Combating Childhood Obesity

Childhood and Adolescent obesity is on the rise. More and more children are falling victim to poor habits which can lead to a lifetime of health issues. Including but not limited to Asthma, hypertension, high cholesterol, blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Children facing obesity also can have issues with Sleep Apnea and liver disease. They also carry a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.

There are many reasons that a child can become obese. Being born heavy or being a chubby baby is not one of them. Many a large baby grows into a slim child. Valid reasons that a child or adolescent may become obese include:

* Lack of physical activity and Sedentary behavior- TV and Video games are rapidly overtaking children’s number one on the two do list. In the past several years as these options have become far more popular, there has been a decline in sports, outdoor activities and active games.

* Eating habits- Children are born grazers. They tend to eat little bits throughout the day. No matter if you enforce an eating schedule or allow grazing what matters most is the quality of the food children are exposed to. Today there are more sugary foods, highly processed foods, and carb loaded foods in the household. Meaning children are less likely to choose a healthy food over a sugary one.

* Environment- With the watching TV comes commercials. Seeing advertisements for sugary foods and sweets encourages children to want them.

* Genetics- Parents who are overweight or obese are more likely to have over weight or obese children as well. Even if they have decent eating habits, children inherit the genes that make it easier for them to become overweight.

* Sleeping habits- Being tired alters levels of appetite regulating hormones, you eat more when you are tired. Often times junk food and sugery snacks to keep you awake.

However there are many ways to combat the rising levels of childhood obesity in your own home. A few of which include:

* Set good examples. Young children learn by what their parents do. If you have shown them from the time they are small that eating junk is fine, then chances are they will do the same. Choose healthy foods and have only those on hands.

* Don’t use food as a reward. Find other ways to reward children for good behavior. A toy or trip out that doesn’t include fast food or candy is a nice alternative.

* Be supportive- Overweight kids are often teased their peers, Be sure that you create a comfortable home life that does not revolve around weight issues. As that can make a person turn to comfort eating. Keep family members from commenting on overweight children etc. Children know when there is something going on such as teasing even if its off handed. They are sensitive and this should always be remembered.

* Plan family outings that require exercise. Zoos, malls, bike rides, parks. Taking the dog for a walk every night after dinner is a fun way to spend time together while getting some exercise.

* Prepare all your meals, Don’t fall into the habit of fast food and easy to make boxed foods. They are often loaded with carbs and sugars that you don’t need. Instead plan and prepare meals yourself. Often this takes very little more time then a boxed meal. Include children in the planning and prepping of meals. They can pick out your nightly vegetable for example. Peel potato’s and veggies. Or older children can help you slice and cook.

* You should always be sure to have an array of healthy snacks on hand. Some examples include fruits and veggies, cheese, yogurt’s and frozen juice bars. Frozen yogurt and sherbet are alternatives to ice cream. Cookies and crackers should be low fat.

* Make gradual changes to eating habits- focus on one change at a time don’t expect a child who has eaten whatever they wanted to to suddenly decide to enjoy more veggies. but gradually they will stop asking for the sweets they love, especially if they are never brought into the house again.

Reward successful changes. When a child successfully looses some weight or meets a specific goal, reward it with a trip or special treat like a movie.

These are but a few ideas that can help encourage healthy eating habits in young children and help combat childhood obesity. While the best method of prevention is never allowing it in the house, sometimes this isn’t as easy as it seems. While having a sugary snack or treat every now and then, the bulk of your choices should be healthy and well rounded.

How I Lost Some Excess Holiday Weight

Even if I’m careful about what I eat and hit the gym regularly, I tend to pack on the pounds during the holidays? Why? There are a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is the heaviness of the foods I consume during the winter. Living in Minnesota, rich foods such as hash brown casserole, wild rice soup, and hot fudge sundae cake are regularly offered at office and family parties. Fruits and vegetables are more expensive and less abundant and it’s easy to sit inside and not get enough exercise.

