Today is President Obama’s 50th birthday, and we’re feeling patriotic. Check out this cute kid commemorating the legacy of Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy, and more legendary U.S. Presidents by their most famous quotes. His imitation of Nixon is scarily spot-on!
When it comes to your child’s report card, the higher the score the better, right? Maybe higher is better when it comes to science or social studies, but when it comes to kids’ weight, being the top of his class is a cause for concern. In recent years several states have tried to lower childhood obesity rates by sending kids home with “weight scores,” or BMI information, on their reportcards.
BMI, or body mass index, is a number derived from a formula using your height and weight (calculate your or your child’s BMI here). Since high BMIs among children have tripled over the last decade , obesity prevention is more of a hot-button issue in schools than ever. But even while American kids grow ever larger, parents remain uninformed: 84 percent of American parents think their kid are at a healthy weight, but almost one-third are in fact overweight or obese, found a recent survey from the Trust for America’s Health. “Weight report cards” were intended as a way to raise awareness among parents whose children were obese or at risk of becoming obese. Many schools have included letters of recommendation to parents of obese or overweight kids along with their children’s report cards, dispensing diet and exercise tips and professional referrals to help their kids get healthy.
The trend started in 2004, when Arkansas passed a law that required all 450,000 public-school children be measured for height and weight and sent home with BMI reports. Since then, Massachusetts, New York, California and even Malaysia have followed suit.
But a new study shows weight report cards may not score so high when it comes to effectiveness. In the last decade almost all public schools in California collected weight and height information for their students, but only some schools chose to send the results to parents. Dr. Kristine A. Madsen of the University of California-San Fransisco studied the long-term effects of weight reports by comparing weight loss results of children whose parents were notified of their weight problem to those who were simply measured at school. The findings, reported in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, show that kids who were sent home with weight reports cards lost no more significant weight than those who were not.
Right now, medical professionals are divided over whether or not schools should screen kids for BMI: the Institute of Medicine recommends the practice as long as parents are notified, but the Center for Disease Control and the American Heart Association say there isn’t enough evidence to prove it’s an effective idea.
What do you think—should your child be measured for BMI at school, and should you be notified if he’s overweight or obese?
Country superstar (and mom-to be!) Jewel may be busy tearing up the music world, but she still finds time to add a little lift to women in need. She has teamed up with Bravado designs to donate 2600 nursing bras and tank tops to Baby Buggy, a non-profit organization that provides families with essential equipment, food, clothing, and instruction for infants and children.
The bras Jewel plans to donate come in a wide variety of colors, styles, and shapes, and are tailored for each stage of pregnancy and nursing, from pregnancy to post-baby. Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, Mariah Carey, and many more celebs swear on Bravado bras, and now their magic will be available to needy nursing moms everywhere, thanks to Jewel’s generous donation.
Baby Buggy will distribute the bras through 50+ community-based organizations. Each month, the organizations submit requests for items that the families they serve need, and Baby Buggy does their best to fill each request. The organization has donated 2.3 million diapers, 6200 cribs, 5100 strollers, and 2200 high chairs, among millions of other supplies. Now they’ll have one more item to add to their list–thousands of functional, fashionable nursing bras, brought to you by one of the world’s biggest country stars!
Over the last few weeks, Europe has seen a particularly nasty outbreak of E.Coli, a common bacteria that in some strains can cause serious food poisoning. Some of the people affected were children, and their plight got us thinking about how to keep our food safe. Here are five tips for food poisoning prevention:
1. Use a meat thermometer to make sure your meat is cooked properly. Ground beef and pork should be cooked until it’s 160 degrees, while fish, steaks and roasts should be cooked to 145. Cook chicken and turkey until it’s 165 degrees.
2. If you’re served undercooked meat in a restaurant, send it back and ask for a new plate. If you’re unsure that any food you’ve bought or cooked is prepared, stored, or cooked safely, don’t taste it to make sure—just throw it out.
3. Wash all produce thoroughly before eating, even if you plan to peel it. And that’s not the only thing you need to wash! Whenever you’ve handled raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs, wash your hands, the knife you used, and your cutting board, as well as any other surfaces the food has touched. Use warm, soapy water—not dish soap. Plastic cutting boards are easier to wash than wooden ones.
4. Don’t thaw your food at room temperature. Instead, thaw it in the fridge (or use your microwave’s “defrost” or “50 percent power” setting) and eat it as soon as you take it out. Your fridge should be at a temperature of 40 degrees or below. If you’ve frozen something and then thawed it, don’t freeze it again. Put perishable foods in the fridge or freezer within two hours of buying them.
5. Keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods. This doesn’t just apply to your cooking surface, but to your fridge and grocery cart, too. This prevents ready-to-eat foods from getting contaminated.
Just because your kids are out of school for the summer doesn’t mean they can’t keep learning! If you’re starting to feel like lazy summer days are frying their brains, check out Wonderopolis.org.
It’s an awesome new website that makes learning fun for kids—and sparks creativity for the whole family. Wonderopolis, started by the National Center for Family Literacy last October, helps parents and teachers make kids’ worlds a little brighter through the power of discovery, creativity, learning and imagination. Every day Wonderopolis posts a new “wonder”, or a curious question meant to make learning fun and practical. Each Wonder of the Day covers a clever topic that parents and kids can put to use together with activities, vocabulary words and videos.
Through the Wonders of the Day, kids learn why flamingos are pink, what makes Jell-O jiggle and how fish can breathe underwater, and along the way they learn to think critically and use their imaginations. Your child can even use the site to learn about world news and events, too, with wonders such as “Where is Tornado Alley?” and “What are the ‘Ides of March?’”
This summer Wonderopolis is launching Camp What a Wonder, a free virtual camp that engages families in imaginative learning while school’s out of session. Check out the site every Thursday from June 23 to August 11 and you and your child can explore and discover tons of “wonders” about nature.
Next time you have a free hour with your kids, be sure to check it out! You can connect with Wonderopolis on Facebook or Twitter, too.
In this sweltering heat, kids everywhere–and their parents–are making a beeline for the freezer aisle. But don’t buy that giant tub of Ben & Jerry’s just yet. Instead, try making a frozen treat at home; it’s easy, cheap, and it makes a great activity for antsy kids with summer-vacation fever. Try these kid-friendly DIY recipes for ice-cold sweets this summer:
Ice Cream in a Bag Ingredients 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons rock salt
1 pint-size plastic sandwich bag
1 gallon-size plastic freezer bag
1. Fill the large bag halfway with ice, add the rock salt, and seal the bag.
2. Put the milk, sugar and vanilla in the small bag, and seal.
3. Place the small bag inside the large bag, and seal the large bag again.
4. Shake for about 5 minutes until the mixture in the small bag
becomes ice cream.
recipe adapted from Kaboose