Over the past decade research has trickled out from various universities indicating that the family dinner has a positive effect upon the character, social development and academic performance of children. There is no doubt that sharing a family meal is a noble goal worthy of pursuit however, recent research raises the question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Does sharing a family dinner produce desirable characteristics in children by itself, or does a family who sits down for a regular dinner have other qualities that produce the improved academic performance and positive outcomes seen in children?
Anyone ordering fast food or eating at restaurants has probably noticed that food portions have gotten larger. Some portions are available to “super size”, while others have simply grown in size and provide enough food for at least two people. These growing portion sizes are changing what Americans think of as a “normal” portion at home, too. The National Institute of Health is calling it: portion distortion. Here are there definitions:
A recent article to be published in the February 2010 issue of The American Journal of Preventive Medicine is bound to stir up a lot of emotion in the nation’s ongoing health care discussions. The article titled “Trends in Quality-Adjusted Life-Years Lost Contributed by Smoking and Obesity” really boils down to this: Obesity is equal or has surpassed smoking as a contributor to illness and the shortening of healthy life.
During the holiday season we often participate in pot-lucks or other gatherings where we prepare food at home and then transport and serve it at a party or event. It is important to keep food safety in mind in these situations to avoid ruining the holidays of our friends and loved ones with a case of food poisoning.
When traveling with food, keep HOT foods hot (140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher) by wrapping them in foil and then covering with heavy towels or carry them in insulated containers designed for this purpose. Cold foods must also receive care to ensure they remain at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. This can be achieved using a cooler with ice or freezer packs.
American consumers have been making demands in the market place for foods that are healthier and they have voiced their concern over the quality of food being marketed to children. Two news stories this week show how consumer pressure can produce change in food companies’ behavior.
According to data in a report published in the December 2009 issue of Diabetes Care(1), the cost of treating diabetes will triple by 2034 reaching a staggering $336 billion annually, up from the current $113 billion. A big reason for the projected increase is that by 2034 an estimated 44.1 million Americans will be living with diabetes (up from the current 23.7 million today). These estimates are based on zero increase in the prevalence of obesity in 25 years, and for that reason, are considered to be conservative.
Opinion piece by Cindy Farricker, MS, RD, CDE
A “teaser” for the nightly news broadcast on the last day of September was “Not one US state is meeting the national objectives for fruit and vegetable consumption”. The news headline came from a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on September 29th, “State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables 2009” accessed September 30, 2009.
Most of us are aware that Americans have a history of not eating enough fruits and vegetables. The government has tried to encourage us to eat more through their “Five a Day” campaign now replaced by “Fruits and Vegetables Matter”, both from the Centers for Disease Control.