Healthy Choices

Margo Wootan  shared that every day, children are bombarded by marketing of unhealthy food from restaurants, candy companies, and others. On average, children view more than 11 food-related ads everyday, on television alone.

Restaurants are the top food marketers to kids, and their in-store promotions, toy giveaways, television ads, websites, and school-based marketing, play a large role in shaping what children want to eat, as well as shaping what food adults view as appropriate for children. Restaurants have skillfully shaped norms that deem fried-chicken nuggets, burgers, pizza, fries, and sugary drinks as standard, acceptable kid food, when, in reality, kids need the healthiest food.

Not only do children need healthy food during this time of growth and development, but it’s also a time when they form habits for the future. Studies show that repeated exposure to fast food and soda, through marketing, and consumption, cultivates a pattern for future consumption and a preference for those foods.  And what kids eat at restaurants matters more than in the past because children get a quarter of their calories from eating out, with families now spending more of their food dollars at restaurants than grocery stores. Read more

State fitness assessments results now available

Pump Up P.E. shared that the Illinois health-related physical fitness assessment data is now available by school, district, and county under Quick Links at the Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) Enhanced P.E. web page.

ISBE is in the process of sharing these results with schools, along with a letter

providing context and guidance on how they can use fitness testing data to help their students, physical education (P.E.) teachers, school and community maximize the benefits of physical fitness.
What are the SY16-17 statewide physical fitness assessment results?
With results from 69% (2,475) of the 3,572 Illinois schools required to report:
  • 63% of 5th, 7th, and 10th graders across the state met the Healthy Fitness Zone for aerobic capacity, using either the PACER or Mile Run tests
  • 65% of 5th, 7th, and 10th graders across the state met the Healthy Fitness Zone for muscular strength, using the Push-up test
  • 79% of the 5th, 7th, and 10th graders across the state met the Healthy Fitness Zone for muscular endurance, using the Curl-up test
  • 72% of the 5th, 7th, and 10th graders across the state met the Healthy Fitness Zone for flexibility, using either the Back-saver Sit and Reach or Trunk Lift test

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Sugar In A Child’s Diet

Katie MIlls ,  the editor of Daily Health Click shared that if you’ve opened a newspaper (on or offline) at any point over the last few years, the chances are you’ll have seen at least one article expressing concern about high levels of sugar consumption, particularly by children. You’ll probably also have heard about the sugar tax on sweetened fizzy drinks.Depending on your outlook on life, your feelings may range from those of alarm to a general feeling that this is all a storm in a teacup (or a fizzy drinks can). The truth, as is so often the case, is somewhere in between, but it’s probably fair to say that a lot of people would benefit from understanding more about sugar and its role in your child’s diet.

There are different kinds of sugars
Sugar means more than the stuff we pick up in supermarkets in powder or cube form. In principle, it means any form of naturally-occuring sweetening agent. In practice, when we talk about sugar and health, we mean refined sugars, also known as free sugars, which are basically highly concentrated sugars, which are easily processed by the body and can give that infamous “sugar rush”, hence the title of the documentary by Jamie Oliver.

Basically this is all the usual suspects in term of natural sweeteners, from cane sugar to the likes of maple syrup and honey plus the juices and purées of fruit and vegetables. Whole fruits and vegetables and dairy products also contain naturally-occuring sugars, but these are nowhere near as concentrated and come along with lots of goodness (like fibre for fruit and vegetables and protein for dairy) so they’re essentially classed as “good” sugars.

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Good Eating Habits for Growing Children

Carl McLean, blogger, parent, campaigner and contributor at Mom Bible shared that over the past few decades childhood obesity in America has tripled: affecting about 12.7 million children and adolescents. It’s a particularly heated issue in recent news and everyone is looking for ways to help their children avoid obesity and its associated health conditions.

“Portion Distortion” is a term which reflects a growing realization that when it comes to children having healthy eating habits, it’s not always the type of foods that are the problem. But how do we know if we are overfeeding our kids and what exactly is a correct portion size?

Health Implications

It’s important to us all that our children grow up to be healthy and happy; unfortunately, children who have too high a calorie intake will be taking steps towards having a problem with their weight. This can put a strain on the child’s development and obesity can continue as the child increases in age, leading to unwelcome health problems such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease to name a few.

Additionally, it’s also not going to be emotionally easy for a child to grow up with an unhealthy weight; their self-confidence will suffer, potentially they will get bullied and this can lead to a dependence on food in the form of an eating disorder.

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Healthy Lombard Members Share Research at CLOCC

Healthy Lombard Members Nicole Lynne Klinkhamer from ProActive Kids and Dr. Elizabeth Moxley from DePaul University teamed up  to present findings from her ProActive Kids early intervention program at the CLOCC (Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children) Winter Quarterly Meeting poster session, held in Chicago on Thursday December 7th.

Nicole is the Executive Director and co-founder of ProActive Kids, a program that was developed to combat childhood obesity during the critical ages of development, by providing cost-free comprehensive health to children in the greater Chicagoland area. Recently graduates from the Nursing Program at DePaul University, Sarah Donnelly and Jennifer Marie Dykhuizen, recognized obesity as one of the most prevalent diseases affecting the pediatric population and became interested in the work of ProActive Kids.

Working closely with Nicole along with Dr. Moxley at DePaul they were able to review and analyze data, receiving consultation from DePaul statistician Dr. Habtzghi. Original data obtained between 2010-2017 at 21 ProActive Kid’s program sites involving 884 youth between the ages of 8 to 14 years in Chicago was analyzed.

