Overweight Kids Don’t Have to Be Overweight Adults

Overweight children often become obese adults, with attendant problems such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

But a new study suggests there are "critical windows" where that path to weight gain can be changed.

The study, involving more than 2,700 Finnish adults, found what many studies have shown before: Childhood body mass index, or BMI, is a good predictor of adulthood obesity.

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September is Fruit & Veggies and Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is Fruit & Veggies Month

Eating fruits and vegetables has many health benefits. People who eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help lower their risk for:

  • Some types of cancer
  • Heart disease, including heart attack and stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity

Fewer than 1 in 7 adults eat the recommended amount of fruits every day.
Fewer than 1 in 10 adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables every day.

The good news? Communities, health professionals, businesses, and families can work together to encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Visit the Produce for Better Health Foundation for tips on quick recipes for healthier eating.

Ask the Nurse – Don't let your kids be blimps

Ask the Nurse: Christine Hammerlund, President of Assured Healthcare Staffing and Nurse

Dear Chris: Help! I have to figure out meals for grandchildren when they visit. But my son has no good advice. When we're eating out, what should I buy them?

Chris: My seven grandchildren don't always appreciate that I am a nurse.

To begin with, I don't feed them from a commercial menu guaranteed to turn them into fat-as-a-redwood-log adult. I like my large unmovable redwoods in forests, not on my sofa. The entire world of advertising always paints the best-tasting pre-prepared food as the best for you, too. Which, of course, is a giant pre-prepared fib.

Some food tastes good because it's packed with fat and empty calories. On the other hand, eat enough of it and nothing else, and it will kill you stone cold dead.

In my experience, overweight kids often turn into overweight adults. The way I look at it, it's hear-me-now or see the cardiologist later. So what's the worst?

Here is my Fatal Foursome, the absolute worse for your kids.

SunnyD Smooth Style (16 ounces, 260 calories, 60 grams sugar): Don't mistake SunnyD for orange juice or anything else natural unless you think 5 percent real is “real.” It's just a lot of water with a lot of sugar dissolved in it. Buy your kids a package of Oreos. It has less sugar. Cap'n Crunch (1 cup 146 calories, 2 grams fat, 1 gram saturated, 16 gram sugars, and 1 gram fiber): As food, this is an empty suit. It's a waste of time. There are a few added vitamins that are required by the government but it's a totally unnatural collection of unrelated components, most of which is corn flour coated by food colorings yellow 6 and 5. If your children have attention issues, this will make them jump off the ceiling like cats on speed.

Oscar Mayer Maxed Out Turkey & Cheddar Cracker Combo Lunchables (680 calories, 22 grams fat, 9 grams saturated, 61 g sugars, 1,440 mg sodium): You'd think a company with an old-timey name like Oscar Mayer wouldn't do this to kids. It's gastronomic assault and battery. This junk has nearly half of a second graders' daily calorie allotment with more than twice the sugar and fat of a Snickers.

Burger King Kids' Double Cheeseburger with Small Fries and Coke (1,100 calories, 52 grams fat, 17.5 grams saturated, and 1.5 g trans, 1,870 mg sodium): Double your beef; double your kids' budding heart disease. If you feed your child this meal more than once a year, just paint the word “Goodyear” on his side and let him float over football stadiums. Your child would have to be a world class triathlete to burn that many calories.


Ask the Nurse | Caring for a Parent

When it's your Mom, everything changes

by Christine Hammerlund, President of Assured Healthcare and "Mother"

You can become accustomed to the professional detachment of nursing. I've spent most of my adult life in that role and finding just the right balance among intellect, knowledge and emotion is one of the toughest hidden “jobs” of health care.

Good people care. You cannot hide from being human. But nursing means being smart in choices. Being smart and attentive for your patient is a never- ceasing quest. Medicine might be a science, but healing is an art.  

Meet Virginia ,  one of our patients and mother of Assured Healthcare Staffing owner Chris Hammerlund.

Meet Virginia, one of our patients and mother of Assured Healthcare Staffing owner Chris Hammerlund.

A good nurse must listen to many voices inside her head, each asking for attention and validation. But I thought I had mastered the art of that heart/smart balance until I confronted the future for my Mom.

When it's Mom, everything changes, and even a nurse cannot shield herself from deep fears and concerns. Even a good nurse can be fooled by signs she does not see.

So, this is the first of four part series about me and my Mom. This will be a shared experience for us - you and I.  You see, the time had come to make some decisions about Mom's day-to-day health, and we all experience this, ready or not.

I can tell you right at the beginning that sharing the burdens of life can be a difficult task. But maybe you will see your life - your Mom or Dad - in this picture.  Maybe it will help to know you are not alone. It did for me.

