Posts Tagged ‘diet’
Friday, July 8th, 2011
Despite fewer super-sized meals, American’s waistlines continue to expand, according to a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
According to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers who conducted the study and examined surveys of daily eating habits over a 30-year period, the number of daily meals and snacks consumed by U.S. adults rose to 4.8 in 2006 from 3.8 in 1977.
Many health professionals say that frequent eating in small doses revs up the metabolism and controls hunger, and is a healthier way of eating than three big meals. However, much consideration must also be given to what and how much you eat over the course of the day, not just how often you eat.
Case in point: the analysis also found that although the size of meal portions has stabilized in recent years, the number of total calories consumed is rising. By 2006, the end of the period studied, Americans were consuming 570 more calories per day than they did in the late 1970s. A chief culprit behind the calorie gain: Americans now consume 220 more calories daily from sugar-sweetened soft drinks than they did in the 1960s, the study found.
So it’s okay to switch to diet soda, right? Not so fast. Two new studies presented recently at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Scientific Sessions have linked drinking diet soda to weight gain and that the artificial sweeteners in them could potentially contribute Type 2 diabetes.
In one study, researchers from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, looked at aggregate data from 474 older adults in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging, or SALSA. At the time of enrollment and at three follow-up exams thereafter, all participants reported their diet soda intake and were measured for height, weight and waist circumference. The researchers wanted to track any association between diet soda drinking and body fat over time.
People who said they drank two or more diet sodas a day experienced waist size increases that were six times greater than those of people who didn’t drink diet soda, according to researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Researchers said their results were adjusted for other contributing factors like diabetes status, leisure-time physical activity level and age.
The data didn’t say why diet sodas might play a role in weight gain, but previous research suggests it has to do with the idea that the brain is wired to expect a big load of calories when foods taste sweet or fatty, but because diet foods fail to deliver, it throws the brain out of whack. Studies in animals suggest that artificial sweetener consumption may lead to even more eating and weight gain, perhaps in part because it triggers the body to start storing more calories as fat.
A second study that found the sweetener aspartame raised blood sugar levels in diabetes-prone mice. The researchers, also from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, fed aspartame, a calorie-free sweetener used in some diet sodas, to diabetes-prone mice. One group of mice ate chow to which both aspartame and corn oil were added; another other group ate chow with only corn oil added. After three months, the mice that ate aspartame showed elevated blood sugar levels. The findings aren’t directly translatable to humans, but may still be meaningful. Maybe it’s time to switch to carbonated water.
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Monday, May 2nd, 2011
With obesity at an epidemic stage in America, many people and programs have considered different ways to lower the obesity rate, from championing exercise to surgical procedures. As it turns out, it may not be just the obese we need to target, but their mother’s, as well.
It’s been known for some time now that a mother’s diet may affect their child’s health and weight. The most recent study on this topic, which will appear in the journal Diabetes, found that a mother’s diet while pregnant can alter her child’s DNA–called epigenetic change–to make the child more susceptible to obesity. Researchers measured epigenetic changes in nearly 300 children at birth and showed that specific dietary habits during pregnancy strongly predicted the degree of obesity at six or nine years of age. Whether the mother herself is overweight or not, was not the issue, but simply what she eats during the early stages of pregnancy.
Children with a high degree of epigenetic change were more likely to develop a metabolism that “lays down more fat,” researchers found.
The rate of epigenetic change was possibly linked to a low carbohydrate diet in the first three months of pregnancy, but it was too early to draw a definitive conclusion and further studies were needed.
One theory is that an embryo fed a diet containing few carbohydrates — which provide the body with energy — assumed it would be born into a carbohydrate-poor environment and altered its metabolism to store more fat, which could be used as fuel when food was scarce.
Immediate thoughts that come to mind after reading about this topic: What exactly was the ‘diet’ of these ‘low-carb’ pregnant women? What was the diet of the kids from birth to age 6-9? Surely, there are other causes for obesity, and mothers who eat an unbalanced diet during pregnancy might simply feed their kids unhealthy foods to begin with. Perhaps there is a correlation, but correlation does not mean causation. It seems more research on this subject is warranted.