We all know that somehow it is easier to lose or maintain your weight during the summer. After all, the warm weather makes us want to do more activities outside and it is easier to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables. After gaining five pounds last winter, I decided to try and trick my body into thinking it was summer. It took me two weeks to lose the weight, so what I did to lose the weight was by no means an easy fix, but it worked and helped me gain more energy.

The first thing I did was get a full spectrum table lamp that mimics the sun’s natural rays. The lamp cost me less than $50 and fit on the table next to the couch. Every morning, I sat under the lamp for around 30 minutes. The light seemed to give me the extra energy I needed to get through the day. These lamps are frequently used by people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. Even though I don’t suffer from SAD, I think sitting under the light each morning gave me more energy and made me want to exercise.

After sitting under the light, I exercised to a video called “Walk Away the Pounds.” The workout lasts for 60 minutes and includes low intensity aerobics that slightly raises your heartbeat.

In addition to sitting under the full spectrum lamp and exercising, I also tried to eat as if it were summer. What I mean is, although my body was craving heavy foods, I opted for light foods such as turkey sandwiches, chicken caesar salads, and fresh arugula with almonds, sun dried tomatoes, and walnuts with a vinaigrette dressing. I didn’t worry too much about eliminating carbs, but more about eating fresh, whole feeds.

I repeated this routine everyday for two weeks and lost some excess holiday weight. I don’t think it was the light that made me lose weight, but rather, it gave me more energy to work out. Working out contributed to me wanting to eat less and make more healthy choices. By tricking my body into thinking it was summertime, I was able to lose some extra holiday weight and feel great in the process.

Children’s Health News: Single Dose of Chicken Pox Shot Not Enough

Researchers from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and the LA Health Department have studied approximately 350,000 Californians between the year 1995 and 2004. Out of 11,000 who had developed chickenpox virus, nearly 1,100 had received vaccinations. This does not mean that we should stop taking our kids to get these vaccines. It actually means we should be concerned about increasing the number of times the vaccine is received. The vaccine has actually prevented countless Americans from catching this highly contagious disease.

What this study means is that children who were vaccinated at an early age should have a repeat dose of the vaccine in the form of a booster shot. This will greatly decrease the chance of the child being at an elevated risk for catching the chickenpox virus.

The usual recommendation is for kids to vaccinated with the varicella vaccine (the chickenpox vaccine) between 12 and 15 months of age. In 2006, the CDC recommended giving a booster shot to children who were 4 to 6 years of age to further protect them. In a study involving this recommendation, it was found that with the single dose a child got about 85 percent of protection. With the single dose, plus the booster shot, chicken-pox related hospitalizations and deaths have dramatically been reduced.

In this study, it was also found that 8 to 12 year olds who contracted the virus and had received the vaccination at least 5 years previous, but had not received a booster shot, were twice as likely to have moderate to severe cases of the chickenpox virus. This meant that the longer it had been since the vaccination was given, the worse their illness would be if they contracted the virus at a later age.

It is now recommended that all children receive the vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age and then receive a booster shot at the age of 4 to 6 years. Also, if you have older children who either did not receive the vaccine at all or did not receive a booster, you should make sure to get them a booster shot of the varicella vaccine. Even teenagers and adults should have this booster as well. It will better protect them from chickenpox.

This article is not a replacement for advice from a medical professional. It is best to talk to your doctor or physician about any concerns and about getting the booster shot. Your doctor can answer any questions and further determine, if based on any medical conditions, it would not be wise to get the vaccine.

Information on Chickenpox:
Chickenpox is a virus. The medical term is varicella-zoster virus.

Most people experience chickenpox between the ages of 5 to 9, however, it can be contracted at any age. The older a person is during contraction of the disease, the more severe the illness resulting can be.

Chickenpox is highly contagious. If one family member has contracted it, you can generally assume that all will have it, unless they were vaccinated previously. Transmission occurs through particles in the air, clothing, and bodily secretions, making it very easy to catch.

The symptoms can last up to two weeks. However, a person is contagious from the first five days before a rash occurs and then five days after the rash begins to clear. Generally, once the rash blisters have encrusted, the person is no longer contagious.

