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New Obesity Weapon: Kids Teaching Kids

MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health published the following press release on their site regarding  study findings that support kids teaching kids when it comes to fighting obesity.

MONDAY, Feb. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) — When older kids teach younger kids about nutrition and the benefits of exercise, the little ones seem to lose weight and gain knowledge about healthy living, Canadian researchers report.kids

Such a program — called Healthy Buddies — was tested in Manitoba elementary schools. It helped heavy kids lose an average of half an inch off their waist and increased their knowledge of diet and exercise, the researchers said.

“Engaging older kids in delivering health messages to younger peers is an effective method for preventing weight gain, improving knowledge of healthy living and increasing self-esteem,” said lead researcher Jonathan McGavock, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba.

“The effects of this peer mentoring model of healthy living promotion is particularly effective for overweight children,” McGavock said. This approach — detailed online in the Feb. 10 issue of the journal JAMA Pediatrics — could help curb the obesity epidemic among young children in North America, he said. The percentage of U.S. children aged 6 to 11 considered obese increased from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2010, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

McGavock said younger children see older children as role models, which is why their advice is taken more seriously than when the same message is delivered by adults. “Younger children likely pay more attention to messages or cues from older peers,” he said. “Therefore, proper role modeling of healthy behaviors should be a key objective of elementary schools.”

Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Conn., said he wasn’t surprised by the findings. “In my many interactions with parents regarding the importance of good nutrition in childhood, one of the more frequent protests over the years has been peer pressure,” Katz said. “Parents, it seems, often feel powerless to overcome the negative influence of peers eating badly.”

But Katz, a father of five, said he has seen the upside of peer pressure. “My wife and I have shared our devotion to healthy living with our children, and they have made it their own,” he said. “They, in turn, have helped pay it forward, influencing their peers favorably.”This paper illustrates the opportunity to convert negative peer pressure into a positive peer influence,” Katz said.

“We can teach healthy living skills to older kids and they, of course, benefit,” he said. “They can then help pass these skills along to younger kids, and both groups benefit some more. This paper highlights an important opportunity we have only begun to leverage — peer pressure, for good.”

Healthy Buddies has lessons that focus on physical activity, healthy eating, self-esteem and body image. The instruction is given by 9- to 12-year-olds to 6- to 8-year-olds.

In this study, 19 schools were randomly assigned to use the Healthy Buddies curriculum or their regular instruction during the 2009-’10 school year. Over the course of the school year, the researchers looked at changes in waist size and body-mass index (BMI), as well as physical activity, heart fitness, self-image and knowledge about healthy living and diet.

They found that the waist size of children in the Healthy Buddies program dropped an average of half an inch compared with children in the regular curriculum. There was no difference in BMI — a measurement of fat based on height and weight — between the groups.

Based on responses to questionnaires, knowledge about healthy living, self-image and diet increased among kids in the Healthy Buddies program, compared with other children, the researchers said. No differences, however, were seen between the groups in terms of physical activity (steps taken per day) or heart and lung fitness, the researchers said.

This suggests that the reduction in waist size seen among the Healthy Buddies participants is attributable to dietary changes, the researchers said.

SOURCES: Jonathan McGavock, Ph.D., assistant professor, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada; David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Yale University Prevention Research Center, New Haven, Conn.; Feb. 10, 2014, JAMA Pediatrics, online

 

USA.gov on Seasonal Allergies and Treatments for Children

The USA.gov site, on April 1, reported on  seasonal allergies and their treatments for children in the following post.

allergiesMillions of people suffer from allergies every spring, including many children. In fact, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about 40 percent of children in the United States suffer from allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever.

Hay fever is triggered by breathing in allergens, like pollen, commonly found in springtime air. Sneezing and nasal congestion are some of the most common symptoms, but your symptoms can vary depending on the types of plants that grow where you live.

The following tips will help you minimize seasonal allergies in children, and learn more about allergy treatments.

How to Prevent Allergies in Children

If your child suffers from seasonal allergies, there are steps you can take to reduce their symptoms and decrease the use of medications:

  • During the spring, keep your children indoors in the evenings because pollen levels are highest during that time of day.
  • Keep your home and car windows closed during windy, sunny days.
  • Have your children take a shower after spending time outside to remove any pollen residue on their body or in their hair.
  • Have your children change their clothes after spending time outside because they will carry pollen indoors on their clothes.
  • Dry your clothes indoors instead of on an outdoor clothesline during this time of year.

Allergy Medicine for Children

Medicine can help alleviate allergy symptoms in children, but with any medication you give your child, be sure you’re using the right medication for your child’s age and weight. Follow the instructions carefully to be sure your child gets the correct dosage.