First, Mom is a wonderful person. I won't tell you her age because it would be embarrassing to her, but let's just say she's old enough to remember runningboards on cars and phonographs that sped around the record turntable at 78 revolutions per minute. She is a proud person and independent. And smart.

But these are difficult times for her and for me.

I will have to care for her now. That much is certain. I don't know how much I had focused on that likelihood in other years, but when the time comes, there is no escape from that fact if you care.

My Mother has a few issues that make her care very challenging. She has macular degeneration (reduced eyesight), hearing loss, very unsteady gait and moderate dementia.

The changes that age can bring don't happen in one day. It's often a slow, steady progression. I did not see that slide at first.

When Mom was still at her home living alone, she was able to hold it together through a phone conversation, covering up her dementia and leading me to believe she was just forgetful.  

She then had a very serious fall, which landed her in the hospital for a week and drove my decision to have her move into my home. What I have found since she began living with me is how limited her ability is to function without help.  

I would suggest to others that have the responsibility of taking care of elderly and infirm parents or loved ones, first trust your gut.

And second, bring in a health care professional.  

By “trust your gut,” I mean that when you think something is wrong, it probably is worse than you think.  Second, either get in touch with the Doctor or have a nursing assessment done. Nothing is as useful as an independent evaluation of how well the senior performs activities of daily living and exercises their cognitive awareness. A doctor or independent nursecan see what you cannot.

The first job is to realistically determine whether it's safe for them to continue living alone. You have to become smarter about Mom. I did. It was the first lesson I had to learn.

As part of my business, I hire and manage home health care nurses all the time. I'm doing that now. If anything, the experiences with Mom have helped me see what those nurses need to know.

Next month, part 2 next: How did we wind up here?

Celebrate American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.

The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions.

Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices.

Make a difference in your community: Spread the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and encourage people to live heart healthy lives.

How can American Heart Month make a difference?

We can use this month to raise awareness about heart disease and how people can prevent it — both at home and in the community.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Encourage families to make small changes, like using spices to season their food instead of salt.
  • Motivate teachers and administrators to make physical activity a part of the school day. This can help students start good habits early.
  •  Ask doctors and nurses to be leaders in their communities by speaking out about ways to prevent heart disease.

Summertime Crockpot Cooking - Smart and Healthy

Don't tuck your trusty crockpot away in a bottom cabinet or the pantry just because the weather is getting warmer. It's a practical and healthy cooking alternative for summertime, too.

  • No one likes to cook over a hot stove in the summer, but many people prefer a warm meal for dinner. The crockpot solves the overheated kitchen problem, as there's no need to turn on heat-generating oven or burners. All cooking heat is isolated to one small appliance on your kitchen countertop.
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Farmers Market Season: The Foods Your Body Craves!

Hooray!  Farmers market season is in full swing around the country, and it's the perfect time to heal and energize your body by indulging in the healthy, nutritious foods that it craves.  Forget about old New Year's resolutions, crazy diets, guilt and deprivation, they just don't work. Take advantage of the summer season to embark on a healthier lifestyle by making delicious meals from the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables overflowing in the market stalls. It's not a hardship to acquire healthy habits when you begin adding new foods to your everyday diet — fresh, vibrantly colored foods that not only taste good but have the nutrients and vitamins that will help to recharge you, body and spirit: 

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Savor the Flavor for Better Health

As Americans, we tend to be a nation of gobblers when it comes to eating.  In other cultures, meals and conversation can run on into the evening, with family members enjoying conversation and sharing the news of the day.  On average, our meals last a whopping 11 minutes—and that's for dinner.  Breakfast and lunch clock in at under 5 minutes for some people. The good news is, to realize an abundance of health benefits all we need to do is slooooooow dooooooown.  And here are few good reasons why:

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Summertime Crockpot Cooking - Smart and Healthy

Summertime Crockpot CookingDon't tuck your trusty crockpot away in a bottom cabinet or the pantry just because the weather is getting warmer. It's a practical and healthy cooking alternative for summertime, too.

  • No one likes to cook over a hot stove in the summer, but many people prefer a warm meal for dinner. The crockpot solves the overheated kitchen problem, as there's no need to turn on heat-generating oven or burners. All cooking heat is isolated to one small appliance on your kitchen countertop.
  • The crockpot also allows you to take advantage of the bounty of fresh vegetables that summertime offers. Main dishes, side dishes, casseroles, soups and more are perfect for cooking in the crockpot and a brilliant way to get your daily quota of vitamins and nutrients.
  • A crockpot meal paired with a crisp, cool salad is perfect for a taste tempting summer dinner menu. Use the crockpot to prepare tasty chillable summer soups. Guests coming for a barbecue in the evening? Start a tasty crockpot side dish earlier in the day. You can even use your crockpot to make delicious desserts!
  • Would you rather be outside having some fun in the sun? Save time by keeping prep time and cleanup to a minimum using your crockpot - no multiple pots and pans throwing heat on the stove top, just gather your fresh ingredients and place them in the pot, put the lid on and walk away for a few hours. What could be simpler.

