“I’m not sure how it happened,” your client laments. “I used to be so careful about what my children ate. But, over the years,our eating habits have declined without my noticing. The kids pester me into buying high-sugar breakfast cereals and fruit bars, and they say all of their friends are drinking soda for lunch. ‘Just this once,’ has turned into a daily routine.My kids also seem to be a little pudgier than their friends, and they hardly ever eat fruits or vegetables. Do you have any suggestions for improving my family’s eating habits?”
The childhood years are parents’ last chance to exert a meaningful influence over their children’s food choices. While children in elementary school (thoseapproximately six to 12 years old) may have strong food preferences, they are a relatively captive audience when it comes to mealtime:Parents and caregivers still purchase and prepare most of the food consumed by children in this age group.
How important is childhood nutrition?
For children, food provides the building blocks for healthy growth and development. Children generally need the same nutrients as adults, but usually in smaller amounts. Without adequate nutrition, children may develop deficiency disorders, such as iron-deficiency. Poor eating habitsmay result in a lack of energy during school and at play. They may fail to attain their potential adult height.
Exercise may soon be the preferred treatment for elderly hospital patients. New findings, published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, show that light exercise significantly helps older adults to improve their function when performing household chores.
In the study, researchers separated 300 elderly hospital patients, 70 years of age and older, into two groups: the supervised exercise group and the non-exercise group (which consisted of standard hospital care). Patients in the exercise group performed light exercise such as walking, strength and flexibility training, and were encouraged to continue exercising when they returned home from the hospital.
Researchers were hoping to find that the exercise group would reduce the length of the patients’ hospital stay and improve their overall health. While this did not occur, researchers did find that patients in the exercise group improved their ability to perform household chores, such as shopping, cooking and other light activities, when they went home. The patients in the exercise group performed their chores significantly better than patients in the non-exercise group one month after leaving the hospital. In addition, 28 percent of the patients continued exercising after returning home, and none of the exercisers experienced injuries.
Researchers believe that light exercise may help elderly patients to counteract the physical deconditioning that occurs during hospitalization, and improve function for household chores.
Remember that little ditty we sang as children?
“Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” Its message was short, sweet and to the point. Treasure your friends, and they’ll make your life richer.
And whether we as grownups have a large social circle or only one or two true-blues, most agree that our friends do add an enriching dimension to our lives. So, as our children set off on life adventures — like attending summer camp, joining a sports team or enrolling in a new school — we wonder and even worry, “Will my child be successful in making friends?” Continue reading