Archive | Diet and Nutrition

Protecting Children From Obesity

The prevalence of child obesity is at a rise and has tripled for the last 30 years. Children are becoming less active these days that they prefer to watch tv all day or play video games. Their eating habits doesn’t help as well as they prefer to eat deep fried foods instead of healthy vegetables. If this will go on, we are looking at a future generation of unhealthy individuals prone to heart diseases and other lifestyle conditions.

Defining Obesity

Gaining an additional 2 to 3 pounds does not classify someone as obese. Although if a person gains weight easily he or she is at risk of obesity and should start thinking of diet modification and exercise. A child will be considered as an obese if he exceeds 10 percent of his recommended weight based on his age, height and body type. A person who is obese as an adult has most likely suffered from being an obese in childhood.

Causes of Obesity

There are many factors causing obesity and can range from genetic, behavioral, cultural and biological. However an individual doesn’t get obese in a short time therefore it is the lifestyle and eating habit of a person that influences obesity the most. In children, if the parents are not practicing or promoting a healthy eating lifestyle the kids may adapt it till they grow up to be adults. Here are some specific causes that can increase children’s obesity.

  • Overeating or binging – the body is already full but the child continues to eat
  • Lack of exercise – couch potato lifestyle, children who watch tv or play video games all day
  • Family history – there is a 50% chance of child obesity if both parents are obese
  • Low self esteem – frustration and unsolved feelings of conflict is displaced through eating
  • Medical illness – 1% of obesity in children is caused by some other endocrine or neurological medical condition

Teens are prone to obesity because they undergo series of changes in their body emotionally and physically. Some adolescents who cannot cope with peer pressure and stress from school tend to fall into depression thus causing overeating or binging. Children who grow up without proper nourishment from healthy servings of food on the dinner table may grow up to be obese adults.

Parents play a significant role in preventing children obesity. What parents do and serve to their children determines what their children’s eating habits. Serving healthy snacks such as fruits and yogurt to replace chips and fried French fries can definitely make a difference. Planning meals on a weekly basis will avoid the need to grab take out or order pizza for dinner. Increasing physical activity will also help in losing those excess pounds from an increased caloric intake. Parents should encourage their children to play outdoor sports or join summer camps to avoid the couch potato lifestyle.

If a child’s obesity is caused by an underlying medical condition then consult a doctor to best manage the disease and work around being on the normal weight appropriate for your child’s age to avoid other complications such as heart diseases and diabetes.

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Helping Your Overweight Child to Weigh Normal

Over the years the children who are obese are growing by the number. This may not come as a shock anymore as many kids are engaged in playing video games and watch television all day long rather than engaging in sports and playing outside. Parents are also very busy to prepare nutritious foods for their children making these kids eat junk foods that are readily available. That is why it is to no wonder why the children of today weigh heavier as compared to the children who are born ten or twenty years ago.

Some parents think that when their child is heavy, it means he is healthy. On the contrary, child obesity is linked to a lot of diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and certain cancers. The earlier you control your child and correct his weight, the greater chances he has in preventing the occurrence of those diseases mentioned above.

Here are some of the ways on how you can help your overweight child to weigh normal:

