How healthy are your children? Are you finding that they are starting to gain more weight than they should? What activities are your children involved in? Do you find they are pretty active and yet are still starting to get heavy?
Children are our future and how healthy they are today will have a direct impact of how healthy they become as adults. There is an alarming rise in obesity amongst children. In fact, childhood diabetes in not only on the rise but it is growing daily. This will lead to additional health issues such as cardiovascular disease, immune issues and much more.
Now is the time to start having a positive impact on your child’s health! You can start by learning about the benefits of building muscle through weight training for your children. Fred Hahn, the author of Strong Kids Healthy Kids, will speak to you about the studies done and how to incorporate weight training into your children’s lives. Not only will your kids love it but so will their bodies.
LISTEN TO THIS PODCASTtitled “Adolescent Obesity & Fitness” to learn how to start having a positive impact on your kids health.
Last week there was a statistic in the Daily Camera about the number of hours people watch TV on average per month. The number astounded me… 151 hours!!! That equates to about 5 hours per day! I just can’t imagine. Not only can’t I imagine, but it has gotten me thinking about the inundation of commercials this puts into our brains. These commercials teach us about eating fast food and taking lots of medications.
When I was in nutrition school in NYC, we had a speaker talking about commercials. Although I can’t remember who exactly it was, the impression he left has not gone away. Basically what he presented was how commercials lure you into thinking that your life is not complete. Companies present you with these idyllic lifestyles, showing people that are healthy and happy. They then indicate this would not be the case if it weren’t for a certain drug or food that the people in the commercial are consuming.
Whether we like it or not, this gets into our subconscious and we start down the path to finding this nirvana that only comes with something outside of ourselves. It is a wonder we are overweight, obese, taking too many medications and generally not healthy? Think about it.
How many hours a day do you watch TV? What do you gain from it?
I would like to challenge you. Buy a little notebook. For at least one week, write down how many hours a day that you sit in front of the tube. Record the shows you watch and mostly record what is being advertised during that time. Then, do the following:
Ask yourself if the show stimulated your brain in some healthy way.
Watch how much you respond to those commercials.
Do you get hungry for some fast food that would have never crossed your mind had you not seen an advertisement for it?
More than that, do you respond?
Do you go out and eat some junk food that not only doesn’t fulfill you but supports you being less than healthy?
Last, do you find yourself thinking that “If only I took that medication I too would feel better!”
Is this the way you want to live your life? Do you want someone else influencing you what to eat and what medications you are told you need to take?
I believe this process will help you to take back control of your own life. Once you see how much marketing can influence your thoughts and actions you may choose to do something different.
Start making a list of things you can do that stimulate your brain, offer you exercise, make you notice the amazing world around us, and provide you with a social setting where you can have great conversation rather than all just staring at the tube together. Once you have your list, start implementing some of those things into your evenings and weekends rather than watching television. I think what you will find will be a richer, more rewarding life that provides you with healthy alternatives to the dreaded marketing gurus on TV!
There are no two ways about it. Our children are getting heavier; some even falling into the category of obese. It is now estimated that one in five children will be overweight by the end of elementary school. According to the Center for Disease Control, one in three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes. In fact, early signs of atherosclerosis are showing up in children by the time they graduate from high school. According to the American Heart Association, studies are indicating that the arterial walls of overweight and obese children looked more like those of a 45 year old person!
This is not right. As you can well imagine, a large portion of these issues are related to poor dietary choices. These choices are being made at home but also through school lunch programs. Unfortunately, a lot of foods that end up in the school lunch programs are based on where the money comes from. For example in 2005, the USDA allocated 60% of food commodity funds to meat, dairy and egg products whereas only 5% of food commodity funds went to fresh fruits and vegetables.
So what can we do about all this? It seems we are all so busy it is just too difficult to imagine doing anything other than letting your kids eat the school lunches and/or running by a fast food restaurant and grabbing something quick. The tragedy in this is that we often don’t really know what is in any of that food.
I decided to interview a busy mom to see how she handles things.
Steph Ryder is a full time mother of 2 that also works part time. She has a great husband that helps when he can but most of the food choices fall to her. Her daughter, Georgina is 6’1” at 14 years old. Needless to say, she plays basketball! She practices three times a week for about two hours each. Her son, Frank is about 5’5” at 11 years old and is a major hockey player. During hockey season, he plays 5 days a week for about an hour per day. Can you imagine just how hungry these kids are???
Here’s what Steph told me:
JW: So what is your basic philosophy?
Steph: I have always cooked at home for the kids. They are used to eating healthy food; in fact they actually hate fast food! Although my life is busy, I make a point of preparing their meals. It really isn’t that difficult. I put something on the grill and have something with it like fresh vegetables and potatoes. I also keep healthy food in the house for snacks after school. Frankie’s favorite snack is a Caesar Salad. So, I always have everything to make that so when he walks in the house it is available.
JW: Do you plan your meals in advance?
Steph: No way! I don’t have time so I mostly fly by the seat of my pants. If I am really rushed, I get a whole roasted chicken and serve it with steamed asparagus and potatoes. I just do stuff that is easy and doesn’t take much time.
JW: Are the kids picky?
Steph: No. They’re used to eating healthy. In fact, if we don’t have a lot of time, I go by Whole Foods and let them pick out what they want to eat.
JW: What do you do for breakfast? For lunch?