Now begin planning all the fun things you can do with the time that you saved in the kitchen this summer. You can visit The Summer Crockpot at Food.com for more than 100 summertime recipe ideas, and dozens of other great crockpot-oriented sites abound. Enjoy!

"Speaking of Healthcare" is the official blog of Assured Healthcare Staffing.  Please LIKE us on Facebook to receive health and wellness tips and more!  Article by Kim Washetas, contributing writer and enthusiastic whole health advocate.

Healthy Grain Alternatives


Lately many people are avoiding or reducing the amount of wheat or wheat-products they consume.  Rice, potatoes and corn are frequently the top three foods heading the "instead of" list, but there are actually a variety of other tasty and nutritious grain alternatives out there.  Here are just a few:

Buckwheat -- Though its name sounds like a grain, buckwheat is actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel.  Favored in Eastern Europe for use in meat and winter root dishes, it has a nutty flavor.  Many stores carry buckwheat flour or you can buy whole-grain buckwheat groats, known as kasha.

Millet -- An important food staple for many cultures throughout history, much of the world's millet is grown in India.  In its whole state it can be used in place of couscous in many recipes; ground, it serves as a substitute for rice flour.  Dry skillet toast before cooking to enhance millet's mild, nutty flavor.

Quinoa -- Protein-rich with lots of vitamins and minerals, quinoa has been called a "supergrain".  It is available in a variety of forms, including quinoa pasta, quinoa flour and whole-grain quinoa.  In its whole-grain form it should be rinsed before using to eliminate a coating called saponin, which can cause a bitter taste.

Amaranth -- This grain a relative of pigweed, and also high in both fiber and protein.  Less well known than the other wheat-free alternative grains, it is most commonly available as flour.

Many grains are delicious in both hot and cold dishes, and grain recipe sites abound on Google.  If your local grocer or the big chain markets don't carry some of the wheat alternatives listed above, they may also be found at area health food stores, specialty grocers or online.

Article by Kim Washetas, contributing writer and enthusiastic whole health advocate.

Best Health Secrets - Hot Tomatoes


Hot tomatoes are what you pick out of your garden in August, if you're lucky. And hot tomatoes are just about the hottest and most popular vegetable out there, surpassed in consumption each year only by potatoes. Needless to say, tomatoes beat potatoes in nutrition by miles. Filled with vitamins A and C, tomatoes are high in dietary fiber and low in sodium, with no saturated fat or cholesterol. They are also a good source of vitamin K, vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, potassium, and manganese. Whew! Tomatoes are one of the best nutritional packages around and are commonly available to nearly everyone.

Think of all the different ways you eat tomatoes today. Start with sliced on your plate at a picnic on a hot summer day. Move to piled on a sandwich, then to wedges nestled around a salad, and then to hollowed out and stuffed full of tuna or crab salad on a restaurant plate. Tomatoes cubed into spicy chili. Tomatoes diced up tiny into tacos.

Then start thinking about tomato products. Ketchup, of course. Tomato sauce poured over meatloaf. Tomatoes chopped up with onions and cilantro into salsa for a burrito. Tomatoes simmered with oregano, basil, and garlic into rich goodness to top spaghetti. Tomatoes drowning with molasses and chili peppers in your favorite barbeque sauce. Tomato juice, tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes, canned crushed tomatoes, Italian-style, Mexican-style, stewed. Is your mouth watering yet?

Producing tomatoes to fill all these needs is big business. Commercial farms in California grow tomatoes on acres of sun-drenched soil. Their harvesting machines can gather over a ton of tomatoes each minute, and the tomatoes are then sent to a processing plant that can handle over a million pounds of tomatoes every hour. Tomatoes from these farms are specially developed to ripen simultaneously, maximizing yield and efficiency in harvest. The fruits are fleshy, with small seed compartments and thick skins to withstand machine harvesting. The varieties grown here, with names like Heinz 2401, are resistant to viruses and fungi that plague home gardeners, as well as to nematodes and beetles. Corporate giants like Heinz, Campbell's, Pizza Hut, and Ragu pay for the research that turns out these commercial crops, and they reap the rewards of the harvest.