Over-the-counter, generic allergy medication is effective for many people and can cost less than prescription allergy medications. If you have any questions about what medications are right for your child, ask your family doctor.

Some common allergy medications include:

  • Nasal decongestants to relieve a stuffy nose.
  • Antihistamines to relieve sneezing, and an itchy, runny nose.
  • Nasal corticosteroids are also often used, but are available only by prescription.

Other Treatments

For children who have allergy symptoms that are difficult to control, doctors will often give your child an allergy test to learn the exact cause of the allergy. Your doctor will recommend a special treatment based on the results of the allergy test.

 

 

FDA Warns About Toxic Effects of Eye Drops and Decongestant Sprays in Young Children

The Food and Drug Adminisration (FDA) is warning parents to keep  over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops used to relieve redness or nasal decongestant sprays away from places where children can get a hold of them.

FDAAccording to the FDA, these products—which contain the active ingredients tetrahydrozoline, oxymetazoline, or naphazoline (known as imidazoline derivatives)—are dangerous, if ingested by children. The products are sold under various brand names such as Visine, Dristan and Mucinex, as well as in generic and store brands.

“In the hands of young children who are apt to swallow them, they can cause serious health consequences,” says pharmacist Yelena Maslov, Pharm.D., at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Maslov explains that one teaspoon of eye drops or nasal spays containing imidazoline derivatives is equal to about 5 mL, and that harm has been reported from swallowing as little as 1 mL to 2 mL. “Children who swallow even miniscule amounts of these products can have serious adverse effects,” she says.

Between 1985 and 2012, FDA identified 96 cases in which children ranging from 1 month to 5 years accidentally swallowed products containing these ingredients. Cases were reported by both consumers and manufacturers to government databases monitored by FDA. According to some case reports, children were chewing or sucking on the bottles or were found with an empty bottle next to them.

The FDA reports there were no deaths reported, but more than half of the cases (53) reported hospitalization because of symptoms that included nausea, vomiting, lethargy (sleepiness), tachycardia (fast heart beat), and coma.

“Under reporting of these types of events is common, so it is possible there are additional cases that we may not be aware of,” says Maslov.

These products are only meant for use in the eyes or nose. In the eyes, the ingredients work by narrowing blood vessels to relieve redness from minor eye irritations. In the nose, they constrict blood vessels to relieve nasal congestion due to the common cold, hay fever, or allergies.

In January, 2012, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proposed a rule to require child-resistant packaging for all products containing at least 0.08 mg of an imidazoline derivative. However, this rule has not been finalized. In addition, FDA’s Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis (DMEPA) is partnering with CPSC to warn consumers about the need to keep these products safely out of the reach of children.

If a child accidentally swallows OTC redness-relief eye drops or nasal decongestant spray, call your local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) immediately. Experts are available all day, every day at these centers. If necessary, poison center staff will immediately help get emergency medical services to your home. Program this number into your home and cell phones so you will have it when you need it. Post it on the fridge so it is in plain sight.

To help avoid a child’s accidental exposure to any medication, parents and other caregivers should:

  • Store medicines in a safe location that is too high for young children to reach or see.
  • Never leave medicines or vitamins out on a kitchen counter or at a sick child’s bedside.
  • If a medicine bottle does have a safety cap, be sure to re-lock it each time you use it.
  • Remind babysitters, house guests, and visitors to keep purses, bags, or coats that have medicines in them away and out of sight when they are in your home.
  • Avoid taking medicines in front of young children because they like to mimic adults.

This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

 

5 Reasons to Cook and Bake with Your Kids

If you’re looking for ways to get your kids more involved then you need to look no further than the kitchen.

kids bakingSpending time together in the kitchen gives you a chance to not only prepare tasty meals and treats but also to teach them important lessons. Plus what kid doesn’t love to get their hands dirty?

Hesitant on including your kids in your cooking or baking? Here are five reasons why you should:

1.      Teaches the ins and outs of nutrition – Having your kids help you cook or bake is a great opportunity to teach them about the importance of nutrition and consuming a balanced diet full of plenty of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. The obesity epidemic hinges largely on eating a lot of fast food and restaurant fare, and if you want to combat that in your own family then the first step is getting kids interested in cooking and having them understand the importance of healthy eating and good nutrition.

2.      It’s a math lesson in disguise  - Learning how to measure out ingredients and figure out serving sizes may seem like it’s just another component of cooking, but it’s actually teaching your kids valuable math lessons by rolling together fractions, addition, subtraction, etc. If you’re doubling up on a meal or scaling back on it you can get kids to figure out how much more or less of certain items they need to still get the correct measurements.

