Posts tagged children

Restaurants helping combat obesity, or are they?


Restaurants to offer more-healthful fare for kids

It’s something but is it really enough?

Nineteen chains — including Burger King, Denny’s, IHOP, Chili’s, Friendly’s, Chevy’s and El Pollo Loco — have agreed to participate in the Kids Live Well initiative as worries increase about the role of fast food in childhood obesity.

French fries, slathered with ketchup and washed down with a pint of soda, are a favorite part of fast-food lunches and dinners for millions of American youngsters.

But taking a cue from nutritionists, a group of 19 restaurant companies are pledging to offer more-healthful menu options for children at a time when concern is growing over the role of fast food in childhood obesity.

Burger King, the second-largest burger chain, for instance, will stop automatically including French fries and soda in its kids’ meals starting this month, although the items will still be available.

Instead, the company said Tuesday, its employees will ask parents whether they prefer such options as milk or sliced apples before assembling the meals.

“We’re asking the customers to specify what they want,” said Craig Prusher, the chain’s vice president of government relations. Fries and soft drinks are “no longer a default decision,” he added.

Schools implement fitness boot camp for kids


Schools implement fitness boot camp for kids.

Canadians are on the right track here! Fitness should be fun for kids and a lifelong endeavor!

Many students in Edmonton are now taking part in a new fitness boot camp program designed specifically for kids.It’s called No More Excuses Boot Camp for Kids and it’s a circuit-training styled program that’s being implemented in schools across the city.”It’s about exposing them to as many exercises as possible in a non-competitive environment so that they can actually do it, feel the successes, the adrenaline, the endorphines and then continue,” said Cheryl Schneider, creator of the No More Excuses Boot Camp for Kids.”We know the reality is computers and video games are winning. We need to inspire these children to have a love for exercise.”Within a 20-minute period, kids can participate in up to 16 different exercises at various stations.

Since it launched two months ago, both teachers and students have been wanting more.”A couple of schools emailed me this week asking if they can increase the bootcamps from one day a week to twice a week cause the kids love it so much,” Schneider said.”It’s a big plus,” said Ty Wilcox, a Grade 6 student from Bisset Elementary School. “It’s fun.”

Boot camp organizers hope the program will help turn around the latest Canadian exercise statistics.Statistics Canada released a report on Wednesday showing most Canadians aren’t reaching the recommended levels of exercise.According to the report only 7% of children between the ages of five and 17 are getting their minimum exercise requirements.

Earlier this month it was also announced that the federal government is issuing new fitness guideline requirements — guidelines that actually lower the amount of time Canadians should be physically active each week.”We are trying to make a difference in fitness today,” Schneider said.

Not Even Kids on Sports Teams Get Enough Exercise


Not Even Kids on Sports Teams Get Enough Exercise

So relying on your child’s sports team to ensure they get enough exercise may guarantee that they are getting in their 60 mins of activity because of instruction time! We parents just can’t win! What are we to do — think about encouraging or finding additional ways to get in activity in addition to the team sports they are doing. Where to find the extra time — ??

A new study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine questions that assumption, finding that just 24% of the 7-to-14-year-old soccer, softball and baseball players studied — who wore accelerometers to capture their movements — got in their 60 minutes during practice. The average was 45 minutes, not so far off the mark. But the study also found that less than half of the practice time was actually taken up by exercise.

The disparities seen in the study, which included 200 kids, are interesting. Older kids (those aged 11-14) got an average of 7 fewer minutes of exercise per practice than 7-to-10-year-olds. “With older kids, the competition is heavier so they’re probably doing more skill drills and strategy,” speculates James Sallis, lead author of the study, psychology professor at San Diego State University and director of the school’s Active Living Research program. Younger kids are also more likely to run around rather than stand quietly taking instruction, he says.