Signs and symptoms generally won’t appear until after the person has already had the virus for up to 14 days. They include the rash that looks like a person has insect bites all over their body, weakness, and a mild fever (102 degrees Fahrenheit or less). Some may experience all or none of the symptoms. Some only experience a mild form of the virus. Others will respond more extremely and may even require hospitalization. While rare, death can also occur.

The sores can also become infected with bacteria, so be sure to protect exposed sores with an antibacterial ointment. Other complications, while rare, include brain disorders, dizziness, tremors, encephalitis (brain inflammation), nerve damage, and Reye’s syndrome.

Patients with immune-deficiency diseases such as AIDS, lupus, leukemia, and cancer may experience the most severe complications. Persons taking immune-suppressing drugs also need to protect themselves against varicella-zoster.

Newborns whose mothers experience chickenpox in the third trimester are at a great risk of contracting the virus. If the mother contracts the virus from 5 days before or up to 2 days after the baby’s birth, the infant’s risk of fatality is up to a thirty percent chance.

Sources:
http://www.kidshealth.org/research/chickenpox_booster.html by Steven Dowshen, MD
http://www.medicinenet.com/chickenpox_varicella/article.htm MedicineNet.com

How the Pritkin Diet Compares to Other Weight Loss Programs

The Pritkin diet is not much different from any other healthy weight loss plan. It includes advice to eat healthier, satisfying foods that support your weight loss efforts combined with regular physical activity. It does add in one factor that many diets overlook. That is the power of your mind. The plan was originally developed by Nathan Pritkin in the 1950s. The new Pritkin diet books that you will see were written by his son Robert.

As a fat child and a victim of extremely low-calorie yo-yo diets, as well as a natural health writer, I feel qualified to review this program. After many years of struggling with my weight and uncontrollable cravings, I am finally happy with who I am and how I look. The program that I finally developed for myself is just a little different than the Pritkin diet. I believe that permanent success comes with developing your own program, one that is unique to you.

From the time that I was 14, I was on one diet or another. I convinced myself that the hunger pangs I felt were caused by the fat burning off of my body. As a teenager, I knew very little about the pounds I was losing. Every diet that I tried worked…at least for a little while.

Like most people, when the pounds started to come off, I felt elated and proud for sticking to whatever low-calorie diet I was on. Until I came up with my own program, my greatest success was with the Susan Powter program. You may remember her. She is the author of “Stop the Insanity” and other self-help books.

There is one thing that most diets, whether it is the Pritkin diet, the Zone or anyone of the countless others that are available, have in common. They require you to “think” about what you are eating. You must either count calories, carbs, protein or fat intake. One of the things that they teach people who participate in the complete Pritkin diet is to read labels. They also provide emotional support.

According to some fitness experts, none of these diets works in the long-run. People fall back into their old habits — gain back the weight that they’ve lost, along with a few extra pounds, to make matters worse.

In my opinion, the key to long-term success is to create an eating plan that suits your tastes and your lifestyle. Be sure to get plenty of protein, an element that is missing from the Pritkin diet, as they advise dieters to focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other complex carbohydrates. Protein is filling and it helps your body build muscle, during your work-outs. You may only need to choose lean, less fatty selections, but if you want long-term success, protein is one of the keys.

Source: The Pritkin Weight Loss Breakthrough, by Robert Pritkin

Top 5 New Oral Health Care Products

Your oral health is directly linked to your body’s overall health, having gum diseases can cause your body to get sick and other diseases and in some cases death. Maintaining a good gum and teeth health is important for anyone to stay healthy and prevents you from being sick.

