Getting a Grip on Childhood Obesity


American adults are overweight and obese, which is a huge problem for our healthcare system, tax dollars, productivity and quality of life. But the fact that our kids are increasingly obese means we may be dooming the next generation to an unhappy lifetime of chronic disease. We have to take action now to halt the juvenile obesity epidemic, or the consequences will be tragic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Obesity now affects 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States — triple the rate from just one generation ago.” That 17 percent equates to 12.5 million obese children, ages 2 to 19.

In its 2011 “Children’s Food Environment State Indicator Report,” the CDC blames a good part of this problem on the serving and advertising of “sugar drinks and less healthy foods on school campuses.” Ads sell junk foods to kids, while parents feed their children what they ask for instead of providing balanced meals. Added to that, kids are eating supersized portions of foods containing too much sugar and fat.

If we consider the alarming numbers of inner-city children with weight problems, it’s obvious that kids don’t get enough exercise and don’t have access to safe places to play. Even for those interested in outdoor activity, finding a safe place or even getting to one is an issue. In its “State Indicator Report on Physical Activity,  Continue reading

Cholesterol May Be Lowered Using Flax Seeds


CHINA — Researchers in China, who conducted a review of research studies, say a diet that includes flaxseed may help lower cholesterol levels.

The review of 28 studies, which involved more than 1,500 people, found cholesterol reduction linked with eating whole flaxseed was stronger in women than men.

Study leader Dr. Xu Lin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai says one tablespoon daily of whole flaxseed or flaxseed oil is usually associated with reductions in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, the “bad” cholesterol — particularly post-menopausal women, more than men, and in people with higher cholesterol concentrations at the outset.

However, the whole flaxseed did not appear to significantly alter trigylceride levels or affect the amount of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, the “good” cholesterol.

Flaxseed is considered healthy for the heart because it contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and alpha linolenic acid.

The review was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.