Avoiding Gluten – Should I, Shouldn’t I?

With a number of celebrities promoting a gluten-free diet, it’s no surprise that it has become trendy to avoid this protein. It seems that this kind of diet has grown in popularity in the US especially as there are over three million people not eating gluten foods. However, you shouldn’t exclude gluten from your diet unless you are diagnosed with celiac disease or have a wheat allergy as this is not a healthy option for everyone.

If you’ve decided to follow a gluten-free diet even though you are not sensitive to this protein, you should be aware of the possible health risks that it carries. For those who are condemned to change their lifestyle due to medical reasons, here is some useful information about the symptoms that gluten can cause, gluten-free foods, and the alternatives that can be used.

As this protein is found in barley, wheat, rye, and oats, you, unfortunately, have to forget about bread, pasta, cereals, and similar types of food. Gluten can also be found in other food items, such as takeaway foods, soups, sauces, snacks, milkshakes, and beer. So, it’s very important to be very careful when shopping for groceries. This is especially true for people with celiac disease as gluten causes damage to their small intestine. Another gluten-related health issue is a gluten allergy, and people who are affected by this problem can experience a number of unpleasant symptoms, such as abdominal pain, bloating, and even headaches.

Following a strict gluten-free diet is not an easy task. That’s why the team from MedAlertHelp has prepared an infographic which provides a list of foods that should be avoided as well as food products that are safe for people with gluten-related disorders. There is even a list of food substitutes that are gluten-free.

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Eating Healthier at School Improves Learning

The Center for Disease control shared that kids learn better eating habits when schools provide healthy foods. Learn what you can do to promote nutritious foods at your school.

Most US children attend school for six hours a day and consume as much as half of their daily calories at school. Kids who eat healthy foods at school learn better lifelong eating habits and are readier to learn.

School Meal Programs

Schools play an important role in shaping lifelong healthy eating habits by offering meals with important nutrients. Many schools provide students with meals through federal school meal programs including the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. All students can participate in school meal programs. Some students can receive free or reduced-price meals. School meals offer milk, fruit, vegetables, whole grains and key nutrients like calcium and fiber. Learn more about healthy eating in schools and the benefits of school meals.

Check out this info on the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement!

Nutrition and Academic Achievement

Healthy students are better learners. Research shows that nutrition affects student achievement. Student participation in the School Breakfast Program is associated with higher academic grades and standardized test scores, reduced absences, and improved memory. This fact sheet[480 KB] shows the connection between eating habits and academic grades. More information on the link between health and academic achievement can be found here.

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The Older Kids Get, the Less Time They Spend Outdoors

wrote for Tree Huggers that it comes as no surprise that kids these days are spending less time in nature than previous generations did, but it’s always alarming when casual observations are cemented by formal research. A new study out of North Carolina State University and Clemson University has found that middle-school students, even those living in rural areas, are spending more time indoors and less outdoors. The culprit? Screens.

Middle school, defined as grades six to eight, can be a tough time for many young people, with their lives becoming more structured, academic pressure mounting, and priorities shifting. Amid all these changes, the total time spent in nature starts slipping more rapidly than in earlier years. It affects several demographic groups more than others: girls, African-American students, and eighth graders are most likely to experience a reduction in outdoor time, whereas maintaining a connection to nature is highest among boys, White students, and sixth graders.

The study, published in the journal Environment and Behavior, analyzed the recreational activities of 543 middle-school students across rural South Carolina. While most of the students spent some time outdoors, more was spent on electronic media. This is concerning not only because of the negative effects of overexposure to media (for which evidence is continually mounting) but also because these kids are missing out on the positive benefits of being outdoors. Read more

Healthier Lifestyle for Children

College of DuPage Nursing Student Clare Mayer shared that wanting to be healthy is easy to say, but may not always be easy to do.  Children have busy schedules, and once homework is done, they often like to sit on the couch and turn on the TV, go in front of a computer, or get a bite to eat. Yet, each of these choices has potentially harmful effects on health. Healthy Kids (2018) suggests several strategies to help kids to stay active and healthy.

First, make time to exercise. Exercise does not have to mean weight lifting or strenuous activities. Exercise as simple as taking a walk, playing at a park, riding a bike, or any activities that involve physical work qualify as exercise. Kids love to explore; one idea that may be enjoyable is to visit a forest preserve so kids can walk around and look for treasures, cool looking rocks or leaves, interesting plants or nuts that have fallen from trees, or even little creatures, and some of these treasures they may even be able to bring home.

