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Friday, May 9th, 2014
Over the years we have heard a lot about the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States. But Fed Up, a new documentary produced and narrated by Katie Couric, suggests that we’ve been battling this disease in all the wrong ways.
Instead of blaming a lack of will power and pushing kids to exercise more, Fed Up puts the responsibility squarely on the sugary processed foods so many kids and families rely on for their daily nutrition.
The doc follows four overweight children who are struggling with their weight, and, frankly, it’s heartbreaking. These kids desperately want to be healthy and accepted by the other students at school. They are afraid of getting diabetes or cancer or even dying young. But they are confronted at every turn—at school, at home, on TV, and online—by the foods that are making them fat. As one of the kids says, alcoholics don’t have to keep liquor in the house, but everyone needs to eat.
Here are just a few of the shocking things I learned while watching:
A calorie is not a calorie. One hundred and sixty calories of almonds is not equal to 160 calories of soda. One provides healthy fats, vitamins, and fiber. The other is absorbed instantly by the liver and turned immediately to fat. Guess which is which.
Based on lab studies, sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine. For this reason alone parents should go easy on the added sugars given to babies and toddlers. The more sugar kids consume at this age, the more they’ll crave it as they grow up.
In 1980 there were no reported cases of Type 2 diabetes in the U.S. In 2010, that number was 57,638.
There are 600,000 packaged food items in America. Eighty percent of them contain added sugar. As Dr. Robert Lustig recently told Parents, naturally occurring sugars in fruits are perfectly healthy since they come with fiber to balance it out. But most added sugars enter our bodies with little fiber and go straight to our liver where they’re turned into fat.
One can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar, and 80% of America’s public schools have a deal with Coke or Pepsi. Mark Bittman, New York Times columnist, calls soda “the cigarettes of the 21st century.”
When it comes to school lunches the federal government considers tomato paste a vegetable; thus a slice of pizza can help meet a lunch’s produce requirement. I love pizza, but it doesn’t look like a vegetable to me.
It is possible to be “TOFI”, or thin on the outside and fat on the inside. Meaning, thin people who eat junk food are still at risk for major health problems.
What does this mean for me and you and our families? The prescription is simple: eat more real food. Cook at home and rely less on processed foods that are typically sugar-laden and nutrient-poor. Home-cooked food doesn’t need to take a long time or be fancy. Here are some of my favorite recipes from Parents.com:
• Get recipes for three weeks of easy, weeknight dinners, plus a grocery list.
• Try a stir-fry kids will love.
• Make ahead parts of your meal for easy family dinners.
Fed Up opens in movie theaters today. Learn more about the film and how we can feed our kids better.
Image via Fed Up
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Wednesday, October 31st, 2012
Videos Reduce Children’s Anxiety Prior to Surgery
Research has found that having children watch a video immediately prior to surgery can reduce their anxiety during anesthesia induction, the most stressful time for children throughout the perioperative process. (via Science Daily)
Homelessness, High Mobility Threaten Children’s Achievement
Children who are homeless or move frequently have chronically lower math and reading skills than other low-income students who don’t move as much. (via Science Daily)
Closing Schools During Flu Outbreaks May Lessen ER Visits
A new U.S. government study suggests that during a serious flu epidemic, closing schools can keep people – especially kids – out of the ER. (via Reuters)
Kids Who Smoke Menthol More Likely to Get Hooked
Kids who experiment with menthol cigarettes are more likely to become habitual smokers than their peers who start out with the regular variety, new research findings suggest. (via Reuters)
Overweight and Smoking During Pregnancy Boost Risk of Overweight Kids
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Moms who carry too much weight and/or who smoke during pregnancy increase the risk of having overweight kids, indicates a systematic analysis of the available evidence published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. (via Science Daily)
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Friday, April 27th, 2012
Lawyer: Autistic Boy’s Teacher Didn’t Call Him ‘Bastard’
The former teacher of an autistic boy allegedly mistreated by staff at a New Jersey school did not call him “a bastard” or make other harsh comments that were secretly recorded by the child’s father, her lawyer said in a statement.
Mexican Woman Pregnant With Nine Babies, Report Says
A Mexican woman is pregnant with nine babies – six girls and three boys – the country’s main broadcaster Televisa reported on Thursday night.
Missing Children in U.S. Nearly Always Make it Home Alive
Anxiety over two cases of missing children in the news this week – New York’s Etan Patz and Arizona’s Isabel Mercedes Celis – masks an encouraging development in the search for U.S. boys and girls who disappear: More than 99 percent now return home alive.
Can Addictive Behaviors Be Predicted in Preschool?
Children’s behavior at age 3 offers some surprising clues about their risk of developing addictive behaviors like problem gambling or drug misuse in their 30s, according to data from an ongoing study of nearly 1,000 people in New Zealand.
Colicky Babies May Be Having Early Migraines
Frequent, unexplained crying in infants, known as colic, may be an early sign of migraine headaches, a new study suggests.
Bullied Children at Greater Risk for Self-Harm
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Children who are bullied are three times more likely than others to self-harm by the time they are 12 years old, according to a new study.
Monday, November 14th, 2011
Breast-Milk Shortage Hits Milk Banks; Tiniest Babies at Risk
Got milk? Human milk banks are experiencing an unprecedented breast-milk shortage, forcing them to turn away babies in need.
Doctors See Surge in Newborns Hooked on Mothers’ Pain Pills
Medical authorities are witnessing explosive growth in the number of newborn babies hooked on prescription painkillers, innocent victims of their mothers’ addictions.
Is Daylight Savings Time Making Kids Fat?
UK researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University College London reveal that not changing the clocks could give children more daylight time to play outside, which is crucial in fighting obesity.
Online Bullying Rampant Among Teens, Survey Finds
Twenty-five percent of teens on social media sites have had an experience that resulted in a face-to-face argument or confrontation with someone, according to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the Family Online Safety Institute and Cable in the Classroom.
Babies Put on Transplant List Before Birth Get Hearts Faster
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Unborn babies diagnosed with severe heart problems who are put on the heart transplant list before birth get new hearts more quickly than babies listed after birth, according to a new study.
Wednesday, June 29th, 2011
1 in 3 high schoolers who use drugs, alcohol, cigarettes are addicted
Nearly half of all U.S. high school students currently smoke, drink or use other drugs, and a third of users meets the medical criteria for addiction, according to a report out Wednesday. (MSNBC)
New Federal Baby Crib Standards in Effect
Citing 12 million crib recalls since 2007 and dozens of infant deaths related to crib accidents, Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that “the toughest crib standards” in the world took effect this week. Faulty hardware, breaking slats and dangerous drop-side design flaws in baby cribs have spurred the recalls over the years. But Madigan says new standards will make the flaws a thing of the past. “It’s taken too long for this day to come. There are 32 infants who died in dangerous cribs that the Consumer Product Safety Commission confirmed died because of the flaws in these cribs. That is far too many deaths,” said Madigan. (CBS)
Vaccines Protect the Youngest Babies
Two new studies offer good news for newborns and children about two different vaccinations — flu vaccine for pregnant women, and rotavirus vaccine for infants. (New York Times)
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