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Students Not Drinking Enough Water, Even When It’s Handed to Them

Less than one-third of kids and teens meet the daily recommended daily water intake for their age group. To improve that statistic, the USDA issued a mandate to go into effect at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year stating the schools participating in the National School Lunch Program must provide free drinking water to students.

water fountain

Researchers from the University of Michigan and University of Illinois have found the majority of schools have met the mandate and provide water to their students during lunch. But the real trick is getting students to actually drink more water.


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You’re Not Crazy. The Cereal Box is Designed to Stare at You

Ever feel like your cereal box is staring at you? If you do, you’re not alone. New research from Cornell University Food and Brand Lab shows the somewhat creepy, blank stares of popular cereal mascots are designed to specifically to stare you down as you decide which brand to buy. They’re also probably part of the reason kids seem to be drawn to sugary, less healthful brands.

cereal

The study also found what most of us already know. In stores, cereals targeted at children tend to be on lower, easy-to-reach shelves. They’re also at an optimal height to be in kids’ lines of sight. Healthier “adult” cereals tend to be placed higher up and out of kids’ easy reach.


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Look Again! Misleading Fast Food Ads Cause Kids to Identify Apple Slices as French Fries

When I was younger, elementary school age, I saw my mom cutting up what I believed to be peeled apples in the kitchen. I took a piece and ate it, only to be unpleasantly surprised at the raw potato in my mouth. I quickly learned that while potatoes and apples look the same when peeled and chopped, they certainly don’t taste the same.

child watching tv

New research from the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center in New Hampshire indicates that many kids have a similar problem distinguishing apples from potatoes. Only this time, the kids were asked to tell the difference between apple slices and french fries in fast food advertising on networks like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

Since 2009, fast food restaurants have been in agreement to include healthy foods in their advertising targeted at children. It was hoped kids could be encouraged to eat healthier foods with their meals. Of course, if kids don’t recognize the healthy food, the plan doesn’t work.


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Super Sprowtz: Puppets with Superpowers Steer Kids to Good Eating

If Cookie Monster is the poster-puppet for junk food, Colby Carrot and the rest of the Super Sprowtz are the health food equivalents, and they’re fighting a good fight. Through television programing, live shows, and a museum exhibit as well as online tools and an app, these veggie super-hero characters teach kids about healthy eating—and they make it fun!

What other vegetables are represented in this zany cast?


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EmPOWERed Kids Run to Take Place One Month After Boston Marathon Tragedy

When my young son came home from school on April 15, I had to share with him the sad news about the Boston Marathon bombings. I was gentle and only gave the information a nine-year-old needed to hear. I had the TV on and he walked into the room and saw the cleared scene of the crime. He immediately said, “Mommy, that’s exactly where we stood.”

I knew that the moment the news broke, my husband did, too. But it didn’t quite sink in until our child was impacted by the closeness of this terrible event. The second time I ran Boston, my son and husband stood under the international flags and cheered for me as I finished. My son’s world changed on April 15, 2013. It changed in a way that broke my heart.

empowered kids

Erin Kreitz Shirey also had a similar sad moment with her little girl on April 15. Instead of being able to report the winning times, she had to tell her about the tragedy and how the race was stopped.

“What about the kids cheering on their parents? Mom, are they OK? Are the kids hurt?”, innocently questioned Shirey’s daughter that night. Her daughter, like my son, had cheered for her mother at many races as well.

We and many other parents struggled to talk to our kids about this event, especially our fellow running parents. We’ve all had our kids at races, standing on the curbs, hanging on the fences cheering. Now what are we supposed to tell them?
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