It's not easy to lose weight. It seems even harder to talk about it. Even though it's everywhere on TV, even though there is a crisis in America, there is still a social stigma about weight. Now, imagine being an overweight teen today. It's even harder than before. Facebook & Twitter have made online bullying easier than before. More of our children are overweight than before. And despite the fact that there are more tools to help them than ever before, we still have a problem. How is is it best to discuss weight with your teenager?
A recent study that evaluated over 2,000 U.S. teens from ages 12 to 19, revealed that the teens who ate more fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables and whole grains, were less likely to have risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. This study was published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association this month. The study is based on government data collected between 1999 and 2002 for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
They study also evaluated if the teens had three or more conditions that make up metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is not a disease. It is comprised of several risk factors (high blood pressure, elevated levels of sugar and fats in the blood, low levels of HDL or "good" cholesterol, and a large waistline) that place a person at risk for developing diabetes and heart disease.
Overall, about 6% of the teens had metabolic syndrome. Specifically, 9% of the teens that ate the least fiber had metabolic syndrome, whereas, only 3% of the teens who ate the most fiber had metabolic sydrome.
This means that in order to minimize the risk factors of metabolic syndrome, teens should try to eat a healthy diet with fiber rich foods, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
For more info on a healthy diet, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, please go to https://www.choosemyplate.gov/.
This July, the National Restaurant Association partnered with Healthy Dining to form Kids LiveWell. This is a new program that highlights meals available at participating restaurants that are considered healthy meals for children. The healthy meals will have an apple icon next to the item, in order to alert parents to healthy meal options available for their children.
In order for a meal to be consider a healthy option in the program, it must contain:
* a beverage,
* 600 calories or less,
* less than 35% calories from fat,
* less than 10% calories from saturated fat,
* less than 0.5 grams trans fat, &
* less than 35% of calories from sugar, &
* less than 770 milligrams sodium.
Participation in the Kids LiveWell program is voluntary. Participating "inaugural" restaurants include Au Bon Pain, Bonefish Grill, Burger King, Burgerville, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Chevy's, Chili's Grill & Bar Restaurant, Corner Bakery Cafe, Cracker Barrel, Denny's, El Pollo Loco, Friendly's, IHOP, Joe's Crab Shack, Outback Steakhouse, Silver Diner, Sizzler, T-Bones Great American Eatery, & zpizza. The Healthy Dining company states more restaurants are expected to join with an expanding list of healthy dining options for children.
If you click the restaurant logos on the Healthy Dining website, the nutritional values of foods in the Kids LiveWell program are listed.
For more information on healthy dining options for kids and the Kids LiveWell program, go to Healthy Dining's website at www.healthydiningfinder.com/kidslivewell/index.