What Parents Need to Know

It’s no secret that America has a childhood obesity epidemic. The health risks that can accompany childhood obesity are so regularly featured on news reports that it’s amazing the problem is still so prevalent. And although many parents can identify a weight problem in their child, they might not know what to do about it, especially when it comes to handling the situation without damaging her self-esteem. Here is some food for thought for parents of overweight children, along with some practical, real-life advice for handling the situation.

Your Doctor Might Not Tell You

Your doctor might not let you know that your child is overweight or obese. This may be because he assumes you do not want to know. As a parent, it is easy to turn a blind eye to things like your kids being overweight or even when your kids develop a bad habit. If you have a suspicion that your child is overweight, you should approach your doctor about it. This will show him that you are interested in learning more about the issue and are willing to work with his suggestions on what to change or tweak in your child’s life.

You Are Not Alone

Sometimes it’s difficult to realize that you are not the only one with overweight kids. There are others out there who are just as concerned as you are and who are willing to share their wisdom. Search out those other parents and work together to achieve a common goal. That extra support is just the thing you need to keep on track, and having another overweight child working toward becoming a healthier size will help put your child at ease and encourage her to work hard at losing that extra weight.

Exercise Is Always a Good Thing

Not everyone enjoys exercise, but it’s essential for kids’ health and physical development. Come up with an exercise schedule that everyone in the household sticks to. There’s no reason to send your kid off to the gym for an aerobics class while you sit at home. Make it a family event that everyone looks forward to. If everyone likes to do something different, then create a schedule that includes all of the activities throughout the week. Working together as a family not only creates a built-in support system, it can also boost the health of everyone in the family and gives you an opportunity to model the habits you want your child to adopt.

She Shouldn’t Have to Make Changes Alone

Along the same lines as exercising with your child, don’t make them go through any aspect of this experience alone. Singling him out will just create tension and remorse that doesn’t need to be there at all. If the doctor says he needs to change his diet, change the diet of your entire family. Clean out that pantry of the junk food and fill it with healthier alternatives, encouraging everyone to eat better. Even members of your family at an average weight can benefit from cutting out the empty calories.

Some Foods Should Be Avoided

Going out for fast food three times a week is a bad habit to get into, regardless of how convenient it might be for time-strapped parents. All of the grease that is typical of fast food has no place in a child’s diet. And, keep in mind the word “diet” does not mean counting calories and starving your child. She still needs a decent amount of food. After all, she is growing and changing. With how much energy children burn throughout each day, chances are they need to eat more food than you would expect. They just need healthier fare than deep-fried potatoes and genetically modified meat.

Counting Calories Isn’t Always Right for Kids

The strict course of counting calories is a lot of pressure to put on a child and will single them out more than their weight already does. Stress can even be a trigger for kids and adults who are prone to emotional eating. So skip the added stress of counting calories and think about ways to instill healthier habits as a whole.

Your Child May Have Low Self-Esteem

It is possible that your child is being picked on at school or being made fun of by his peers because he is overweight, and he may very well be too embarrassed about the bullying to tell you about it. Sometimes kids don’t even necessarily mean to be cruel, but it can still feel that way to your child when his differences are being highlighted at every turn. If you think your child may be being picked on at school, speak with the guidance counselor to see what she has noticed and what she suggests that you do, but make sure that you’re making efforts to boost his self-esteem at home as well.

It’s Okay to Embrace Your Child’s Weight

Most importantly, embrace the way your child is no matter what. She should feel comfortable with who she is no matter what her weight is and understand that your focus on her weight is out of concern for her health rather than an emphasis on her looks. Just because she is overweight doesn’t mean she’s not a good child, and she needs to know that.



The Middle East Loves Fast Food?

The Middle East Loves Fast Food?

