Ruling with an iron fist could make your child pack on pounds

If you’re rigid with rules and skimpy on affection and dialogue with your kids, they have a greater chance of being obese, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology & Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism Scientific Sessions 2014.Researchers followed a nationally representative group of 37,577 Canadian children aged 0 to 11. They compared kids whose parents are generally affectionate, have reasonable discussions about behavior with their child and set healthy boundaries (authoritative) with those whose parents were strict about limits without much dialogue or affection (authoritarian).The latter group had a 30 percent higher chance of being obese among kids 2 to 5 years old and a 37 percent higher chance among kids 6 to 11 years.”Parents should at least be aware of their parenting style,” said Lisa Kakinami, Ph.D., a post-doctoral epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal. “If you’re treating your child with a balance of affection and limits — these are the kids who are least likely to be obese.”Researchers compared parents’ answers to a cross-sectional survey. They then categorized parenting styles and analyzed them with respect to children’s body mass index (BMI) percentile.Researchers also found that poverty was associated with childhood obesity. But parenting style affected obesity regardless of income level.More than one-third of American children are overweight or obese according to the American Heart Association. Exploring factors at home that may be fueling this public health concern could lead to better prevention and interventions, Kakinami said.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Children’s Sleep: what is your routine? (Zarbee’s Coupon)

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Zarbee’s Naturals. I received product samples and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.With daylight saving time hitting us hard last week (seriously, ugh.), the entire house has had trouble sleeping and getting back on schedule. I actually think our 2-year-old handled it the best. Our 4-year-old just couldn’t get to bed “earlier” and with the time change, that meant he was staying up late and sleeping in. That first Monday? Ryan slept in until 8:20am and we had to leave for school by 8:40, eek! It’s so hard to wake a sleeping babe though!How did your family make it out of the daylight saving drama? Did it take …

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Spring styles for kids! ($50 Carter’s giveaway)

~This post on spring styles for kids was written in partnership with Carter’s & The Motherhood. Opinions and collages are my own.SERIOUSLY hating this winter. I’m not a cold-weather person anyway, but I haven’t seen the grass (even if it is dead) since… November? And it’s been unbearably cold, too, so it’s not like we get to take the kids out to play in the snow much. Who else is ready for some SUNSHINE?! Some RAIN instead of snow! FLIP FLOPS instead of boots! SUNGLASSES instead of hats & gloves! Me, please!!!Last weekend I pulled out my warm-weather clothes and my sandals. When the warm weather finally hits, I will be ready! So I’ve been shopping for my kids, too. Ya know, it …

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(Chocolate Glazed) Coffee Body Scrub: Dunkin’ Donuts Mug Up!

I hope you’ve been having fun with the new theme each month for the Dunkin’ Donuts Mug Up contest! I’ve had fun sharing them with you and creating my own photos Don’t forget that there are awesome prizes up for grabs and you can enter every single day!It’s a new month (already?!) and time for a new theme! This February we want to see your Mug Love! In honor of Valentine’s Day, show us the love! We already know you love coffee… do you have a mug you love to use? Or does it have something you love on it? II grabbed one of my favorite mugs, “Love me, I’m Norwegian,” and snapped a photo in front of my favorite canvas of our kids… …

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Curious Critters Volume Two by David FitzSimmons

Product was received to facilitate this review of Curious Critters. All opinions are my own.A couple of years ago we received the book Curious Critters by David FitzSimmons. Ryan was young and we were still reading basic board books, but this book quickly became a favorite. It was a must-read every day—or, really, like 12 times a day, haha. He was fascinated by the large and bright photographs, the interesting animals, and learning all of their names.Curious Critters by David FitzSimmonsI was thrilled to hear that a second edition was coming out: Curious Critters Volume Two! Of course we HAD to have it! Check out their website to see the books and sample pages. It also has lots of fun stuff: coloring pages and word …

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E-cigarettes: Known and unknown dangers

