February 21, 2006

Don’t Let Your Child Be a Victim of the Obesity Epidemic

(ARA) – The statistics are enough to make you lose your appetite: Obesity rates among children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 19 have tripled over the past 40 years, with up to 30 percent of American school-age children considered either overweight or obese.

“We are raising a generation of children who are at risk for serious illness such as diabetes and heart disease simply from their eating habits,” said Veronica Atkins, chair of the Dr. Robert C. Atkins Foundation and the author of two cookbooks.

Beyond socioeconomic conditions, other important factors are also contributing to this escalating epidemic. Today’s overscheduled lifestyle has led to a decrease in activity and an increase in fast and processed food consumption. Our children are suffering the consequences of this trend. Left unchecked, they will grow up to be the obese – and unwell – adults of tomorrow.

“Food companies are spending $11 billion per year marketing to kids, using popular characters to manipulate food choices, and kids are eating it up,” said Atkins. However, recent studies demonstrate that this power to influence can be channeled in a healthier direction. For example, the Sesame Workshop’s recent “Elmo Broccoli Study,” supported by the Dr. Robert C. Atkins Foundation, concluded that children would chose broccoli over chocolate when the vegetable was labeled with an Elmo sticker, and an unknown character was placed on a chocolate bar.

More recently, another study conducted by the Institute of Medicine reinforced this concept with its recommendation that licensed TV characters should only promote healthy foods. Even Congress has weighed in on the issue, by suggesting the regulation of junk food marketing to children. While Atkins believes that these efforts further emphasize the gravity of this growing epidemic, she stresses that when it comes to anti-junk food options, the ultimate decision-makers have and always will be parents. “The good news is that even though we don’t yet have a cure for obesity, we do know that healthy food choices can help prevent it,” said Atkins. “It’s time that parents step up to the plate and take control over what they and their children are eating. Parents must set the example.”

From brushing teeth and washing hands to looking both ways when crossing the street and not going with strangers, parents strive to instill good habits in their children from an early age. But somehow, what our children eat seems to get away from us. “You wouldn’t allow your 6-year-old to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes or engage in other destructive behaviors, because you know it can hurt them in the long run. We should consider unhealthy snacks and meals in the same vein,” said Atkins, who also funds “Life in Action,” a nutritional education program of the Canada-based Free the Children youth empowerment organization.

In the meantime, families can make positive/healthy changes, one meal and one day at a time. In her book Atkins for Life Low-Carb Cookbook, Atkins offers parents these suggestions to jumpstart a healthier diet for their families:

* Less is more. Portion control isn’t an adult concept. Children need limits too.

* Go for color. Colorful food is packed with vitamins and minerals.

* Choose whole foods. The less processed a food is and the closer it is to its natural state, the better.

* Know the difference between a treat and every day. There should be a difference between what your child eats every day and the occasional treat.

* Get moving! Get outside with your children, encourage them to play, exercise and move around. Limit time spent watching television and computer games.

* Keep nutritious snacks at hand. Cut up vegetables, fruit, cheese wedges, nuts (as age appropriate).

* Take a stand. Resist being manipulated by your children’s demands for high-sugar/high-calorie snacks and empty calorie drinks.

* Serve food from all the food groups every day. This includes milk/dairy, fruit/vegetables; whole grains; protein and healthy fats/oils, including nuts.

* Eat a good breakfast and be sure your children do too.

* Pack nutritious lunches. Lunch money is too often used for junk food.

* Stay on a schedule. Keeping meal times regular can keep kids from overloading on snacks.

* Set a good example. If parents take the lead in staying active and eating well, children will follow.

Courtesy of ARA Content

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Atkins Foundation seeks to positively impact disease prevention and health management worldwide by supporting independent nutritional research and educational programs. Established with a $40 million endowment in August 2003, the Foundation, which is managed by National Philanthropic Trust, provides grants to support scientific, evidence-based and clinical research that examines the role of metabolism and nutrition in obesity, Type II diabetes, heart disease and other major health issues confronting our society today.

February 12, 2006

Web Site Holds Parents Accountable

San Diego CA (PRWEB) February 8, 2006 — Child safety web site Play Date Secure www.playdatesecure.com has embarked on a mission to take the guess work out of play dates. The web company, which officially released it’s services to the public late last month, states that it’s program provides answers to questions all parents should be asking before they have another parent care for their child.