There were also big variations by sport, with soccer practice providing an average of 17 more minutes of exercise than baseball or softball practice. Fewer than 2% of the girls who played softball met the 60-minute recommendation. And girls in all sports exercised for 11 minutes fewer than boys. Sallis guesses that again, girls are doing more skill-oriented drills than the boys.

The study authors say that the health effects of youth sports could be boosted by encouraging more physical activity during practice and emphasizing participation rather than competition, among other things. Sallis also says that parents looking to get their kids off the couch should “consider multiple options” beyond traditional sports teams, including fitness and dance classes. And research suggests that younger kids, he says, benefit from just running amok on the playground.

Obese Children’s Arteries Show Signs of Heart Disease


Obese Children’s Arteries Show Signs of Heart Disease.

The hazards of being an obese child go beyond schoolyard teasing or being picked last in gym. The arteries of obese children exhibit a stiffness normally found in adults with heart disease, according to a new study from BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Canadian researchers looked at 63 obese children and 55 children of normal weight, both groups with an average age of 13. The obese children had abnormal results on an ultrasound test of the heart and blood vessels, which measures how quickly blood flows through the body.

Childhood Nutrition a Serious Issue in Schools


Childhood Nutrition a Serious Issue in Schools | Fresh Healthy Vending.

Childhood nutrition plays a very big role in a child’s well being physically, emotionally, mentally and socially. A child who is not properly nourished can have difficulties in focusing with his/her academic performance in school. His/her physical appearance especially those who are overweight can also lead to low self-esteem because they are most likely to be teased or bullied by other children. Children with low-self esteem often have a hard time interacting with other kids which greatly affects their social life.As more cases of obesity increase year by year, schools have been paying more attention to their student’s health. Most schools have been making a big makeover with the food they offer in their ala carte and school vending options. More fruits and vegetables are being offered and less of the fried and greasy foods. Sugared sodas have also been banned in schools. With the joint efforts of schools and the government, children are being educated with what healthy eating can do for them and how it can help them become healthier and better individuals.Aside from offering healthier food choices, schools are also encouraged to provide physical activities for their students. Most students don’t get daily physical education.

About eight percent of elementary schools, 6.4 percent of middle school and only 5.8 percent of high schools have daily physical education each school year. If the school increases physical education even just by having an hour per week, then children will learn more about their health and will know how to take care of their selves better.Parents believe that educating children about exercise and proper nutrition is very important. More physical education means less risk of childhood obesity. The amount of physical education recommended by the federal government per week is five hours.Another way to teach kids about food is by getting the kids involved with planting gardens in schools. Studies show that children who are involved with planting food have higher vegetable intake than children who do not have garden programs in their schools. Growing food also promotes environmental awareness to kids. This activity can be both beneficial for our children’s health and the environment’s health as well.

Childhood Obesity in AZ


Here & Now: Childhood Obesity in AZ

Here and Now talked to Janet Foote and Beth Jacobs, both from the College of Public health at the University of Arizona, about the increase of childhood obesity and what can be to to improve the health of kids in Arizona. KJZZ listeners offer their personal solutions to the problem.

Too Fat For 15 Documentary


Too Fat For 15? – iVillage.

Have you seen this documentary Too Fat for 15? Some friends at lunch today were telling me they watched the first episode and how disturbing it was to see these kids struggle. It follows kids at a weight loss boarding school  — so they get educated in proper health habits while they are getting their traditional education. Complete immersion. As this article says: these kids are so brave to let cameras follow them as they struggle to live their lives and learn about balance. It’s a hard battle to grow up in general and then add the extra challenge of being overweight in a weight/looks conscience world…I am going to check it out.

The much-hyped Too Fat for 15: Fighting Back debuts tonight, August 9, 2010, at 8/7 p.m. CT on the Style Network. This comes at a time when new research shows children as young as 7 years old are showing signs of puberty, a result of the staggering increases in childhood obesity.

