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Healthy School Lunch Reform is Fighting Childhood Obesity, Tackling TV is Next Step

A team of cardiologists at the University of Michigan has found that among obese middle schoolers, 62 percent watched two or more hours of TV a day. The data suggests that when “screen time” replaces physical activity, obesity is likely to ensue. When you pair this decreased activity with the calorie-rich, fat-laden lunches served in schools, you have a full on epidemic.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was meant to provide healthier food for the national school lunch program, which took effect last year. It’s certainly a step in the right direction, but still far from perfect. As for the other side of the coin, it’s ultimately up to parents to tackle the TV problem. The life-long effects of poor dietary and activity habits can lead obesity, heart disease, and other chronic diseases.

Boy in Cafeteria Line

Our resident nutrition expert, Mary Hartley, RD, has been an ardent supporter of the school lunch overhaul, and told us that for many kids, half of a child’s calorie intake comes from school lunch, and those calories were 34 percent fat.

“French fries and other potato products accounted for a disproportionate number of the vegetables on kids’ trays,” she said. “But improving school lunches is only one part of the obesity problem. Parents at home have a far greater impact.”


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Biggest Loser 14 Official Trailer Reveals New Contestants, New Logo, and New Theme

They’re back and not necessarily bigger than ever, but definitely younger! NBC’s Biggest Loser will return to prime time on January 6 for the much-anticipated season premier of the show’s 14th season. A season off has allowed the producers to refocus and (we hope) select a cast as inspiring and motivated as some of the show’s most popular contestants ever. In this official trailer released by NBC, we have a feeling we got just what we asked for!

Jillian Michaels returns to Biggest Loser this season, joining forces in the gym with Dolvett and Bob, as they “Challenge America,” the new theme for this year. We’ve seen the biggest contestants before, but this time they’re introducing us to their youngest contestants – three teens under the age of 18. The show has been a force in impacting the obesity epidemic in our country, but now they’re going to show how we can all impact childhood obesity, too.
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Danny Boome’s Recipe Rehab is Making Over America’s Favorite Recipes on Network TV

My husband’s grandmother Polly makes the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had. I won’t say that’s why I married him, but it’s certainly one of the perks of joining his family! The headache I get after eating it is sometimes worth it – it’s that good. But, deep down I know it’s not good for me at all. With more than a pound of sugar between the cake and icing, butter, and white flour, I could really use some Recipe Rehab.

Families like mine across the country are having their favorite traditional recipes madeover on ABC’s new Recipe Rehab, a network cooking show hosted by celebrity chef Danny Boome. He told me it’s the first show to really bring cooking back to network TV since Julia Child. It’s also the first show to have started on YouTube and made the jump to network TV!

On the show, sponsored by Everyday Health, families submit recipes that they love but aren’t loving them back. So far, since the show’s premiere on October 6, they’ve fixed macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, and spaghetti and meatballs. Maybe Danny will hear my cries for chocolate cake help this Thanksgiving!

During the 30-minute show, we see two chefs makeover the recipes with healthier ingredients. The goal is to lower the fat, calories, and sugar while maintaining the flavor, texture, and even ease that the families love. Then, each family receives the two recipes and prepares them in their own home. Of course, no cook off would be complete without a tasting, at which point they reveal a winner.

“The idea of the show is to try to give people choices, open their minds up,” said Danny in our interview. On the phone he is enthusiastic about the work they’re doing and points out the real value the show offers its American viewers.
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Biggest Loser and Body by Vi Have No Partnership, According to NBC

One of the biggest diet trends to happen in a while is Body by Vi, a meal replacement shake weight loss plan that thrives because of its multi-level marketing (MLM) business model (aka pyramid scheme). The brand has a huge following, and this week sounded like it was poised to gain even more with news of a Biggest Loser tie-in.

When the most popular reality show on TV syncs with a wildly popular diet brand, you’d think it would be a perfect marketing marriage. But that’s not the case. Rumors have been swirling that the two brands were partnering, so we had to look in to it. Turns out, the news is just a misunderstood rumor.

“There is no partnership between the show and this company,” the press representative for Biggest Loser at NBC told us this evening.
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Americans Who Watch 4.5 Hours of TV Daily Have Plenty of Time to Exercise

You don’t have time to workout, huh? Well, I have information that says otherwise.

According to the Bureau of Labour we’re a busy bunch, but we’re not exactly making the most of our free time. The biggest excuse in the book for skipping exercise kind of falls apart when you see that people spend the majority of their leisure time watching TV. Are your shows that important? Then move while you watch!

You can easily do yoga, squats, or jog in place while cleaning out your DVR and catching up on the hottest summer reality shows. There are some people who only allow themselves time to watch TV while they’re on the treadmill at the gym, and some who keep their TV in the fitness room of their home.


The only thing we spend less time doing than exercise is relaxing, and that’s no good either. Our bodies and brains need plenty of time to unwind. In some cases though, exercise and relaxing go hand-in-hand. Yoga, swimming, cycling, a round of hoops, or chasing your kids through the park are all ways to relax while still remaining active.
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