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Treating the common cold: Tips from the pediatrician

Noreen Stewart, from American Academy of Pediatrics, shared with the Daily Herald that a cough and cold season drives many families to head to the store for supplies like tissues, fever-reducing medications, and other remedies to help little ones feel better. But before parents shop the cough-and-cold aisle at the pharmacy, pediatricians suggest they may not need most of these products — and some can be harmful.

“A cough and cold medicines often have not been tested in children and some can have unintended and sometimes dangerous side effects,” said Dr. Corinn Cross, a spokesperson for the Itasca-based American Academy of Pediatrics. “When I’m talking with families in my practice, I recommend other ways to help children feel better while they’re fighting off a virus.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that from ages 4 to 6 years, cough medicine should be used only if recommended by your child’s doctor. After age 6, the medicines are safe to use, but follow the dosage instructions on the package and pay special attention to multi-symptom products which have multiple medications in them, making it easier to give too much medication to a child. Read more

5 Powerful Ways to Prevent Childhood Obesity Right Now

Writer Pete Alman wrote for Healthy Lombard that since the 1970s, the number of children who struggle with childhood obesity has more than tripled. To put this another way, about one in five children between the age of 6 and 19 were obese according to 2015-2016 data. Unfortunately, these statistics have stayed just as alarming as time has gone on.

With these statistics in mind, it is absolutely crucial that we take steps to prevent childhood obesity. Luckily, that is possible. Childhood obesity isn’t something we just have to accept and move on. In fact, there are a handful of powerful ways that childhood obesity can be prevented.

What Is Childhood Obesity?

Before jumping into how to prevent childhood obesity, it’s important to define obesity. To put it as simple as possible, obesity is when someone has excess body fat. However, being slightly overweight does not automatically equate to obesity. In addition, there isn’t a single weight that stands as the line for obesity. Read more

Silent but Deadly: Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning

happy young family with kids in bright modern living room have fun and looking big flat lcd tv

College of DuPage Nursing Student Elly Schmidt wrote for Healthy Lombard that with the shivering midwest winter that is nearly upon us strikes, it is important to be aware of potentially deadly situations that may occur during the winter months. Heavy snow and strong winds often lead to power outages, and the absence of electrical power results in potentially harmful sources of electricity. The American Journal of Public Health (date) advises of some potential hazards during the colder weather resulting from the use of indoor charcoal grills and camping stoves for cooking or heating which may result in high concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO) entering the home. Inappropriate placement of portable gasoline powered generators may result in CO accumulation when generators are operated outside but close enough to carry fumes inside the home, contributing to dangerous amounts of CO gas. CO may be deadly when the concentration is confined to a small place, therefore, it is vital to know appropriate locations for backup generators. They should not be placed anywhere inside or close to the home and in addition, should not be placed in a garage or front porch.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas, that usually is unnoticed when levels become dangerous, resulting in subtle symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, chest pain and fatigue. Symptoms of CO poisoning are consistent with symptoms of other illnesses such as, the seasonal flu or cold, and should therefore, be checked as elevated CO poses a significant threat to families in the home.

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World Diabetes Day – Nov. 14. 2018

Created by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization, World Diabetes Day is November 14. Organizations around the world will host events to raise awareness about diabetes.

World Diabetes Day (WDD) was created in 1991 by IDF and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2006 with the passage of United Nation Resolution 61/225. It is marked every year on 14 November, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922.

WDD is the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign reaching a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries. The campaign draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public and political spotlight.

The World Diabetes Day campaign aims to:

  • Be the platform to promote IDF advocacy efforts throughout the year.
  • Be the global driver to promote the importance of taking coordinated and concerted actions to confront diabetes as a critical global health issue.

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The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Confidence – November 14

Come and hear (for FREE) at noon at the Marquardt District 15 Administration Center,  1860 Glen Ellyn Road  Glendale Heights,

or at 7 pm at  Glenbard West High School, Ned Johnson and Dr. William Stixrud’s presentation on “Self-Driven: The Science and Sense  of Giving Your Kids More Confidence, Purpose and Control.” 

From different vantage points, William Stixrud Ph.D. and Ned Johnson saw kids struggling with a lack of motivation, a lack of ambition, and toxic stress. Dr. Stixrud is a clinical neuropsychologist, a member of the Adjunct Faculty of the Children’s National Medical Center, and an  Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the George Washington School of Medicine who assists kids gripped by anxiety or struggling to learn.

Johnson is a motivational and educational coach, founder of the elite tutoring company PrepMatters, and author of “Conquering the SAT.”

He is considered by many to be the most sought-after instructor in the Washington, DC metropolitan area,

In this groundbreaking presentation, parents will learn compassionate, concrete solutions to help students deal with competitive academics, extracurriculars, and feelings of hopelessness. Parents and educators will learn how to best instill joy in their students and the skills of self- direction.   Read more