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You Are What You Eat: How Food Can Affect Your Child’s Mood

 

The terrible twos don’t always subside after the toddler years, and sometimes it can be hard to understand the cause of your child’s latest tantrum.

It may not just be down to coincidence that your child’s mood changes shortly after a snack – here are the most common mood-changing foods:

 

Sugar

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The number one culprit that doesn’t need an introduction. From diabetes to obesity, sugar is notorious for causing trouble when not consumed in reasonable amounts.

Sugar to an extent is unavoidable, as it is in just about everything the average child eats. Sugar can be found in ketchup, salad dressing, yogurts (one of the biggest culprits) and cereals to name a few. Things that are labeled fat free or low fat are usually jam packed with added sugar to make up for the loss of flavour from the removed fat.

Monitoring sugar intake is extremely important, as consuming large amount spikes insulin levels and sets the liver on over-drive. This process will throw off your child’s system, first making him/her extremely hyperactive before leading to the downward spiral of irritability and lethargy.

And if the mood-swings weren’t enough, sugar has been shown to cause long-term health damage, and a diet high in processed foods has been linked to depression, cognitive delay, and sleep problems.

Food Colouring

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This one isn’t quite as obvious as sugar. Food colouring has been linked to causing mood changes in kids. Recent studies suggest that food dyes, such as those found in sweets like Skittles and certain breakfast cereals can have a dramatic affect on child’s cognitive function, causing hyperactivity and loss of focus.

Surprisingly, artificial colouring is also often hidden in unexpected foods like bread and yogurt.

Sodium Benzoate

Sodium Benzoate is a preservative found in many foods and sodas. In the very same study that found that food dyes were mood-altering, sodium benzoate was also noted as a culprit that was linked to causing kid’s to lose focus. Look out for Sodium Benzoate in juices and soft drinks.

Dairy

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Not necessarily a mood-changing food, but it can have negative affects on your child’s behaviour or mood if your child is either lactose intolerant or allergic to the proteins found in dairy. Many children become irritable, cranky, or aggressive. Children with dairy allergies or intolerance also tend to suffer from frequent colds and ear infections.

The Good Stuff

Whilst some foods can have a negative impact on your child’s mood, others can do the opposite by boosting cognitive function and helping to maintain a steady insulin level in the body.

High Fibre Foods & Complex Carbohydrates:

Be sure to feed your children foods that wont break down into sugars instantly, such as slow-to-digest oatmeal. Foods that are high in fibre and packed with complex carbs digest slower, which means no more spikes and crashes in energy for your children, and a happier, more consistent mood throughout the day.

Adding flaxseed and chia seeds to their morning oatmeal is a good way to promote this. Also, try substituting white rice and pastas for their healthier brown alternatives.

Omega-3:

Studies suggest that foods high in Omega-3 promote better moods. Foods such as salmon, broccoli, blueberries, avocado and kidney beans can help maintain a healthy brain and keep your kids smiling.

 

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UK UNDER-5s AT RISK OF BECOMING GENERATION D-

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Children at risk of vitamin D deficiency due to parents’ lack of knowledge

New findings reveal six in ten (60%) UK parents are unconcerned about the risk of insufficient vitamin D levels in their child. The new findings have raised concerns among health experts, who fear the UK’s under-5s may be missing out on the essential vitamin, due to a lack of awareness of its benefits and the potential health risks associated with vitamin D deficiency.

Parents in the dark about vitamin D

The Generation D- report, commissioned by new public health awareness campaign Vitamin D Mission, reveals that despite its importance for childhood development, parents are not fully informed when it comes to their child’s need for this important vitamin.

A cause for concern is that despite its crucial role in ensuring the healthy growth and development of children’s bones and teeth, more than three quarters of parents (77%) are unaware of their child’s daily dietary requirement of vitamin D, with more than a third (35%) stating they have never received information about their child’s specific needs.

All children living in the UK are at risk of not getting enough vitamin D, with research revealing the average toddler is only getting 27% of the daily dietary vitamin D they need. However, a lack of education about the risks associated with vitamin D deficiency means a fifth of parents (20%) remain unaware that under-5s rank among the most at risk of low levels of vitamin D.

Parents in the UK are largely oblivious of the major health issues associated with low levels of vitamin D, with many unaware of the potential link to multiple sclerosis (95% unaware), osteoporosis (91% unaware), diabetes (95% unaware) and rickets (62% unaware). Furthermore, studies have also shown deficiency can cause poor growth in children and heart muscle disease and hypocalcaemic seizures in infants, as well as muscle weakness at any age.

The survey found that, despite a recent rise in cases of rickets in the UK, parents ranked low levels of vitamin D among the least worrying issues when it came to their child’s health. Meningitis topped the poll when touching on matters of most concern, with common child illnesses and conditions, such as flu and asthma, ranking higher than insufficient levels of vitamin D.

Clinical consultant for the Vitamin D Mission and paediatrician, Dr Benjamin Jacobs, comments: “As a paediatrician at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, I see first-hand the health impacts of low levels of vitamin D in children living in the UK. From poor growth, soft bones and seizures, to heart disease and rickets, not getting enough vitamin D can result in a range of serious health issues in children and adults.

“Many parents are still not getting the message about this vitamin and its importance for child health so children are missing out on the vitamin D they need for healthy growth and development.”

