Wednesday, October 30, 2013



"Dramatic increases in childhood overweight and obesity in the United States since 1980 are an important public health focus.  Despite efforts over the past decade to prevent and control overweight and obesity, recent reports from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) show sustained high prevalence, with 17 percent of children and adolescents with a body mass index (BMI) above the 95th percentile for age and gender...To summarize, two major postmortem studies have demonstrated that the presence of obesity in childhood and adolescence is associated with increased evidence of atherosclerosis at autopsy, especially in males.  Because of the strong association with elevated blood pressure, dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance (IR), obesity is even more powerfully correlated with atherosclerosis; this association has been shown for each of these risk factors in all of the major pediatric epidemiologic studies." 
                        --Expert Panel on Integrated Guidelines for 
                          Cardiovascular Health and Risk Reduction 
                           in Children and Adolescents
                           National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Inspiring kids to eat more of the good foods and less of the bad plus getting regular PHYSICAL FUN! is at the heart of what the Growing Healthy Kids movement is all about.  Last week I heard from a friend of mine who reported that she, after reading several  WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS columns, was inspired to start a Wellness Wednesdays Walk to motivate herself and several other mothers to start exercising more.  This is what I talking about!  

Some of the words that come to mind when I hear from people inspired by the WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS column include:
Inspire – change – movement – kids – health – fun – families – together – mentoring – loving – kindness – respect  - happiness – friendships – helping – community.
Who knew this beautiful pumpkin could turn into
healthy cookies for kids?

Since this is the last Wednesday in October, I am sharing the newest recipe from our busy Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen.  This cookie was featured at a Main Street Vero Beach event last weekend.  Our new Gluten-free Pumpkin Cookies were sampled by several hundred people and all the reviews were over the top “delicious”!   Here is the recipe:

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS:  Our Recipe Collection
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies
SIFT TOGETHER dry ingredients in a large bowl:
  • 2-1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free baking mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon xanthum gum

USE AN ELECTRIC HAND MIXER and mix in a large bowl:
  • ¾  cup Florida crystals demerara sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 12 Tablespoons butter (1-1/2 sticks)

ADD these to the wet mixture:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¾ cup pumpkin (used fresh cooked pumpkin if available; otherwise, substitute canned pumpkin)

ADD wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until mixed.  DROP about ¼ cup on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  
BAKE about 12-15 minutes at 375. 

WHEN COOLED, ice with a glaze made from:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice**

** For demonstration purposes, Natalie’s Orchid Island Orange Juice was used in the preparation of this recipe. 

READERS of WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS know that the mission of Growing Healthy Kids, Inc., is to raise awareness about the critical importance of reversing the childhood obesity epidemic.  Our children’s health – and lives – are at stake.  Every week, more evidence emerges that cannot be ignored.  The fact is that our bodies are simply not designed to be carrying around extra weight.  When children become overweight and then stay that way as adults, they are being sentenced prematurely to diseases usually thought of as old people’s diseases.  Another study of 1,500 adults prior to bariatric surgery has just been released and found that those who were obese at age 18 were more likely to have diabetes, asthma, polycystic ovarian syndrome, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, lower extremity edema and other obesity-related diseases.  To read the abstract of the study in the journal Pediatrics, click here.

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids