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

 

Tips for Selecting a Summer Day Camp

camp

Many of us still have snow on the ground, others are bracing for still another wintery blast, which makes it hard to think about selecting a summer day camp. But, if you have a child that needs to be in an out-of school program during the summer recess, now is the time to do research to find the camp that meets your child’s needs and interests and is within your budget.

The American Camp Association offers the following guides when considering a day camp:

Day camps offer experiences that are unique from resident camps. Because of this, there are specific points to consider when choosing a day camp.

  1. Does the American Camp Association accredit the camp? ACA has specific standards applicable only for day camps.
  2. What training does the staff receive on safety, supervision, counseling, problem solving and other issues unique to working with young children?
  3. Is the price all-inclusive or are there extra charges for: · Transportation · swimming lessons · food service · horseback riding · group pictures · T-shirts · extended care · field trips
  1. If camp transportation is offered, where is the closest pick-up location?
  2. Does the camp have an “express bus” which transports children quickly?
  3. If before- and after-camp extended care is offered, who is with the children and what activities take place?
  4. Is lunch served or do campers bring their own sack lunch? Are snacks and drinks provided?
  5. If the camp offers swimming, are there swimming lessons or is it simply recreational swimming?
  6. Are campers in a group with a counselor all day? Or, are campers free to go from one activity to another with appropriate supervision? In this case, whom would you talk to if you had a question or concern about your child?
  7. Is an open house offered before camp starts where you can meet your child’s counselor and van/bus driver?
  8. Are parents allowed to drop by for visits or is there a special parent visitation day?

Most frequently asked camp questions by children who will be attending day camp and how you might want to answer them:

What will I do all day? You’ll get to do so much — things like swimming, tennis, basketball, arts and crafts, softball or baseball, cooking, ceramics, gymnastics, soccer, dancing, football… the list goes on and on. There are also special events and entertainment.

Who will help me have fun at camp? How do they know how to care for me?
Counselors are selected because they love working with kids. They are trained before camp begins to help you have a good time, make new friends, and enjoy a variety of activities. Their job is to help you have fun, be safe, and know your limits.

Do I get to choose what I want to do?
Some camps schedule the entire day so you have an opportunity to try all the different things at camp. At many camps, you’ll get to select one or even more activities every day. You can ask about how the day is planned for you.

Who will be my friends?
You will make a lot of new friends at camp. Camp counselors will help you make friends the very first day you arrive at camp. It’s nice to have winter friends and summer friends.

What’s so great about camp?
Camp is a special place where grownups help kids feel good about themselves. You get to make choices on your own, but you always feel safe. Camp is like a little community, where everyone’s opinion is heard, and kids work and play together. There’s just no other place like camp, because camp is built just for kids!

Why shouldn’t I just stay home and do what I want?
You might think it will be more fun to just stay home and do nothing, but believe us, camp is nonstop fun! There are such a variety of activities that you never get bored. And you always have friends; everyone’s always home at camp!

What would a day at camp be like?
Camp is filled with different kinds of activities. The fun begins as soon as the bus picks you up. You will spend the day doing activities you really like. Of course you’ll stop for lunch – maybe a barbecue or a picnic. Day campers will go home on their buses in the late afternoon, and look forward to returning to camp the next day.

What if I’m not good at sports?
Camp staff will encourage you, and you will succeed at your level. You are never measured at anyone else’s ability level. Camp is not all sports, but a combination of athletics, the arts and hobbies.

What if I have a problem?
There are lots of people at camp, besides your counselors, to help take care of you, depending on what you need. There is usually a nurse, so if you don’t feel well they have a place where you can rest until you feel better. You can count on the grownups that are at camp to help you with any problem you may have.

Once you have answered these questions, visit ACA’s Camp Database to find a camp just right for your child. Parents may call ACA National Headquarters 800-428-CAMP8camp800-428-CAMP  for further information about specific camps or for the ACA section in their region. American Camp Association website…http://www.acacamps.org/.

 

 

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Coach Campbell’s Tips For Strength Training Using Household Items

strength training

As a coach, sometimes I have to educate new members of the team who are hesitant to lift weights as part of their strength training. They are afraid that lifting weights will stunt their growth or make them so horribly muscle-bound that they will lose flexibility.

Both concerns are unfounded and simply not true. Research strongly suggests that resistance training for youth is beneficial, and that most children who stick with a well-supervised weight lifting program can safely increase their strength.[1]

Now, one major obstacle to a consistent strength training program is access to weights. None of my athletes have a weight set at home, and few can afford the monthly fees public gyms charge.

The solution to this problem is to teach them how to create their own resistance weight training sets at home using readily available and safe household items. For example:

  • Make an inexpensive kettle bell (similar to a dumbbell) using a plastic milk or juice jug.

Use water to fill a clean plastic 1/2 gallon jug (be sure to use a jug with a handle). One cup of water weighs approximately 1/2 pound: so, for example, a two-pound weight would need 4 cups (1 quart) of water in the jug.

  • Use canned goods that fit in your hands as simple hand weights. Most canned vegetables come in 8 – 16 ounce sizes.

That’s it.  You have all that you need to start training.

Some good beginner exercises

Before you begin lifting any weights, be sure to stretch and warm up properly first.