At first glance, the image chosen to represent the new 8-part docu-series Too Fat For 15 bears a shocking resemblance to ABC Family’s dramedy HUGE. It turns out, the shows are quite similar: Too Fat chronicles five obese teens enrolled at Wellspring Academy, a weight-loss boarding school in North Carolina. (Wellspring helps students continue their education while losing weight.) The star students — the youngest is 11; the heaviest, Tanisha a 17-year-old girl weighs 510 pounds and was in such need of help that she had to be driven to the cafeteria which at the top of a hill. She wound up losing 150 pounds in four months. The two of them shed a combined 500 pounds during filming. ‘

Viewers will watch the emotional ups and downs of these kids as they are pushed through grueling fitness routines, regular weigh-ins, and learn about food, from how to eat to why they eat. The kids’ parents are also involved, with the show helping them explore their own issues with food and the role they’ve played in their children’s pain.

I give these kids all the credit in the world for allowing cameras to document their experiences. Weight Watchers doesn’t even make you weigh in in front of your fellow members to help protect privacy, and yet these teenagers are putting it all out there for the whole world to see. Kids can be incredibly cruel, and being an overweight teenager is probably one of the worst things in the world in terms of getting teased and ostracized. But 14-year-old Scotty, who starts the show at 366 pounds after being told by doctors that he could die if he fails to lose weight, and 17-year-old Tanisha ultimately prove their haters wrong.

Great American Backyard Campout


National Wildlife Federation: Great American Backyard Campout – Home.

Join National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Backyard Campout®. Create lasting memories by connecting with family and friends in the great outdoors. It’s something simple you can do to promote happier, healthier children.

Was this written by Scotty?


Thanks to my sister, Connie for sending me the below from MSNBC. My family knows the high regard Star Wars has in my home. When I first met Scotty, it was something that everyone knew about Scotty – he liked Star Wars. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that he was an active member of the Star Wars Fan club or anything but it clearly held a place in his heart.  As we began our lives together and started a family, his Star Wars interest had to take a backseat to being an adult and doing adult things like paying bills instead of paying for duplicates of Star Wars figures. Everyone did that right?

I am sure so many “Dads” can relate to this post below and in full disclosure, I many times find myself jumping on the bandwagon in “helping” my son love Star Wars. There is something really sweet about seeing a Dad and their son sharing in something like this. You get to see your husband relive days when you didn’t know him and see the joy of them both playing Star Wars legos in your dining room and talking about the characters – this happens in every family right? It better —

To see them both wearing fake vintage Star Wars t-shirts on the weekends makes me smile. It is something that I know Nate will pass on to his own son if he should be blessed enough to have one someday.  Nate’s favorite swimsuit is a Star Wars themed one, as are many of his favorite shirts. He has Disney Star Wars characters like Jedi Mickey and Darth Goofy. Even at 6 years old, that boy appreciates the impact that Star Wars has had over many things.  Don’t even get me started on Scott sharing his love of Disney too – that may be another post soon!

There have been a few times when we have encountered a boy that has little interest in Star Wars. It really doesn’t seem right. Even Hannah has minimally adopted a Star Wars love. Even she has Star Wars Disney Polly Pockets direct from Disney World!

Star Wars is one of those things that will live forever. I cant quite put my finger on what about it helps it endure but endure it does. Star Wars, Legos, Matchbox Cars, Baby Dolls, and for some families – although not in mine – , Barbie – There are probably a handful more toys that have really endured the test of time and probably a few more that endure in our families only because we loved them so much.  I can say for sure though that I love that I am seeing my son start to become like his father in so many ways.

I am your father … you will love ‘Star Wars’As a film fan and a toy fan, I couldn’t wait to turn my kid on to Lucas’ magic

Image: Young "Star Wars" fan

Kurt Schlosser /

At Seattle’s Comic-Con, fantasy and reality collided for the author’s 3-year-old son.
by Kurt Schlosser

You’re welcome, George Lucas.