It’s no easy task to quit smoking and the lure of an e-cigarette, which claims to mimic the smoking experience without the harmful chemicals, seems a dream come true for many smokers. According Philip McAndrew, MD, Loyola University Health System physician and smoking cessation expert, that dream can quickly turn into a nightmare with no FDA product regulations. The truth is little is known about the chemicals e-cigarette smokers are inhaling. What is known is there is an increase in the number of adolescents smoking them.”In our culture we have this idea that something new is something better no matter how little we know about it or how little it’s regulated,” McAndrew said. “There is no clear evidence that e-cigarettes help with smoking cessation and the lack of FDA regulation has led to the use of at least 19 harmful chemicals in the devices, some that are cancer-causing carcinogens.”The e-cigarettes contain nicotine, but also a high concentration of propylene glycol, which is a hazard if inhaled. This chemical is what provides the “smoke.” There is no research on the effects the chemical has on the lungs when inhaled at this concentration. What is known is that The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health lists propylene glycol as an inhalant risk and recommends immediate fresh air if the chemical is inhaled.”E-cigarettes are really a wolf in sheep’s clothing. People think it’s a safe alternative to cigarettes, but the reality is we don’t know. There are so many important safety questions we don’t have answers to. We don’t know who is producing them, exactly what chemicals are in them, if the construction of the devices are safe and the effects these chemicals can have on a person’s health,” McAndrew said.The City of Chicago’s recent ban on e-cigarettes use is similar to the ban on regular cigarettes and requires retailers to keep electronic cigarettes behind the counter like traditional cigarettes. …

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12 days in beautiful sunny and warm Queensland, Australia

We have only recently returned from 12 days in south east Queensland catching up with family, friends and was so pleased to be able to meet up with some of our mesothelioma family while on the Gold Coast.The first evening we attended a birthday dinner for Keith’s brother – Ross who turned the big 60. A great night spent with family and friends. The next night he held a party and we caught up with grandkids and son Elton. So very proud of him, he has just moved back to Queensland/Brisbane where he is working in a profession that he loves and is so good at too – Building Design.Friday morning I caught the bus to Pacific Fair shoppingtown and met Kim and her beautiful mum Margaret. They …

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Weekend and visit to oncologist tomorrow!

Yesterday we slept in after a busy week spent mostly in Melbourne. Strange to say, because of this sleep in, last night was a night where I couldn’t really sleep and just laid there until I got up about 5am, made a green tea and turned the computer on.Saturday we went up to Mt Macedon Trading Post/General store/cafe and where we have our post office box for our mail. As it was absolutely freezing when we left here, I put a scarf/gloves/parka/boots on and jumped in the car, when we got up to our gate … there was a family of kangaroos standing in a row watching us, usually the whole family stand there including uncles/aunts … however yesterday there was the …

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Home schooled children leaner than traditionally schooled kids

Oct. 17, 2013 — The results of a recent study show kids that are home-schooled are leaner than kids attending traditional schools. The results challenge the theory that children spending more time at home may be at risk for excessive weight gain.The study was published in the journal Obesity and conducted by researchers from University of Colorado’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center (AHWC) and University of Alabama at Birmingham. It looked at both home-schooled and traditionally-schooled children between the ages of seven and 12 in Birmingham. Participants and their parents reported diet, the kids’ physical activity was monitored and they were measured for body fat, among other things.”Based on previous research, we went into this study thinking home-schooled children would be heavier and less active than kids attending traditional schools,” said Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD, the study’s lead author. “We found the opposite.”The results show that home-schoolers were less likely to be obese than the traditionally-schooled kids, even though kids in both groups were getting the same amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity. The calorie intakes were also similar, except at lunchtime. Kids in traditional schools were consuming significantly more calories, sodium, and sugar at lunch. New school guidelines aimed at more nutritious lunches had not yet taken effect when the study data was collected from 2005 to 2009.”We applaud the new school meal guidelines and efforts to give kids healthy options at school,” Cardel said. “We don’t know if we would have seen these same results if we had included children who brought their lunch to school. …

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Clutter Video Tip: How to Deal with Disorganized Family Members, Part 2 (Kids!)

