Mar 28 2011

Take the Million PALA Challenge!: Graehm Gray

As you all know, my pal Nerdel and I are big supporters of the Presidents Challenge and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move programs. The intent of both of these fantastic programs is to get all Americans, young and old, into better shape. Both programs encourage you to eat healthier meals and snacks at school, at home, at work and whenever you go out to eat! And both programs emphasize the need to perform some type of physical fitness activity each and every day.  The Presidents Challenge program has many individual activity categories based on age and lifestyle and you can earn many cool awards and medals by registering your fitness performance. Here’s a little history: On September 14th, 2010, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius along with the co-Chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition-Dominique Dawes and Let’s Move Executive Director Robin Schepper, launched the Million PALA (President's Active Lifestyle Award) Challenge. The goal of the Million PALA Challenge is to get 1,000,000 youth and adults, from all over the United  States, to sign up and participate in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) over the year.  The ending date is slowly approaching-September 2011. How does the Million PALA Challenge work? “The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, or PALA, can be earned by taking part in 60 minutes of physical activity for kids ...

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Oct 12 2010

Fat, Obese, Overweight, Chunky or Husky-What’s In A Name? Graehm Gray

I am back, my friends after a brief respite. Since my last column, I have had many long hours to read the papers, journals and listen to the chatter. So I guess that means I am ready to resume my ranting. Are you ready? Well, this week’s column pertains to those derogatory and disparaging names that we hear all the time: terms like fat, obese, and overweight. That’s right, I am taking this time to discuss the categories that most of us feel we fit into. Many research studies point out that we don’t appropriately categorize our own body type. And in fact we don’t do it for our children either. Many overweight people consider themselves in the normal weight range. Individuals that are obese and even morbidly obese consider themselves a “bit overweight.” So is being fat the new “normal”? What really is in a name? When was the last time you looked at your child and felt he or she was “obese,” or even “overweight?” And certainly we never would call our kids fat! Or have anyone call them fat for that matter! Do we as parents look at ourselves or our children based on the BMI scale? I don't think so. I can recall my mom calling me “chunky.” That didn’t make me feel any better, ...

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Sep 06 2010

Graehm Gray: How To Solve Childhood Obesity-Part One

I read an article recently that indicated the incidence of childhood obesity in the kindergarten population of most cities is still high. How can this be? There has been a dramatic change in the constituents of the diets-notably the elimination of transfats, the switch to low fat dairy products, the elimination of sweetened drinks and candies from school vending machines, the increased postings of nutritional information and the restriction on salt. So how can the majority of our kids still be obese and overweight? Okay-let’s break this down. In some school systems, besides the dietary changes, there is a push for more exercise time. As noted previously in this column, there is even a push to change recess into a structured exercise program.  That’s important since a healthy child is one that has a balance of good nutrition and physical fitness. Adding more nutrition and fitness education into the curriculum from pre-school through middle school is also showing positive effects (Dr. Gary D. Foster-Director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University, Philadelphia-June 27th, The New England Journal of Medicine). So why are our kids still over weight? Well, as we all know, our kids spend only a portion of their day at school-between six to eight hours. The rest of the afternoon and evening is devoted ...

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Mar 01 2010

Childhood Obesity: Prevention With Pedometers,Technology And Exercise

By John E. Lewis, Ph.D. Childhood obesity is dramatically rising and is now the most significant health crisis affecting children today. Physical inactivity and poor nutrition are the principle causes of obesity, according to the United States Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA). Thus, children should be made aware of the severity of the problem that their generation faces, and they also need to understand that being active, which was taken for granted by so many prior generations, is one of the principal keys to being in good health. As the electronics age has consumed so many aspects of daily life in the last couple of decades, children of today are indoctrinated into the technological craze at a very early age. Popular electronics are readily affordable by most families, so children grow up learning how to operate everything from televisions to computers to video games to PDAs and cell phones. While the use of technology provides our society with enormous advantages in access to information and convenience, with such freedom at least partially comes the price of good health due to the sedentary lifestyle that such electronic equipment promotes. In considering how electronic equipment can help to promote a more active lifestyle in children, one of the obvious appliances is the pedometer. Pedometers, like most electronics, come in a wide variety of models, styles, features, and options, but a simple pedometer that accurately measures steps ...