At the other end of the spectrum lie heirloom tomatoes, with names like Brandywine, Marvel Stripe, and Green Zebra. To be classified as an heirloom, the seeds must have bred true for at least 40 years. Heirlooms have become increasingly popular in the last few years and they turn up in organic bistros as well as pricey fine-dining establishments. These varieties are not suitable for commercial production and are usually grown by individuals in small gardens. But individuals cannot supply the growing demand for these tasty reminders of days past, and organic farms, much smaller than the giant commercial operations and often family-operated, are beginning to offer a more reliable supply to restaurateurs and grocers.

The escalating demand for heirlooms is based mostly on flavor, although increasing awareness of pesticides, pollution, and Big Farming have swayed some converts. Consumers have grown tired of the "green baseballs" found on produce shelves these days and long for the flavor of real tomatoes, the kind their parents picked out of the family garden a generation ago. Heirloom varieties offer both flavor and a greener footprint.

Whether out of a can or from an organic garden, tomatoes hold a place--indeed, many places--in today's menus and lifestyles. Lest we forget, the tomato is the basis of that lovely invention, the Bloody Mary. Linda Manley, a retired university research director, writes website articles on topics that interest her, such as retiring in warm places, staying fit and healthy, and saving money while doing both. You can find more of her articles at http://BestHealthSecrets.com | Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Linda_Manley | Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2751588

8 Healthy Summer Snack Ideas for the Young and Old

Summer is here and in most places school is out. Keeping our children on a good eating pattern is harder in the summer as most do not keep the same schedule as winter. Here are a few snack ideas to keep them healthy and on track with their healthy eating habits.

  1. Peel a ripe banana and cut it in two inch pieces. Roll each piece in vanilla yogurt, crushed dry cereal and freeze. This is also a good way to put use to the last stray bites of cereal in the box. Mixing different cereals can be fun also.
  2. Mix peanut butter and lightly crushed corn flakes in a bowl. Make quarter size balls with the mixture then roll in crushed nuts. Walnuts or pecans work best. Store left overs in an air tight container. Use within 3 days.
  3. Fresh fruits [apples of any kind] and vegetables [celery or carrots] can be spread with peanut butter to make an appealing snack.  Most children will try something if it is pleasing to their eye.
  4. Make kabobs using a pretzel stick. Push a cube of cheese, pineapple, apples or grapes on the pretzel and watch the snacks disappear.
  5. Add some low fat shredded cheese to a corn tortilla, roll it up and heat for 20 seconds in a microwave. Use a bowl of salsa for a dipping sauce.
  6. Toast a frozen whole grain waffle, spread a heaping tablespoon of vanilla yogurt over the top, then add a few strawberries. You will have happy children.
  7. Blend a tablespoon of honey in 3/4 cup of small curd cottage cheese. You will have a great tasting dip for active children. It can be used with fruits or vegetables.
  8. Baked corn chips and a mild homemade salsa will keep them coming back for more.

Quick Salsa Recipe 1 large tomato, cored and diced 1 8-10 inch celery stalk, ribbed and sliced thin 1 medium red onion, chopped small 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. If the mixture is dry add one teaspoon of virgin olive oil and two tablespoons of vegetable juice. That will give it enough moisture to be dipable and add an extra little kick to the taste.

Lead your children by your example. If they see you eating these healthy snacks, so will they.


Faylee James is a Life Coach/Writer/Speaker from Northeast Tennessee, who has an above average interest in people, cooking and living life to the fullest. Her website http://www.HassiesKitchenTable.com is in honor of her mother who passed away recently. For more recipes and thoughts, visit her website or blog at http://www.HassiesKitchenTable.blogspot.com Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Faylee_James Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2468603

Chicken Soup is Good for Body and Soul

Though spring is officially here, the unseasonable weather we're having recently may contribute to the lingering of the viruses that more typically cause wintertime's sneezes, sniffles and colds.  There are a number of ways to help speed them on their way. Foods high in Vitamin C are great  for helping to fight off a virus and chicken soup is also high on the list. It actually does help - it's a comfort food that's good for the soul and for making you feel better when you have a cold. It also contains nourishment in the form of protein and vegetables to fuel your body's immune system and replenish your resources.

Plenty of fluids (water is first on the list, and orange juice and green or herbal teas are also good choices) help to thin secretions and make them easier to expel.  If you're experiencing fever as well, it's very important to drink large amounts of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.

Regardless of whether you have a cold or a fever, rest is the order of the day until it has run it's course - and make sure you wash your hands frequently to keep germs from spreading.

Copyright © Christine Hammerlund – 2011. Christine Hammerlund is a registered nurse and the owner of Assured Healthcare, a healthcare staffing service headquartered in Gurnee, Illinois.