  • Weigh your child and tell him what his normal weight should be. When your child knows how heavy he should weigh, he will know how to control his appetite.
  • Set realistic goals with your child. As much as possible let your child decide on how much weight he needs to lose and what diet regimen he should be into.
  • In a calm and friendly manner inform your child about the harmful effects that obesity can do to his health. Make sure that your child understands your point without giving him fear.
  • Prepare healthy foods at home. When you want your child to weigh normal, the foods served at home should be healthy as much as possible, fatty foods should be eliminated. Modify your menu so that your child won’t feel left alone thinking that he is the only one eating vegetables and other healthy dishes.
  • Exercise together. Every day you can have a thirty minute walk around the neighborhood at a time where both of you are free. During weekends you can also plan different sport activities together with the rest of the family like cycling and having ballgames at the park. You are like hitting two birds at one stone by doing these; you are encouraging your child to exercise plus you are having bonding moments with the family.
  • Prepare his lunch and snacks for school. Make sure that the foods you are preparing are less in fat. Try other food preparations that are healthy yet it still makes the food of your child tasty. Instead on frying, you can try grill or steam in cooking. In making sandwiches for snacks, use dressings that are low in fat.
  • Limit dining out to fast food restaurants at least twice in a week. Yes the foods served at most fast food restaurants are unhealthy, but your child needs to have a break too. They also need to be like other children who miss eating burgers and fries. Just tell your child that eating these foods once in a while is okay just as long he doesn’t go for second serving and added dressings.
  • Weigh your child weekly. In this way both of you will know if he is progressing in achieving his goals or not. If he is losing weight, give him rewards. A simple hug and words saying that you are proud of him will surely make him happy. If he did not lose weight, comfort him and tell him not to give up. Children can be depressed when their goals are not met so it is best to reassure them that they can achieve them next time.

Your role as a parent is really very important in having your child maintain a healthy weight. Your child’s health greatly affects how you advocate being healthy in the family.

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Healthy Lunch Box Ideas for Kids

Children are naturally picky eaters. That is why most homemakers have a hard time in making their younger children eat nutritious foods. Parents most especially mothers face daily challenges in feeding their children especially when at this time food jabbing is very common.

The real challenge comes when the child is about to enter the big school. If the child refuses to eat healthily at home when you can supervise his meals then there would be a bigger problem during lunch time in school. But parents need not to worry much; feeding healthy lunch to young children is not that hard at all. All you need to do is to catch your child’s taste buds even if it means that you will be serving nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables.

The following are some of the healthy lunch box ideas for your kids:

  • Plan your meals. Children do not like repeated food every day. Make sure that your recipes are up to date so that they will be excited to eat the food you have prepared come lunch time in school.
  • Make sure that you don’t repeat the same set of meals in a given week. Children get bored easily and that is the same with food. See to it that the menu you had for Monday won’t be repeated the next day so that your child won’t get tired of the food you are preparing.
  • All the lunch you should prepare should be complete with the food groups like protein and carbohydrates. You can prepare a sandwich with lean meat, mixed with vegetables and dress it to your child’s preference. That is an example of a complete meal that is healthy. When there is dressing the child won’t be able to notice that there is vegetable so he is able to eat together with the sandwich.
  • Children love finger- foods because it makes them think that they are eating chips and other crackers. Make small sized meatballs so that they can eat using their fingers while chatting with their friends. To make your meatballs healthier, you can grate vegetables like carrots and mix on the ground meat before forming them into balls. This will be a healthy meal that they will love to eat during lunch time at school.
  • Ask suggestion from your child on what types of food does he like to have for lunch. In this way you are sure that he will eat what you have prepared. If your child likes a not so healthy dish, then bargain with your child. Tell him that he will have the food that he wants to eat when he also eats vegetables or other healthy dishes you have prepared.

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Nourishing a Sick Kid

Probably one of the most heart-wrenching moments for parents is to witness their child suffering from an ailment. However, despite any amount of protection a very concerned parent does, a child will eventually get sick. This condition, for the most part, is just a phase everyone has to go through and is definitely normal. As parents though, it is our utmost responsibility to ensure that everything goes smoothly in spite of the difficulty of the situation.

When your child is sick, you may want to isolate him in a room separate from you and his siblings. If your kid has been used to sharing a bed or a room with someone else in the family, it is best to gently explain to him that he might share his disease with the other person. That way, he is assured that he has not done something wrong.

