Monday, January 31, 2011

Healthy Snacks for Kids

A bowl of guacamole beside a tomato and a cut ...Image via WikipediaThe source article actually states 19 healthy snacks. I would love that, since my kids don't stop eating.

Read on with me.

Your kids are going to snack. Here's how to make it healthier.

By Elizabeth M. Ward, MS, RD
WebMD Feature

Kids are snacking more than ever, a trend that’s not expected to change any time soon.
Children are eating about 168 more calories every day as snacks than they did in 1977, according to a 2010 Health Affairs study.
“That’s enough calories to qualify for a fourth meal,” says Karen Ansel, MS, RD, an American Dietetic Association spokeswoman based in Long Island, N.Y.

The Problem With Snacking

Additional calories from any food, including snacks, add up to an unhealthy weight for kids if those extra calories aren't burned off by physical activity.
To make matters worse, kids' snacks often consist of sugary drinks and treats such as cookies, candy, and snack chips,  which nearly always lack the nutrients kids need -- including calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and fiber -- to learn, play, and grow.
Allowing kids to graze all day long may also hamper their hunger cues, causing them to overeat.
“Snacking is not so good when kids are allowed to snack at will in front of the TV or in the car,” says Maryann Jacobsen, MS, RD, creator of the web site Raise Healthy Eaters.

Why Kids Need Snacks

Despite the potential pitfalls, snacking is good for children -- within limits.
“Kids, especially younger ones, have erratic eating habits, and healthy snacks can fill in nutrition gaps,” Jacobsen says.
Snacking can help kids keep their energy up, make up for skimpy or skipped breakfasts, and provide fuel before after-school sports or other activities.

What Makes a Good Snack

Think of snacks as mini meals, not meal wreckers.
That way, snacks serve as opportunities for good nutrition, and there’s no need for concern when your child isn’t as hungry for the next meal.
Most of the time, feed your child the same types of foods you would at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including low-fat dairy and other lean protein sources, eggs, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Winning snacks provide carbohydrate, protein, fiber, and some healthy fat. Generally speaking, foods rich in protein or fiber help kids stay fuller for longer, and they’re packed with the nutrients kids need to thrive.  
There’s no consensus about how many calories a child’s snack should provide, but it makes sense to aim for about 100 calories for smaller children to upwards of 300 calories for active teenagers. Let your child’s hunger rule what he eats.

19 Simple, Do-It-Yourself Snacks

Making your own snacks to have at home or take with you is usually far more nutritious -- and economical -- than relying on packaged foods.
Here are some snack suggestions:
  1. Guacamole (look for the 100-calorie packs in the refrigerator section) or small can of bean dip and baked snack chips or toasted whole wheat pita bread, broken into chips
  2. Low-fat microwave popcorn tossed with Parmesan cheese
  3. Trail mix ingredients: 1/4 cup each: whole-grain cereal, raisins or dried cranberries, and 2 tablespoons each: sunflower seeds or chopped nuts
  4. Low-fat ice cream topped with fresh fruit
  5. Snack size (8 ounce) box of low-fat plain or chocolate milk and whole wheat pretzels
  6. Whole-grain crackers, string cheese, and mango slices
  7. Cooked or raw vegetables with low-fat ranch dressing, and a hard-boiled egg
  8. Instant oatmeal made with milk in the microwave with 1 teaspoon cocoa powder stirred in and topped with sliced raspberries or strawberries
  9. Whole-wheat pretzels with peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter
  10. Cherry chocolate smoothie: Combine 1 cup low-fat milk, 1/2 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt, 1/2 cup frozen or fresh pitted cherries, and 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.  
  11. Bowl of whole-grain cereal and low-fat milk
  12. Edamame
  13. Small container of Greek yogurt
  14. Mini bagel spread with low-fat cream cheese and strawberry jam, and low-fat milk
  15. Hummus and whole wheat pita chips
  16. Half a sandwich and glass of orange juice fortified with calcium and vitamin D
  17. Slice of pizza
  18. Hard-boiled egg and whole-grain roll
  19. Pistachios in the shell and glass of chocolate milk

Snack Sabotage

While you do your best to provide healthy snacks at home, your best efforts may be undermined by parents and other adults who offer your child less-than-nutritious foods.
“Give your kids lots of healthy foods at home and realize that over time, they will learn to favor more nutritious choices,” says Ansel, the mother of two.
Jacobsen, also the mother of two, offers this advice: “Teach kids to honor their hunger, and that they don’t always have to eat what’s offered to them.”
Lastly, take a look at your own snacks and serve as role model. As kids get older, they generally follow your lead, so choose healthier options when you snack, too.