Kuwait has transformed from a humble pearl-farming backwater into one of the world’s richest countries per capita, in the past decades. But, because of this huge success, over 2 million Kuwaitis are discovering that success could come with a price. In the most recent years, Kuwaitis waistlines have enlarged to make them among the most obese people on the planet. Almost 70% of Kuwait males over the age of 15 are overweight or obese, according to the WHO. Women, the numbers are even worse, with a little over 80%.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine recently ranked Kuwait 2nd to the United States on a league table ranking countries by the amount of food they consumed per capita to sustain being overweight. The country’s weight gain has led to an unprecedented rise in obesity-related health problems, like heart disease and diabetes. Believe it or not, other neighboring countries of Kuwait’s also appeared in the top 10, with Qatar coming in 4th, the UAE at 6th, and Bahrain in at 10th on the table. Many people attribute the weight problem to rapid changes in lifestyle propelled by oil revenues that have transformed Kuwait into prosperous modern consumer society.

Most importantly, among these changes has been the introduction of fast food. American fast food outlets arrived with the U.S. troops during the first Gulf War, becoming a permanent fixture on the country’s culinary landscape. Some have adapted their menus to cater to bigger appetites in the region, such as a best-selling Pizza Hut dish that features a cheese pizza with a cheeseburger crust.

McDonald’s restaurant, which opened its first outlet in Kuwait in 1994, now has 65 restaurants across the country.

But there are other factors contributing to Kuwait’s weight problem. The country’s harsh climate — in which daytime temperatures can reach over 122 F — makes it tough to start physical activity during the day, encouraging a sedentary lifestyle and car culture.

Kuwaiti culture also placed strong emphasis on eating at communal gatherings — with little value placed on moderation. “If you eat less, it means you didn’t like it and whoever invited you is not a good host.”

But while some are embracing a new fitness culture of marathons and gym membership, others are turning to more drastic measures. Stomach stapling procedures are becoming increasingly popular in Kuwait, with enough demand to prompt the country’s first conference for medical professionals involved in weight loss surgery last year.

According to a report in Businessweek, the number of bariatric surgeons in Kuwait has increased 10x over the past decade, with at least 5,000 patients receiving the procedure in Kuwait last year — compared with 3,000 in Canada, which has more than 30 times the population. The report added that the legal barriers to surgery in Kuwait are lower than in the United States.



Mcdonalds Middle East

Mcdonals in Mid East

Arabic McDonalds

Dr. Dean Ornish and WVU

The WVU Dean Ornish Program


–        The Ornish Program is a lifestyle modification program that enables participants to reverse many of the symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

–        It enables people to avoid invasive procedures like bypass surgery

–        It requires participants to change their lifestyle to eliminate & modify self-destructive behaviors that often result in CAD

–        The program has 4 components: a low-fat, vegetarian nutrition plan; exercise; relaxation; and group support

–        Participants undergo a 12-week, intensive Program that teaches them to eat properly, exercise safely, identify & control stress, and deal with feelings like loneliness or isolation that may affect their health and well-being

–        The Ornish Program is conducted by highly trained health care and behavior modification professionals, with the consent and support of each participant’s primary care physician or cardiac specialist

–        Participants’ physicians receive regular progress updates on their patients

–        The Ornish Program requires commitment, discipline, and willingness for each participant to assume responsibility for his or her own health

The Spectrum program focuses on educating the participant on the benefits of incorporating exercise, stress management, social connectedness, and nutrition into their daily life. This program was developed as a result of the success of the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease. The program includes baseline testing of a lipid panel profile, fasting blood sugar, blood pressure, height, weight, body composition, BMI calculation, update risk appraisal, and follow-up results. This program is designed for those who may qualify for the Dr. Dean Ornish Reversal Program or who may not have coverage for the Reversal program through their insurance.

Spectrum program qualifications:

–        Family hx of CAD or HTN

–        Personal hx of cancer

–        BMI greater than 25

–        Metabolic Syndrome, but not meeting requirements for Ornish reversal

The Spectrum program is less rigorous than the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease. For example, the dietary portion of the advantage program allows you to have fish and chicken while fat can constitute up to 15% of food intake per day. The heart disease reversal program limits fat to 10% of food intake and is completely vegetarian.

