Fight Against Childhood Obesity Begins at Home

<b>Fight Against Childhood Obesity Begins at Home</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Schools nationwide are revamping their lunch menus, celebrity chefs are going on reality TV and First Lady Michelle Obama has started a health initiative, all to combat the same thing — childhood obesity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 25 million American children are obese or overweight, setting them up for a lifetime of health problems, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Many school systems have made attempts to provide healthier school lunches, such as offering salad bars or fresh fruit.

Food and drink makers are also making efforts to solve the problem. Companies like Coca-Cola have removed regular soft drinks from schools, and recently, major beverage companies, together with the William J. Clinton Foundation and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, announced that they have successfully cut total calories from drinks delivered to schools by 88 percent over the last three years.

“From my experience, schools alone cannot stop children from becoming overweight or obese,” says registered dietitian Sylvia Klinger. “It is very important for parents to make an effort to encourage healthy eating habits at home and outside of the classroom.”

Klinger suggests these tips for parents who want their children to live healthy, active lives:

* Make healthy foods easy. We’re all familiar with the phrase “eat the rainbow.” To make it easy to get your family to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, chop bite-sized portions in advance, so you can take them out of the fridge and run. Sneak fruits into smoothies, and veggies into sauces, salsas or soups. Also, look for individually packaged whole-grain products, like 100 percent whole wheat bread, oatmeal and brown rice.

* Create healthy eating habits. Always eat breakfast — children who eat breakfast not only weigh less, but also perform better in school. It is also important to schedule regular meal times. Try involving your children in the preparation of each meal. Avoid the clean plate system, which only promotes overeating. Also, don’t ban treats, which can encourage sneaking food or overeating when sweets are present.

* Get active. Exercise is important regardless of your child’s weight or age. If your child is overweight, focus on maintaining that weight while the child grows in height, which can be accomplished through exercise. No matter your child’s size, activities like team sports, swimming, hiking, cycling or just taking a family walk can help manage weight, increase energy and improve self-esteem.

Fight Against Childhood Obesity Begins at Home

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Healthier Meals on the Way to Schools

<b>Healthier Meals on the Way to Schools</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – For the first time in U.S. history, kids may face a shorter lifespan than their parents. The cause? Obesity.

American children are suffering from the obesity epidemic that has plagued the nation for the past decade. Today, nearly 20 percent of 6-11 year-olds and over 18 percent of 12-17 year-olds are obese, and over 1/3 of both age groups are overweight. Childhood obesity has tripled in the last 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A reliance on fast food, poor nutrition education, excessive caloric intake and lack of physical activity have been blamed for the ill health of the nation’s youth.

First Lady Michelle Obama has made childhood obesity a central cause in her husband’s administration. She has initiated the “Let’s Move” campaign to solve the epidemic of dangerously heavy children within a generation. The goal is to give parents support, provide healthier meals in schools, encourage and enable kids to become physically active and to provide healthy, affordable food to all parts of the country. “We want our kids to face a different and more optimistic future in terms of their lifespan,” says the First Lady.

A cornerstone of the Let’s Move campaign is the Healthier U.S. Schools Challenge Program, designed to create healthy and active kids. The program calls for higher school food quality, participation in meal programs, physical activity and nutrition education. Food service workers in more than 75 percent of schools have pledged to work with school authorities to improve the nutrition in meals. Teachers, principals and school administrators have sworn support for the new measures. Major school food suppliers have agreed to decrease the sugar, fat and salt in school meals, and increase the use of whole grains and produce.

School suppliers of higher-quality food at an affordable price are welcoming the trend toward feeding nutritious wholesome meals to the nation’s youth. Food safety leader iPura, producer of organically cleaned seafood, provides schools with a safe, clean source that includes guarantees of good farming and manufacturing practices from Source-to-Kitchen. iPura offers schools the benefits of food safety, sustainability and the health attributes of seafood backed by a strong guarantee of quality, contributing to the efforts of school meal authorities to improve the health of students nationwide.

Ending childhood obesity will require that parents, schools and food companies join forces and maintain focus for years to come. The lifespan of our children depends on it.

Music Helps Students Excel in School, Life

<b>Music Helps Students Excel in School, Life</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – According to the Center on Education policy, No Child Left Behind’s emphasis on reading and math has caused many schools to cut back on other areas, including science, social studies, art, music, gym, lunch and recess. But cutting back on music education may leave students at a disadvantage in reading and math.

Parents should consider music education’s benefits when they help their children choose classes and activities throughout the school year. According to the College Entrance Examination Board, students in music appreciation score on average 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math when they take the SAT. A recent Gallup poll conducted by NAMM, the trade association of the international music products industry, shows that 94 percent of Americans think that learning music boosts children’s overall intellect, while 91 percent believe that it increases on-the-job creativity later in life.

According to NAMM, learning music also teaches social skills, self-reliance, problem-solving, communication and confidence. Music students are less likely to use tobacco, drugs and alcohol, and more likely to enjoy school.

No wonder Michelle Obama is holding music education series at the White House, in which established artists teach aspiring musicians. The Obamas hosted the first series in June, which focused on jazz. The First Lady said that there is “no better example of democracy than a jazz ensemble; individual freedom, but with responsibility to the group.”

Of course, American students need to receive music education not just at the White House, but also in their own schools., a public service led by NAMM and the National Association of Music Education (MENC), encourages parents to advocate for music in schools. To download materials that can help you promote the importance of music in your local schools, visit

Helping a child develop an appreciation for music is the first step in creating a lifetime of creativity and enrichment. NAMM and “Making Music” magazine offer the following tips for raising a musical child:

– Expose your child to music every day. Listen to all types of music. Play music at home and in the car.

– Make instruments readily available to children. Leave out old guitars, harmonicas, recorders, tambourines and maracas for easy access.

– Take your time. Music should be fun and entertaining. Pushing too hard could lead to negative attitudes toward music.

To find a music store near you or to find out more about the proven benefits of learning to play an instrument, visit