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Play: The Work of Childhood

Posted by Christine Cliff, MPH, RDN, LDN @ 9:25 AM

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“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief of serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” – Fred “Mr.” Rogers  

As a kid, my parents encouraged me and my brothers to play outside with friends. Ghost in the graveyard, tag and riding my big wheel are fond memories of my childhood. Play may seem meaningless and a frivolous use of time to adults, but like Mr. Rogers’ quote, it provides children the opportunity to learn and develop.

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With May being National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, let’s explore three benefits of play and activity identified in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy: The Crucial Role of Recess in School and by National Association for the Education of Young Children that you can share with your clients.  Read the rest of this entry »

Helping Those at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes with Dairy Foods

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 8:30 AM

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There’s no doubt about it, type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a devastating disease, and prevalence in this country and around the world is too high. However, did you know that dairy foods may help reduce the risk of T2D?

“You only have to spend five minutes talking to someone who has lost their sight or has lost a leg as a result of Type 2 diabetes to realize the devastating impact the condition can have,” said Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK. “As a country, we are sleepwalking towards a public health disaster of an almost unimaginable scale.”

In the U.S., one in three people have prediabetes and 90 percent are unaware of their risk –and may be “sleepwalking” toward their own health disaster. According to the CDC, if people with prediabetes make no lifestyle changes, progression to full-blown T2D could occur within five years.    Read the rest of this entry »

Partnering to Empower Youth to be Agents of Change for Health and Wellness

Posted by Jean Ragalie-Carr, RDN, LDN, FAND @ 12:45 PM

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Today, leaders in business, government, health, education and academia met for GENYOUth’s fourth Leadership Roundtable at Levi’s Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers, in Santa Clara, Calif. All were engaged in furthering a movement to help America’s youth achieve a healthier future.

At the Roundtable, Alexis Glick, CEO of the GENYOUth Foundation, officially announced the release of the Empowering Youth report, and acknowledged the engagement of stakeholders and supporters for helping to make GENYOUth the preeminent peer organization it has become in fueling youth-led social change. GenYOUth Empower Youth Report, Hi Res No Crops[2]smHistorically, youth have been involved in making civic and organizational changes on their own behalf, whether it was encouraging the use of seat belts or being involved in campaigns to stop texting while driving.

Now as we seek to foster a culture of wellness in our schools, I believe — as do other leaders whom I’ve spoken with – that the impetus for change lies with the students. We should listen to their ideas, then give them the tools and information they need to make decisions, solve problems and be the solution. Read the rest of this entry »

Pizza: Making a Good Food Even Better for Kids

Posted by Judith Jarvis, MS, RDN @ 7:33 AM

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A recent post from my colleague, Greg Miller, was a good reminder to take a closer look at cheese and its many benefits. Many people love the taste and versatility of cheese, and the good news is that cheese eaten in moderation and with attention to portion size can fit into nearly any balanced, healthy meal plan. That is as true for children as it is for adults.

The same good news for cheese applies to pizza, a favorite of many children and teens. In fact, according to NHANES (2007-2010) data, 22 percent of older children (6-11 y) and adolescents (12-19 y) ate pizza on a given day. When eaten in moderation, pizza can fit into healthful meal plans and can be a great tasting way to help meet recommendations for many nutrients, including calcium, protein, fiber and potassium.  

shutterstock_100426315smSome people are concerned that eating pizza may lead to excess calories, fat and sodium in kid’s meals. Though we all need to take childhood obesity seriously, there are solutions to make this food, which children love, a nutritious option. There are so many ways to make pizza the star of a nutrient-rich meal. Read the rest of this entry »

Less Fat, More Muscle: How Protein Can Play a Role

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 7:21 AM

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Most people want less fat and more muscle. Muscle and body fat matter, not only for body builders, but for children and teens, weekend warriors, older adults, and the more than 50 percent of Americans who are trying to lose weight. A lean, muscular body is even desirable in our pets!

Most experts would agree that maximizing lean body mass (muscle and bone) and maintaining a healthy level of body fat, is beneficial for overall health throughout life. Keeping the percentage of body fat in check is important because excess body fat – especially abdominal fat – is associated with systemic inflammation, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Muscle mass, on the other hand, helps the body burn calories, utilize blood glucose, and is important for physical activity.

Exercise can play an important role in helping people reduce body fat and increase muscle, while on the nutrition front, here are some strategies concerning the role of protein that science supports: Read the rest of this entry »

Yogurt is Kid-Friendly in More Ways Than One

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 7:29 AM

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While I was at the grocery store looking through the dairy section the other day, I noticed that brightly-colored packages of kid-friendly yogurts took up a good portion of the display. But aside from the attractive packaging, yogurt is more than meets the eye as a nutritious food for kids.