Participants meet weekly for training, which also includes physical activity and relaxation training. In addition to weekly training, participants receive:

–        Full lipid profile, blood pressure screening, body fat composition and BMI, both before training and at 12 weeks

–        Everyday Cooking cookbook

–        CD-ROM on stress management

Identifying Ornish-Friendly Foods:

–         Foods allowed are grains, vegetables, fruits, non-fat milk products, legumes, egg whites, and small amounts of sugars and alcohol, if desired

–        Foods that are not allowed include an fats or oils, any animal products other than egg whites and non-fat milk products, seeds, nuts, and avocados

–        If this seems restrictive to you, it is. Once people start making exceptions, they tend to make a lot of exceptions and lose the benefits of the diet. Also, Ornish Program research has shown that only with strict adherence is heart disease reversal likely to occur.

The Ornish Program Grocery List:

–        Cereals

  • Oatmeal, Oat bran, Shredded oats, Cinnamon Oat Crunch, All-Bran, Bran Flakes, Product 19, Fiber One, Wheatena, Shredded Wheat, Chex, Cheerios, Grapenuts, Raisin Bran, Whole Grain Cornmeal, Hominy, Polenta, Brown Rice, Brown Basmati Rice, Barley, Bulgar Wheat, Kasha, Wheat Germ, Quinoa, Millet

–        Breads

  • 100% Whole Wheat Bread
  • Whole Wheat Pits
  • Nature’s Own, Sara Lee, Corn Tortillas, Whole Wheat Tortilla
  • Ezekiel Whole Wheat Bread
  • Kroger’s Crusty Multi-Grain, Vienna, Seedless Rye
  • Whole Wheat English Muffins (Thomas, Sara Lee, Kroger)
  • Bagels (Thomas Whole Wheat, Sara Lee Honey)
  • Honey Whole Wheat (Daily Knead)

–        Full Fat Soy Products  (over 3 grams of fat per serving)

  • Regular Soy Milk (Silk Plain, Vanilla)
  • Soy Nuts (Genisoy, Dr. Soy)
  • Edamame (Green soybeans)
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh

–        Other Proteins (3 grams of fat or less per serving)

  • Burgers- Boca, Morningstar Veggie Burger, Soy Crumbles
  • Beans- Dried, Canned, Frozen, Refried Beans
  • Egg Beaters, Kroger Break-Free, Better’n’Egg, Egg Whites
  • Soy Cheese (Veggie Slices and Veggies Shreds)
  • Better’n’Peanut Butter- regular and low-sodium

–        Fat-Free Dairy

  • Skim milk, Ultra Skim, Fat-Free Plus
  • Fat-Free Cream Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Ricotta Cheese, Sour Cream
  • Fat-Free Yogurt, Fat-Free Sliced Cheese

–        Prepared Foods

  • Fat-Free Tomato Sauce- Health Choice (Chunky Veg. Primavera), Ragu
  • Veg. Broth- Swanson’s, College Inn, Kroger Brand
  • Soups- Health Valley, Fantastic, Progresso, Healthy Choice (Country’s Veg., Garden Veg.)
  • Salsa- Old El Paso, Pace Picante Sauce
  • Salad Dressing- Kraft Fat-Free (1000 Island, Catalina, Zesty Italian), Weight Watchers (Italian), Ken (Fat-Free Sun Dried Tomato), Maple Grove, Walden Farm (Fat-Free Balsamic Vin.)
  • Fat-Free Mayo, Fat-Free Miracle Whip
  • Fat-Free I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spread (tub), Promise Fat-Free Margarine (tub)