Dentiva

One new product that has revolutionized the market in oral health care products is called Dentiva and is a gum. The great thing about Dentiva is that for an hour it keeps releasing essential oils that you need to fight bacteria build up, whereas ordinary mouthwashes, other gums and mints dissolve too fast to have any effect on killing bacteria. Consuming Dentiva results in healthier gums and teeth, it is designed to be an alternative to mouthwash and should be taken in between your two brushings. Dentiva retails for $6

 

Biotene PBF Mouthwash with Calcium

Biotene PBF Mouthwash is the first mouthwash to dissolve plague biofilm. If Plague is not dissolved it can lead to bacteria build up, tooth decay and other gum diseases. Biotene PBF mouthwash is alcohol free and it contains a proven saliva enzyme that strengthens your own antibacterial system found in saliva. Biotene PBF Mouthwash with calcium retails for $13

Rota-Dent Electrical Toothbrush

The Rota-Dent Electrical Toothbrush is the only toothbrush designed to reach underneath the gum line and in between the teeth with its patented microfilament brush tips. The Rota-Dent is proven to save teeth and brushes with 90,000 filament sweeps per second; it is clinically proven to be as effective as brushing and flossing. It comes with a manufacturers warranty and retails for $120

Tooth Tunes Junior

Tooth Tunes Junior is a toothbrush designed for kids that encourages them to brush their teeth. The toothbrush actually talks, and plays music in their mouth while they are brushing their teeth, they will hear encouraging fraises such as “keep going” or “good job”. The toothbrush comes with a soft brush head that is not replaceable and it includes 3 AAA batteries. Tooth Tunes Junior retails for $10

Squigle Enamel Saver Toothpaste

Squigle Enamel Saver Toothpaste is the perfect toothpaste for the consumer who suffers from canker sores and other gum diseases such as bleeding gums, mouth ulcers, Plaque, tartar and bad breath. The Squigle toothpaste does not contain SLS, which is what dentist and specialist have linked directly to canker sores. Squigle Enamel Saver Toothpaste retails for $8

www.dentist.net

‘Healthy Pizza’ on Its Way

If you, like many people around the world, love pizza but try not to eat to much because is not healthy, there is good news today.

At the University of Maryland, a study has been conducted by the university’s food chemists on one our favourite foods, pizza. The pizza being used is made from whole-grain wheat pizza dough, a much healthier option. The main focus of the study is to try and increase the presence of antioxidants already found in the whole-grain pizza dough. The researchers attempted to achieve this by allowing the dough more time to rise and baking the pizza in a hotter temperature for longer periods of time.

Antioxidants play an important role in our health. There have been a number of findings recently released that support the need to consume antioxidants, as they help to fight against cancers and other diseases. Antioxidants help protect our bodies from free radicals which can damage our cells and trigger cancer.

When Jeffrey Moore, a researcher on the pizza project spoke to Reuters he said, ” The reason that we chose pizza is just because it is a very popular product, not only in the U.S. but worldwide.” “So we thought if we could find ways to improve (its antioxidant) properties, doing this for such a product could have a larger impact on public health.”

However, Moore did point out, that even if they produce a healthier pizza, consumers would need to be weary of cancelling out the good effects with over doing the toppings, such as, loading the pizza with extra cheese, sausage and pepperoni. Moore said, ” It you’re adding back all these other things that have potential negative health consequences, then you’re negating anything that you’re adding in terms of (health) value.”

The British Dietetic Association is also concerned that this new form of pizza will not be fully understood and people will see it as an excuse to include more unhealthy toppings and neglect trying to consume the daily-recommended portions of fruit and vegetables. Jaciqui Lowdon, of the British Dietetic Association said, “I would rather people ate their five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, than ate more pizza.” “This isn’t teaching people about healthy eating.”

The new study findings regarding a healthy pizza were presented at the recent meeting of the American Chemical Society in Chicago.

During the research variables such a baking time, baking temperature and rising time were adjusted in order to discover the best combination for increasing antioxidants in the dough. The best combination was discovered to be longer baking time along with a higher temperature after letting the dough ferment for a long period of time. The research found that by baking the pizza for longer the level of antioxidants rose by 60 percent and that a hotter temperature resulted in an 82 percent rise in antioxidant levels.

The same results would not be possible if standard refined flour is used. This is because the majority of antioxidants are found in whole wheat’s bran and endosperm components. These components are removed from the wheat when it is refined.