“Gone are the days of old-fashioned idealism,” States Co-Founder Steve Lincoln. “We have come to a place in time where having a good feeling about someone caring for our child has become an act of carelessness.”

Just ask Carol Price. On Aug. 20, 1998, Carol Price’s 13-year old son, John, asked to go play with his friend down the street. In the five years that John’s friend’s parents had been neighbors, she had never thought about the safety of her son playing at their house, so she let him go. He tousled her hair as he always did and said “Thanks mom–I love you.” she watched him through the dining room window as he walked down the sidewalk, stopped just short of their neighbor’s front door and blew her a kiss.

That was the last time she saw him alive. Twenty minutes later she found the police at her front door. While John watched TV, Phillip, a nine-year-old child in the home, went to an upstairs bedroom, opened a dresser drawer and took out a 9-mm handgun. A few moments later he pulled the trigger. Unaware, John was struck once in the face and died instantly. The neighbors moved out in the middle of the night that day and the Price family has not heard from them since. It turned out that there were 11 unsecured weapons throughout their neighbor’s house. None of them ever knew about the weapons because no one ever asked the question, “Do you have a gun in your home?”

Every year, an estimated 1,500 children under the age of 14 are treated in emergency rooms for unintentional gun related injuries. Many of these injuries occur in homes where guns are kept unlocked, loaded and accessible to children. Over 4000 children are injured or die in drowning incidents, many occurring in residential pools and spas. In 2004 the CDC reported 133,504 children were treated for dog bites where severe injuries result almost exclusively in children less than 10 years of age.

The web site provides parents with an unobtrusive method of acquiring potentially life saving information.

Toddlers at Risk of Paper Shredder Injury in the Home

(PRWEB via PR Web Direct) February 9, 2006 — The increase in the number of paper shredders being bought for home use in the UK, as a result of the increased publicity that is being given to identity theft and fraud, is likely to result in horrific finger injuries to toddlers judging from what has happened in the USA where domestic shredders have been more commonplace for a number of years.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) carried out an investigation of reported injuries, including amputations, and the characteristics of paper shredders that might have contributed to those injuries. The National Electronics Injury Surveillance System (NIESS) database collected 23 reported finger injuries attributable to paper shredders. The ages of the victims ranged from 14 months upwards.

The most severe injuries, amputations, involved children. Injury occurred when a child was feeding paper into a shredder (under adult supervision) and did not release the paper in time to prevent their fingers from entering the shredder opening. As the paper shredder continued to pull the paper into the shredder opening, it also pulled in the children’s fingers.

Since most paper shredders have auto start features, a child can be at risk even when an adult is present. A child may insert a piece of paper into the shredder opening and activate the shredder mechanism, allowing it to pull the paper (and possibly the child’s fingers) into the shredder. Children are not conscious of hazards to themselves and may not let go of the paper as it is being pulled in.

Paper shredders can pose a risk of finger injury to children as young as 15 months because of their small finger size. With no force applied, a child’s finger would be unlikely to penetrate the shredder opening since their finger diameter is typically larger than a paper shredder opening. However, depending on the design of the shredder, the shredder opening may enlarge as the shredder pulls in the paper and child’s fingers. The height of a 15-month-old can be more than twice the height of a domestic paper shredder, putting them within easy reach of the paper shredder opening.

AB Technology (London) Ltd, authorised dealers for 8 major shredder manufacturers, have been warning of the danger for some weeks now since learning of the injuries being caused by certain domestic paper shredders in the USA. A printable leaflet, warning of the dangers and outlining safe practice when using a paper shredder, is available to download in a print-friendly format from their shredders website which can be found at www.abt-shredders.co.uk. Vincent Woodall, sales and marketing manager of ABT, urges anyone who has a shredder to at the very least read or better, display the leaflet anywhere a child may be in close proximity to a paper shredder, to alert users of the danger posed to small children.

David Jenkins, of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents was quoted in the Daily Telegraph of 9th February as saying “I am not aware of a problem in this country yet but with the increasing popularity of paper shredders — and if similar designs are available as in America — accidents are likely to happen”.

An 84 page report can be downloaded via the ABT website. The report is entitled “An Evaluation of Finger Injuries Associated with Home Document (Paper) Shredder Machine. The report was compiled as long ago as December 2004 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission of Washington, D.C.