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Thursday, February 17th, 2011
Intuitive eating is following your body’s hunger signals instead of giving in to cravings or eating simply because it is ‘lunchtime’. Intuitive eating is an approach that teaches you how to create a healthy relationship with your food, mind and body.
Principles of Intuitive Eating
Become at peace with food
Forbidding certain foods (aka ‘bad foods’) will form negative feelings towards being healthy and will leave you feeling deprived. If you don’t allow yourself to enjoy food, cravings may start to become uncontrollable which can lead to binge eating. By allowing yourself to occasionally indulge in foods you love, you will have more control of cravings and will create a friendly relationship with these so called ‘bad foods’.
Listen to your hunger
Eat every three to four hours to keep your cravings at bay, but only eat if you are hungry. If you are not hungry and force yourself to eat because ‘it’s time for lunch’ you are not listening intuitively to what your body needs. Also, don’t let yourself get too hungry; excessive hunger decreases your ability to regulate how much you will consume and will lead to overeating. Start to trust your body’s ability to regulate hunger.
Pay attention to fullness
It is equally important to pay attention to your body’s fullness signals. Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry and are comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal and ask yourself, “what is my current level of fullness?” If you are still very hungry, continue eating. But if you are starting to become full, take your last bite and put the fork down.
Create a peaceful environment
Eating should be a pleasurable experience. Take your time when eating and enjoy the tastes and textures of your food. Try not to have distractions during meals. Watching TV distracts you from listening to your body’s signals; people who watch TV while eating usually consume 25% more calories. We call this mindless eating. If you only ate when you were being mindful, think about how much you would eat. It would be much less.
Dealing with emotions without food
Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. The act of eating allows us to focus on our food instead of our feelings. While this may make us feel better in the short-term, it is no long-term fix. In fact, overeating can create an even greater sense of shame and loneliness. Learn how to nurture your needs without food.
Respect your body type
Let’s face it: most of us are not meant to be a size 0. When we put so much pressure on ourselves to be skinny, we often end up feeling defeated. When we try to attain super-low weights, we become destined to fail. At some point, your body will refuse to get any smaller. To fight the ‘famine’, your body will increase your hunger and decrease your metabolic rate. It is for this reason that normal weight people who try to lose weight usually wind up gaining weight in the end. Learn to accept your body type! Once you come to terms with your body, you will have a higher self-esteem and may actually lose weight. Remember, the goal is to live a healthy lifestyle- not to become as super-skinny as possible, so let go of the unrealistic ideals and be comfortable in your own skin.
Instead of thinking of exercise as a chore, shift your attention to how exercise makes you feel. It is very difficult to get moving some days, but starting your workout is the hardest part. Once you are moving, take a moment and enjoy how you feel; notice if you are able to breathe better, have more energy or even feel happier. These feelings are what should motivate you to exercise, not because you feel obligated to or because you had a bit too much to eat at dinner.
It all comes down to health
Remembering that to be truly healthy, we must have a healthy relationship with our food, mind, and body. Focusing on only one aspect of health will not be as effective. This does not mean you have to follow a perfect diet to be healthy, but understand the normal give and take of everyday life and adopt the motto “all things in moderation.” We encourage progress, not perfection.
What are the Benefits of Intuitive Eating?
- Gaining body acceptance.
- Learning how to avoid eating for emotional and external reasons.
- Responding to individual body signals and reacting in a healthful manner.
- Being in charge of your choices.
- Honoring your hunger, honoring your body.
- Knowing what your body is asking for and accept when it is full.
- Learning to eat the foods you love and stay healthy.
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Friday, January 8th, 2010
Remember when weight loss was simply about eating less and exercising more? These days, dieting is getting high tech. Every day, studies are released about the benefits of new electronic weight loss gadgets. But are they really necessary and will they actually help with weight loss?