According the Reuters the study was not funded by the pizza industry but was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sources
http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSN2638074920070327?pageNumber=3
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6495591.stm
http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/society/health/healthy+pizza+recipe+discovered/333807

How I Will Treat My Health During American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, which will address a major aspect of one’s health. I will tell you some of the health-related things I will plan to do and/or continue to do during this time of American Heart Month. American Heart Month is another of those “cause of the month things” that can at least help me be more cognizant of my health actions. So it’s good that not only are people’s romantic hearts focused in February, but so are their physical hearts.

What I Plan On Doing For My Health During American Heart Month

One of the things I will be doing is getting my regular cholesterol check, God-willing. Because my cholesterol has been nothing to brag about, especially after spending virtually all of my adult life free-basing foods high in saturated fat until the summer of 2007 — that is, until I was advised by my medical provider that I needed to address this issue. I used to go years without getting checks of my cholesterol, but since mid-2007, I’ve been getting it checked regularly to monitor my health better.

For the last year and a half, I’ve been cutting down on saturated fats, but over the last three months especially, I’ve been really striving to eat as little foods that contain saturated fat as possible. As much as I love chocolate, hamburgers, pizza, red meats, etc., which are all high in saturated fats, even when I partake of these, I usually eat extremely small portions. Even the American Heart Association has a link that talks about fats here.

More About My Health And American Heart Month

And of course during American Heart Month in February, I plan on doing my two three-mile runs per day no matter the weather. Exercise is really good for the heart, as again discussed at the American Heart Association’s website here.

I’m not much into volunteering officially for these causes, but at least I strive to follow what is preached by this particular cause to keep my health as good as possible!

Go to the website of the American Heart Association to learn more about how to improve your heart health.

Jett Travolta and the Culture of Judgment

On January 2nd in the Bahamas two people suffered every parent’s worst nightmare, the sudden and unanticipated loss of a child. John Travolta and Kelly Preston’s celebrity status shot the sad news instantly around the world, initially with cautious reports about a seizure, a possible fall, and the diagnosis of Kawasaki’s disease. Amidst the rubbernecking that will invariably accompany a public tragedy, there should be a certain amount of disgust at some untoward public commentary about the private health status of a minor.

The history of speculation about Jett Travolta dates back years. A cursory internet search will reveal scathing assumptions and hurtful comments written previously about Jett and his family. Did Jett in fact have autism? Are the hand movements seen during intrusive paparazzi videos evidence of “stimming”, the repetitive, self-comfort gestures of those at the more severe end of the autistic spectrum? Did Jett instead suffer from Kawasaki’s Disease, an uncommon yet typically treatable early childhood illness, as a result of exposure to toxic carpet cleaning chemicals? Did the globetrotting Travoltas stuff a mainstream medical diagnosis of autism, and the hope that can come with early intervention and consistent treatment, in favor of an offbeat Scientology approach? Inquiring minds want to know.

The teen’s untimely death is sure to summon even more foul remarks from well-intentioned autism advocates, those who are particularly offended by the Church of Scientology, and the merely smug (who are convinced that they have magical parenting skills). Mothers and fathers of children with a serious or controversial illness understand what it is like to juggle the stress of a long battle with the sting of unfair appraisals. Losing a child is suffering enough for any mortal. Adding even one pointed finger is particularly cruel.

The truth is that no one but the Travoltas has the full story about what went on in their lives, and the extent to which they provided appropriate medical management for the child’s health. It is reasonable to assume that with access to world-class doctors and treatment, Jett Travolta’s loving family gave him every chance for the best life possible. What we can know for sure that the number of people eager to judge others (and especially their parenting) is limitless.

Superfood

Are you the busy person who just has no time to stop and fix a meal? Are you a health-oriented person who cares about what goes into their body? Or are you perhaps an older person, or a person with health problems, who has little to no appetite?

There is a product you should try. Odwalla Superfood is a micronutrient fruit juice drink and much more. This drink is a mixture of apple juice and purees of peach, strawberry and mango. Banana is also blended in for its nutrients and flavor. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Superfood contains there are the green foods. Wheat grass, which is super for your colon and bowel health. Barley grass and wheat sprouts add their healthy nutrients to the drink.

Superfood contains 1,000 mg of spirulina per eight ounce serving. With this you get good amounts of micro-nutrients such as beta carotene, vitamin C, iodine and manganese as well as potassium.