The room should be, as much as possible, immaculately clean and devoid of any sort of microorganism. Additionally, it is very important to be able to facilitate good ventilation by opening the windows or door to make room for air exchange but while you do such changing, make sure that your child is covered with woolen blankets to avoid possible exposure to colds and drafts. Also, be very aware that your child is so sensitive that it would be better to choose a room that is away from the noisiest area of the house and that the light should be dimmed or softened as it may irritate or hyperstimulate the child.

It will also help your child psychologically if you still allow him to have his security blanket like a stuff toy or may be a special pillow. Let him be in his most comfortable pajamas. This way, if in case you will have to render a sponge bath, it would be easier for both of you. Never forget to leave a thermometer in the room as well as a receptacle or bin to throw his used tissues and another separate one just in case something unexpected happens.

Primarily, it is very important to feed your child but do not expect and force him to eat with a good appetite; it will work for both of you if you give small frequent feedings distributed throughout the day. If he cannot tolerate solid foods, liquids like chicken broth are fine as it also contains minerals like potassium and sodium that replenish the lost electrolytes in one’s body especially during episodes of diarrhea.

Feeding can be quite a challenge but nutrition and hydration are very important to prevent further complications. A kid over one year old should be able to drink at least three ounces of liquid per hour. Giving your child his favorite drink perhaps is a good solution if oral rehydration solutions do not really appeal to him but then, take note that sugary drinks and foods should be avoided as much as possible.

You can always make use of chicken broth by cooking chicken leftovers, onions, carrots and celery in a pot of water. Noodles can also be an option and a warm lemonade or tea with honey can be soothing. As your child’s condition improves, then you  can further give him banana, applesauce and crackers not to mention his favorite vegetable or fruit.

Ultimately, the best way to take care of your child when he is sick is to spend quality bonding time. And then always watch out for any untoward symptoms and call your doctor immediately.

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Water Quality: Is Your Drinking Water Free From Toxins?

As concerned mothers of a dynamic world, we are faced with lots of problems especially when it comes to the environment our precious children have to face. Not only that, we are constantly bombarded with several disturbing issues about the food our families ingest as well as the water our family drinks.

Proof to these are several advertisements that have mushroomed over the past years promising products that will cleanse our water and give us the freshest, cleanest and most sterilized water to serve in our glasses ready to quench the thirst that we and our children feel.

So, to be able to determine if the quality of the water you are drinking is compromised, you should start by dialing that phone and contacting your water supplier or your local health department to ask for a copy of water treatment reports. If the water is treated often revealing satisfactory results, then, you should not worry a lot. However, if you sense and see some previous violations, it is good to be on the look out. In addition, you should also be wary of any possible health hazards in your area specially lead that can possibly gain entry between the treatment plant and your faucet.
You can also let an independent laboratory check your water facilities. Other than that, the national laboratory also provides services for water analysis. Instructions will be sent to you with a sampling kit you will be using to check on possible toxins that are harmful. Apart from that, the presence of any microorganism will also be evaluated.
If you use water from deep down; from a well, you can employ different assessment strategies. Lead, mercury, copper, arsenic and radon should be checked especially if suspected. Additionally, harmful microorganisms with relatively high colony numbers, pesticide and gasoline should also be tested.

Remember that the source of water should be the first area to be checked as it is useless to check your faucet or your filtering system if something is already wrong with your water source.

It is also noteworthy to be checking on the filtering system that you are using. Check for any expiration date and make sure that any leak or any problem that you encounter should be immediately reported to the manufacturer. Otherwise, you are agin putting your family at risk. As a mother, you should be aware that drinking water should be stored in cool and dark places. Plastic containers are fine although the bottles should be checked. This is because some chemicals in the plastic break down and leak when they are exposed to light. Never reuse plastic bottles. The reuse of such have been linked to infertility because of the presence of Bisphenol A and Phthalates.

The longterm effect of having toxins in your drinking water boils down to cancer. There are several accounts of cases that have been proven in the end.

In the end, what you really would want is to get that satisfaction of giving your child the benefits of great tasting water with the wondrous healing effects.

