May 2012 | | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 4, Issue 5]

Taking More Than One Approach To Fighting Obesity

It’s going to take a lot of effort to fight obesity, which has become a health problem for both young and old people in this country. We need to eat better, move more and establish an atmosphere that encourages good health.

Multiple strategies needed to fight obesity, study suggests

Two-thirds of adults and one-third of children in the United States are overweight or obese. This article looks at some of the recommendations to fight obesity that were put forth by the Institute of Medicine.

They focused on five components:
  • Make it easier for people to work physical activity into their daily lives.
  • Create an environment where healthy food and beverage options are the routine, easy choice.
  • Improve messages about physical activity and nutrition.
  • Make schools a national focal point for obesity prevention.

What you can do for your students:

  • Promote the importance of good nutrition from a young age.
  • Increase physical activity and teach kids how to be more physically active at home.
  • Ask students to come up with their own ideas and make posters or presentations.
Protecting Tomorrow's Hearts Today

Being overweight or obese puts the heart at risk for disease. We’ve had to deal with that risk in adults for years, but it’s important to understand how being overweight as a child can affect the heart in later years.

Today's Kids May Be Destined for Adult Heart Disease

This article looks at the factors that may prevent heart disease. These factors include physical activity, normal cholesterol and glucose levels, eating a healthy diet, having normal blood pressure and not smoking. Sadly half of our teens meet only four or fewer of these criteria and are putting themselves at risk for heart disease later in life.

What to do at school:

  • Focus on the cardiovascular system in health class, what it does and why it’s so important.
  • Have older students make presentations on healthy diets. Have them present their projects to younger students.
  • Hold family health events to make sure parents understand that how they feed their kids today will have an impact on their health later on.
Eat Like a Man

Have you ever noticed that men tend to be the meat-eaters while women opt for the salad and vegetables? Ever wonder why that is? Is meat a metaphor for manliness?

You Are What You Eat: Why Do Male Consumers Avoid Vegetarian Options?

This article looks at why men rarely choose vegetarian options. That’s too bad, because adding a vegetarian meal or two into your weekly menu is a good way to reduce saturated fat and red meat intake in general.
Apps and Social Networking for Weight Loss

I bet your students would play on their smartphones all day long if you let them. Sure they’re a distraction most of the time, but some of the apps, or applications, your kids use can be helpful. Maybe even help them get to a healthy weight.

Smartphone App, Social Network Helps Kids Fight Fat

This article describes an app and a social network that can help kids lose weight. Why? Because it’s anonymous so there’s no embarrassment, but apparently, lots of encouragement.
A Helping of Healthier Kids' Meals

The kids’ meals sold by the restaurant chains are almost always high in fat, sugar, sodium and calories. Kids love them and we want to buy fun foods for them, but it sure would help if we had some healthier options. 

Big Restaurant Chains Try Healthier Kids' Meals -- But Will Kids Eat Them?

This article describes the Kids LiveWell program that sets standards for kids’ items on restaurant menus. Right now there are 25,000 restaurants that serve approved items. Kids want meals that taste good and the restaurants want to make money, so is there a middle ground? I guess time will tell.

Help out at school:

  • Teach kids how to pick the healthiest items from menus.
  • Discuss portion size and why it’s important not to over-eat.
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The broccoli plant (the scientific name is Brassica oleracea italica), is a native of the Mediterranean region. It's a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables that also includes Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and turnips. It has a strong flavor and firm texture.

Broccoli holds a top place on almost every superfoods list because it's low in calories, rich in nutrients and also contains beneficial phytochemicals. It's low in fat and a good source of fiber. Broccoli is versatile too - you can eat it raw or cooked - and it's easy to find in the grocery store any time of the year. It also contains a number of compounds called glucosinolates that may have certain health benefits. Research is this area is not clear - while population studies indicate that eating a diet high in vegetables including broccoli may reduce your risk of certain types of cancers, additional research has only been performed on cells and lab animals. More research is needed in human clinical trials to determine if any of these compounds offer any special health benefits.
Broccoli is a good source of minerals like calcium, potassium and selenium. It's an excellent source of vitamin C and has B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, and a phytochemical antioxidant called lutein, which is related to vitamin A. Lutein may be good for your eyes.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database Release 24, a one-cup serving of chopped broccoli has:
  • 128 calories
  • 2.57 grams protein
  • 0.34 grams fat
  • 6.04 grams carbohydrate
  • 2.4 grams fiber
  • 43 milligrams calcium
  • 0.66 milligrams iron
  • 19 milligrams magnesium
  • 288 milligrams potassium
  • 0.11 micrograms selenium
  • 81.2 milligrams vitamin C
  • 0.58 milligrams niacin
  • 0.52 milligrams pantothenic acid
  • 0.159 milligrams vitamin B6
  • 57 micrograms folate
  • 329 micrograms beta carotene
  • 567 International Units vitamin A
  • 1277 micrograms lutein + zeaxanthin
  • 92.5 micrograms vitamin K

You'll find fresh broccoli in the produce section of your grocery store. Choose firm dark green broccoli that's not wilted, or buy broccoli that has been washed, precut and is ready to add to a salad or be cooked as a side dish. Keep fresh broccoli in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Frozen broccoli is also available. It may be plain or mixed with other frozen vegetables and sauce. If you choose one with a sauce, read the label directions to be sure it's not too high in fat or sodium. Frozen can be kept frozen for up to one year.

For raw broccoli, simply wash the broccoli under running water and trim off the end of the stem. You can break the florettes into individual pieces and serve them as part of a salad or with other raw vegetables and a serving of vegetable dip.
More About School Lunches, Nutrition and Healthy Kids

Help your kids eat healthy this summer

Health experts say seeds pack a nutritional punch

Pica, the compulsion to eat dirt and other oddities, is found in many cultures

In Mass. schools, bake sales are back on fund-raiser menu

About Shereen Jegtvig

Shereen Jegtvig 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 American Dietetic Association and the Association of Health Car Journalists.   Shereen writes about nutrition for the large website (, is co-author of Superfoods for Dummies ( and Clinical Anatomy for Dummies ( She also teaches Evidence Based Nutrition to nutrition graduate students and fundamentals of nutrition to undergrads at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.