Dec 14, 2009

Children more likely to have heart attacks than parents?

The likelihood of our children living healthy, long lives continues to decrease. A new study from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found that children now have more risk factors for heart disease than their parents. Our kids are now more likely to have a heart attack at some time during their lives than we are!

The major reason for this increased risk is the significantly increased rate of obesity among children. Studies show that children today have a significantly higher body mass index (BMI) than children in the past. Even more disturbing, they also have increased mass in their left heart ventricles, a known risk factor for both heart attacks and strokes.

This study supports what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been saying for the past few years; pediatricians and parents MUST start screening kids for obesity and taking action immediately. We can no longer wait until our children “grow out of their baby fat”. Unfortunately, today’s kids keep their baby fat and continue to add to it throughout their lives. Without some sort of intervention, our children will continue to eat themselves to death.

One major hindrance to treating overweight children is that parents and pediatricians often fail to recognize that a child is overweight. Our country’s perception of normal is completely skewed; we have lost sight of what a child is supposed to look like. Studies show that the majority of parents of obese children consider their kids “normal weight”. In fact, some of these parents labeled their kids as “underweight”.

We must look at the facts and ignore our preconceived notions of what is a normal weight for a child. The body mass index (BMI) percentile is the best way to screen a child for obesity.

Pediatricians use BMI percentiles to determine if a child is overweight or obese. BMI is a measure of body weight relative to height. You can’t determine if a child is overweight without considering the child’s height. For example, is a child who weighs 90 pounds overweight? That depends. That child would be overweight if he were three feet tall but would not be overweight if he were five feet tall. BMI tells us how appropriate a child’s weight is for his height and is a better measure of body fatness than body weight.

With adults, BMI interpretation is very cut and dry. A BMI between 25and30 is considered overweight, between 30 and35 is considered obese, and between 35 and40 is considered morbidly obese.

It is not so simple for children. Children at different stages of growth and development are expected to have different amounts of body fat. At some stages of childhood they should have more body fat and at other stages of childhood they should have less.

To decide if a child is overweight or obese, we look at a child’s BMI percentile. That is, we compare a child’s BMI to the BMIs of all children of the same age and gender. We then see how the child compares to his peers.

What does it mean if a child is in the 88th percentile? A child whose BMI is in the 88th percentile has a BMI that is greater than 88% of all children of the same age and gender. This child is in the overweight category.

A BMI between the 85th and 95th percentiles is considered overweight; between the 95th and 99th percentiles is considered obese; above the 99th percentile is considered morbidly obese.

Parents should ask their pediatricians about their child’s BMI percentile at each well child visit. If your child’s BMI is greater than the 85th percentile, you must take action immediately to minimize your child’s risk of a heart attack and to maximize your child’s lifespan. Do not wait to intervene!

Reposted from
Joanna Dolgoff @ Twitter Moms

Dec 13, 2009

Jack Frost

Though he’s a respected sprite that shows up in English folklore, Jack is a mysterious figure in the sense that no one  knows exactly where he originates from.  Two of the most popular guesses are Scandinavian Mythos  (this one suggests that he might be connected to a frost giant named Jokti) and Russian Mythos (where it is thought that he might be connected to Father Frost).  Though Jack is the personification of the spirit of Winter as are the others, he has a much milder manner.  It’s my personal belief that this is because Winters are somewhat milder here in England.
Standing at just 2 ½  feet and dressed in a clear costume covered with icicles, Jack is one of many sprites that has weather control.  He’s only limited in the sense that he can only use his powers during the Winter months.  The rest of the year he lives with the rest of the Winter Court in Faery.
Though he brings about the Winter chill, Jack is far from being an aggressive sprite.  Providing that you’re properly prepared for the Winter, he is actually quite playful.  He enjoys both the reaction and the shocked energy he receives from people when he randomly nips their nose, fingers, or toes on a cold night.  It’s said if you’re quite sensitive and listen very carefully that you can hear his peals of laughter as he goes about this game.
Not only is he a top notch prankster but a matchless artist.  The intricate designs that he paints with ice on windowpanes makes Michelangelo  himself appear but a mere amateur.
This year as you celebrate your Winter holidays be on the lookout for the impish sprite known as Jack Frost.  And if you wish to join him in his merry making, take a walk down the street on a cold frosty morning and admire his handy work on windows and car windshields.  Marvel at the intricacy and differences of the icy patterns.  Then when you’re finished go home and drink a hot drink in his honour.

Reposted from Jack Frost

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