Taken from WebMD; source article is below:
19 Healthy Snacks for Kids
Enhanced by Zemanta

Breastfeeding: its strengths and limitations

For my family, my wife quit her work to take care of our kids. We introduce solids from four months, soups, broths, and anything that we eat during meals, which means cooking with the baby in mind. And no, we don't follow the 6-months rule: my wife breastfeeds until the baby stops on its own, way over 2 years old.

It is always your choice as to how and when, no matter what any study may find out or suggest, right?

Posted: 14 January 2011

LONDON: Breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months is not necessarily best for a baby's health, British researchers said Friday, calling into question advice given to new mothers.

The team led by a paediatrician from University College London said babies fed only breast milk could suffer iron deficiency and may be more prone to allergies.

The study says babies could start to be weaned on to solids as early as four months, although other experts advised sticking to the existing guidelines.

Ten years ago, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended that infants should be exclusively breastfed for six months.

"Many Western countries, including 65 percent of European member states and the United States, elected not to follow this recommendation fully, or at all," the authors said, although Britain did.

The WHO recommendation "rested largely" on a review of 16 studies, including seven from developing countries.

It concluded that babies given only breast milk for six months had fewer infections and experienced no growth problems.

But another review of 33 studies found "no compelling evidence" not to introduce solids at four to six months, the experts said.

Some studies have also shown that breastfeeding for six months fails to give babies all the nutrition they need.

One US study from 2007 found that babies exclusively breastfed for six months were more likely to develop anaemia than those introduced to solids at four to six months.

On the issue of allergies, the British study said researchers in Sweden found that the incidence of early onset coeliac disease increased after a recommendation to delay introduction of gluten until age six months, "and it fell to previous levels after the recommendation reverted to four months".

The authors said however that exclusively breastfeeding for six months remains the best recommendation for developing countries, which have higher death rates from infection.

But in developed countries, it could lead to adverse health outcomes and may "reduce the window for introducing new tastes".

"Bitter tastes, in particular, may be important in the later acceptance of green leafy vegetables, which may potentially affect later food preferences with influence on health outcomes such as obesity."

The researchers said the European Food Safety Authority's panel on dietetic products, nutrition and allergies has concluded that for infants across the EU, complementary foods may be introduced safely between four to six months.

Experts in Britain challenged the findings of the new study.

Janet Fyle, professional policy adviser at the Royal College of Midwives, said: "I really must challenge the suggestion from the review that the UK should reconsider its current advice on exclusive breastfeeding for six months.

"I believe that this is a retrograde step and plays into the hands of the baby food industry which has failed to support the six-month exclusive breastfeeding policy in the UK."


Taken from; source article is below:
Breastfeeding may not be best after four months: study

Enhanced by Zemanta

Flu-less chickens

If this is another attempt to 'play God', hopefully it will be for the better of mankind, not simply some experimentation the effects of which, short-term or long-term, is not known... left to chance.

Flu-less or clue-less?

WASHINGTON: European scientists have found a way to genetically modify chickens so that they don't transmit bird flu, according to research published on Thursday in the journal Science.

Bird flu, also known as H5N1 avian influenza, usually afflicts poultry but can cross over to humans and cause lethal respiratory problems and other complications.

The first cases detected in humans were in Hong Kong in 1997. A wider global outbreak took hold in 2004 and cases have flared across parts of the world ever since.

Scientists from the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh said the modified chickens could get bird flu but could not pass it on to other chickens.

"Chickens are potential bridging hosts that can enable new strains of flu to be transmitted to humans," said Laurence Tiley, of the University of Cambridge's Department of Veterinary Medicine.

"Preventing virus transmission in chickens should reduce the economic impact of the disease and reduce the risk posed to people exposed to the infected birds."

However, Tiley noted that the research still in its early stages, and the birds they developed are not intended to be eaten by people.

"The genetic modification we describe is a significant first step along the path to developing chickens that are completely resistant to avian flu," Tiley said.

"These particular birds are only intended for research purposes, not for consumption."

The birds were altered by a new gene that makes a "decoy" molecule that imitates an element of bird flu virus.

Then the virus is "tricked into recognising the decoy molecule instead of the viral genome and this interferes with the replication cycle of the virus," the study said.

When scientists infected the genetically modified chickens with avian influenza, the birds fell ill but did not spread the flu to other birds, whether those birds were genetically modified or not.

"The results achieved in this study are very encouraging," said researcher Helen Sang of the University of Edinburgh.

"Using genetic modification to introduce genetic changes that cannot be achieved by animal breeding demonstrates the potential of GM to improve animal welfare in the poultry industry," she said.