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5 Ways to Prevent Kid Obesity

Obesity is a serious matter that can no longer be over looked. A great number of children in all parts of the globe, most especially in the United States are overweight and obese. This problem is extremely dangerous, apart from causing body image issues and disturbances, obesity can also lead to life threatening health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Children who are obese and extremely overweight are at high risk for developing bone and joint disease, asthma, sleeping disorders and depression. Obese children are good targets for frequent bullying and teasing in school. Often times, they’re misjudged and stereotyped as being lazy and greedy because of their physical appearance and size. For a child who has a few extra pounds and weight, growing up becomes even more difficult. There are a few factors that contribute to obesity in children. The choice of physical activities the child does is one of them. If a child prefers sitting in the couch and watching TV or playing video games for long hours rather than going outside and playing active games and sports, he becomes sedentary and overweight. Children who exercise less tend to gain more weight compared to those children who exercise regularly.

Another cause of obesity is the consumption of food items that contains high amounts of fat and sugar. During these times, there is an abundance of fast food and junk food. Children prefer eating these types instead of healthy items like fruits and vegetables. Children are also fond of drinking lots of soda instead of milk or water. The quantity of food being consumed by children is significantly higher compared to the children 20 to 30 years ago.

The thing about obesity is that it does not happen overnight but instead it develops gradually. It is also one of the most preventable conditions with the right lifestyle, diet and exercise. Here are 5 ways to prevent obesity in children.

  1. Encourage Healthy Eating Habits – Eating a well-balance meal with sufficient amounts of nutrients, calories, vitamins and minerals is very important. Avoid too much empty calories, fat and sugar in the diet. Encourage healthy items like fruits and vegetables. Once the child feels full, let him stop eating, over-eating will definitely lead to obesity.
  2. Help Children Exercise – A sedentary lifestyle leads to obesity. Encourage children to play outside, instead of playing video games. Introduce him to fun outdoor activities like hide and seek and dodge ball. These games will let the child exercise while having fun at the same time.
  3. Emphasize the importance of a healthy body weight and body image – Teaching children about the right body weight for their age and height is the first step in preventing obesity. Helping children achieve a healthy body weight while making them feel comfortable and accepting about the bodies that they have is very important.
  4. Be a good role model – Show your children that you can also practice what you preach. Join them, in eating healthy and exercising regularly. Be a good example that you too are conscious about maintaining a healthy weight.
  5. Be Positive – For obese children to act on their weights, the parent’s approach must be very accepting and positive. Parents must love their children unconditionally.

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Children From Post Gastric Surgery Are At Risk For Eating Disorders

Childhood obesity is becoming more and more of a national concern, particularly in the United States. In fact, it is such a huge issue, that Mrs. Obama, US first lady, has recently spear-headed an anti-childhood obesity action plan. In 1997, 5025% of children in the US were clinically obese and the numbers have been rising since then.

Childhood obesity is defined as an excessive accumulation of fats in a child’s body (more than 25% in boys, and more than 32% in girls). It is diagnosed using skinfold measures instead of height versus weight standards. Skinfolds of the triceps and calves with 10-25mm thickness is what is considered acceptable for boys, whereas 16-30mm is the norm for girls.

Although there is always the possibility that an obese child may grow into a healthy adult, chances are unlikely, especially when childhood obesity is not controlled. Childhood obesity is the leading cause of hypertension and type 2 Diabetes in children. Young ones have increased risks of developing heart diseases and joint diseases caused by increased weight and stress. Moreover, obese children have problems with low self-esteem, poor social life and relationships with peer, and other psychological setbacks.

To stop obesity in its tracks, gastric bypass surgery is often the go-to solution. This is, of course, after less invasive treatments such as intensive diet management, physical activity and behavioral modification have been tried but to no avail.