I’m that guy. I’m the original “Star Wars” fan from 30+ years ago who is passing the passion along to his son, a 3-year-old who wouldn’t have known a light saber from a paper towel roll if I hadn’t stepped in.

I’m the 41-year-old man-child who paws through piles of fake vintage T-shirts at Target trying to decide if Henry needs R2-D2 or Chewbacca or Darth Vader or the X-wing fighter or all of them.

You haven’t been intimidated by a 3-year-old until one with a light saber asks you for ID on your way to the bathroom.

I’m the dad who surfs Craigslist looking for good buys on collectible action figures that no nerd in his right mind would put into the hands of a toddler.

Why do I do it? Why do I send more money to Lucas, who is clearly quite comfortable down on Skywalker Ranch? I guess because I’m a film fan and a toy fan and when you talk about combining the two, nobody did it better than Lucas with “Star Wars.”

I had mostly forgotten about the franchise after seeing “The Phantom Menace” at the theater in 1999. I didn’t bother with the next two films until they were out on DVD and I’ve never watched “The Clone Wars” TV series. Any toys I still had were packed away somewhere.

Then my son came along in 2007. And after a couple years of “Goodnight Moon” and yet another viewing of just part of “Cars,” I decided it was time to help my son get in touch with the true wonder of all things fake. I dug out a well-worn VHS copy of the original “Star Wars.” Henry was only about 2 1/2, he couldn’t read and I don’t think he was listening to classical music, but John Williams and the London Symphony got his attention in a heartbeat as the opening crawl moved across our TV screen.

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away … dads spent time with their sons outside and saved their money for that child’s education, not plastic toys …” Wait, that’s not right!

It took one viewing for Henry to be hooked. I quickly moved to turn my young son into my lifelong sci-fi compatriot — albeit a well-rounded one who still liked books and baseball. We rewatched that first film and then moved on to “Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.”

When Henry moved out of his crib and his nursery became a big boy’s room, the first thing I hung on his wall was the original “Star Wars” movie poster. Now a life-size cardboard cutout of Han Solo stares down at Henry while he fires the cannons on a giant, plastic, vintage AT-AT walker that should be on a shelf out of his reach. His potty is covered in Darth Vader and Yoda stickers and every cup he puts to his mouth seems to have a spaceship on it.

It didn’t take long for my little project to get away from me. On the morning of his third birthday, we raced Henry down to Seattle’s version of Comic-Con where fantasy and reality collided brilliantly in an epic meeting of little boy and big men acting like little boys. “There’s stormtrooper! There’s Boba Fett! Mom, mom … it’s Luuuke!”

That afternoon, when Henry got three plastic light sabers and two blasters from friends at his “Star Wars”-themed birthday party, I worried about countless battles ahead. I’ve been slashed and blasted ever since, all to the sound of that John Williams theme music, which seems to be on a constant loop around our house, thanks to one of those musical birthday cards that is forever being opened and closed, opened and closed.

Oh well. I blame myself. I turned the movies on, I drove the car to the toy store, I surfed the internet for the right Millennium Falcon.

But there’s not any real guilt. I hooked my kid on a harmless fantasy about good and evil with loveable characters and loads of action and adventure. He builds “Star Wars” puzzles and loves flipping through books about the characters and the making of the films. On an airplane, seated next to you, he’s the quietest 3-year-old at 30,000 feet because he can’t take his eyes off Princess Leia on his DVD player. So there are worse things he could spend his time obsessing about.

And besides, the mania has slowed some in recent months.

“Dad, dad! … ‘Toy Story’!”

Local boy with cancer turns into a superhero for a day


A very sweet story to share…
Living | Local boy with cancer turns into a superhero for a day | Seattle Times Newspaper.

Erik, who is living with liver cancer, has always wanted to be a superhero. On Thursday, the regional chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted him that wish with an elaborate event that involved hundreds of volunteers in Bellevue and Seattle.

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