"This work could also form the basis for improving economic and food security in many regions of the world where bird flu is a significant problem."

- AFP/de

Taken from; source article is below:
Scientists 'make' chickens that don't spread bird flu

Enhanced by Zemanta

Ringing ears? 'Reboot' your brain

WASHINGTON: Scientists have found a way to ease chronic ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus, by stimulating a neck nerve and playing sounds to reboot the brain, according to research published on Wednesday.

There is currently no cure for tinnitus, which can range from annoying to debilitating and affects as many as 23 million adults in the United States, including one in 10 seniors and 40 percent of military veterans.

For Gloria Chepko, 66, who has suffered from tinnitus since she was four years old, the sound she describes as "like crickets... but also bell-like," gets worse when she is tired.

"It's awful," she said. "Sometimes it is very loud, and it will get loud if I am under stress or if I have been going for a very long time and I am fatigued," she said.

"If my mind is tired and I sit down I will only hear this sound."

For some people, such as military veterans who are left with hearing damage after exposure to loud blasts and gunfire, the noise - which could also sound like roaring, whooshing or clicking - interferes with their ability to lead a normal life.

The US Veterans Administration spends one billion dollars per year on disability payments related to tinnitus, the most common service-related ailment in soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, industry experts say.

Scientists believe the disorder is caused by hearing loss or nerve damage, to which the brain tries but fails to adjust.

"Brain changes in response to nerve damage or cochlear trauma cause irregular neural activity believed to be responsible for many types of chronic pain and tinnitus," said Michael Kilgard of the University of Texas, co-author of the study in the journal Nature.

"We believe the part of the brain that processes sounds - the auditory cortex - delegates too many neurons to some frequencies, and things begin to go awry," he said.

To fix that, researchers used rats to test a theory that they could reset the brain by retraining it so that errant neurons return to their normal state.

In rats with tinnitus, they electrically stimulated the vagus nerve, which runs from the head through the neck to the abdomen, in combination with playing a certain high-pitched tone.

When stimulated, the nerve can encourage changes in the brain by releasing chemicals such as acetylcholine and norepinephrine that act as neurotransmitters.

Rats that underwent the pairing of noise and stimulation experienced a halt to the ringing sounds for up to three and a half months, while control rats that received just noise or just stimulation did not.

An examination of neural responses in the auditory cortexes showed normal levels in the rats who were treated with the combination of stimulation and sound, indicating the tinnitus had disappeared.

The treatment "not only reorganised the neurons to respond to their original frequencies, but it also made the brain responses sharper," the study said.

"The key is that, unlike previous treatments, we're not masking the tinnitus, we're not hiding the tinnitus," said Kilgard.

"We are returning the brain from a state where it generates tinnitus to a state that does not generate tinnitus. We are eliminating the source of the tinnitus."

Clinical trials are expected to begin on humans in the coming months, with the first trials starting in Europe, according to lead study author Navzer Engineer.

The process of vagus nerve stimulation, known as VNS, is already being used in the treatment of around 50,000 people with epilepsy or depression, the study said.

"This minimally invasive method of generating neural plasticity allows us to precisely manipulate brain circuits, which cannot be achieved with drugs," said Engineer.

"Pairing sounds with VNS provides that precision by rewiring damaged circuits and reversing the abnormal activity that generates the phantom sound."

Like many sufferers, Chepko has learned to cope with the noise.

"I have to find some other way to relax to just endure it, take a bath or do stretches or just lie down and stare or read a book, depending on how bad it is," she said.

"I have kind of lived around it, or over it."

- AFP/de

Taken from; source article is below:
'Rebooting' brain could ease ringing in ears

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Faulty Study: Mental Health on Abortion

Crosses Memorialize Abortion 1Image by Vincent J. Brown via FlickrThis is what I am looking for. It has shown itself, just in time...

By Stephanie Samuel|Christian Post Reporter

The president of a post-abortive group disagreed with a study from Denmark that asserts that abortion does not increase the risk of metal health problems in women.

