Wednesday, August 8, 2018

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Obesity Matters for Parents

“Children learn what to eat at their parents’ table, and adults are eating more fast food, more convenience foods, and more unhealthfully than ever before in human history.  Overweight parents don’t just pass on the genes for obesity, but their eating habits as well.” 
                              -- Joel Fuhrman, M.D., from Disease-Proof Your Child

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Parents all over the country are reviewing school supply lists and buying backpacks, pencils, and binders.  It is a good time to plan how to be a good role model for your kids.  It turns out that educating parents is one of the best ways to develop role models with good behaviors that can lead to kids staying at a healthy weight. 

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of obesity was 39.8% and affected about 93.3 million of U.S. adults in 2015-2016.  That’s more than 1 in 3 adults who are at unhealthy weights and at risk for obesity-related diseases including diabetes, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems. 

While we shop for our kids’ school supply lists, we need to shop for healthy foods for our kitchen pantries.  Kids learn from watching their parents.  Are you skipping breakfast?  Drinking sodas?  Eating white bread and processed meats?  Maybe you need to attend my “Healthy Eating” class for parents! 

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We are the role models and our kids are sponges.  Pay attention to what you are teaching your kids by what you keep in your kitchen pantry and what you put on the dinner table.  If our kids are going to live longer than us, then we cannot sit by while they develop older adult diseases such as type 2 diabetes.  If we do nothing and allow them to become overweight and obese, then we are setting them up for a shorter lifespan than ours.
With love and gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Making Healthy Babies

“If I had my life to live over, instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.”
                                                                       --Erma Bombeck

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Thinking of getting pregnant?  There are so many things to consider if you are.  One of the best things that we can do is ensure that parents are healthy before they start thinking about making a baby.  Planning a pregnancy and making a baby means first making a commitment to quit smoking, to exercise, eat right, and avoid alcohol and drugs.  It also means getting to a healthy weight. 

The fact is that when a girl or woman becomes pregnant, being at an unhealthy weight increases her risk for a “high risk pregnancy” and delivering a baby with health complications. 

If you know someone who is thinking about becoming pregnant, talk with them about the importance of getting to a healthy weight first.  According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of obesity was 39.8%, affecting 93.3 Americans in 2015-2016.  

It is time we dare to get embarrassed and talk with those we love about being at a healthy weight as part of prepregnancy planning.  Raising the awareness of this important step can help ensure that we are truly Growing Healthy Kids.

With love and gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Moving Towards Health

“The poultry industry commonly injects chicken carcasses with salt water to artificially inflate their weight, yet they can still be labelled “100 percent natural.” Consumer Reports found that some supermarket chickens were pumped so full of salt that they registered a whopping 840 mg of sodium per serving – that could mean more than a full day’s worth of sodium in just one chicken breast.” 
                                       --from How Not To Die by Michael Greger, M.D.

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Factory farming of chickens is a brutal practice.  
The factory farming of animals in the U.S. says so much about our country. If we truly are to be an ethical society, then how can we tolerate the inhumane treatment of millions of animals who are slaughtered for food?  More than 8.8 billion chickens and 115 million pigs are factory farmed for food in the U.S. annually.  

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Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths for both men and women in the U.S. and is expected to cause more than 50,000 deaths in 2018.  Fast food restaurants like McDonald's have gained a strong foothold outside of the U.S. Considering that we are what we eat, it is no wonder that colon cancer rates in Japan are as bad as they are in the U.S., “a rise that has been attributed in part to the fivefold increase in meat consumption,” according to Dr. Michael Greger.  A diet high in red meat and processed meats like hot dogs and salami is a risk factor for colorectal cancer. 

We can all move towards health by embracing the fact that we don’t need to eat animals to be healthy and to thrive. Hidden sources of sodium, such as when chickens are injected with sodium to artificially inflate their weight, are dangerous for people with, or at risk for, high blood pressure.  Considering that most people should limit their daily sodium to less than 1,500 mg a day, sodium intake can add up fast.  

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Aerial view of factory farming of animals. 

Preventing cancer, high blood pressure, and other conditions occurs when we increase our awareness about what real food is and where it comes from.  We need a food supply that does not pollute our waters, poisons us with toxins, and makes us sick. 

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How people think all chickens are raised. 

Choosing to follow a whole food plant-based way of eating is up to each of us.  It is better for our health, the health of our families, the ethical treatment of animals, and the health and sustainability of our planet.  It is a simple step for moving towards health. 

With love and gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.