Helping your Little Bo Peep find her sheep can be frustrating. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t get your Little Boy Blue to finally blow his horn without nagging him. Making your son or daughter pick up toys can be as hard as putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. Watch this video to help your kids be more organized and make your home feel more like the house that Jack built. You may even feel satisfied enough to jump over the moon (or run away with a spoon).(Click here to watch on YouTube if you can’t see the embedded player. Or watch the video at http://bit.ly/tcdfamily2.) PLEASE HELP: “LIKE”-ing, sharing, and commenting on these Clutter Video Tip videos on YouTube really …

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What I’m up to right now

Pumping (to donate) as I type. Trying to hurry up so I can nurse Ivy, who just woke up…Old JobI’m teaching freshman composition again this semester. Between teaching, taking care of four children, and the demands of everyday life, my free time is close to nonexistent. The kids are all asleep by 7:30-8 pm, so I have a 2-hour window of time to “get stuff done.” In the summers, this means reading books or checking emails. During the school year, this means grading papers and prepping for class.Oh, and did I mention that Ivy wakes up every 2 hours at night? I’m also really tired.New JobI took on a new job this summer: renovating on a historic property in town. It was originally a 2-family …

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Giving preschoolers choice increases sharing behavior

Aug. 19, 2013 — Getting kids to share their toys is a never-ending battle, and compelling them to do so never seems to help. New research suggests that allowing children to make a choice to sacrifice their own toys in order to share with someone else makes them share more in the future. The new findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.These experiments, conducted by psychological scientists Nadia Chernyak and Tamar Kushnir of Cornell University, suggest that sharing when given a difficult choice leads children to see themselves in a new, more beneficent light. Perceiving themselves as people who like to share makes them more likely to act in a prosocial manner in the future.Previous research has shown that this idea — as described by the over-justification effect — explains why rewarding children for sharing can backfire. Children come to perceive themselves as people who don’t like to share since they had to be rewarded for doing so. Because they don’t view themselves as “sharers” they are less likely to share in the future.Chernyak and Kushnir were interested in finding out whether freely chosen sacrifice might have the opposite effect on kids’ willingness to share.”Making difficult choices allows children to infer something important about themselves: In making choices that aren’t necessarily easy, children might be able to infer their own prosociality.”To test this, the researchers introduced 3-5 year-old children to Doggie, a puppet, who was feeling sad. Some of the children were given a difficult choice: Share a precious sticker with Doggie, or keep it for themselves. Other children were given an easy choice between sharing and putting the sticker away, while children in a third group were required by the researcher to to share.Later on, all the children were introduced to Ellie, another sad puppet. They were given the option of how many stickers to share (up to three). …

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Symptoms of Prader-Willi syndrome associated with interference in circadian, metabolic genes

June 25, 2013 — Researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute and Agilent Laboratories have found that Prader-Willi syndrome — a genetic disorder best known for causing an insatiable appetite that can lead to morbid obesity — is associated with the loss of non-coding RNAs, resulting in the dysregulation of circadian and metabolic genes, accelerated energy expenditure and metabolic differences during sleep.The research was led by Janine LaSalle, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology who is affiliated with the MIND Institute. It is published online in Human Molecular Genetics.”Prader-Willi syndrome children do not sleep as well at night and have daytime sleepiness,” LaSalle said. “Parents have to lock up their pantries because the kids are rummaging for food in the middle of the night, even breaking into their neighbors’ houses to eat.”The study found that these behaviors are rooted in the loss of a long non-coding RNA that functions to balance energy expenditure in the brain during sleep. The finding could have a profound effect on how clinicians treat children with Prader-Willi, as well as point the way to new, innovative therapies, LaSalle said.The leading cause of morbid obesity among children in the United States, Prader-Willi involves a complex, and sometimes contradictory, array of symptoms. Shortly after birth children with Prader-Willi experience failure to thrive. Yet after they begin to feed themselves, they have difficulty sleeping and insatiable appetites that lead to obesity if their diets are not carefully monitored.The current study was conducted in a mouse model of Prader-Willi syndrome. It found that mice engineered with the loss of a long non-coding RNA showed altered energy use and metabolic differences during sleep.Prader-Willi has been traced to a specific region on chromosome 15 (SNORD116), which produces RNAs that regulate gene expression, rather than coding for proteins. When functioning normally, SNORD116 produces small nucleolar (sno) RNAs and a long non-coding RNA (116HG), as well as a third non-coding RNA implicated in a related disorder, Angelman syndrome. The 116HG long non-coding RNA forms a cloud inside neuronal nuclei that associates with proteins and genes regulating diurnal metabolism in the brain, LaSalle said.”We thought the cloud would be activating transcription, but in fact it was doing the opposite,” she said. “Most of the genes were dampened by the cloud. …

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Teens have unsupervised access to prescription drugs