Georgette Forney, a co-founder of Silent No More Awareness Campaign, criticized the study for not going deeper to find the true mental health issues that result for abortion. “They didn’t address the women who may be feeling depressed but don’t go into a hospital,” said Forney, also the president of Anglicans for Life.
The Danish study following post-abortive women between the years 1995 and 2007 concluded that having an abortion does not increase the risk of mental health problems.
The study conceded, however, that anxiety, stress and depression were common among those who sought help. However, researchers found only 15 women per 1,000 needed psychiatric counseling in the study’s 13-year time period.
"A woman should know that her risk of having a psychiatric episode is not increased" after an abortion, asserted Trine Munk-Olsen of Aarhus University, who led the study.
Researchers sampled 84,620 teenagers and women who had an abortion. They determined the women’s mental health status by following the women in various national registries to track admission to mental health counseling at a hospital or outpatient facility before and after an abortion.
But Forney said many women who are not hospitalized for mental health issues feel shame or guilt. Silent No More allows many of these post-abortive women to share their stories at rallies. Women who testify during rallies commonly reported feeling deep sorrow, remorse and regret. Those feelings, Forney stated, often keep women from seeking professional help.
“I think it is a kind of self-punishment,” she remarked.
Forney said of her own abortion that she felt she had to deal with the pain and emotion on her own since she had been the one who chose the procedure.
She also noted that post-abortive women cope with their decisions in different ways.
“God didn’t make us vanilla. Everyone doesn’t manifest [grief] the same way,” she said. Forney said she has seen women display eating disorders, drug and substance abuse, and birth date blues. Often, women dismiss those symptoms and their connections to the abortions, she noted.
Overall, Forney said, “This study does a disservice to women because what do the women [with] depression setting in do.”
“I spend hours and hours and hours on the phone with women crying.”
Researchers of the Danish study noted that women who seek abortions come from a demographic group more likely to have emotional problems to begin with. But Forney doesn’t expect abortion providers to screen women for emotional problems in the near future.
The abortion industry, she said, is a business that uses studies like these to “put abortion before women’s health” and assure women there are no risks associated with the procedure.
However, when women become traumatized, “Nobody wants to deal with their pain.”
Denmark legalized abortion in 1973, the same year the U.S. Supreme Court decided to legalize abortion in the case of Roe v. Wade. The European country had about 13 abortions per 1,000 women in 2008. By comparison, the United States had almost 20 abortions per 1,000 U.S. women that same year, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Taken from The Christian Post; source article is below:
Woman Who Had Abortion Finds Fault with Positive Abortion Study

Enhanced by Zemanta

Being old doesn’t mean being sick, research shows

Elderly Hui manImage via WikipediaI would agree to this one, though I'm not that old yet; just starting on the road to being physically old, huh!


PUBLIC HEALTH REPORTER— From Friday's Globe and Mail

There is much angst these days about the impact of the aging population on health-care utilization and spending.
But new research is adding a twist to the discussion, concluding that it is the rise in people living with chronic health conditions like hypertension, diabetes and depression that is driving up health costs, not aging per se.
The data, published Thursday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, show that patterns of health-care use are similar at age 45, 65 and 85 for people with no chronic health conditions.
And the more chronic illnesses a person suffers from – regardless of age – the more they use health services such as visiting a GP or specialist, consulting a pharmacist, going to emergency and being admitted to hospital.
“Once you get to three or more conditions, utilization really increases,” said Greg Webster, director of primary health-care information at CIHI. People with three or more chronic conditions make, on average, six times more health-care visits than those with no chronic conditions, the report shows.
Mr. Webster noted, however, that while aging is not the principal cost driver, the likelihood of a person having a chronic illness does increase with age. Three in four Canadians over the age of 65 suffer from at least one chronic health condition; by contrast, one in five people under the age of 24 live with a chronic illness.
Among seniors, one in four have no chronic health problems, and one in four have three or more; the balance have one to two persistent health issues. It is noteworthy that those proportions change very little between ages 45 and 85.
“We may erroneously expect that, as we get older, we will get sicker, but the data show that is not necessarily the case,” Mr. Webster said. “We maybe need to change the mindset that aging means illness.”
Mr. Webster said there is also an important message to be found between the lines of the data: One of the keys to controlling health utilization and spending is to prevent the onset of chronic illnesses. “We have a choice: Get on top of this today and prevent multiple chronic conditions, or leave things as they are and a lot of people are going to need a lot of health care,” he said.
The new study shows, however, that there are significant gaps in preventive care.
Only two in five people over the age of 45 reported having talked to a health professional about what they could do to improve their health or prevent illness (measures like quitting smoking, increasing exercise or limiting alcohol consumption).
The new data suggest that patients with multiple chronic conditions are not managed particularly well, either, especially when it comes to medications. Bill Hogg, research director at the University of Ottawa’s Élisabeth Bruyère Research Institute, noted that patients with three or more chronic conditions reported taking an average of six prescription drugs regularly, twice as many as those with only one chronic condition.
The big drug users were more than twice as likely to experience a side effect requiring medical attention. Yet less than half of seniors with chronic conditions reported that their doctor reviewed their medications and explained potential side effects at least some of the time. “Strategies to reduce the number of medications a senior is prescribed, when possible, can result in better compliance with medication regimens and lead to a better quality of life,” Dr. Hogg said.
The new study did not look specifically at spending, but earlier data from CIHI shows that per capita health spending increases steadily with age. It rises from $2,286 per capita for those age 15 to 64 to $5,828 for those age 65 to 69, then $8,078 for those 70 to 74, $10,898 for those 75 to 79 and $18,160 for those 80 and older.
Seniors, who make up 13 per cent of the population, account for about 44 per cent of health spending. But patients with chronic conditions account for about two-thirds of all health spending.