A recent study from the British Medical Journal promotes the use of a small computer-linked food scale (called a Mandometer) to help with weight loss. The Mandometer was developed by researchers from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. Dieters put their plates on this scale which weighs the remaining food as the meal is eaten. There is also a small screen which shows dieters the rate at which they are eating their food and the ideal rate at which they should be eating their food. When food is eaten too quickly, the computer tells the dieter to slow down.
The goal is to teach dieters to eat more slowly. As we have all heard time and again, it takes twenty minutes for the brain to tell the belly that it is full. Many overweight people eat too quickly; by the time the “fullness” signal gets to them, they have already eaten more food than necessary. Studies have shown that when you eat food more slowly, you feel full after fewer calories.
So does this new scale work? Doctors in England studied its use in obese children age nine to 17 years over an 18 month period. The study group was trained on using the Mandometer while the control group was not. Both groups were counseled to exercise one hour a day and follow a healthy diet.
After one year, the study group’s BMI had fallen an average of 2.1 points, around three times more thank the control group. Even better, this weight loss was maintained when measured 18 months later. At the end of the study, Mandometer patients were eating smaller servings at each meal and snack. They also ate their food more slowly than dieters in the control group.
I think the Mandometer sounds great. I constantly counsel my patients to eat more slowly. But it is not always easy; people don’t realize how quickly they are eating. A device that helps dieters eat more slowly can only help!
And the Mandometer is not the only new high-tech weight loss device. Other groups of doctors are developing wearable wireless sensors to monitor the overweight as they go about their daily lives. These sensors document how often the wearer exercises, how much food he eats, and the location in which he eats his food.
Why is it so important to have this information clearly delineated? Studies show that when dieters “self-report” what they have eaten and how much they have exercised, the data is usually not accurate. Dieters often underestimate portion sizes, forget some of the “little bites” they have eaten during the day, and exaggerate the calorie burn of their exercise. By using this sensor, the information becomes more accurate and more reliable.
Many of these devices are currently in development. Some of them contain video cameras or Bluetooth-enabled cell phones so users can take pictures of their meals, thereby documenting portion sizes. Dieters take pictures of their food before and after eating. The information can then be sent to a lab where a calorie count can be determined. In some instances, dieters can get immediate feedback about their calorie intake!
These devices also contain accelerometers that can measure the length and intensity of a workout. If the device senses a prolonged period of inactivity, the wearer can receive a text message telling them to get moving!
But do these devices actually lead to weight loss? It seems logical that they would but studies are still ongoing. I know that I would LOVE to try one of these sensors. I imagine that the cost of the device and the data interpretation would be high but I think the results would be invaluable.
The bottom line is that most dieters underestimate the number of calories they eat each day and overestimate the calorie burn of their exercise sessions. A gadget to accurately gauge this information should help set the record straight. I believe that if these sensors become widely available, weight loss would become that much easier.
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Friday, November 20th, 2009
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you might think it is impossible to stick to a healthy eating plan-right? Wrong! Although high calorie foods and holidays go hand in hand, it is 100% possible to stay on track! Do not let the cornucopia of food options weigh you down; it is time to kick off the holiday season right. Follow these tips to ensure you have a happy AND healthy season!
Top 10 Thanksgiving Survival Tips
1. Eat a well-balanced breakfast and lunch before your Thanksgiving extravaganza to prevent hunger and the overeating that often results from it!
2. Bring a low calorie dish or dessert to your Thanksgiving dinner (even if you aren’t asked) to ensure you have healthy options available.
3. On the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, make sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle every day. Choose to eat well and exercise often to prevent any unnecessary weight gain.
4. Drink plenty of water on Thanksgiving! It helps fill you up without any extra calories.
5. Aim for just one helping from each food group! Enjoy a balance of protein (white meat turkey), vegetables, and one type of starch, such as corn or potatoes, to fill you up!
6. If you must, save a red light food to have an extra helping of potatoes or a dessert!
7. Enjoy special holiday foods! Don’t waste calories on foods you can eat everyday; instead, choose smaller portions of holiday favorites like Pumpkin Pie or Sweet Potato Pie.
