Health & Well-being
We can’t blame this on school lunch programs – they’re not in school yet. The problems are occurring at home according to a June report by the The Institute of Medicine (IOM) on this critical topic and at childcare facilities.
The IOM reviewed factors related to overweight and obesity from birth to age five, with a focus on nutrition, physical activity, and sedentary behavior, and made recommendations that healthcare professionals, caregivers, and policymakers can take to prevent obesity in children five and younger.
Pediatricians and other healthcare professionals have an important opportunity to make parents aware of their child’s excess weight early on, and the IOM recommends that healthcare professionals measure weight and height or length in a standardized way, as well as pay attention to obesity risk factors, such as rate of weight gain and parental weight, at routine pediatric visits.
But if your pediatrician is not confronting you with the issue, as a parent, there is a lot you can do to help your children on your own.
The IOM recommends that parents and child care providers keep children active throughout the day and provide them with diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods. It’s also important that caregivers limit young children’s screen time and ensure that children sleep an adequate amount each day.
What happens to children during the first years of life is important to their current and future health and well-being. Quality sleep is an important aspect of the obesity problem and preschoolers (aged two-five) should watch TV or video games no more than one hour a day.
While a lot of the report is directed at physicians and caregivers, it also contains information that parents can enact on their own, and it helps parents understand what their pediatrician is looking for – or should be looking at – when conducting your child’s check-up.
The report states that healthcare providers should measure weight and length or height in a standardized way, plotted on World Health Organization growth charts (ages 0-23 months) or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts (ages 24-59 months), as part of every well-child visit.
Your pediatrician should consider 1) children’s attained weight-for-length or BMI = 85th percentile, 2) children’s rate of weight gain, and 3) parental weight status as risk factors in assessing which young children are at highest risk of later obesity and its adverse consequences.
Parents should practice what is called ‘responsive feeding.’ This means:
• For infants: holding infants in one’s arms or sitting up on one’s lap while feeding, and not propping bottles; recognizing infant feeding cues (e.g., rooting, sucking); offering an age-appropriate volume of breast milk or formula to infants and allowing infants to self-regulate their intake; and introducing developmentally appropriate solid foods in age-appropriate portions, allowing all infants to self-regulate their intake.
• For toddlers/preschoolers: providing meals and snacks as part of a daily routine; requiring adults to sit with and eat the same foods as the children; when serving children from common bowls (family-style service) allowing them to serve themselves; when offering foods that are served in units (e.g., sandwiches) providing age-appropriate portions and allowing children to determine how much they eat; and reinforcing children’s internal cues of hunger and fullness.
• Encourage sleep-promoting behaviors and practices, such as calming nap routines
• Use practices that promote child self-regulation of sleep, including putting infants to sleep drowsy but awake
• Seek consultation from an expert on healthy sleep durations and practices if you are experiencing problems getting your children to sleep.
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By Sally Silbermann
Dietz lost his mother just one day before her 43rd birthday.
“My mom was really the core,” he said. “She kept our family together.”
Scott was 16 years old when his mother died and her passing left a significant void.
His emotional struggle with his mother’s death continued into his late teen years. He went to college but dropped out, something he is convinced would never have happened if his mother were still alive.
“She was always very involved in my education,” he said. “I was 25 when I finally graduated from college, and I’ve always felt that she was pretty much my guardian angel through the whole thing.”
Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be Scott’s last experience with breast cancer.
In August of 2007, 18 years after his mother passed away as a result of breast cancer, one of Scott’s older sisters, Heather, was diagnosed with the disease and had a double mastectomy. After her diagnosis, Heather underwent genetic testing that showed she was positive for the BRCA2 gene, one of the genes associated with increased risk for breast cancer. Scott and his other older sister were also tested but neither had the gene.
Just over a year later, it was discovered that the cancer had spread to Heather’s liver. She died in January 2009 at the age of 39, leaving behind a husband and two young daughters.
For the second time in his life, Scott lost someone he loved dearly to breast cancer.
“You definitely go through that whole, ‘Why-my-family?’ experience,” said Scott. “Then you realize that cancer doesn’t care.”
Still grieving over the loss of his sister, Scott decided to try and turn his experience into something positive. He signed up for the inaugural Susan G. Komen Savannah Race for the Cure in 2009 and set out to get in shape, help raise funds and fight back against breast cancer. And that’s exactly what he did. Scott ran his first 5K and raised more than $7,000 that year to help find a cure for breast cancer.
“That first year was very emotional for me,” he said. “It was just a few months after my sister had passed away and there wasn’t a day that went by that I wasn’t dealing with some aspect of that. I had her memorial card in my pocket when I ran the race.”
Scott’s experience is one that is shared by people across the country and the globe. Women are diagnosed with breast cancer every day. And every day, the husbands, brothers, sisters, children and friends of those diagnosed are standing by their side, fighting with them every step of the way.
In 2010, more than 207,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States alone.
Scott continues to support the overall mission of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Coastal Georgia Affiliate. He remembers the struggles of his mother and sister and holds hope that one day soon, there will be a cure.
“I think of my daughter, who’s 7,” he said. “I’d like to think that when she grows up, breast cancer won’t even be an issue.”
