Archive for February 9th, 2011

First lady Michelle Obama walks through the White House east colonnade with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, left, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, second from right, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as they meet regarding the childhood obesity initiative. By Jack Gruber, USA TODAY

How much do you know about First Lady, Michelle Obama’s, initiative to end child obesity in one generation? Today is her 1 year anniversary in her initiative, “Let’s Move.” I watched an interview with her on NBC’s Today Show this morning and it was very inspiring and relatable. I grew up with parents who worked all the time (wait a sec, they still do!), and it was often that we would pick up food or go out because it was “too late to cook.” Similarly, Michelle Obama’s daughters were 6 and 9, and like any other working mom — struggling to juggle office hours, school pick-ups and mealtimes. By the end of the day, she was often too tired to make dinner, so she did what was easy: She ordered takeout or went to the drive-through. 

What is the overall concept of “Let’s Move”?
Most parents would do anything for their kids and want to give them the best chance in the world to be their best. Let’s Move operates under the principle that every family wants the same thing for their kid.  

Let’s Move (letsmove.gov) aims to do for healthy eating and exercise what the government’s anti-smoking campaign did in the 1960s: change how people think about their health. 

Michelle Obama stressed in her interview today that she doesn’t want parents to beat themselves up if they slip up from time to time or get a little relaxed about the food they serve or the time their kids spend in front of a screen. 

“We don’t have to be 100% perfect,” she says. “My kids eat dessert. My kids watch TV. … I love burgers and fries, and I don’t want to live a life where I can never have them again. And if we told families and children that that was the answer, we’d never get there. The beauty is we don’t need to be 100% of the way there. If we get 20% of the way there, we will change the health status of our kids for a generation.” 

So what is her ultimate goal?
To eliminate childhood obesity in a generation.  

“It’s an ambitious goal, but we don’t have time to wait,” the first lady said in an interview with USA TODAY. “We’ve got to stop citing statistics and wringing our hands and feeling guilty, and get going on this issue.” 

She says about 32% of children and adolescents today — 25 million kids — are obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I completely agree with her that the extra LBS. are putting kids at great risk! Risk of what?

  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • shorter lives 

Scary facts:
A 2005 study found that kids today may lead shorter lives by two to five years than their parents because of obesity.
Obesity costs the country a staggering $147 billion a year in weight-related medical bills, according to government data. 

How does Michelle Obama plan on doing it with her power in the White House?

  • more healthful food in schools
  • more accurate food labeling
  • better grocery stores in communities that don’t have them
  • public service announcements and efforts to get children to be more active. 

Her inspiration?
Upon moving into the white house – she took a year to settle her kids, but also got involved in a local elementary school where she set up an organic garden for the kids. “The garden was an important first step — just sort of exploring the ideas around nutrition and children,” Obama says. “I was curious to find out whether kids connected with this issue if we talked about it in terms of fun and gardening.” 

Image: By Mark Wilson, Getty Images

And they did. “Kids from urban environments, from households (like) mine, who were raised on fried foods and good, tasty stuff, were fully engaged in the process of planting these vegetables and watching them grow and harvesting them and cleaning them and cooking them and eating them, and writing about how vegetables were their friends,” she says. “So we thought we could be on to something here if we make this conversation a national conversation.”

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Two weekends ago I went to Tahoe for a fun ski weekend, which ended up turning into a trip sleeping on the bathroom floor. To my knowledge, I had the stomach flu and thought I would do a little research so you would be in the know about it too –trust me, it is not fun! Both parents and kids get it!

Every parent dreads hearing the three words, “My tummy hurts.” During the winter there is always a time of the stomach-virus season, entire classrooms and childcare centers can be taken by storm. I recently discovered that there is a new vaccine that fights against rotavirus, a common stomach bug. But there’s an increasing number of different strains of norovirus — another major cause of tummy trouble, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To protect your family – and not go through the torture I have been through – read up on the below mini lessons about the stomach flu.

It’s not just in the stomach, and it’s not a flu.
Officially called “viral gastroenteritis,” a stomach virus also causes inflammation and irritation in the small intestine and has nothing to do with the respiratory virus we call influenza or otherwise known as the “flu.” Influenza is spread through the air when a sick person coughs or sneezes; your child picks up a stomach virus when he touches a surface or an object or eats a food that’s contaminated with infected stool or vomit. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramping, fever, and body aches. Diarrhea can last for several days – it lasted 48 hours for me – and most of the other symptoms subside within 48 hours.

Your child might not have a virus at all.
Doctors can’t always distinguish between a stomach virus and food poisoning — or even appendicitis. That’s because all three conditions can cause pain and vomiting. However, fever generally doesn’t accompany food poisoning, and diarrhea is not often associated with appendicitis. Food poisoning usually comes on suddenly and is gone within 12 hours.

Medication doesn’t help — and could hurt.
I took Immodium to attempt to help my stomach flu, which I later found out is not always good to take. When there’s an infection in the stomach, toxins get released in your stool. Antidiarrheal drugs slow down stool production so toxins linger in the body for a longer time.

It’s fine to feed your child if she’s hungry.
She probably won’t feel much like eating, but when her appetite returns, you can give her most of what she normally eats. Did you know that doctors now believe that the traditional BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) doesn’t give kids enough protein or calories? Steer clear of high-fat foods like chicken fingers and ice cream – they are harder to digest and may be more likely to be thrown up.

Also make sure to hydrate – Gatorade was my friend during my sick time. Make sure to call your doctor if your child has signs of dehydration, including a lack of tears when he or she cries, a dry mouth, no wet diapers in six hours for babies, or no urination for 12 hours in older kids.

Last Quick Tips:

1. The best beverage to offer a vomiting child is…
Oral rehydration solutions such as Pedialyte or Gatorade that contains water and electrolytes in specific concentrations to replenish what your child has lost.

2. Every time your child drinks something, she throws up. You should offer small sips regularly. They always say, “Slow and steady wins the race.”
Note that a teaspoonful of liquid every few minutes adds up to a few ounces in an hour.

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No, I did not say that!

The weekend was coming up and my friend’s son was so excited to go to their cabin in Lake Tahoe. He told his teacher,

My (Daddy) is going to show me how to make yellow snow!”

–Austin, age 3

Editor’s Note:
Please spread the giggles by sharing your funny quotes with us!

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