8. Avoid noshing on small appetizers because they can add extra calories to your meal without making you feel full.
9. Fortunately, white meat turkey, vegetables, and sweet potatoes are healthy options found at most Thanksgiving dinners! Just be aware of how they are prepared; avoid fried foods, heavy sauces and foods made with a lot of butter or oil.
10. Nix leftovers! Give your guests “doggie bags” or donate leftover food to a homeless shelter in your area.
Thanksgiving is a day to focus on family and friends and to give thanks for all the blessings in your life! You may want to even start a new Thanksgiving tradition in order to celebrate. Instead of focusing solely on the food being served, get the whole family moving with a friendly game of touch-football or basketball. Don’t forget to give thanks for your ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holiday season!
Healthy and Hearty Thanksgiving Staples
Pumpkin Spiced Squash Pie
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Ready Time: 90 minutes
· 1 cup cooked mashed butternut squash
· 3/4 cup fat-free milk
· 2 eggs
· 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
· 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
· 1 tsp cinnamon
· 1/8 tsp salt
· 1 store-bought graham cracker crust
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. blender, purée squash, milk, eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt until completely mixed.
3. Pour into graham cracker crust and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the pie is set in the center.
4. Let pie cool on the counter and then refrigerate.
Makes 8 servings
1 slice (1/8 pie): Yellow
Nutty Bean Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Ready Time: 25 minutes
· 8 cup small green beans, ends trimmed
· 2 cup sliced green onions
· 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or almonds
· 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
· ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
· 1 1/2 Tbsp grated lemon rind
1. Arrange green beans in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 8 to 12 minutes or until crisp-tender. Place beans into cold water to stop the cooking process; drain.
2. Spray a sauté pan with cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, add green onions and sauté until tender. Add green beans, walnuts, rosemary, and lemon juice.
3. Cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with lemon rind and serve.
Makes 8 servings
1 cup: Green
Cranberried Sweet Potatoes
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Ready Time: 65 minutes
· 2 medium sweet potatoes
· 2 Tbsp cranberry juice
· 1 Tbsp brown sugar
· 1 Tbsp butter, melted
· 1/8 tsp ground ginger
· 4 tbsp craisins
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Scrub potatoes and cut in half lengthwise; do not peel.
3. Spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place the potatoes in pan, cut-side down. Bake in the preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes or until almost tender.
4. Stir together the cranberry juice, brown sugar, butter, and ginger. Turn potatoes cut-side up and brush with cranberry mixture. Bake 5 to 10 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle each half with 1 tbsp of craisins. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings
½ potato per serving: Yellow
HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE THANKSGIVING!
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Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
Society’s craze with thinness has found a new target: our babies. It is no longer just women and teens who have to be thin to be considered attractive; our babies must as well. According to a new BBC documentary, My Supermodel Baby, many magazines airbrush their baby models to “put them across in the best light”. The airbrushing ranges from removing spittle to erasing creases of fat. Erasing fat creases from babies? Isn’t that what makes them adorable? Isn’t that how babies are supposed to look? Is nothing sacred anymore?
Daniella Delaney, the editor of the magazine Practical Parenting and Pregnancy said, “Babies are not like adults. You can’t stop them from dribbling, so you might remove that bit of dribble from the chin. Or if the baby has just been crying, and their eyes are red, we might lighten the eyes. Or if they have just woken up because they have had a nap on the way in and we photograph them, we might remove a little bit of sleep.” She said she was not aware of a policy regarding erasing fat creases but the casting director for her magazine’s photo shoot, which was covered in the BBC documentary, admitted that many changes were made to the baby model. ”We lightened his eyes and his general skin tone, smoothed out any blotches and the creases on his arms,” he said. “But we want it to look natural.”
Yes, a naturally perfect-looking baby. I don’t think so!
Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire, who has campaigned against the use of airbrushing in magazines, said: “People will be appalled that a magazine would not think images of beautiful healthy babies are alright as they are and instead have to conform to some standard. The idea that babies must look more perfect – that they can’t have creases in their skin – shows the obsession with a particular ideal. Where does this end?”