The findings demonstrated improvements in BMI, weight, body fat and fat mass in several counties, although tabulated data according to age and county of residence revealed the most significant decreases were in fat mass and overall body weight in DuPage and Cook Counties. Weight gain in children may be due to dietary and exercise habits, socioeconomic status, or ethnic background. The initiatives of ProActive Kids’ provide insight into successful strategies to address this current ongoing health issue.

Future interventions aimed at managing childhood weight to prevent obesity are also warranted.



What It Means to Be ‘Overfat’—and Why We Should Never Say That

Sarah Jacoby wrote for SELF that by now you probably know that your BMI isn’t a great way to measure your overall health. But, as we move away from that standard, the pressure is on to find a replacement. And, according to a group of researchers, the key may be in using the term “overfat” rather than “overweight” because it more accurately captures the relationship between the makeup of our bodies and our health. However, other experts aren’t convinced this is the way to go.

In a follow-up to work published earlier this year, the group argues that the link between weight and health issues (such as heart conditions and diabetes) is actually better understood as a connection between body fat and those conditions—especially fat that sits around your stomach. This type of fat has been more conclusively linked to health problems than fat that sits around your hips, and is usually measured by calculating the ratio of the circumference of your hips to that of your waist. So, being overfat simply means having an excess of fat—particularly around your tummy—even if you would be considered a “normal” weight by BMI standards.

The group’s new analysis, published recently in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, used these criteria to find out how many people around the world would qualify as overfat. They found that a huge chunk of humanity could be deemed overfat—including those who are already in overweight and obese categories (per BMI measures). In fact, the vast majority of adults (80 to 90 percent) in the U.S. would be included.

Read more

Early-life intervention can prevent childhood overweight, obesity

An intervention delivered through primary care offices providing nutrition education and parenting support beginning in a woman’s third trimester of pregnancy and continuing through her child’s fourth year can mitigate against early childhood obesity, according to study results presented at ObesityWeek.

“Pregnancy and early infancy are promising times in the lifestyle for child obesity prevention,” presenter Mary Jo Messito, MD, clinical associate professor of pediatrics and associate director of the General Academic Pediatric Fellowship at NYU School of Medicine and director of the Pediatric Obesity Treatment Program at Bellevue Hospital Center, told Endocrine Today. “Excess weight gain begins in early infancy and increases life-long risk for obesity.”

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Ever wonder how to lesson your kids’ screen time?

Overweight Brother and Sister Sitting on a Sofa Eating Takeaway Food and Watching the TV

College of DuPage Nursing Student Czarina Anne Cruz feels that children’s use of electronics nowadays seems unavoidable. They can spend a whole day watching TV shows, playing video games or texting on their phones, without having actual conversations with other people. This is alarming and can negatively affect their social skills and most importantly, their overall health including their sleep, vision, and weight. According to American Association of Pediatrics, children from 2-5 years old should spend 1 hour a day on their screens. For most homes, however, this is not the case. It is becoming difficult for parents to get their children’s attention, and getting their eyes off their screens.

Here are some tips to lessen your kids’ screen time:

  • No phones during dinner. Whoever touches his or her phone first would have to clean up the table and wash the dishes. This will also allow you to have a good conversation with your kids.
  • Wi-fi password. Do not give them the Wi-fi password unless all their homework and chores are done.
  • Turn off the phone at night. This will help them get enough sleep. They do not realize how much time they spend scrolling before they realize that they missed bedtime.
  • Play time Fridays. This is for your younger kids who spend hours playing on their tablets. Get them used to the rule that they can only have their tablet during a certain day, or on weekends if you prefer.

Read more

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

One in 3 children in the United States are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

The good news? Childhood obesity can be prevented. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for kids to eat healthier and get more active.

Make a difference for kids: spread the word about strategies for preventing childhood obesity and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved.

How can National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month make a difference?

We can all use this month to raise awareness about the obesity epidemic and show people how they can take steps toward a solution.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Encourage families to make small changes, like keeping fresh fruit within reach or going on a family walk after dinner.
  • Motivate teachers and administrators to make schools healthier. Help them provide healthy food options and daily physical activities for students.
  • Ask doctors and nurses to be leaders in their communities by supporting programs to prevent childhood obesity.

How can I help spread the word?

We’ve made it easier for you to make a difference. This toolkit is full of ideas to help you take action today. For example:

CVS Hides the Candy, Chips.

With permission from Sharon Terlep at the , Healthy Lombard is happy to share the following story that was published in the WSJ on June 28, 2017.

Kevin Heath was wandering around his local CVS pharmacy in search of licorice for his wife, stymied that the candy display was no longer in its usual spot at the front of the store.

With help from a store employee, he found the treats in a section farther back. “Eh, I’m retired. I can take a little extra time,” said the 66-year-old from North Arlington, N.J.

Meet the new CVS Health Corp. CVS -1.56% Three years after eliminating tobacco products from its shelves and adding “health” to its name, the company is taking more steps and moving most junk food away from the storefront, banning sales of low-protection sunscreens and eliminating foods containing artificial trans-fats.

The changes are part of CVS’s effort to stand apart from rivals by focusing on health-care goods and services, said Helena Foulkes, who runs the company’s retail business. It puts the company on a different path than its main competitor.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. says it isn’t a retailer’s job to keep shoppers from their vices and that consumers should be able to make unhealthy choices if they want to. But like CVS, it is trying to boost sales by appealing to a more health-conscious shopper.

Walgreens sells cigarettes but offers smoking-cessation help in the form of specially trained pharmacists and quitting aids. It is keeping candy up front but has added fresh fruit and vegetables in other parts of the store. It also has a loyalty program that rewards shoppers with points for exercise and health monitoring that can be used on purchases. Read more