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Sugary Beverages and Childhood Obesity

Updated: 8/22/18 Beverages that contain a high sugar content are a contributing cause to the epidemic of childhood and teen obesity.  What kind of beverages are your children consuming at school?

Sugar-rich drinks such as soda, sports and energy drinks, and flavored teas have become highly popular over the last decade, and particularly so among the young population.  The amount of these types of beverages that are being consumed, as well as the size of those beverages, has increased greatly.  Along with this increase, comes a larger risk for obesity, dental problems and diseases like type 2 diabetes.

One 12-ounce can of regular soda has around 150 calories, 40 grams of carbohydrate, and almost 40 grams of sugar!  These extra calories contribute to weight gain - and extra weight is the largest cause of childhood type 2 diabetes.

When suffering from type 2 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal or the body's cells ignore the insulin that is produced.  Insulin is needed for the body to use glucose for energy.  One study has indicated that individuals that consume high amounts of sugary beverages have a 26% greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Reducing sugary beverage consumption can help improve glucose and insulin levels in children, in an effort to prevent childhood diabetes and weight gain.

Be cautious of fruit juice as well.  While fruit juice is often perceived as a healthy beverage, some juices can be just as unhealthy as soda.  The amount of sugar that a fruit juice contains may be as much, or more, than soft drinks and the benefits that come from vitamins in juice are outweighed by the amount of sugar.

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1. Pay attention to nutrition labels when grocery shopping.  Juices marketed as "100% Pure" or "Organic" may not necessarily be accurate.  Read the nutrition label!

2. Don't be fooled by the word "fruit".  "Fruit" is thought of as healthy food, and gives the mindset that items that use the word "fruit", are healthy.  Watch out for "fruit" products that are filled with added sugar and calories.

To avoid the negative effects that sugary drinks have on health, encourage children to consume sugar in moderation and to consume adequate amounts of water.  Promote healthy beverage choices at home and replace sugary beverages with water, milk or real fruit and vegetable juices.

Sources: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/33/11/2477

and http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/parents-and-kids/children-and-type-2/preventing-type-2-in-children.html

Getting Active to Reduce Childhood Obesity

Updated:  8/22/18 Physical activity and exercise is a crucial part of keeping children healthy and preventing childhood obesity and disease.

Here's some ways to help get your family active:

1. Create an open discussion with children and explain why it's important to sit less and move more, to become and stay healthy.

2. Limit "screen time" each day.  Give kids a set amount of time that they may spend watching television, playing video games, or using the computer.  Encourage kids to use this time for physical activities.  When kids are spending time in front of the TV, teach them to move during commercials.

3. Create exercise and activity goals for the entire family.  Include individual goals, and activities that the family will participate in together.  Set realistic and specific goals, such as walking or biking for 20 minutes a day, three days a week.

4. Make exercise fun with your family by choosing an exciting activity - dance, play tag, go on the swings at a park, go swimming, play Frisbee.

5. Park your car farther away - have kids count the number of steps it takes to get to your destination.

6. Encourage children to join sports teams.  This a great way to encourage exercise and to make friends, learn how to work as a team and have fun!

Each of our clinic’s 30 free Pro-Teen programs – which include all medical set-up, lab work, 10-weeks of weight loss services and all nutritional supplements, and are valued more than $500 each – will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis from Sept. 1 to 30, 2016, using an online entry system at www.mwlcgiveaway.com.  Applicants must complete a short entry form and describe in 100 words or less why they are interested in MWLC’s Pro-Teen weight-loss services.

Creating Healthy Eating Environments for Children

Updated: 8/2/18 The food and behavior choices of children are shaped by the eating environments that surround them, access to healthy and fresh food, and product marketing.  Creating a healthy eating environment for children helps prevent childhood obesity and can leave a lasting positive impact into adulthood.

Here are some ways to promote a healthy eating environment for your kids:applebanana

1. Keep a variety of fresh fruits within reach of your children - this will encourage them to grab a healthy snack.

2. Inform children about nutrition and why it's important to eat healthy foods.  Discuss the different food groups and what foods fit into each group.

3. Provide healthy beverages, such as water and fruit juice.  Limit foods and drinks that contain added sugar.

4. If available, create a garden at home and grow fresh fruits and vegetables.  Involving kids in gardening fresh vegetables will encourage them to eat them.

5. Cook meals at home where you have control over ingredients and portion sizes.  Prepare plates in the kitchen before serving a meal and sit down to eat a family meal together when possible.

7. Pack lunches with your kids - if they are invested in what they will be eating, they are more likely to enjoy the food and not throw healthy items away.

Each of our clinic’s 30 free Pro-Teen programs – which include all medical set-up, lab work, 10-weeks of weight loss services and all nutritional supplements, and are valued more than $500 each – will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis from Sept. 1 to 30, 2016, using an online entry system at www.mwlcgiveaway.com.  Applicants must complete a short entry form and describe in 100 words or less why they are interested in MWLC’s Pro-Teen weight-loss services.