July 2015 | Hotlunch.com | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 7, Issue 7]

Some Kids Need More Time To Recover After Concussion

Recent years have brought more awareness to the fact that concussions are serious. It takes time for the brain to heal after a traumatic injury. Some kids might require more time than others.

Why concussion recovery takes longer for some kids

This news story from HealthDay describes a recent study that examined why some kids take longer to recover from a traumatic brain injury. It was just a small study, but they found that kids who had more damage to the coverings on their brains’ nerve fibers needed the most time to fully heal.

It’s an interesting study. And, since traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death in kids and teens, it’s important to get any type of potential concussion checked out by a doctor.
Fewer Kids Choose Soda With Their Happy Meals

Fast foods tend to be high in calories, fat, sugar and sodium – not foods that anyone should consume on a regular basis. But, I think most people find themselves (and the kids) in a fast food restaurant from time to time.

So I think it’s good that one little change on the menu boards is starting to make an impact. When kids don’t see soda on the menu they’re not as likely to order it with their meals.

Nutrition: Fewer kids sipping sodas at McDonald’s

According to this article by the Associated Press, McDonald’s took soda off the menu for their Happy Meals. It doesn’t mean that kids can’t order sodas, but they won’t have the visual cues of seeing it on the menu board. As a result, 48 percent of kids who order Happy Meals choose soda as their beverage (before the menu changed, about 56 percent of kids ordered soda).

What to do at school:

  • Teach kids about why sugary sodas aren’t good for their health
  • Talk about the best foods to order when they’re at a restaurant
  • Have kids decide what are some healthy beverages they can drink
Some Young Women Become 'Light' Smokers

Smoking isn’t as popular as it was in past decades. Which is, of course, an extremely important victory for public health. Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a rise in young females who smoke five or fewer cigarettes a day.  But, even ‘light’ smoking is bad for health.

Many Young Women Taking Up 'Very Light' Smoking, Study Finds

This news story from MedlinePlus talks about a study that finds about 20 percent of all young women are ‘light’ smokers. The good news is that overall smoking rates in the U.S. are falling. But, the bad news is the uptick in young female smokers.

I think teachers have done great work with getting kids to understand how bad cigarettes are for health and it shows in the overall smoking rates. But, maybe we need to focus on our teenage girls so they don’t start smoking when they get to college.

What to do at school:

Adults Need More Fruits and Vegetables

Dietitians and nutritionists have been working hard for years to get people to eat more fruits and vegetables because they’re high in vitamins, minerals and fiber, and generally low in calories. Why is it so hard to do?

Few U.S. adults meet fruit, vegetable intake guidelines

This story from Reuters talks about a study that shows less than 15 percent of adults in the U.S. eat at least 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and two to three cups of vegetables per day, the minimum amounts recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

I think these findings are sad, but not unexpected. I think the easiest way to make an immediate improvement to any diet is to add more fruits and veggies.
Understanding Added Sugars

‘Added sugars’ refer to sweeteners any type of sugar or syrup that’s added to a food product during manufacturing.  While the added sugars may add sweetness, they don’t add any nutritional value beyond extra calories – not good for people who want to lose weight.

You may see ‘added sugars’ on Nutrition Facts labels in the near future. The problem is that it might confuse shoppers.

Putting 'added sugars' on food labels may baffle shoppers

This story from Reuters Health describes a study that says people miscalculate the amount of sugar in a processed food when presented with a new label that has added sugars in addition to total sugar. So, I guess any label changes will require public education.

It’s not clear when any such changes to the food labels will occur, but in the mean time you can get an idea of added sugars by looking at the ingredients list. If you see sugar, syrup, corn syrup, honey, sucrose, glucose, or high fructose corn syrup on the list, then you’ve got some added sugar.
About HotLunch.com

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More About School Lunches, Nutrition and Healthy Kids

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Eating foraged mushrooms not worth losing a liver

Time Spent Sitting May Not Affect Diet, Study Suggests

About Shereen Lehman

Shereen Lehman is a health and nutrition writer with two decades of experience counseling people on nutrition and diet. She has a master's degree in human nutrition and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Association of Health Care Journalists.

Shereen writes about nutrition for the large website About.com (http://nutrition.about.com), is co-author of Superfoods for Dummies (http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470445394.html) and Clinical Anatomy for Dummies (http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118116437.html). She also teaches Evidence Based Nutrition to nutrition graduate students at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.