Tag Archives: kids

Does Your Family Get Enough Sleep? If Not, Your Kids May be at a Higher Risk for Obesity

Sleep is important for a number of reasons, but a study has discovered a new one you may not know about. According to research from the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES), the amount of sleep you get can impact your kids’ obesity risk.

child sleeping

The study states the amount of sleep parents get is connected to the amount of sleep their children get. The more parents are sleeping, the more children are sleeping, and more child sleep is connected to decreased childhood obesity.

“Parents should make being well rested a family value and a priority,” said Barbara H. Fiese, director of the University of Illinois’ Family Resiliency Center.

“Sleep routines in a family affect all the members of the household, not just children; we know that parents won’t get a good night’s sleep unless and until their preschool children are sleeping.”

It has been shown that not getting enough sleep can lead to moms, dads, and their children gaining weight. (more…)

Early Exposure to Allergens May Reduce Risk of Allergies, Asthma

It may sound a little gross, but a new study suggests that infants exposed to rodent and pet dander, roach allergens, and a variety of household bacteria in their first year of life appear less likely to develop allergies and asthma.

baby and puppy

The study was conducted by scientists from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and other institutions, and was published June 6 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. It showed that early exposure to bacteria and some specific allergens could have an effect on shaping immune responses in young children.

This may help prevent allergies and asthma later in life.

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We’re Not Making Grades, and Our Kids are Paying for It

A report card was just released on physical activity for kids in the United States. Sadly, if the U.S. were a student, it would definitely be going to summer school.

active kids

The first-ever United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth was devised as a way to evaluate the levels of physical and sedentary activity in American kids. Those who created the card hope it can be used to demonstrate how important physical activity is, and why people need to do what they can to make sure kids get more of it.

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Sports Drinks: Bad for Kids’ Health and Behavior

sports drinks

Scientists recently discovered an unsettling connection between sports and energy drinks and teenagers. There appears to be a pretty strong link between consumption of the beverage to bad behavior, according to a recent research study published in the Journal of Nutritional Education and Behavior. And while it may not be a surprise that kids hopped up on caffeine might misbehave more than those who stay clear of Redbull and the like, the same trend applies to sports drinks, which were used by about 33-percent of the teens polled.

What, exactly, are kids who drink these beverages up to?  The researchers concluded that both male and female teenagers who consume a high number of sports and energy drinks each week are more likely to smoke, drink other worse-for-you beverages, and actually spend more time in front of the computer or television.

Could Gatorade be the gateway drug for more bad behavior? (more…)

Stop. Just Stop Calling Girls Fat.

I’d bet there’s one thing girls are called more than anything else: Fat. Some hear it from their classmates, others from their friends, still others from their family. Eventually many hear it from themselves. In a UCLA study, more than 2,000 girls were surveyed and 58 percent of them had been told they were too fat by the age of 10.

girls

Soak that in for a moment. More than half of 10 year-old-girls have heard the words “you’re fat.”

Unfortunately, that’s not the worst of it. The study measured the heights and weights at the beginning of the study, and again nine years later. Those who had been told they were fat were 1.66 times more likely to be obese when they were 19.

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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? (more…)