Taken from The Globe and Mail; source article is below:
Being old doesn’t mean being sick, research shows

Enhanced by Zemanta

Smoking to breast cancer risk

Pregnant woman smoking.Image via WikipediaThis is another article on smoking: how smoking, especially among women, can be fatal.

Read on.

( -- Women who smoke have an increased risk of developing breast cancer, especially if they become smokers early in life, a new study suggests.
But the added risk appears to be small, except among heavy smokers. Compared with women who had never smoked, those who were regular smokers for any amount of time had a 6 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer, the study found. Women who maintained a pack-a-day habit for at least 30 years had a 28 percent higher risk, however.
"I would not put [smoking] on the list of important risk factors, [but] when you look at the subgroup of heavy-duty smokers who start early and smoke for a long time, that's more serious," says the lead author of the study, Karin Michels, Ph.D., an associate professor of cancer epidemiology and ob-gyn at Harvard Medical School, in Boston. "That's when you pay closer attention."
Previous studies on smoking and breast cancer have had mixed results. Some have found that smoking increases risk, some have found it has no effect, and some have even linked cigarette smoking to a lower risk of breast cancer.
While cigarette smoke is a potent carcinogen, smoking also lowers levels of estrogen -- one of the primary fuels that drive the growth of breast cancer. "The reason why previous studies may not have found strong associations or any association could be because the two effects may cancel each other out," Michels says.
In the study, which appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Michels and her colleagues looked at 30 years of data on more than 110,000 women who were part of the government-funded Nurses' Health Study. In all, the study participants reported 8,772 cases of invasive breast cancer during that timeframe.
Although the increase in breast cancer risk associated with smoking was just 6 percent overall, some subcategories of women -- such as those who smoked before their first child was born -- were at slightly higher risk. (Having children at an early age is believed to protect against breast cancer, perhaps because of changes that occur in the breast tissue.)
"It's not surprising that the risk was so low, because breast cancer is driven by hormonal factors," says Joanne Mortimer, M.D., director of the Women's Cancer Program at City of Hope Cancer Center, in Duarte, California. "The risk for breast cancer seems to be in the hormone transition period between premenopause and postmenopause, when there are a lot of changes in hormone functions." (Mortimer was not involved in the new research)
In fact, women who smoked after menopause appeared to have a decreased risk of breast cancer compared with nonsmokers. Given that both menopause and smoking lower estrogen levels, this finding adds to the evidence that estrogen is a risk factor for invasive breast cancer, the authors say.
The findings, of course, don't mean that the considerable health risks associated with smoking should be overlooked, says Debra Monticciolo, M.D., a professor of radiology at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, in Temple.
Although smoking "is not going to be a major player in our assessment of risk for breast cancer," Monticciolo says, "there are lots of reasons not to smoke. I can't think of anything good to come from smoking."
Copyright Health Magazine 2010

Taken from; source article is below:
Smoking may raise breast cancer risk

Enhanced by Zemanta

Mental Health on Abortion and Childbearing

ABORTION // Fetus & MoronImage by 666isMONEY ☮ ♥ & ☠ via FlickrI have been seeing in the news, what is being discussed most, is all about mental health.

And lately, I have seen that they are trying to link or delink mental health with abortion, especially among the teens.

There's even one article that says, 'abortion does not cause mental health, but having babies does.' I don't know what you'd think about that. But maybe, we are a generation that want to sever the connections with the past, cut the umbilical cords altogether now.

I remember what the 'BiCentennial Man' said, "I understand why some animals eat their young," and if that were a relevant statement now, what can be the judgement: that those who go for abortion as more mentally fit than those who go through the process of childbearing, to child rearing?

Look at these articles, and have your say:
Afternoon Roundup: Study Finds No Higher Risk of Mental Health Issues Post ...
Study Finds No Rise in Post-Abortion Mental Health Issues - Health ...
Abortion does not increase risk of mental health problems, study says
Study: No higher mental health risk after abortion

Enhanced by Zemanta