom would drop off us off at church, and the whole grocery store part would be skipped. And by that age, I was More »
By Lisa Pecos
According to the USDA, kids between the ages of 9 and 13 require at least six servings of fruits and vegetables per day, with each serving being either a half cup of fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables or a medium-sized fruit. Kids between 4 and 8 need about five servings per day, while teenagers need the recommended amount for adults-seven or eight servings per day.
I try to keep fresh fruit on hand at all times, but I’m lucky–my kids love it and they eat right through it. Here today, gone tomorrow–that’s our fruit bowl. So, on the days when there isn’t anything fresh to pack in the lunches, I reach into the cupboard for eating fresh fruit at all. Marketing by companies, and the way that the copy is written on the label makes parents think that these “fruit my stash of freeze dried fruit. The package says it’s a whole apple (or some other serving of fruit), so it must be a good substitute, right? Well, not necessarily.
A recent article in the Health section of the LA Times stated that parents are turning to the substitutes–instead of the real thing–so often that kids aren’t nuggets”, “fruit leathers”, or in my case, freeze dried fruit, is just as good. Mark Kantor, professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Maryland in College Park who was quoted in the article states that, “Fruit snacks, whether or not they claim to provide a serving of fruit, don’t offer all the nutritional benefits of whole fruit and often contain added sugars and sometimes fats.”
I have a 21 month old daughter that isn’t milk’s biggest fan. She’ll drink a little bit, but not nearly enough to get her day’s worth of calcium in. So one morning, I thought I’d give her some chocolate milk to see what would happen. She didn’t drink it–she guzzled it! Ever since, it’s chocolate milk every morning–she’s underweight as well, so I figure the extra calories won’t hurt. This is why an article in yesterday’s LA Times Health section caught my eye. Entitled, Pro / Con: Should chocolate milk be allowed in schools?, it gives the debate on whether or not flavored milk should be offered at your child’s school.
Rachel Johnson, a dietitian at the University of Vermont in Burlington whose research has been funded by the National Dairy Council, says yes–it’s better than no milk at all. However, Marlene Schwartz a psychologist and deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University says no–that we’re teaching milk is only good when it’s sugared up.
Over the past 30 years, childhood obesity has been steadily on the rise among children aged 6 to 19. In children between the ages of 2 and 5, about 14% of them are now classified as being overweight. Approximately 20% of kids aged 6 to 11 are overweight and 19% of kids between the ages of 12 and 19 are overweight. All of these figures are up significantly from statistics that were obtained in the early 1970s, with all of them more than doubling in a relatively short amount of time.
By Jamell Andrews
Parents often have meal time battles with their children. The kids decide that they do not like what you are serving them, or they just decide that they would rather have something else. Whatever the reason, one of the worst things you can do as a parent is give in to your kids’ demands and fix something else for them to eat.
According to the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, children between the ages of two and nine have diets that are less than desirable. This is an extremely important issue because poor eating habits that start early in life are likely to continue into adulthood, resulting in a host of health problems that might otherwise be avoided.
PARENTS AS TEACHERS TRAINING PROGRAM PROVIDES A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS IN FIGHT AGAINST CHILDHOOD OBESITY
‘High 5 for Kids’ Offers Professionals Tools to Help Improve Eating and Fitness Habits of Preschoolers
By Maya Lunnemann
ST. LOUIS (June 26, 2008) – Despite a reduction in childhood obesity rates recently, early childhood professionals continue to reinforce awareness among parents about their role in encouraging nutrition and fitness of their young children. Parents consistently underestimate the power they have in modeling good nutrition and fitness habits for their children, say early childhood specialists at Parents as Teachers National Center.