I couldn’t agree more! What kind of message are we sending to our children? We are telling them that anything less than “perfection” is not okay. I am not worried that the baby models are lying in their cribs worrying that they didn’t look good enough in the photo shoot. But what will this baby’s parents say to her when she grows up and looks back on those pictures. “Look at this picture of you. Isn’t it adorable? Of course, you didn’t really look like that back then. We had to airbrush your thighs because they were just huge!”
And even if the conversation doesn’t actually go like that, this baby model will grow up to wonder why her other baby pictures look different from the ones that everybody fawns over. Eventually, she will realize that even as a baby, she wasn’t good enough as she was.
When I received my four year-old daughter’s school picture last year, I must admit that I was slightly disappointed that she was making a goofy face. She was looking at the camera but her eyes were kind of droopy. But not for a moment did I consider airbrushing her “imperfection” away. I want to look at pictures of my daughter, not some idealized version. And truthfully, I find her ideal regardless of how she looks.
In the fourth grade, I had a huge space between my front teeth and braces. I was pretty awkward looking- and I knew it. I can’t imagine how wounded I would have felt if my parents had airbrushed that space, or even my braces. Now, I laugh when I look at that picture. And I am glad to have it to show my daughter that everybody goes through awkward phases- and that is okay! Plus, that picture got a pretty big laugh when it flashed across the screen at my wedding rehearsal dinner.
Airbrushing our children’s imperfections sends the message that our kids are not good enough as they are. We are demonstrating that there is an ideal way to look and that we should all strive to look that way. And who wants to teach that to their children? I, for sure, do not. I will take my daughter’s goofy-faced picture and hang it on my wall with pride. Nothing could make her any more perfect in my eyes.
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Thursday, November 5th, 2009
Many parents view their children’s excess weight as an aesthetic issue. They worry their kids won’t be liked in school, won’t be picked in gym, and won’t be pursued by members of the opposite sex. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, parents have a lot more than looks to be concerned about. New research shows that about 100,500 new cases of cancer are caused by obesity each year.
Obesity is known to cause many deleterious health effects but this study is one of the first to conclusively link specific cancers to excess body fat. And as the number of obese people increases in the population, so does the number of cancer patients! According to the study, 49% of endometrial cancer (about 20,700 cases per year), 35% of esophageal cancer (5,800 cases per year), 28% of pancreatic cancer (11,900 cases per year), 24% of kidney cancer (13,900 cases per year), 21% of gallbladder cancer (2,000) cases per year, 17% of breast cancer (33,000 cases per year), and 9% of colorectal cancer (13,200 cases per year) are due to obesity.
How does being overweight increase your risk of cancer? That depends on the type cancer. Experts believe that the increased estrogen found in overweight women leads to endometrial and breast cancer. Post-menopausal obese women have 1.5 times the risk of breast cancer than normal weight post-menopausal women. Before menopause, the ovaries are the primary source of estrogen. Fat tissue, however, also makes estrogen. Post-menopausal women, whose ovaries no longer make estrogen, tend to have lower estrogen levels. Obese women have estrogen levels that are 50-100% higher than normal weight women. It is believed that this increased level of estrogen causes rapid growth of estrogen-responsive breast tumors.
Obese women are not only more likely to get breast cancer, but they are more likely to die from it. Breast cancer is harder to detect in an obese woman and is usually diagnosed at a much later stage, leading to lower survival rates. Weight gain during adulthood is the most consistent and strongest predictor of breast cancer risk.
It is not clear why obese people have a higher risk of colon cancer than normal weight people. It may be that the high levels of insulin or insulin-related growth factors in the obese promote tumor development.
Gastro-esophageal acid disease (GERD), common in the obese, is the likely cause of the increased risk of esophageal cancer.
The reason for the link between other cancers and obesity is not known. The obese tend to have higher levels of many different hormones and growth factors that likely increase the risk of cancer.
What should we take from this study? The importance of preventing weight gain in the first place! Parents need to teach their children proper eating habits from the very beginning. Half of overweight school-age children and three quarters of overweight teens will become obese adults. So start promoting a healthy lifestyle now!