3.      Cooking and baking are mini science experiments – Why does spinach wilt in the microwave? How come banana bread rises in the oven? What happens when you combine certain ingredients together? Why do eggs become hardboiled eggs when they’re boiled? Every time you bake or cook something you’re essentially performing a small-scale science experiment in the form of food. Explain what’s happening during the cooking process and why certain things happen to sneak in a little science lesson during each cooking or baking experience.

4.      Encourages trying new foods– Kids are notoriously picky eaters; however including them in the cooking process can make them more open to trying new foods. The satisfaction they get from preparing a meal can be just what they need to propel them to actually eat the meal. Plus it gives you a chance to experiment together with different combinations until you find one that everyone can agree is delicious.

5.      It’s automatic quality time–Instead of hanging out watching TV or being holed up in their rooms playing video games you’ll have a rare moment where it’s just you and your kids working together and having fun. Neither you nor your kids will be focused on anything other than spending time with each other and making a great meal, and that is reason enough right there.

Cooking or baking with your kids gives you the unique opportunity to spend time together, save money, experiment in the kitchen, and expose them to new, healthy foods and recipes. They’ll take away more from those nights spent in the kitchen then they ever will playing on the computer or eating on the go.

About the AuthorThis guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger, editor & a knowledge gainer of  being full time nanny.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: – jdebra84 @ gmail.com.

 

 

Losing is Necessary

The following guest post, “Losing is Necessary,” is from Coach Ned Campbell, head wrestling coach at James Madison High School, NYC, where he also teaches American history. http://madisongoldenknightswrestling.com/coaching-staff/

A little boy was asked how he learned to skate. ‘By getting up every time I fell down,’ he answered. (David Seabury)

Every year I find myself talking to a complete stranger about losing. Not just one stranger, but dozens of strangers. This is the life a high school wrestling coach, recruiting kids to make a choice to take a chance, at the expense of having to lose in order to get better. Not an easy sell.

The average 14 year old does not have the long view of life, that ability to see themselves way off into the future. Without that perspective, there is no up-side to losing. That means kids can give up quickly, or in some cases, not even try.

losing Losing can make one realize they have things to learn, to improve upon. Knowing what you do not yet know, what you, as of yet, cannot do, that sets the stage for self-improvement. It is the early stimulus to further develop a work ethic.

In a typical conversation with a freshmen, and I am approaching the little guys, the kids weighing less than 100 pounds, typically the kid chosen last, or maybe never chosen, for a team, the issue of “what if I lose?” comes up. I try to lighten the mood by jokingly telling him, “It is not ‘if you are going to lose,’ because you are going to lose, no doubt about that.” Everybody does when they start out. I tell them all I did my first year of wrestling in high school was lose. I didn’t start winning until my second year of wrestling.

I go on to tell him he will have some tough days, but those are the days that make us stronger, and better. Those are the days that teach us lessons, and motivate us to work harder and do more. The memory of those bad days are also what makes the good days you will have all the more sweeter.

Once the season begins, and the losing happens, the young athlete may begin to doubt himself. With a shaken confidence, they are likely to start acting more discouraged, and their resolve to keep trying may begin to wane and weaken. It is at this time when we, the coach and the parents, have to step in and help them stay strong, and to persevere. We can remind them of the long haul, but we must also focus on the positive accomplishments, and areas where there is improvement. However small it may be, improvement is a positive good and deserves to be talked up and commended.

One example I have of this took place just this past season. A freshmen and 1st year wrestler was having a difficult time. He was not wrestling much, and when he did get a chance, he lost quickly. He was looking dejected and I took a moment to speak with him. I asked him if he remembered his first week of practices, how he could not do the push-ups, keep up on the run, and how sore he was the day after practice. He said yes, and then I reminded him how today he was doing the push-ups, and keeping up on the runs. I let him know he had already lost almost 20 pounds, while getting stronger. As a smile started to creep across his face, I saw that he got it. He got the idea of the long haul of work paying off, over time. He could see the progress and make the link to his hard work all season. He liked it.

His improvement over time was not only limited to his physicality. He has opened up more among his peer group. He is walking taller, smiles more quickly, and is improving academically with much better grades than the prior term.

Life is not always easy. There will be some tough times, but that doesn’t mean life is complicated. Believing that “If you fall down, you get back up,” may not be easy, but with the support of positive adults, it can be quite simple, and it can make all the difference in the world.

For more on what you can do to help the young athletes in your life, please visit the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA): a national non-profit with the mission to provide all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience. http://www.positivecoach.org/our-tools/tools-for-parents/