The surgery involves dividing the stomach into two parts, the upper which receives food, and the lower which combines food with enzymes and acids to break it down even further. The smaller upper part of the stomach is then connected to the middle portion of the small intestine, bypassing the lower stomach end and the upper end of the small intestine which is largely responsible for nutrient and calorie absorption.

How does the surgery prevent obesity and weight gain? First, the stomach pouch becomes smaller – it can only hold very little food. Secondly, the food does not pass through enzyme-assisted breakdown, and it does not pass through the part of the intestine where nutrients and calories are absorbed. Therefore, the body will have very little nutrients and calories to use, and there will be no calories to store as fats.

Many experts agree that the effects of bariatric surgery in children are more of a psychological nature than physiologic. Children face feelings of disconnection to food, frustration for not being able to eat as much as they used to, and still experience confusion at their altered body images and live in fear that they could once again be fat. Without intimate and wholesome care, children may ultimately develop eating disorders as an effect of gastric bypass surgery for weight loss.

How does this happen? When the child, post-operatively, eats, he or she might vomit as a result of the small stomach pouch “spitting” out excess food. At first, it may become very upsetting for the child, but as he or she begins to like his or her new body image, he or she also begins to appreciate vomiting because it is associated with the idea of “not gaining any weight”. Later on, he or she begins to induce vomiting even after a nice meal. This practice characterizes the classic Bulimia.

After a gastric surgery, a child may also develop a complete fear of food, because he or she associates it with weight gain and getting fat. As a result, he or she will refuse to eat and may deliberately go hungry just to avoid gaining a pound. After a while, the child becomes immune to feelings of hunger.

There’s another unclassified disordered eating habit, wherein a child, wanting to taste food, will chew it, but will spit it out. This may eventually lead to anorexia or bulimia.

Invasive procedures such as pediatric gastric surgeries aren’t the best solution for childhood obesity. The cure starts with prevention, and prevention is a healthy diet, enough exercise and positive upbringing.

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Coping with Chickenpox

It’s the summertime and most children spend all afternoon playing outside with their friends. But if in the last few days your kid begins to feel weak with colds and a slight fever you might want to check for the presence of rashes in the skin that can tell you that your child had just contracted chickenpox.

Chickenpox is a viral disease caused by varicella zoster. It can cause reddish spots that form like blisters throughout the body. The spots can range from the size of a mongo bean to as big as a dime and it is often very itchy. Most kids get chickenpox in the hot season as they play outside with other kids who may have had recent chickenpox.

Chickenpox also known as varicella is a common childhood disease and almost all children will have it before their adolescent years. Chickenpox is contagious just like any other viral disease. It can spread through sneezing, coughing, sharing toys and food with someone who has the disease. Most children who have chickenpox do not realize that they have it because the appearance of the rashes does not come until 2 to 3 days of the active infection. Children are highly contagious 2 to 3 days before the blisters appear and after the blistered have fully healed and crusted off.

What are the symptoms of chickenpox?

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue and body weakness
  • Appearance of rash 2 to 3 days after other symptoms are felt

Chickenpox is diagnosed by a doctor upon seeing the symptoms on a child. Medications are usually not necessary as the immune system will fight off the virus over time. Treatment will just focus on isolating the child to prevent disease transfer to other individuals in the household. Interventions to prevent the child from scratching will also need to be implemented to avoid infection. Here are some tips and advices you can do when your child has chickenpox.

  • Keep children cool because sweating makes the blisters more itchy
  • Cut your child’s fingernails to avoid scratching and skin tearing that can lead to re-infection
  • Oatmeal baths can help sooth itchy skin
  • Calamine lotion can also alleviate itching
  • Do not use aspirin for fever as most children develop Reye’s syndrome, a very serious condition.

In the old days many people die of chickenpox. It’s good thing that now there is a vaccine available given at the age of 1. It may not assure you of not getting infected with the disease in later life but the symptoms and complications will be much milder compared to those who have not received the vaccination.

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