The USDA's MyPlate nutrition guidelines offer schools an opportunity and a challenge to educate parents and students about healthy eating and exercise, says Richard Greene, director of nutrition services for the Newport-Mesa school district in California. District officials will explain the guidelines at Parent Teacher Association meetings and at parent Nutrition Institute classes, and MyPlate will be the subject of the annual elementary-school Nutrition Art Contest.
Participants with an IRS1 gene variation who went on a high-carbohydrate diet lost more weight and had better insulin control than those with the gene variant who were on a low-carb diet, a trial found.
After-school programs in South Florida emphasize fitness along with fun for students to help fight childhood obesity. The Kid F.I.T. program at Baptist Hospital in Miami includes nutrition counseling and exercise, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward and Miami-Dade counties offer at least a half hour of activity in daily programs and South Florida Boxing in Miami Beach lets children burn off energy in the ring.
So-called "healthy" drinks can serve up unhealthy doses of calories and sugar, and dairy products come with digestive problems, so drinking water really is best, says naturopathic physician Sandra Olic. She recommends "reverse osmosis" water with added trace minerals, and says fad drinks such as coconut water are OK for replenishing electrolytes after a workout.
A study found that consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks inside and outside high schools in Boston declined from 1.71 servings a day on average in 2004 to 1.38 servings in 2006, driven by a ban on the sale of such drinks in the city's public schools in 2004. The decline resulted in students consuming 45 fewer calories a day, which could slash as much as 40% of extra calories that contribute to the increasing average weight among children, the study noted.