Monday, April 24, 2006

Junk Food... Everywhere You Look...

I was in a large chain pet store last week to load up on food for my dogs (Ripley and Gus in case you were wondering), and as I'm waiting to check out, I'm confronted by stacks of candy and chips.

WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?

This really bugs me.

Why is it that I need a candy bar as I'm waiting to check out?

Why can't I just get a break for 2 seconds while I'm shopping for my dogs?

It frustrates me to no end that whether you're out at the pet store or hardware store, or nowadays any kind of store, you will be faced with a decision. Do I buy the chocolate or chips?

I think we have developed a culture where companies have gotten us addicted to food, the same way tobacco companies got everyone in the mid-20th century addicted to cigarettes. They had them everywhere and glorified the experience. Now, manufacturers are putting junk food everywhere you look.

They create the customer, then sell to them over and over again.

Would it help alcoholics to have beer and wine at the pet store?

How about all of those folks who just quit smoking last week... what would happen if all of the sudden there were cigarette machines at every check-out line?

Food addiction is an incredibly serious problem, and repeated exposure is only going to make matters worse.

Talk to your children about the choices you make, and why you should pass up on these check-out landmines when you see them. Maybe we can avoid creating more food addicted kids...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Calcium Supplements: Not Good Enough

You've walked past them in the grocery store. You've probably even bought them for your family, thinking you're doing a good thing.

Well, evidence published in The Cochrane Library shows that calcium supplements for kids, including calcium-fortified juices and crackers, don't provide any benefit for bone health.

Now, that's not to say that kids shouldn't get calcium.

Quite the opposite.

Kids need calcium, and their needs increase significantly as they reach the pre-teen and teenage years.

What this study means is that you should look to dairy, fruits and vegetables for natural sources of calcium.

Do you have a kitchen stocked with calcium-fortified products?

What do you think? Share your comments!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Trouble for Teen Dieters

A recent study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows that teenage girls who use unhealthy methods to lose weight are much more likely to be overweight down the road.

The study looked at 2,000 girls over time and was conducted by the University of Minnesota.

Girls who used unhealthy weight control measures were also more likely to engage in out-of-control binging, intentional vomiting, and diuretic use.

Very dangerous stuff.

As I stress in my articles, on my websites, and in my book, it is so important to go about managing weight the right way: eating properly, minimizing unnecessary calories, increasing physical activity and fitness, and maintaining a healthy state of mind.

Don't forget that last part. A child's emotional well-being is crucial to long-term success as this study shows.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Latest Child Obesity Stats...

The Journal of the American Medical Association just reported on the latest statistics for child obesity (through 2004)...

  • 17.1% of children aged 2-19 are overweight
  • 32% of adults 20 and above are overweight
  • the prevalence of obesity in girls increased from 13.8% to 16% since 1999
  • the prevalence of obesity in boys increased from 14.0% to 18.2% since 1999
Depressing, huh?

How would you like to make a difference in your child's chances of developing obesity?

Interested?

Click here.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Kick Your Kids Out...

of the house, that is...

Here in Virginia, the weather is finally starting to turn warm again. The weatherman says 76 degrees tomorrow. That means I'm kicking my kids out of the house.

I expect the same from all of you.

Get your children away from the TV and plan activities outside. Go on a picnic or a scavenger hunt (get some practice for Easter egg hunting!).

Take advantage of the low bug population this time of the year and enjoy a sunset walk through the neighborhood with your family.

Get out, get some air, and get healthy.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Less Sleep Leads to Child Obesity?

Researchers publishing a study in the International Journal of Obesity claim that the less your child sleeps, the more likely they are to be overweight.

In a study of 5-10 year olds, researchers in Quebec found that children who got significantly less sleep were much more likely to be overweight.

Their theory is that when a child sleeps less, their hormone production changes to increase hunger.

Very interesting, but more studies will need to be done to confirm this.