Posts Tagged ‘obesity prevention’

Cutting back on added sugars

Monday, August 31st, 2009

sugarIn the last few months, I’ve been trying to be more physically active and make healthier food choices. It hasn’t been easy, especially with all the weekend barbeques and summertime desserts (ice cream… yum). My goal isn’t so much to lose weight, but to live a healthier lifestyle so I can lower my chances of developing serious health conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease later in life.

Your body needs nutrients to give you the energy you need throughout the day. Most of these nutrients and calories come from the healthy foods you eat. Out of your daily calorie allowance, you also have a certain amount of “discretionary calories” or extra calories that you can use any way you want – maybe an afternoon snack or a small dessert after dinner (Learn more about discretionary calories). However, it turns out that many of us eat too many discretionary calories, and most of these come from drinks with added sugars (colas and other soft drink beverages).

The American Heart Association (AHA) made a new recommendation about the amount of added sugars we eat during the day. The organization recommends that most women have no more than 100 calories per day of added sugar. To give you a better idea, one can of regular cola has about 130 calories of added sugar, which is 30 calories more than recommended.

Instead of cola, why not try some sparkling water with a slice of lemon? That way, you can use your discretionary calories on something yummy.

Baby weight linked to childhood obesity

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

annual-report-photoOk, I admit it – I LOVE chunky little babies! They’re so cute with their plump cheeks and chubby little arms and legs. But a new study in this month’s journal Pediatrics might put a damper on my fascination with chubby babies.

The study suggests that if a baby’s length isn’t growing as fast as her weight during her first six months of life, she may be more likely to face weight issues as a toddler. The research is particularly interesting because it takes the baby’s height (length) into consideration and compares it to the baby’s weight gain. This is similar to how adults would find out if they are overweight by calculating their body mass index or BMI.

As you might know, weight alone isn’t enough to determine if someone is overweight. BMI helps to determine if your weight is appropriate for your height. For example, a woman who is 5’7” and weighs 140 is normal weight. However, a woman weighing the same but at a height of 5’0” is actually overweight.

So are moms supposed to stop feeding their babies? NO! More research still needs to be done before we know anything for sure. In the meantime, talk with your baby’s pediatrician to make sure her growth (both height and weight) are in line with the pediatrician’s expectations.

Folic acid awareness week and birth defects prevention month

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Today is the first day of National Folic Acid Awareness Week. Folic acid is a B vitamin that can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord called neural tube defects (NTDs). Folic acid works to prevent these birth defects only if taken before conception and during early pregnancy.

Because NTDs originate in the first month of pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant, it is important for a woman to have enough folic acid in her system before conception. Folic acid is recommended for all women of childbearing age because about half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned.

We have a helpful video on folic acid that is apart of our Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby video series. Click here to watch.

January is Birth Defects Prevention Month. The National Birth Defects Prevention Network’s Education and Outreach Committee developed a 2009 Birth Defects Prevention Month Packet focusing on “Obesity Prevention and Weight Management – Before, During, and After Pregnancy”. The packet materials are available by clicking here.  These resources can be shared with colleagues, policy makers, families, and others during Birth Defects Prevention Month and throughout the year.