Also, when lifting weights for the first time, most beginners tend to hold their breath. You should always remember to breathe while lifting, so that you have enough oxygen to perform the activity. When supervising exercising children, MAKE SURE the child inhales while lifting the weight, and exhales while returning to “rest” position.

Bicep curls: With the weight in the hand, PALMS UP, stand with feet shoulder width apart, back straight, and head up.  Slowly bring the weight up to your chest, making sure to keep the elbow still.  Slowly lower the weight until your arm is straight again.

Forearm curls: Same as the bicep curl above, except that the PALMS are DOWN.  Curling the weight with the palms facing downward moves the focus away from the bicep and to the forearm.

Both curls can be performed one arm at a time, or by alternating each arm, but you will need one weight in each hand if you choose to alternate.

Shoulder raises (shrugs): Hold one weight in each hand, hang your arms comfortably at your sides, and assume the same stance as for curling.  Keeping your head up, pull your shoulders up and try to touch your ears with them….you won’t be able to, of course, but imagining that you can allows you to maintain proper technique and posture. Hold your shoulders up for two seconds, and then lower the weights back to the starting position.

There are many, many more exercises you and your child can do together with these easy homemade weights, but for now let’s keep it simple, safe, and,  most importantly, FUN!  So keep the repetitions to a low number:  do no more than 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each exercise.   Doing this 3 times a week will make a difference.

Some important strength training guidelines for children

7 and under: Introduce the child to basic exercises using little or no resistance.  The intent is to develop in the child the idea of a training session and to teach proper exercise.

8 to 10 years old: You can gradually increase the number of exercises while maintaining a focus on proper technique for all exercises.  It is important to not let the child develop any bad lifting  habits such as rocking or jerking the weights, which may result in a muscle strain.[2]

Remember, lifting weights can be a lifelong activity beneficial to strength, flexibility, good posture and strong self esteem.  Developing good habits and techniques at a young age is a great way to start a lifetime of healthy habits.

Questions?  E-mail me at coachcampbell@candostreet.com


[1] “Resistance Training for Youth,” by Dr. Carla B. Sottovia, 7 October 2008

http://www.dotfit.com/shop/article.aspx?atid=160

[2] Rick Philbin, MED, ATC, CSCS, National Board Member, Diabetes, Exercise & Sports Association
National Presenter, Children with Diabetes, Northeast Regional Manager, Animas Corporation, November 2004

http://www.childrenwithdiabetes.com/sports/weighttraining.htm

Passing the Halloween Treats Forward

halloween

This Halloween why not encourage your Trick or Treaters to share some of their Halloween bounty with others who could use a treat?

Let’s face it, kids don’t need all the candy they get on Halloween. Sharing their bounty is a great way of practicing kindness and generosity.

Here are a few suggestions as to what to do with the Halloween candy your children are willing to share with others:

  • What a treat it would be for residents of a senior assisted living facility to receive a visit from young children in costumes giving out a part of their goodies. What happy memories it would bring back for the seniors! What a lasting memory it would be for the children to witness the happiness they were giving just by sharing a little bit of their time and a few pieces of candy.
  • There are children who will not get to go trick or treating. Two groups of children that will not be trick or treating are those that live in homeless shelters with their moms, and those that live with their moms in safe houses for domestic violence victims. You will need to call your local Dept of Social Services to find out where you can drop off Halloween candies for these two groups. Their exact locations, especially domestic violence safe houses, are not given out to the public.
  • Another good use for all that extra Halloween candy-send it in a care package to our troops serving overseas.  This could be a great school, church or recreation center group project.  How wonderful for child to get a letter from a soldier, who is overseas, thanking him or her for sharing Halloween. For more information on how to collect and where to send the candy go to:

www.dosomething.org/actnow/actionguide/how-collect-halloween-candy-our-troops#

 

CDC Recommends a Community Approach to Fighting Lyme Disease

Each year, more than 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported deertickbullseyeto the Centers for Disease Control(CDC), making it the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the United States. The new estimate suggests that the total number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease is roughly 10 times higher than the yearly reported number.

“We know people can prevent tick bites through steps like using repellents and tick checks. Although these measures are effective, they aren’t fail-proof and people don’t always use them,” said Lyle R. Petersen, M.D., M.P.H, director of CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases. “We need to move to a broader approach to tick reduction, involving entire communities, to combat this public health problem.”

This community approach would involve homeowners trying to kill ticks in their own yards, and communities addressing a variety of issues. These issues include rodents that carry the Lyme disease bacteria, deer that play a key role in the ticks’ life cycle, suburban planning, and the interaction between deer, rodents, ticks, and humans. All must be addressed to effectively fight Lyme disease.

Most Lyme disease cases reported to CDC through national surveillance are concentrated heavily in the Northeast and upper Midwest, with 96 percent of cases in 13 states. Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black legged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.

CDC recommends people take steps to help prevent Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases by:

  • Wearing repellent

  • Checking  for ticks daily

  • Showering soon after being outdoors

  • Calling your doctor if you get a fever or rash

For more information on Lyme disease, visit www.cdc.gov/lyme.

Source: Centers for Disease Control, CDC