Teach your children the value of eating a healthy diet and maintaining an active lifestyle and you need not worry about the increasingly-evident link between obesity and cancer.
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Friday, October 30th, 2009
The only scary part of Halloween should be the ghosts and goblins, not the candy and sweets! Do not fear Trick-or-Treating; after all, it is a Halloween tradition. Halloween candy and customs can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, just as long as you make a few minor adjustments!
Top 10 Tips for Halloween!
1. Serve kids a healthy snack like peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread before you go out Trick-or-Treating. Children with full bellies don’t tend to binge on chocolate.
2. Prepare a special Halloween meal with healthy ingredients to show kids that Halloween can be fun and low-calorie! See our suggestions below.
3. Let your kids enjoy their Halloween candy in moderation. For example: divide candy into 3 piles: Hate, Like and Love! The hate and like candy should not be eaten. Let them use their red light foods and enjoy the candy they love.
4. Do not save left-over Halloween candy for more than 3 days! On days 1 and 2, put a 100 calories worth of candy as a treat for lunch. On day 3, throw the candy out! It is better in the garbage than around your belly!
5. Sift through your child’s Halloween candy and make sure to throw out anything super-sized or suspicious. Doing that will ensure a much safer and healthier candy bag.
6. Donate all the extra treats you decided to get rid of to a local shelter or bring it to work for your co-workers to enjoy, in moderation of course!
7. Do not buy Halloween candy weeks in advance; it can lead to unhealthy “picking” weeks before the actual holiday!
8. Brush your teeth before heading out the door for Trick-or-Treating! The minty taste will prevent any unnecessary overindulging!
9. Give your kids crafts to do on Halloween. Help them make scary masks, jack-o-lanterns or haunted houses to distract them from eating candy all day!
10. Consider breaking tradition this year and escape to a haunted house or go for a hay ride instead of collecting candy!
Go ahead—focus on having fun with your kids; dress up and enjoy time together! Remember to follow the tips to ensure a happy, healthy, and safe Halloween!
Halloween Day Menu
Eye-ball Eggs with Gooey Guts
Cook 2 eggs over easy (eye-balls) and place 2 slices of fat free cheese (gooey guts) over the “eye-balls” and melt! Enjoy this breakfast with a sliced up apple!
4 Hershey kisses or 2 tbsp M&Ms with some carrots or a banana!
Use bone cookie cutters to create fun Halloween shapes in whole wheat bread! Make sandwiches with 4 slices of ham or turkey or peanut butter & jelly! Add different vegetables or fat-free cheese for fun combinations!
¼ cup chocolate covered raisins or 4 gummy worms plus a fruit or vegetable!
A healthy whole wheat pasta and chicken dish made with all kinds of healthy and colorful veggies. Serve in a big “witches cauldron” just for Halloween!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Ready time: 25 minutes
- ½ lb lean, boneless, chicken breast
- 1 lb whole wheat bow-tie pasta
- Medley of veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, fingerling potatoes and squash.
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- Boil and drain the pasta according to packing directions.
- Grill and slice up boneless, lean chicken breasts.
- Steam to cook broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, and squash.
- Combine all ingredients with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Makes 4 servings
1 1/3 cup whole wheat pasta = Yellow
2 oz chicken breast = Green
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Friday, October 23rd, 2009
Personality traits, genetics, and athletic ability combine to influence kids’ attitudes toward participation in sports and other physical activities. Help your kids figure out their fitness personality based on their overall personality to ensure a lifelong love of exercise!
If your child is very social, encourage team sports, dance classes, biking, or skateboarding with a friend. These activities will keep your child active and entertained for hours.
For the introspective child, try exercises such as yoga, swimming, jump rope, jogging, or working out with an exercise video. Team sports might be too much pressure to perform in front of an audience. The suggested exercises allow your child to exercise at her own pace.
If your child is adventurous and likes to be outdoors, suggest exercises such as rock climbing, hiking, snowboarding, surfing or even mountain biking. These sports will keep your child motivated each time he hits a new trail!