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Feb 23 2010

Graehm Gray: Childhood Obesity Definitions – Part Two

Okay, let’s review: what do we know so far? A. We know that obesity is an extra accumulation of fat. B. We know that the problem is coming from an imbalance-more energy in the form of calories (food) coming into the body-our children are eating more and not enough energy (calories) being burned off-not enough exercise. C. We  know that a pediatrician and researcher uses the Body Mass Index (BMI) as a way to identify weight problems in children-a way to measure your child’s weight against other children of the same age and sex and tell us whether he or she is at risk; D. We know that there are lots of consequences from being obese-heart disease, arthritis, sleep apnea and psychological problems and finally, E.  We know that President Obama said that 30 percent of our children are either overweight or obese .So what’s next?  Are we all sure we know whether our children are obese or just overweight? And what do we do to solve this problem? Class, let’s continue our journey-now Part two: Overweight vs. Obese: (CDC) These are terms used to classify kids and adults and based on Body Mass Index (BMI-height and weight). BMI for kids and teens takes into account growth changes, differences in body fat between boys and girls. BMI calculator for Child and Teen. So go to your pediatrician’s (or primary ...

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Sep 08 2009

Meryl Brandwein RD/LDN: Childhood Obesity and How To Plan The Easy Home Cooked Healthy Meal.

Let's face the facts: Life is busy. Not exactly news to most of us who follow a hectic if not somewhat frazzled schedule. Busy parents working busy schedules to provide the best for their families, often pay the price for society's demanding pace. Unfortunately, we are now witnessing the results of that busy lifestyle as reflected in the number of overweight and obese adults, and more alarmingly overweight and obese children. Too often, many well intentioned parents succumb to the pressure of their schedules and find themselves in a dinner-time dilemma! I am referring to those of us who have the best intentions of providing their families with a wholesome evening meal, yet for one reason or another, wind up at the nearest fast food drive thru or the closest microwave to reheat a frozen meal. The never ending question of “What do I feed my kids? How do I do it quickly, and healthfully?” are words uttered on the tongue of every well intentioned parent. The bottom line is that there is no substitution for good planning. This isn't to say that we need to work out a weekly menu plan weeks in advance. It means coming up with a plan that works for your family and your particular situation. It means making changes slowly and gradually. It means taking one or two nights out of the week to sit ...

Posted in: What's In the Food

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Sep 03 2009

Graehm Gray Reviews: Eat This Not That! For Kids! -by David Zinczenko; 2008 Rodale, Inc.

By Graehm Gray Let me start off this review by saying this is one book that you need in your home, now! There are hundreds of diet and nutrition books written each year trying to address the problem of adult and childhood obesity. And yet the problem is not getting better. 65% of U.S. adults are overweight and 30 % are obese. 17% of U.S. kids age 2-19 are either obese or overweight. It has been estimated by the World Health Organization that by the year 2030, 90% of all kids, all over the world, will be either overweight or obese. These statistics are startling! In a bad way! David Zinczenko, Editor-In-Chief of the magazine, Men's Health, and editorial director of Women's Health and Best Life has put together a food guide collection of hundreds of products that shows us exactly what we are eating and what we should be eating. Zinczenko has covered the supermarket s and the menu offerings at various restaurants. From Sushi to Italian, Starbucks to Jamba Juice, from Boboli to Tofutti, from Lean Gourmet to Wendy's. It is all presented in beautiful photos and clear writing that is easily understandable. Did you know that a California Roll from your local Japanese Sushi restaurant made with crab, avocado and cucumber (around 300 calories) may be one of the healthiest meals for kids? Or did you know that a ...

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