February 11, 2006

101 Ways To Be A Bad Parent

1. Never leave the poor baby all alone in the back in a car seat. Always provide comfort and protection by driving with baby on your lap. (full story).
Britney Spears with Sean Preston - Way to go, Mom!
(Photo: Spaly-Sasha-cooper/X17agency.com)
2. Don’t waste film taking pictures to show friends, family (and fans). Simply dangle baby from wherever you are. (full story)
Michael Jackson dangles baby from hotel balcony
(Photo: CNN)
Have good “Bad Parenting” tips? Great! Share them in the comments section below.

Note: All images are copyright of the respective web sites/agencies, as noted below the pictures. These have been published under “fair use” and BabyNamesIndia.com does not claim copyright to these pictures in any way or fashion.

January 25, 2006

Olympians mix parenting with Olympic dreams

Scripps Howard News Service

When Vonetta Flowers captured the gold medal in the women’s bobsled event at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, she had a pretty good inkling that her life would never be the same.She didn’t know the half of it.

Barely six months after the Games ended, Flowers gave birth to twin boys, Jaden and Jorden.

Flowers is one of a handful of U.S. Olympians competing in Turin who is balancing their Olympic dreams with the hefty responsibilities of parenthood.

Just five months after giving birth, Flowers resumed training. In addition to juggling demands from sponsors, coaches, media and friends, Flowers had to squeeze in diaper changes and midnight feedings while training and competing all over the world.

“I talked to the coaches. In order for me to come back into the sport, my family’s coming with me,” said Flowers, now 32. “I’m not leaving them at home. It wasn’t an option.

“It’s working out, but it was tough at first, because they were five months old. They got their little passports at five months, and it was tough for the (other bobsledders), of course, just adjusting to the sleeping with the crying the whole night.

“So they would move our room on one side of the hotel, and the team would be on the other side, because of the babies. But they’re three now, and so they’re better. And the girls help out as much as they can.”

Flowers’ bobsled partner, Jean Prahm, had a front row seat for the challenges Flowers faced.

“I know especially the first year it’s very difficult,” said Prahm, who got married last year. “Just the things you wouldn’t even think about, like nursing (and) all the things that your baby requires. I don’t know what the future holds for me, whether I would attempt that or not. It requires a lot of patience and a lot of love. I think her husband has been just awesome to support her through this.”

Ross Powers, who won a gold medal in the snowboarding halfpipe in Salt Lake, became a father for the first time in 2003. His daughter, Victoria, joins Powers on the snowboarding circuit about half the time.

“I went for a five-week stretch away (in 2005),” said Powers, who didn’t qualify for the team in Turin. “Being a Dad, I have to think a little more (about things). More events require helmets. I wear a helmet now. I have more people to worry about.”

Figure skater Michael Weiss, who narrowly missed qualifying for Turin, juggled fatherhood with competition longer than most. His two kids are 6 and 7.

“Fatherhood is forever,” said Weiss, who competed in 1998 at the Nagano Games and finished 7th in men’s singles in Salt Lake. “You have a huge impact and a responsibility to do the best you can at raising your kids in a positive, loving, caring environment. And anybody who’s a parent knows your job is important to you, but it will take a back seat at any given moment if something in your family needs to be taken care of. And that’s the case with me.

“Everybody said as soon as I was married, ‘Oh, he’s got a family; figure skating’s over for him.’ And that was back in 1999, and that was the year I won nationals and was third at worlds. And then, ‘Oh, he’s got a daughter now, he’s got other focuses, other things going on’ in 2000, and then I won nationals and I was third at world. So those types of things happen to everybody.'”

Well, not everybody. For some Olympians, the concept of raising a child while training for the Olympics is incomprehensible.

“No, I think if I were to have a kid, that would be it for me,” said speedskater Jennifer Rodriguez, who is married to speedskater K.C. Boutiette. “I think my time would go toward the kid. I’ve had a very successful career and I’ve had enough to be like, ‘OK, it’s time for me to retire.'”

Pairs figure skaters Denis Petukhov and Melissa Gregory were married in 2001. But becoming parents is a little farfetched for now.

“We train together,” said Gregory. “We spend sometimes all day skating or training doing what we need to do. That leaves not much time left for anything else.

“We have a hard time with our dog having to sit all day long by himself,” said Petukhov.

Added Gregory: “That’s our son right now.”

(E-mail David Nielsen at nielsend(at)shns.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.shns.com)