I don't know if you saw this on the news yesterday. I picked it up on Saturday and it's been on my mind every since.
With over 23 million children and adolescents in the US overweight or obese, the risks for many chronic diseases continue to increase. An article in the October issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association examines the diets of American youth and finds some disturbing results.
"The epidemic of obesity among children and adolescents is now widely regarded as one of the most important public health problems in the US," commented Jill Reedy, PhD, MPH, RD, and Susan M. Krebs-Smith, PhD, MPH, RD, both of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD. "Most experts agree that the solution will involve changes in both diet and physical activity, in order to affect energy balance. For diet, this means a reduction in energy from current consumption levels...This paper identifies the major sources of overall energy and empty calories, providing context for dietary guidance that could specifically focus on limiting calories from these sources and for changes in the food environment. Product reformulation alone is not sufficient-the flow of empty calories into the food supply must be reduced."
For 2-18 year olds, the top sources of energy were grain desserts, pizza, and soda. Sugar-sweetened beverages (soda and fruit drinks combined) provided almost 10% of total calories consumed. Nearly 40% of total calories consumed by 2-18 year olds were in the form of empty calories from solid fat and from added sugars. Half of empty calories came from six foods: soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza, and whole milk.
Researchers examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative survey with a complex multistage, stratified probability sample. Trained interviewers conducted in-person 24-hour dietary recalls with all eligible persons, using automated data collection systems that included multiple passes. Calories from solid fats and added sugars were calculated from the USDA MyPyramid Equivalents Database (MPED). Empty calories were defined as the sum of energy from solid fats and added sugars.
Children of different ages get their energy from different sources. For example, the top five sources of energy for 2-3 year olds included whole milk, fruit juice, reduced-fat milk, and pasta and pasta dishes. Pasta and reduced-fat milk were also among the top five sources of energy for 4-8 year olds. Top contributors of energy also varied by race/ethnicity. For example, major contributors for 2- to 18-year-old non-Hispanic blacks included fruit drinks and pasta and pasta dishes, while Mexican Americans' top sources included Mexican mixed dishes and whole milk. Non-Hispanic blacks and whites consumed more energy from sugar-sweetened beverages (combining soda and fruit drinks) than from milk (combining all milks), whereas Mexican Americans consumed more energy from milk than from sugar-sweetened beverages.
In an accompanying commentary, Rae-Ellen W. Kavey, MD, MPH, University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Cardiology, Rochester, NY, discusses the role of sugar-sweetened beverages in the development of obesity in childhood.
Dr. Kavey writes, "High added sugar consumption which occurs most commonly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with a constellation of cardiovascular risk factors, both independently, and through the development of obesity. Multiple studies have shown that presence of these risk factors in childhood is associated with accelerated atherosclerosis and early cardiovascular disease. Randomized trials of nutritionist-guided interventions show us that diet change can be accomplished and is associated with important cardiovascular benefits. This combined body of evidence suggests that reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages should be considered a critical dietary approach to reducing cardiovascular risk in childhood."
A study of how school vending machines can influence the dietary choices of students is presented in the same issue. Researchers from the CDC and the Florida Department of Health found that the availability of vending machines in middle schools was associated with buying snacks or beverages from vending machines instead of buying school lunches. They also found that although healthier choices were available in school vending machines, the most common choices by students were less healthy snacks and beverage.
American Dietetic Association
As much as i try for healthy with my kids, sometimes it seems like a losing battle. The temptation of convenience food can be over powering. We have lunchables and crustables and every sort of fruit snack imaginable,chips and cheese and crackers already made up. This list goes on and on. Processed, processed, processed.
I can't say I'm overly impressed with school lunch either. So what's the solution?
The two biggest things that help me are planning and not buying the junk. Pretty obvious huh?
I shop on a weekly bases, ideally i come home and chop up veggies and fruit that day. I make baggies with a selection of veggies; carrots, celery, cucumbers and bell peppers are my kids favorites. I try to always have cold cuts from the deli and a cheese selection in addition to healthy crackers(whole grain). Grapes, bananas and apples are always on hand, usually strawberries as well.
I try to bake regularly, banana bread, healthy muffins and cookies. Caleb loves toasted banana bread and Alena rarely turns down a muffin, this is a much better snack option in my opinion because i choose what goes in and it's all real food. As a coupon shopper i save so much it allows me to splurge on meats ,cheeses and fruits and veggies and more expensive ingredients. I have the kids go with me to the store and they get to pick a fruit or veg they haven't had before and be a part of preparing it.This makes them take an active interest and have a more open mind to something new.
I really like Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook"Deceptively delicious"She gives some great ways to add in fruit and veggies.
I would love to hear your tips on this subject.
I believe that Balance comes from moderation in all things.And when it comes to our body food is a good place to start.
As a kid I remember getting up to breakfast,we had french toast or poached eggs with toast,hot cereal was normal in the cold weather months or fresh fruit and toast in the warm months.Sometimes we would have cold cereal,cornflakes or Cheerios with bananas on top always with juice or milk...
Today as i was taking my daughter to the bus stop two little boys ran by with their pop tarts in hand,my daughter asked if i would get pop tarts, my response to her was "that sounds like a great treat for Christmas morning"she was satisfied.I admit we have cocoa puffs in the cabinet right now,and cheerios and frosted shredded wheat but that's a once or twice a week running behind kinda treat.
Today we feed our kids pop tarts and toaster strudel,cocoa puffs and instant breakfast...and yet we wonder why America is obese.
It is a constant struggle to take the time to make the best choices for ourselves and our family but its so worth it on so many levels.I'm adding one of our favorite breakfasts to the recipe page so check out Crepes with strawberries.
This is a great article showing that what we eat makes a big difference.
Fight Fat with Breakfast
What to eat to before your next morning workout.
Eating a meal made with “slow-release” carbohydrates, such as oatmeal or bran cereal, before you exercise may help you burn more fat, suggests a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition.
Researchers assessed the rate of fat burn among eight healthy women after they ate two breakfasts: muesli with milk, peaches, yogurt and apple juice on one day; cornflakes with skim milk, white bread with margarine and jam and an energy drink on another day. Both meals contained similar amounts of calories. The first breakfast (muesli) was a low-glycemic-index (GI) meal, the second was a high-GI meal. The glycemic index ranks foods based on how much they raise blood sugar. Lower-GI foods produce smaller spikes than higher-GI foods. Generally, foods that contain protein, fat and/or fiber—and are digested more slowly—fall lower on the GI scale than those that consist mostly of carbohydrate (e.g., white bread).
On the days when the women ate the low-GI breakfast, they burned nearly twice as much fat during a 60-minute walk as they did on the days when they ate the high-GI meal. Here’s why: because the muesli (low-GI) breakfast was more slowly digested, it didn’t spike blood-glucose levels as high as the cornflake (high-GI) breakfast did. In turn, insulin levels didn’t spike as high either—which probably explains why the muesli-eating women burned more fat, says Ian MacDonald, Ph.D., director of research at the University of Nottingham Medical School. Insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat. So, lower levels of insulin might help you to burn fat.
Bottom line: If you’re looking to burn more fat, pick low-GI foods, such as oatmeal, over high-GI foods, such as white toast, before your workout