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High-quality food is the foundation for a healthy life

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

There never seems to be enough time in the day, especially when you have a job and kids. After a long day of work the last thing most of us want to do when we get home is worry about preparing a meal. As a result, many of us stop for take-out, pop TV dinners in the microwave, or go through the drive-through on the way home.


While fast, pre-prepared, and restaurant food is quick, convenient, and satisfying it is often low in nutrients, fiber, and phytonutrients; high in refined carbohydrates; and full of artificial colors and flavors. In addition, these foods are generally easy to digest and high in trans-fats or processed vegetable oils. Worst of all, many prepared foods are designed for “sensory-specific satiety” which makes it easy for us to eat more than we need and to become addicted to the product.

Sadly, the impact of consuming these foods is not usually immediately apparent. In many cases, it takes years or decades for symptoms to develop. As a result, it is easy for parents to overlook the impact food may be having on the long-term health and welfare of their children.

More information on the hazards of poor food choices has reached the mainstream press recently. Dr. Eva Selhub wrote about the connection between food choices, brain structure and function, and mood in the Harvard Medical School Health Blog. “If your brain is deprived of good-quality nutrition, or if free radicals or damaging inflammatory cells are circulating within the brain’s enclosed space, further contributing to brain tissue injury, consequences are to be expected. What’s interesting is that for many years, the medical field did not fully acknowledge the connection between mood and food.”

Also, according to research conducted by Sanjay Basu M.D., Ph.D. at the Stanford University Medical Center, “increased sugar in a population’s food supply was (is) linked to higher diabetes rates, independent of obesity rates.”

Although it might seem overwhelming, ditching processed foods is possible even if you have a super busy schedule. The key is advanced planning, selecting healthy items when you get to the supermarket, and cooking enough extra food that you can have leftovers on days when there is no time to cook.

Once you adjust to the new approach to food, you will likely notice that everyone is less cranky and feels better, there are less sick days, and that you have more energy and patience.

Screening may miss signs of autism, especially in girls: study

Medical X-Press – Dennis Thompson

“An important checklist used to screen for autism can miss subtle clues in some children, delaying their eventual diagnosis. Researchers found that the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, or M-CHAT, can fail to detect developmental delays that are tell-tale signs of autism in 18-month-olds, according to findings published in the June issue of the journal Pediatrics.” (more)

Debunking Flu Myths: With Close to 100 Children Dead From the Virus, Leading to School Closures in at Least 23 States, Expert Calls ‘Deep-Cleaning’ Schools a ‘Waste of Money, Time, and Effort’

The 74 Million – Laura Fay

“At least 97 children have died, and schools in at least 23 states have closed for a day or longer, due to flu-related symptoms since October 1, according to federal officials. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acting director Anne Schuchat said the season could break modern records for hospitalizations. The center has described the outbreak as “moderately severe,” on par with 2013–14, which was particularly nasty. The flu is currently widespread in most of the country and could last until May.” (more)

Eye exams linked to kids’ reading levels

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Elementary school children who read below grade level may have challenges with their eyesight even if standard tests show they see 20/20, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo. The study showed that children with reading challenges may have lower than expected binocular vision test results, something a standard eye exam may overlook.” (more)

Regular bedtimes stop children getting ‘jet lag’

Medical X-Press – Yvonne Kelly

“What happens in the early years of a person’s life has a profound effect on how they fare later on. Thousands of research papers – many of them using the rich data in the British Birth Cohort studies – have shown that children who get a poor start in life are much more likely to experience difficulties as adults; whether that’s to do with poor health, or their ability to enjoy work and family life. Ensuring that children get enough sleep is one of a number of ways to get them off to the best possible start in life. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that toddlers should get roughly 11 to 14 hours of sleep every day. For children aged three to five years, the recommendation is ten to 13 hours, or nine to 11 hours for children once they’re at primary school.”(more)

Screen children with reading difficulties for hearing problems, says report

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Children with reading difficulties should be more thoroughly screened for hearing problems, a new report by Coventry University academics has said. The study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, found 25 per cent of its young participants who had reading difficulties showed mild or moderate hearing impairment, of which their parents and teachers were unaware. The researchers believe that if there was more awareness of youngsters’ hearing problems – as well as an understanding of what particular aspects of literacy they struggled with – then the children might be able to receive more structured support that could help them improve their reading and writing skills.”(more)