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The Secret to Avoiding Obesity in Overweight Children Is…

For children who are overweight and at risk for obesity, eating even a small amount of nutritious green and orange vegetables can make a world of a difference in their health, a new study shows.

Researchers at The University of Texas found that incorporating nutrient-rich vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and carrots into a child’s diet can help reduce the amount of bad fats in the body. And all it takes is a large salad a day, even if it is not the full serving of vegetables. In other words, something is better than nothing.

The study also showed that incorporating these vegetables into their daily nutrition helped improve insulin levels in a group of overweight children who were monitored by the research team.

Of the 175 overweight or obese children participating in the study, those who ate nutritious veggies daily saw significant improvements in metabolic health, as well as reduced visceral fat surrounding the organs.

Overweight Children Eat Less Vegetables On Average

Less than 6 percent of children eat the recommended serving of vegetables per day. But for those who regularly eat one or two serving of non-starchy vegetables, they reduce their risk for liver problems, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other health complications that may occur because of obesity.

Just by incorporating some nutritious vegetables in the diet is a great way to start a life style change to be healthy and could possibly be the pathway to living a healthy life. Of course, getting your kids to eat their veggies is not always easy. Check out this video featuring a clever tip from celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito.

Healthy Teachers, Healthy Students

Looking back on your formative years, who were some of the most influential people in your lives? Obviously, parents and family rank at the top, but you might even have a few school teachers on your list. After all, you spent the majority of your weekdays with them. Many of the core values and lessons we learn through life can be traced back to our educators, what they taught us, and how they treated us. Which is why it’s important for today’s educators to be a leading example for their students on how to be healthy and fit.

By understanding and living a healthy lifestyle, educators can actually help their students grow into the powerful young leaders of tomorrow, while imparting the core values of health, fitness, life balance, perseverance, hard work, determination and respect. With this kind of foundation, children can reach their ultimate potentials in taking control of their health as they grow into their adult lives.

READ MORE: HEALTH & FITNESS IN THE AMERICAN SCHOOL SYSTEM

In a society where one-third of children in America are overweight or obese, teachers – in addition to parents – can be the key to making a change in children’s health and future. One of the keys to empowering teachers with knowledge on health is to educate them on healthy lifestyle and physical fitness, because the children look up to them as role models and leaders.

We cannot continue to allow our children remain obese or overweight as they grow up. It will directly impact the rate of illnesses such as type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low self-esteem, asthma, depression, sleep apnea and social discrimination. Currently, more than 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. We are setting ourselves up for failure with every year that these statistics continue to worsen.

READ MORE:

Appeal to Senators To Fight For a Healthy Nation

 Put the Physical Back in Education

Are Hospitals Unhealthy for Patients?

With at least one fast food restaurant on every street corner these days, it’s no wonder America is the most overweight and obese country in the world. Burgers, fries and all things fried are the leading reason why our nation has an unhealthy weight problem. So why is it that these fast food businesses are even allowed in the healthiest places of all – hospitals?

Currently, 18 hospitals in America have contracts with McDonald’s, which serves food to guests, sick patients and doctors. Other fast food chains like Chick-Fil-A and Wendy’s are also partnering up with hospital food courts.

Now, the medical profession is fighting back.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., has been doing a series of hospital food reports to analyze just how dire the situation is. In their fifth and most recently published installment, experts surveyed more than 200 hospitals around the nation. Most of the hospitals with fast food chains are located in the South, where, according to Centers for Disease Control statistics, obesity rates are disproportionately high.

It gets worse when certain contracts allow for an increase in hospital revenue when fast food sales increase.

In one example, the McDonald’s inside Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston “can terminate its lease if yearly gross sales of Big Macs and other junk foods do not reach $1 million,” the committee’s report states. “Moreover, the monthly rent McDonald’s pays to the hospital increases based on food sales.” This the hospitals unhealthy secret.

But, as the report states, there is hope, and conditions have been improving. Since the committee started issuing its food reports, two hospitals mentioned have removed the junk food: McDonald’s closed at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, and St. Louis Children’s Hospital no longer carries Dairy Queen products. Several other fast-food restaurants have also recently closed in hospitals around the country.

The committee also mentions that more and more hospitals have been adding fresh fruits and vegetables to their cafeterias. But PCRM’s president, Neal Barnard, wants to take it one step further: “Just as cigarettes are banned from hospitals, why not do the same for meat, cheese, and other junk foods?”

Information gathered from Yahoo News.

Obesity a Big Factor in Healthcare Costs

Healthcare and healthcare reform are big issues in politics. The magic solution to these issues, however, is not rooted in subsidies, single-payer systems or the actual affordability of healthcare unique to every American – it’s in the individual health of Americans themselves. Ideally, the healthier you are or aim to be, the less you have to worry about chronic illnesses and injury, and by extension, the less you have to worry about healthcare costs. 

Given the state of American health and the economy, obesity has taken more than a few dollars from Americans. Regarding health care costs, for every dollar spent on healthcare, $0.95 is spent on treatment; the other $0.05 is spent on preventative care.

Obesity Raises Healthcare Costs

While that may not sound like much, in total, obesity-related medical treatment can cost up to $210 billion a year. Researchers estimate that if obesity trends continue, obesity-related medical costs could rise by up to $66 billion each year.  

Comparatively, obese people spend 42 percent more on healthcare costs than those of healthy-weight. In fine numbers, per capita medical spending is about $2,741 higher for the obese than healthy-weight individuals. 

“We are one of the most obese countries in the world, and statistics are showing that by 2020 over 75 percent of Americans will be overweight or obese,” Health Fitness Revolution founder Samir Becic said.

Read: Top 10 Health Tips for Americans

Study Shows Lack of Green Space Is Linked to Childhood Obesity

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When you think of garden, most people think of a special earthy and fertile spot to grow your own crops – from apples to zucchini, depending on your climate and how much time you’re willing to invest in your crops, you can easily have a home-grown meal from garden to grill in a matter of weeks. But for many, buying from the grocer’s may be far more convenient, ridding the necessity of garden and even a yard.

But a new study presented by Annemarie Schalkwijk of the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam found that even having a lack of green space can increase the risk of childhood obesity in young children.

ThinkstockPhotos-480746877The study, presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Stockholm, analyzed data from 6,647 children from England and determined having no access or a lack of access to green spaces in their neighborhood between the ages of 3 and 5 increased the risk of overweightness or obesity in children by the age of 7.

Though many factors contribute to the onset of obesity in children such as socioeconomic influences and parental influences, the Schlkwijk and her team adjusted for these measures.

They found no garden access for lower educated households with children ages 3-5 increased the risk of overweightness and obesity 7 years by 38%. Additionally, higher educated households living in disadvantaged neighborhoods with the same aged children also have an increased risk of overweightness and obesity by 38%.

ThinkstockPhotos-450667629The importance of having not just a garden, but at least a yard can be a weighty determinant in the future of health of a child. Yards are not merely patches of grass with bushes and trees that need constant landscaping. Yards, gardens, parks and even empty lots are present to encourage outdoor play and activity. Having access to a yard or outdoor playspace invites children to participate in outdoor activity.

At the very least, moms and dads, you don’t have to scold your hyperactive kids from running through the house when they’ve got an outdoor place to play.