Steph: I always cook them breakfast. It always has some kind of protein, like eggs for example. I also always make their lunch. I don’t feel good about what’s available at school so I usually do it myself. I will make them a sandwich with some fruit, maybe chips and always water. I NEVER give them soft drinks!
JW: What about dinner?
Steph: They often have practice shortly after school so we tend to eat dinner late afternoon. As I said earlier, I usually throw something on the grill. Then when they get home later they might have another snack. I always keep eggs in the house. Georgina loves an egg on a bagel. Then, on Sunday’s we always eat dinner together as a family. I think this is really important.
JW: Do you eat out?
Steph: Hardly ever! I don’t trust what is in the food. Besides it is much cheaper to eat at home, even with eating really good food. For example, I don’t like them to eat meat out because you just don’t know what you are getting. I don’t want them to get all those hormones and antibiotics that are in a lot of meat! Also, I try to buy organic whenever possible.
JW: Anything else you would like to share?
Steph: Eating healthy really isn’t that hard. It doesn’t take that long to prepare. I think it’s easy. Also, if we do ever eat out, we never let the kids order off the children’s menu. The food is always fried! Instead we have them pick a main course and split it between them. This was the case when they were younger. Also, just to emphasize it, I always give them lots of water to drink. I don’t buy junk. Oh and I just realized they haven’t been side once this year!
JW: Would you like to share any of your easy recipes?
For a fast vegetable dish I sauté zucchini, yellow squash, sweet onion and mushrooms in a little olive oil. Then, right before I serve it, I drizzle a little balsamic glaze over it. The kids love it!
I also make a corn dish that they love. I sauté sweet corn (frozen organic) and onion in a little butter and thyme. I then cut up a chipotle pepper and add it along with a little of the adobe sauce it comes in. It has a great spicy taste.
In the winter I make a lot of soups and dishes in the crock pot. Those are so easy and can be made ahead of time.
JW: Thanks for taking the time to share all this with me.
Dr. David Katz is the Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Health Practice and formerly the Director of Medical Studies in Public Health at the Yale University School of Medicine.He designed the presentation titled Nutrition Detectives to assist parents and teachers in the education of health and nutrition for children.The slide presentation helps teach children (and adults!) how to read labels and find out the good as well as bad ingredients in packaged foods.The information is easy to understand and fun to learn.It will offer your children valuable tools to make healthy choices.
Well, Dr. Katz and his colleagues conducted a survey in Missouri to determine the positive effects of making better food choices.They surveyed students in the second, third, and fourth grade and here’s what they found:
“For Nutrition Detectives™, we found a statistically significant improvement in scores (a 22% improvement in nutrition knowledge) of intervention school students, with students in third grade showing the largest improvement. We also found a statistically significant improvement (a 13% improvement in nutrition knowledge) in scores among the parents of these students. So we have evidence we can not only teach kids to be ‘clued in’ to health, we can get the message home to Mom and Dad as well!”
If you haven’t yet watched it, here is your chance. Watch it now!
Kiwi Landry is a lovely young woman of 17 years.She just returned from competing in the 2009 Bishnu Ghosh Cup, a Bikram Yoga competition held in Los Angeles February 6 – 8, 2009.This interview took place right before she headed out for the competition:
KIWI–I started Bikram Yoga in January or February of 2008 but didn’t begin to have a regular 5 day a week practice until September of 2008. So I generally say about 10 months.
JW–What got you interested/started in the first place?
KIWI–My mom got me in started in Bikram’s. She had been doing it for a year and was really into it. I went and did my first class but felt so good after that I went back again!
JW–What positive changes have you found in your body? What about in your overall health?
KIWI–This yoga has done so much for my body. I’ve always been slender but after getting a regular practice I lost some weight and really toned my muscles. I felt stronger and more energized. I started sleeping better. I gained endurance which translated to other parts of my life. My overall health also improved. I don’t get sick as often and when I do the cold or whatever doesn’t escalate as far and I come back from it a lot faster than I ever have before.
JW–Has this changed the way you eat? If so, in what ways?
KIWI–This definitely changed the way I eat. In the beginning it didn’t as much and I still ate a lot of junk. I always get really hungry after class. Now though, I’ve found that my body feels so much better during and after class if I eat healthier. I no longer drink soda, I try to stay away from food with lots of sugar and tend to only eat food with natural fat. I’m hungrier more often so I eat more protein.
JW–Do you feel it has made a difference in your school studies? Things like are you able to concentrate better? Memory is greater?
KIWI–The yoga has affected my school studies. I can study and focus on subjects for longer periods of time especially the ones I struggle with. I’m not strong in sciences but after starting yoga I’ve had more patience to push through the parts that I don’t understand. In other words, I have more endurance. Yoga has also given me the personal strength to ask questions in class. I hate not understanding something and it frustrates me. Doing yoga however has given me the ability to recognize my weaknesses and accept them so I can improve in those areas. It’s really helped in school.
JW–Would you recommend Bikram’s to other teens? Why?
KIWI – I would recommend Bikram Yoga to everybody, especially teens. Being younger gives you such an advantage in class. Naturally you’re more flexible. Your body will adapt faster and get stronger quicker. Being a teen you can gain more endurance quickly and realign your body with less pain and time. Doing Bikram Yoga as a teen everything happens faster! It also helps with school and gives you so much in your life, school, sports and even social life.
If you aren’t too sure exactly what is healthy to eat, start with watching this FREE ONLINE SEMINAR.