For the creative child, suggest exercises that they will allow your child to express herself, such as dance classes, yoga, gymnastics, ice skating, dancing around the house, running, fast walking or even using exercise equipment at home with music she loves.
If your child is competitive at heart, encourage as many team sports as possible, such as tennis, hockey, or soccer. Try to encourage running sports so she is able to benefit from the great cardiovascular workout!
Creating a Workout Regimen:
When creating a workout routine, choose the sports or exercises that fit your child the best and make it fun. Try adding music to each routine or creating a playlist; music is a powerful motivation tool and makes everything more enjoyable! Below is an example of a detailed workout regimen:
- First start with a warm-up to allow the muscles to wake up and get ready for the work ahead! A warm-up should last between 4 to 10 minutes. Do exercises that focus on the major muscle groups of the body. Try walking around the block or up and down the stairs, lunges, squats, shoulder rolls, and raising and lowering the shoulders.
- Next, start working on increasing the heart rate for the cardiovascular (aka “cardio” portion of the exercise. Try to keep your child’s heart rate up for at least 30 minutes to get the most benefits. Try running/jogging, jumping, skipping, jumping jacks, biking, swimming, dancing, and kick-boxing or even surfing when it’s nice out!
- Now, try working on strength. This does not mean body building or even lifting weights; muscle strength can be improved using your own body weight and is very safe for children. Try doing at least two of the different exercises for at least 5 minutes each. Try push-ups on the floor or at the wall, plank, stomach crunches, wall squats, throwing and catching a weighted ball, lunges, or even jumping squats.
- Of course we must end with the cool down! The cool down is just as important as all the other parts of the exercise routine but is usually skipped. After working out, muscles can start to tighten up, leading to injury. Be sure to stretch the muscles that were worked out during the exercise routine. Try doing at least two different stretches for 3 to 5 minutes each; try neck rolls, shoulder rolls, quad stretches, hamstring stretches, butterfly stretch (sit on the floor with the soles of feet touching and lower upper body, nose to feet), or sit on the floor and forward bend, trying to touch your toes while keeping your legs straight.
Try as many different exercises as possible to keep your child moving. Kids who exercise often are less likely to become overweight or obese and have a decreased risk of developing type II diabetes and heart disease. They also sleep better and have an all around positive attitude about life. Regular exercise, along with a balanced diet will lead to a lean body with strong muscles and bones, allowing for a long and healthy life!
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Monday, October 12th, 2009
Our worst fears have finally come true. Overweight teens are dying from heart disease. Pediatricians have long feared that the rising number of severely obese children and teens would soon start to suffer from adult complications of obesity, like heart attacks, strokes, and death. And now it is happening.
According to the St. Louis County medical examiner, a 13-year old football player who collapsed during football practice died as a direct result of “hypertensive cardiovascular disease”, also known as high blood pressure. This young man, Anthony Troupe Jr. died last August but the results of his autopsy were just released this Wednesday. The cause of death was hypertensive heart disease, which is known to be caused by obesity. Young Anthony was 6-foot-2 and weighed 383 pounds.
Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise to those of us in the child obesity specialty. In fact, a study published in the British Medical Journal and reviewed in the New York Times earlier this year found that obese teens were twice as likely to die by age 60 as non-obese, non-smoking teens. But it is one thing to think of somebody dying at age 60 and quite another to think of a child dying at age 13. It is just so sad.
Other studies have found similar results. A Harvard study followed teens over 50 years and found that obese boys were twice as likely to die from heart disease as normal-weight boys. In fact, they learned that obesity that starts in childhood or adolescence causes a greater risk of early death than obesity that starts in adulthood
It is clear that heart disease starts at a very young age. As parents, we must protect our children from the deadly effects of obesity. Many look at obesity as an aesthetic issue. It is not. It is a disease. A disease that can kill. And we must treat it that way.
I urge any reader with an overweight or obese child at home to get help before it is too late. Children must work with physicians when starting a weight loss program. So call your pediatrician and get a referral for a child weight loss specialist. Do not wait.
Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joanna-dolgoff-md/child-obesity-our-worst-f_b_317380.html
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