The Komen Savannah Race for the Cure will be held Saturday, April 16, at 8:15 a.m. at Telfair Square. Organizers hope to race $330,000 with the event, which will go to fund research, education, screening and treatment programs. To register, go to www.komencoastalgeorgia.org.
You may be at an increased risk of developing breast cancer if you or members of your family have experienced the following:
“You know the saying, ‘It runs in the family.’ Well, sometimes breast cancer does. Five to 10 percent of breast cancers are hereditary,” said Shai Huffard-King, M.S., a certified genetic counselor at the Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial University Medical Center. “The good news is that if you or a family member has had breast cancer, there are genetic tests you can do to look for those genes. Finding out early if you or a family member is at risk could help save a life. Talk to your doctor about genetic counseling if you have a family history of breast cancer.”
The Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial University Medical Center offers genetic counseling services. To learn more, talk to your doctor or call 1-877-224-8515.
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Biggest Loser Cookbook Tells You How
Who says losing weight means eating bland food? The Biggest Loser Dessert Cookbook (Rodale, 2010; $21.99) puts that myth to rest with more than 80 healthy treats that satisfy your sweet tooth without breaking your calorie budget.
Written by Chef Devin Alexander, The Biggest Loser Dessert Cookbook features sweet recipes made without artificial sweeteners, white flour, white sugar or refined products of any kind. It’s the first all-desserts cookbook to feature low-calorie, low-fat desserts such as Pumped Up Pumpkin Bites, Fudge Swirl Peanut Butter Cupcakes, Mexican “Fried” Ice Cream and Pecan Praline Cookie Thins.
Alexander, a professionally trained chef and caterer, is the former chef of The Biggest Loser and host of Healthy Decadence with Devin Alexander. She has authored many other cookbooks as well.
To give you a “taste” of what you’ll find in the cookbook, here are two delicious recipes from The Biggest Loser Dessert Cookbook.
Add the flour to the bowl of a food processor or mini-food processor fitted with a chopping blade. Process it for 2 minutes.
In a medium mixing bowl, using a sturdy whisk (or a spatula if you don’t have one), mix the egg whites, yogurt, agave, juice concentrate, butter and extracts until well combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Then stir in the orange peel.
Divide the batter among the prepared cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake the cupcakes for 19-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry (a few crumbs are OK). Let them cool completely then divide the whipped topping among them, about 1/4 cup on each, spreading it evenly over the tops. Sprinkle the tops evenly with the orange zest, about 1/4 teaspoon on each.
Note: It is very important that you do not use paper liners. Full fat baked goods tend to have so much fat in them, that the paper ones are fine, but lower-fat treats stick to the paper. Note that the most common brands of foil wrappers often come with a paper-liner between each foil liner, so be sure to remove the paper liners.
Makes 8 cupcakes. Each (1 cupcake + 1/4 cup whipped topping) serving has: 144 calories, 4 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates (17 g sugar), 4 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 238 mg sodium
Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 188 calories, < 1 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates (27 g sugar), < 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, < 1 g sodium
Reprinted from The Biggest Loser Dessert Cookbook by Devin Alexander © 2010 by Universal Studios Licensing LLLP. The Biggest Loser™ and NBC Studios, Inc., and Reveille LLC. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold.
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Coordinators of “Laughs for Lemonade: An Evening of Comedy to Benefit Mom’s Lemonade Fund,” presented $15,000 to the Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial University Medical Center.
Laughs for Lemonade was held at the Lucas Theatre in July. It featured Karen Morgan, finalist on Nick at Nite's Search for the Funniest Mom in America, and Nancy Witter, a four-time New York City MAC Award-winning stand-up comedian.
“Laughs for Lemonade was a fun way to raise money to fight ovarian cancer and raise awareness about this silent disease. We’re working with the Memorial Health Foundation to make it an annual fundraiser. After all, laughter is the best medicine,” said Dr. Natalie Hogan, originator of the Laughs for Lemonade event.
More than 25,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year. In August 2009, the families of Ellen Hogan and Mary Ann Mahfet created Mom’s Lemonade Fund. The mission of the fund is to raise awareness of ovarian cancer, assist with patients’ emotional and medical needs, and provide comfort care items for patients, their family members and caregivers. Funds raised so far have been used to purchase blanket warmers, blankets, scarf grippers, wigs, gas cards, portable DVDs and prescriptions. As the fund grows, donations may be used to support a broad range of needs, including equipment, research and educational programming. The Mom’s Lemonade Fund has raised more than $45,000 to date.
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The Chatham County Health Department is now participating in the Planning for Healthy Babies (P4HB) program initiated by the Georgia Department of Community Health. P4HB will provide family planning services through the Georgia Medicaid program to women who previously did not qualify for Medicaid benefits. The focus of the program is to improve Georgia’s low birth weight and very low birth weight rates.
According to DCH, implementation of the P4HB program will impact Georgia’s families by:
“This is a wonderful program that will help provide services for the women who need it and simply cannot afford it,” said Cathy Schmid, R.N., Chatham County Health Department nurse manager.
Women must meet certain requirements in order to be eligible for the program. Applications for enrollment are available online at planning4healthybabies.org and can also be picked up at the Chatham County Health Department.
For more information, visit dch.georgia.gov/p4hb or call 1-877-P4H-B101 or 1-877-744-2101.
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