June 12, 2013 — A new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that 83.4 percent of teens had unsupervised access to their prescription medications at home including 73.7 percent taking pain relief, anti-anxiety, stimulant and sedative medications that have the potential for abuse.”It was surprising to me that parents were not storing medications securely because I expected them to be locked up and for parents to administer the medications,” said Paula Ross-Derow, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender.She and her colleagues explored the supervision of prescribed medications among 230 adolescents in 8th and 9th grade, using an online survey and in-person interview.Emergency room visits for non-medical use of prescription narcotic pain relievers are increasing in people under age 21, and death by poisoning due to prescription overdoses is up 91 percent in less than a decade among adolescents ages 15 to 19, note the researchers.They acknowledge that it is possible that parents and guardians may not believe that their children would engage in non-medical use or give away their prescription medications and therefore do not take steps to secure them.”Dr. Ross-Durow’s paper shows that the majority of adolescents who are prescribed controlled medications have easy, unsupervised access to them,” said Silvia Martins, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University. “This is of great concern, since it not only can lead to the possibility of overdose of medications with potential abuse liability, but also can contribute to diversion of these medications and nonmedical use by their peers.””Parents don’t recognize that other kids come into their homes and can open a cabinet or see meds on the kitchen counter and take them,” Ross-Durow explained. “Teenagers may give them away — thinking they’re helping a friend — and they don’t see this as a risky behavior, or some may sell the medications. Visitors in the home may simply steal them.”The researchers admit they don’t know whether providers are adequately educating parents and encourage more studies around this topic. “Plus, what we did not ask, but realized when examining our findings, is about other medications prescribed to parents and how those are stored. What we want to know is when medications are readily available in the home; does that lead to nonmedical use? We believe unsupervised access lays the groundwork for that,” said Ross-Durow.

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Every 10 tobacco ad sightings boost teens’ risk of starting to smoke by almost 40 percent

June 12, 2013 — Tobacco ads really do persuade teens to take up smoking, with every 10 sightings boosting the risk by almost 40 per cent, reveals research published in the online only journal BMJ Open.The researchers base their findings on over 1300 ten to 15 year old non-smokers whose exposure to tobacco advertising and subsequent behaviour were monitored over a period of 2.5 years.In 2008, the children, who were pupils at 21 public schools in three different regions of Germany, were asked how often they had seen particular ads. These included images for six of the most popular cigarette brands in Germany and eight other products, such as chocolate, clothes, mobile phones, and cars.In 2011, 30 months later, they were asked the same question, as well as how many cigarettes they had smoked to date, and whether they smoked regularly.One in three (406) admitted to having tried smoking during the 30 month period, with one in 10 (138) saying that they had smoked within the preceding month.One in 20 (66) kids said they had smoked more than 100 cigarettes, and were therefore classified as “established” smokers, while a similar proportion (58) said they now smoked every day. A third of the daily smokers were aged 14 or younger; one in four was 16 or older.Exposure to cigarettes ads was much lower than that for the other non-tobacco products, but an ad for one particular cigarette brand was seen by almost half the kids at least once, and more than 10 times by 13% of the sample.When a range of well known influences for taking up smoking was factored in, smoking among peers proved the strongest influence, followed closely by exposure to tobacco ads.The greater the exposure to tobacco ads, the greater was the likelihood that the teen would take up smoking, the analysis showed.Teens who saw the most tobacco ads (11 to 55) were around twice as likely to become established smokers and daily smokers as those who saw the least (0 to 2.5).And for each additional 10 sightings of a tobacco ad, a teen was 38% more likely to become an established smoker, and 30% more likely to smoke every day compared with sightings for non-tobacco product ads.After taking account of other influential factors, the overall risk of becoming an established smoker was between 3% and 7.3% greater, while that of taking up daily smoking was between 3% and 6.4% greater, depending on how many ads the teen had seen.The authors acknowledge that a large proportion of the original 2300 students involved dropped out, and confirm that as with any observational study, there is always the chance that some as yet unmeasured factor could explain the results.But they conclude that the data from their study support the content-specific association between tobacco advertising and smoking behaviour and, therefore, the total ban on tobacco advertising advocated by the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.”Data from this study support this measure, because only exposure to tobacco advertisements predicted smoking initiation, which cannot be attributed to a general receptiveness to marketing,” they write.

