September 2013 | | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 5, Issue 9]

Extremely Heavy Kids and Health

Children and teens at the extreme end of the weight charts are considered extremely obese – that includes about 4 to 6 percent of kids in the US. These kids have more diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep problems, liver disease and musculoskeletal issues.

Heavy Kids Face Health Problems

This article from USA talks about the American Heart Association’s take on extreme obesity in children and teens. It’s heart breaking because these kids don’t respond well to lifestyle modifications or diet medications. Some kids have responded to weight-loss surgery, but not much is known yet about the long term consequences.

Things to understand:
  • This is a chronic issue that will take lifelong medical attention and family support.
  • Emotional issues might contribute – creating a positive environment is crucial.
  • Parents may need a lot of help and support, especially if they need to learn how to help their kids.
Keep Serving Vegetables

I’m sure meal planning is frustrating, especially when kids don’t want to eat the stuff that’s food for them. But, don’t give up. According to this article and graphic, more kids are eating their veggies.

Serving School Children a Healthier Mix of Vegetables Raises Vegetable Consumption

This article from the USDA briefly describes a study that finds schools that serve more vegetables have kids who eat more vegetables. Sounds good to me.

Tips for teachers:
  • Use the graphic in the article to discuss vegetable consumption.
  • Set the example. Load up on veggies at lunch time.
  • Talk about ways to make vegetables taste better in foods classes.
Boosting Healthy Habits

How can you change the habits of children? It isn’t easy, but an intervention called “Healthy Habits, Happy Homes” is making some progress.

Program Boosts Some Healthy Habits in Kids

“Healthy Habits, Happy Homes” focused on low-income families with children between the ages of 2 to 5. They stressed more sleep, more physical activity and family meals.  The program has made a difference in the weight and health of the kids.

Addressing habits in elementary school:
  • Talk to the younger students about good foods and physical activity.
  • Teach them simple games and activities they can do at home, even indoors.
  • Send information home to parents – how to make healthy snacks and what makes for healthy family meals.
Exercising Your Brain, Too

Could there be a correlation between a fit body and a fit brain? Looks like it. Here’s a look at a study comparing fitness with geography scores.

Physical Fitness Boosts Brainpower in Kids, Study Finds

The study included kids who were 9 or 10 years old and in the top 30 percent of fitness or in the bottom 30 percent. Overall, the kids who were more fit got better scores on fictitious geography tests.  What’s interesting is other than fitness levels, the groups were similar – half boys and half girls and roughly the same make up as far as socioeconomic status and ADHD symptoms.
Kids and High Blood Pressure

We know that being overweight or obese during childhood is a strong indicator of being overweight or obese in adulthood too. Maybe high blood pressure works the same way.

Childhood BP Signals Adult Hypertension

Two studies found that kids with the highest blood pressure readings had higher risks of hypertension as adults. Many of these kids were also overweight or obese, too. Experts say kids with higher blood pressure and weight issues should improve their diets and reduce their sodium intake.
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  • With School opening shortly allow us to show you how you can save time and money on your lunch administration. Click here for information.

  • Ask us how today. Call 1-888-376-7136 or email
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Eat Right to Prevent Colds and Flu

Rely on real foods, not supplements.
Foods are better than dietary supplements for the prevention of colds and flu because you get the whole nutritional package. For example, eating an orange is better for you than just taking vitamin C pills because the orange offers you a combination of nutrients like magnesium, potassium, folate, vitamin B-6, and antioxidant-rich flavonoids.

While we know that vitamin C is important for a healthy immune system, studies don't show that taking massive doses of vitamin C helps to prevent colds and flu at all. However, we do know that eating fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C will help to keep your immune system strong. Your immune system is what protects you from viral infections, and the foods you eat have a major impact on your immune system's ability to fight off colds and flu. The reason that fruits and vegetables do a better job of keeping your immune system ready is because they also contain vitamins A and E, as well as the flavonoids that work along side vitamin C to keep your immune system and your whole body healthy.

Eat more fruits and vegetables
Increasing your intake may help keep your immune system strong. People tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables in the winter, which is the opposite of what you should be doing. Everyone needs at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day to get adequate vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants -- all things we need for a healthy immune system.

One way to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables is to incorporate juice into your diet. Not just any juice will do, though. Make sure you choose 100-percent juices, as other juice drinks contain extra sugar and empty calories.

For the best prices, be sure to browse your grocery store's produce aisle for fresh fruits and vegetables that are in-season. Oranges and grapefruits are usually cheaper in the winter, so cold and flu season is the perfect time to load up on citrus fruits.

Frozen fruits and vegetables make for another economical and convenient way to improve your diet and prevent colds and flu. Frozen vegetable selections range from very inexpensive bags of basic peas, corn and green beans to artfully combined fruits and vegetable dishes topped with delicate sauces that you simply pop in the microwave.

Make fruits and vegetables part of every meal.
Add berries or a sliced banana to your whole grain cereal at breakfast, and drink a glass of orange or grapefruit juice. Pack a bunch of grapes or an apple with your sandwich for lunch, and top that sandwich with tomato slices, avocado, sprouts and lettuce. Start dinner with a salad or vegetable soup, or serve a big salad as a healthy dinner. Keep a bowl of oranges, apples and pears on your counter top to grab as quick snacks.

Round out your diet with healthy proteins and whole grains. 
Eat a balanced diet with lean meats, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Protein sources such as lean meats, dairy, eggs and legumes are especially important because they supply the amino acids that your body needs to build the components of your immune system. Eating lean meats also helps you avoid zinc and iron deficiencies, both of which can affect your immune system.

Good nutrition is still important after you catch a cold or influenza. Even when you’re sick and don't have much of an appetite, you need to eat when you can. Focus on getting three meals per day, and don't forget to keep eating lots of fruits and vegetables. It’s important to get enough energy from the foods you eat while you are recuperating -- you may not be running around and exerting much, but your body is working hard to get better. Drink fluids throughout the day to prevent dehydration. Tired of plain water? Add a splash of juice to water or seltzer for a little variety.
More About School Lunches, Nutrition and Healthy Kids

Teens Who Beat Obesity at Risk for Eating Disorders

New Ad Campaign Targets Childhood Hunger

The Skinny on Healthier Snacks in School

Portion Control Tools You Can Use

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 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Association of Health Care 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 at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.