This is a one-stop world, and many full-nutrient drinks are becoming popular. Ensure was once more a medical product than anything else. Now the company points its advertising toward the busy person on the go.

Superfood is a great snack. An eight ounce glass has just one hundred and thirty calories, and none of it from sugar, fat, salt or fillers. At first sight Superfood looks very green, green and thick. But from the first taste it is a sweet, fruity, satisfying drink that keeps your hunger under control as well as giving you full servings of fruit and greens.

Wheat grass has until now been a very health-nut food. Many juice stores sell shots of it for $3.00 or more. Wheat grass is excellent for health. When our bowels become full it can uncomfortable and give you nausea and a bloated feeling. While not a pretty subject, your bowels are vital organs. Feces that sits in the intestines can grow rancid and unhealthy.

With Superfood you don’t taste the greens – it isn’t like grazing the south forty. The sweetness of the juice overrides the grassy flavors.

Odwalla puts out Superfood in eight ounce bottles. It also has sixty-four ounce jugs that are code dated for your protection. It is a food that is highly perishable and should be kept in the refrigerator and never left on the counter.

In this hectic world of stress we all need to take care of ourselves better. You could have a bottle of Superfood for a snack, a lunch or a pick-me-up. If you are trying to cut back on soda pop, this is sweet and would substitute nicely, plus giving you a whopping percentage of your daily food needs.

Get More Fiber Without Sacrificing Taste

Fiber is one of those necessary evils that we must add to our diets in order to stay regular and promote good digestive health. Most of us should have about 25 grams of fiber a day in order to encourage proper digestive functionality. But the thought of stirring in bland flax seeds into oatmeal or eating broccoli with every meal isn’t always that appealing. However, there are some simple ways to get more roughage without sacrificing the taste and texture of your favorite foods:

1. Grab a banana in the morning (2.4 grams of fiber). You can eat it alone or cut it up in oatmeal or a fiber-enriched cereal for increased benefits.

2. Order the sweet potato french fries instead of the white potato fries (3.4 grams of fiber). Many restaurants offer these delicious options and they give you an instant fiber boost.

3. Eat more chili (kidney beans have 7.9 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup). Make a chili dog and put it on a whole wheat bun (1.4 grams) and you’ll get nearly half your needed fiber intake for the day!

4. Get popcorn at the movies instead of candy — this natural snack has one gram of fiber per cup.

5. Ask for the brown rice instead of the white rice when you order takeout food (3.5 grams of fiber per cup).

Fiber Differences: Insoluble and Soluble

There are two types of fiber–insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber helps you increase the bulk of your stool, which is ideal for those suffering from constipation or irregular bowel movements. Theses include foods like dark green leafy veggies, fruit skins, whole-wheat breads and corn bran. These make up about 75 percent of our daily intake as a rule.

Soluble fiber can be food-based (such as flax seed, carrots and nuts) or sold as a powder (e.g. Metamucil or Citracel) that transforms into a gel substance once ingested. This type of fiber works in your digetstive tract to ease bowel movements and keep you regular. Soluble fibers account for about 25 percent of our daily intake in general.

The benefits of fiber include regularity and smooth digestion, lowered risks of digestive problems (including colorectal cancer), reduced cholesterol and glucose levels, regulated blood sugar levels and even weight loss. If you have trouble processing fiber (excessive gas or bloating), try a dietary supplement such as Beano for relief. Also, be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water per day to help keep things moving. Citrus fruits like oranges and apples are also excellent sources of fiber and act as catalysts during the digestion process.

References

1. National Cancer Institute. “Trials Show No Effect of Low-Fat, High-Fiber, and High-Fruit and -Vegetable Diets on the Growth of New Colorectal Polyps in People with a History of Precancerous Polyps.” http://www.cancer.gov/newscenter/polyp-prev-diet. Accessed January 3, 2009.

2. Seek Wellness. “Low Cost Fiber Recipes for a Healty Diet.” http://www.seekwellness.com/nutrition/low_cost_high_fiber.htm. Accessed January 3, 2009.