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Study suggests fathers should ask kids: ‘Am I the dad you need me to be?’

June 5, 2013 — As Father’s Day draws near, psychologist Jeff Cookston says dads should ask their children for a little more feedback than they might get with the yearly greeting card.Just being a good parent may not be good enough, said Cookston, professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, who has studied fatherhood extensively. “There’s a need for fathers to sometimes say to their kids, ‘How am I doing? Am I the dad you need me to be?'””Kids are actively trying to make sense of the parenting they receive,” he explained, “and the meaning that children take from the parenting may be as important, or more important, than the behavior of the parents.””I don’t think a lot of parents give these ideas about meaning much thought,” Cookston said. “You may think that you’re being a good parent by not being harsh on your kid, for instance, but your child may view that as ‘you’re not invested in me, you’re not trying.'”The meanings that adolescents in particular attach to their fathers’ behavior can vary depending on the child’s gender, ethnicity, and the presence of a stepfather in the child’s life, Cookston and former SF State graduate student Andrea Finlay report in a new study published in the Journal of Family Issues. The study included children from California and Arizona.The researchers examined how adolescents view their fathers’ actions — specifically, whether the teens attribute these actions to a dad’s overall character or to his reaction in a particular situation. For instance, a daughter might believe her dad took her to the baseball game because he is a good father, or she might believe that he took her to the game because he likes to go to the game.The study suggests that girls tend to believe that a father’s “enduring aspects” are responsible for a dad’s good deeds, while boys are more likely to think that dads do good depending on the situation. Mexican-American children are more likely than their European-American peers to think that good times with dad depend on the situation.The reasons for these differences are not clear, Cookston and his colleagues say, although in the case of boys and girls, it may be that girls are socialized to interpret other people’s behavior in a more positive light. In Mexican-American families, the process of adapting to U.S. culture may increase family conflict, leading children to have a less optimistic view of their fathers’ good deeds.Cookston has conducted extensive research on parenting and fatherhood, with a focus on how children from diverse cultural backgrounds respond to parenting and how children perceive and construct their relationships with their fathers. His research has shown that the relationship between father and child can have a significant impact on the child’s tendencies toward depression and behavior problems.Father’s Day can be a good time for dads to rethink their relationship with their children, with a few tips that Cookston has gleaned from these studies:Be sure to check in with your child. …

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Good marriage can buffer effects of dad’s depression on young children

May 22, 2013 — What effect does a father’s depression have on his young son or daughter? When fathers report a high level of emotional intimacy in their marriage, their children benefit, said a University of Illinois study.

“When a parent is interacting with their child, they need to be able to attend to the child’s emotional state, be cued in to his developmental stage and abilities, and notice whether he is getting frustrated or needs help. Depressed parents have more difficulty doing that,” said Nancy McElwain, a U of I professor of human development.

But if a depressed dad has a close relationship with a partner who listens to and supports him, the quality of father-child interaction improves, she noted.

“A supportive spouse appears to buffer the effects of the father’s depression. We can see it in children’s behavior when they’re working with their dad. The kids are more persistent and engaged,” said Jennifer Engle, the study’s lead author.

In the study, the researchers used data from a subset of 606 children and their parents who participated in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.

When their child was 4½ years old, parents ranked themselves on two scales: one that assessed depressive symptoms and another that elicited their perceptions of emotional intimacy in their marriage. Parents were also observed interacting with their child during semi-structured tasks when the children were 4½, then 6½ years old.

“At this stage of a child’s development, an engaged parent is very important. The son’s or daughter’s ability to focus and persist with a task when they are frustrated is critical in making a successful transition from preschool to formal schooling,” Engle said.

Interestingly, depressed mothers didn’t get the same boost from a supportive spouse.

That may be because men and women respond to depression differently, she added. “Men tend to withdraw; women tend to ruminate. We think that high emotional intimacy and sharing in the marriage may encourage a woman’s tendency to ruminate about her depression, disrupting her ability to be available and supportive with her children.”

Depressed men, on the other hand, are more likely to withdraw from their partners. “This makes emotional intimacy in the marriage an important protective factor for fathers,” McElwain said.

The study emphasizes the need for depressed parents to seek support, if not from their spouses, from friends, family, and medical professionals, she added.

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