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family health



New Study Reconfirms Links Between Diet and Childhood Obesity

Reports from a study conducted at the University of Granada in Spain revealed two important correlations pertaining to childhood obesity: Children who eat meals at home prepared by their mother have a better nutritional outlook. And children with sedentary lifestyles are much likelier to have an unhealthy BMI.

Using standard measurement methods, researchers assessed the BMI of 718 children between the ages of 9 and 17 from various schools in Granada, and also determined the consumption frequency of specific foods and daily exercise habits. Their research showed that there is a noticeable relationship between sedentary leisure habits and high BMIs. And that it is “extremely important” for healthy habits to be promoted and encouraged within the family.

This only further confirms what experts have taught us all along: Daily exercise is crucial to overall health. Meals prepared at home are are likelier to be made with healthier, fresher ingredients and served in the proper portions. And it’s crucial that healthy habits be modeled in the home.

So how do we apply this research if we struggle in this area? Consider the following problem areas and tackle them head on.
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Exercise Takes Nothing Away From Your Family

On this week’s episode of The Biggest Loser, Joe Messina left the ranch, claiming that he missed his family too much and needed to be home.

What many people don’t realize is that if they don’t take time to exercise and live their healthiest lives possible, they won’t need to worry about being there for their families. They simply won’t be there at all.

Harsh words, but true. Being overweight and out of shape can be a fast track to an earlier death.

Instead of focusing on how much time exercise takes away from the family, switch that mindset around and see how much time you can spend with your family in a productive, healthy way. Here are some of our staff’s favorite ways to include exercise and healthy living while spending time together with those you love most.
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Overweight Dads Have Overweight Kids

The phrase “like father, like son” now takes on a more serious meaning. According to an Australian study of more than 3000 families, four-year-olds who had fathers who were overweight or obese were at least four times more likely than other children to have weight problems by the time they reached eight.

The researchers investigated patterns in two-parent families, tracking their children  between the ages of four and eight. In each case, only one parent was overweight or obese. Interestingly, if the mother was overweight it did not seem to affect the weight of the children.

“We know that when both parents are overweight or obese, their children are more likely to also be overweight or obese,” said researcher Emily Freeman.

That part is logical, since parents are the providers and if they are buying unhealthy food, children have no choice but to eat what they are fed. While the study did not investigate the reasoning behind the troublesome link, it seems obvious that kids have some sort of special reverence to the way their fathers eat.
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Empty Calories Comic: Vegetarian Awareness Month

See more Empty Calories right here in the blog each week, or receive one each month when you subscribe to our free newsletter.


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Join the Anderson 5 Day Family Dinner Challenge

On a recent episode of Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show, the personable host talked about his own issues with food, and brought up a topic that has been much discussed of late: the family dinner. He began a 5-Day Family Dinner Challenge. What’s the challenge? For 5 nights in a row, cook and eat dinner together as a family. He set the following ground rules:

1) No one can be late
2) No TV or cell phones
3) Everyone has to try everything
4) Every night during dinner, play one game.

For busy moms and dads out there, this type of challenge can seem overwhelming. Many of us struggle to get a balanced meal on the table in a timely fashion, never mind making sure that each member of the family is present and accounted for. Also, Norman Rockwell paintings aside, I’ve yet to see a family with teenagers that doesn’t include at least one sullen face, accompanied by short, terse answers. It’s not exactly a formula that cries out success, is it? Don’t despair – the challenge is not as tough as it seems, and it can be downright fun! Here are some great idea to get you started, and if you’ve decided to take the challenge, let us know!


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