–        Snacks

  • Fat-Free Baked Tortilla Chips, Basked Tostitos, Baked Lays (Original), Guiltless Gourmet Fat-Free Tortilla Chips, Fat-Free Pretzels (Gold Rod, Utz), Rice Cakes (Hain, Quaker), Fat-Free Popcorn, Fat-Free Cookies (Archway Oatmeal), Angel Food Cake, Fat-Free Pudding Mix (Jello-brand), Fat-Free Muffin Mix (Krusteaz, Hodgson Mill)

–        Beverages

  • Herbal tea, Grain coffee (Cafix, Dacopa, Teccino, Roma, Postum, Revival Roasted Soy Coffee
  • Caffeine-free Diet Sodas- Diet Rite

The WVU Ornish Team:

–        Dave Harshbarger, MS- Program Director

–        Ed Horvat, MA, BCC

–        Kimberly Williams, PhD

–        Liz Quintana, RD, CDE

–        Heidi Lewis, BSN, CCRN, RNC

For more information call: 304-293-2520




Nutrition Myth Busters

Nutrition Myth Busters

I stumbled across a clip from Fox News on nutrition myths. The news station put into perspective how consumers seem to be confused about what’s really healthy versus unhealthy.

For a professional opinion, the show brought on Elizabeth Ward, RD to play their version of Myth Busters for all those consumers who thought they were grocery shopping the “right” way. Elizabeth Ward is not only a RD, but also the author of “MyPlate for Moms: How to Feed Yourself and Your Family Better”. So, the host and guest host addressed 4 commonly thought myths from consumers across the country.

Myth 1: All white foods are bad.

  • A common misconception is that consumers should avoid all white and tan colored foods.
  • Consumers focus so much on bright colored fruits and vegetables, and apprehensively shy away from white colored foods.
  • Consumers assume that they should avoid all white carbs because of their bad reputation.
  • The standard is 3 servings/day of whole grains
  • People need to understand that the key to a healthy diet is a balanced diet.
  • There are white foods that consumers do not need to be afraid of! If they’re looking for those phytochemicals that are in all those bright, colorful veggies- there’s no need to stray away.
  • Here are some white colored fruits and veggies to think about: cauliflower, mushrooms, bananas, dates, garlic, ginger, jicama, kohlrabi, onions, parsnips, shallots, turnips, and white corn. These foods also include those important phytochemicals that are in brighter colored produce.

Myth 2: All canned fruits and vegetables are bad.

  • Most consumers assume that canned fruits and vegetables are unhealthy. This is not true.
  • Elizabeth reminds viewers that not all canned fruits and vegetables are created equally.
  • Consumers need to look for labels that read:
  1. No added salt
  2. No added sugar, or
  3. Low sodium
  • Canned fruits and vegetables are picked at ripeness. The canning process actually preserves the nutritional value in these foods. And this is especially important in those cold winter months when your favorite produce isn’t in season.
  • The important issue here is READING the LABELS on your canned foods (as mentioned above)
  • Elizabeth Ward also reminds viewers that fruit cups in water or 100% juice is another form of a healthier canned food item.

Myth 3: Eggs are as healthy as cigarettes.

  • This statement was based on an observational study done by scientists. It wasn’t based on a cause and effect study. So, that alone implies biased reasoning.
  • According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, a healthy person can eat 1 egg per day.
  • I think that the uproar about this is the fact that yolk has a bad reputation, concerning cholesterol levels.
  • But, our RD on-hand explains that yolks consist of 90% of an egg’s nutritional value.

Myth 4: You lose weight by only exercising.  

  • A lot of consumers believe that they can eat whatever they want and just workout a little bit longer, and the weight will just shed off of them. This isn’t true either!
  • Studies have shown that shorter exercises and cutting back on calories will result in more weight loss and for the long-run.
  • Harder workouts aren’t acknowledged as longitudinal, compared to shorter, more frequent workouts
  • And of course, cutting back on calories is definitely a major component in weight loss. Ridding unnecessary calories from your typical diet is the key to success.
  • Again, the concept of moderation is stressed here again. Everything that a healthy person does to their body or consumes in their body should be in moderation. Physical exertion and calories included.