Parents and health and wellness professionals alike are looking for nutritious and delicious foods that will help kids maintain a healthy weight as they grow. A study recently published in Nutrients found that yogurt is a food that may help with that.

shutterstock_139200182smThe researchers, who used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2005-2008) in 3,786 U.S. children ages 8-18, found that eating yogurt and dairy foods was associated with greater intakes of calcium, vitamin D, protein, and potassium – three of which (calcium, vitamin D, potassium) fall short in children’s diets. In addition, eating yogurt was not associated with total calorie consumption, and eating yogurt was associated with lower saturated fat consumption and lower BMI, waist circumference, and subscapular skinfold thickness. Read the rest of this entry »

Fuel Up to Play 60 NFL FLAG Football: Inspiring Kids to Be More Active

Posted by Jean Ragalie-Carr, RDN, LDN, FAND @ 10:49 AM

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For 100 years, on behalf of dairy farmers and the dairy community, National Dairy Council (NDC) has been committed to helping improve child health and wellness. Since the beginning, NDC has helped launch pioneering programs — such as Fuel Up to Play 60, the largest in-school nutrition and physical activity program — that have benefited millions of children.

As the President of NDC and a mom, I am so proud to share this breaking news with you: Today, Fuel Up to Play 60 and GENYOUth in collaboration with the NFL renewed their commitment to reach 1,000,000 students and encourage them to get active!

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During the kick-off of the 2015 NFL DRAFT and Youth Football Clinic in Chicago’s Grant Park, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and CEO of GENYOUth Alexis Glick announced the expansion of last year’s Fuel Up to Play 60 NFL FLAG Essentials Kits. Read the rest of this entry »

The Versatility of Yogurt

Posted by Emily Erickson @ 7:00 AM

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Kristin Schrieber, MS, RDN, LDN, helped support Emily Erickson, Dietetic Intern, MBA Candidate at Dominican University, on this post.  Click to access Emily’s full bio here and Kristin’s here.

 

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A majority of people may enjoy yogurt by peeling back the top and scooping up bites, spoonful by spoonful until the container is nearly clean – but many of your clients might be quite surprised at just how many ways they can use yogurt.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans confirmed the importance of milk and milk products in a healthy diet by maintaining the recommendation of three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods per day  in those 9 years and older. In a 2013 systematic review, eating more dairy foods, like milk, cheese and yogurt, was linked to reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, and in another review yogurts that contained probiotics were associated with a healthy digestive tract. Some probiotics have been associated with enhanced immune response, but more evidence is needed. Yogurt also contains protein and diets higher in protein have been shown to aid in weight management. (Fun fact – Greek yogurt contains twice the protein as regular yogurt and the consistency is great for the recipes below!)

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And, if all of that was not enough, most yogurt varieties are rich in beneficial nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, and riboflavin. A study that compared the DGAI (Dietary Guidelines Adherence Index) in people who ate yogurt and those who did not found that “yogurt intake was associated with better overall diet quality, greater intakes of several shortfall nutrients, and healthier metabolic profiles independent of overall diet quality.”

With the numerous health benefits of yogurt, here are a few ideas you can share with your clients on different ways they can include it in their meals: Read the rest of this entry »

Why Potassium-Containing Foods Matter for Adolescent Health

Posted by Judith Jarvis, MS, RDN @ 11:36 AM

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This blog post was written by Judith Jarvis, MS, RDN in collaboration with Chris Cifelli, PhD.

During the teenage years, school, sports, friends and other activities keep kids so busy they are unlikely to spend much time thinking about blood pressure, or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease that may affect their future health. MeetOurAuthors_ChrisCifelliThat was certainly true of me when I was a teenager. So identifying these risks early is critical to helping young people stay healthy now and in the future.

That’s why I’m so pleased to share the findings of a 10-year prospective study by Dr. Lynn Moore and colleagues suggesting that eating more potassium-rich foods during childhood may help suppress the adolescent rise in blood pressure. The study evaluated the long-term effects of dietary sodium, potassium, and the potassium-to-sodium ratio on blood pressure from 9-10 years throughout adolescence in more than 2,000 black and white girls enrolled in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Growth and Health Study. Read the rest of this entry »

Practical Ways to De-Stress All for the Good of Your Health

Posted by Christine Cliff, MPH, RDN, LDN @ 7:53 AM

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Stress… we have all been there with sweaty palms at a job interview or anxiously awaiting test results. Stress can be positive: pushing you to be better. Or it can be negative: having a continuous presence.. Since April is Stress Awareness Month, let’s take closer look at stress, how it can affect one’s health and stress management tips you can offer your patients.

Believe it or not, stress is not all bad. For our ancestors, stress helped protect them in dangerous “fight or flight” scenarios. Today, though, we are not at risk of being hunted by saber-toothed tigers. Acute stress is pretty common and typically short term. One can experience an immediate intense feeling, like getting in a fight with a loved one or trying to meet a deadline. Since the stress is short term, it does not have time to take a toll on your long term health.  Read the rest of this entry »