Fortification and supplementation

The Generation D- report found that despite government recommendations, only one in seven (16%) parents provides their child with a daily vitamin D supplement, with three in five (60%) admitting they never give their child vitamin supplements at all.

Younger parents, aged eighteen to twenty-four, were found to be most likely to give their child cod liver oil or a vitamin supplement (47%) compared to just over a third of parents (35%) aged thirty-five plus.

Family GP, Dr Ellie Cannon, comments: Labels like Generation Z and Alpha have been thrown around, but as this report reveals, the next generation is, in fact, set to be Generation D-.

“With parents lacking awareness of the vitamin’s role and therefore the need for supplementation, the UK’s under-5s are at risk of being vitamin D deficient. The Vitamin D Mission aims to raise awareness of this issue and end deficiency in our nation’s children, once and for all, to help ensure our kids grow up healthy and strong.”

Diet without the D

Worryingly, all children in the UK are at risk of not getting the vitamin D they need to support their growth and development, with findings from the report revealing over a third of parents (35%) are not aware their child needs a daily dietary source of vitamin D.

This is reflected in mealtime offerings, with the most popular kid’s meals containing next to no dietary vitamin D. Of the top seven meals, which includes firm favourites such as spaghetti bolognese (46%) and fish fingers (43%), only one was found to add to a child’s diet with vitamin D; scrambled eggs (41%).

One in five parents (22%) believe they meet their child’s specific vitamin D requirements through a healthy balanced diet. However, while the intention is good, the report reveals mums and dads are not always informed which foods contain vitamin D. A fifth of parents incorrectly think oranges (20%) and carrots (18%) contain the essential vitamin, with more than one in ten (11%) mistakenly saying cows’ milk is a source of vitamin D.

Furthermore, the survey also reveals that a quarter of under-5s (26%) are fed oily fish once a month or less, with one in seven (15%) never being fed this rich source of vitamin D. Half of parents (50%) have never fed their child liver, another good source of the vitamin.

The Generation D- report has been released to support the launch of the Vitamin D Mission, a campaign that aims to eradicate vitamin D deficiency in UK under-5s. As part of the campaign, the Mission has launched an online test which allows parents to estimate how much vitamin D their child is getting as well as offering helpful tips and hints on how they can include more sources of vitamin D in their child’s diet. For more information visit VitaminDMission.co.uk

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Most Common New Years Resolutions

Most Common New Years Resolutions

Most Common New Years Resolutions

Tada recently looked into the Most Common New Years Resolutions and created this infographic report

When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, most people simply… aren’t. “I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions” was the most popular answer on a recent survey of 3,736 online shoppers. However, those that are making resolutions tend to be extreme in their goals: 25% of people who want to lose weight want to lose more than 40 pounds, with six respondents willing to pay an astounding £10,000 to make it happen.

The most popular New Year’s Resolutions are all in the health and fitness category, followed by jobs and financial security, then service. To lose weight is the most frequently cited (32%), followed by to eat healthier food (26%), and finally to get fit (22%). The next most popular category relates to jobs and financial security. A combined 20% of men and women would like to save money, followed closely by 19% of those that would like to get out of debt.

And while most people simply aren’t making resolutions anymore, we found that some enterprising individuals are taking it upon themselves to complete some interesting resolutions this year: “Buy their girlfriend a car”, “Learn how to roll a joint” or “Dance more” amongst others.

SOME INTERESTING FACTS TO SHARE:

* While women are more likely to make specific New Year’s Resolutions (54%), they are also more likely not to make them at all (20%).

* 25% of survey respondents want to lose more than 40 pounds in the new year.

* 6 respondents would pay more than £10K to magically lose weight.

* People cited taking advantage of more deals and vouchers as the most popular way to save money or get out of debt  (55%), compared to shopping less (52%), and eating out less (34%).

To view this article in full, click here, http://tinyurl.com/op7g525

Posted by Lauren Oliver 

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Online Health Monitoring Platform Activ8rlives Provides Answer to New NICE Guidelines on Childhood Obesity

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The recent announcement of new NICE guidelines for the better management of weight and obesity among children and young people has been welcomed by a free online health tracking service that is already helping families to become healthier and more active.

Key to the new National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) public health guidance 47 on “Managing overweight and obesity among children and young people: lifestyle weight management services” is the recognition that childhood obesity is not currently being addressed in the long-term in England. Current childhood rates of obesity are levelling off, with three in every ten children aged between 2 and 15 years being overweight or obese.

The NICE guidelines encourage both parents and children to self-monitor from home, tracking their activity, meals, snacks, and sedentary behaviours. It is hoped that parents can better address unhealthy habits and encourage habitual activity and better food choices for their children and themselves.

As a Company working with young overweight and obese children, young people and adults, Activ8rlives sees the daily struggles that individuals have with achieving a healthy body weight. Time and time again, they are finding that the most successful are those that undertake the challenge as a family group or friendship/work network.

Activ8rlives provides its online tools free for the whole family or other group to track activity, body weights, image-based food diary, the ability to track up to 6 other specific parameters, that might include laps of a swimming pool, hours spent watching TV, dress size, walks to school, packets of crisps, portions of fruit and vegetables, etc. This is all available within a safe and secure online environment, where members of private groups can share messages of encouragement and motivation, similar to Facebook but this function is closed to the public because of concerns for the privacy of children.

The founder of Activ8rlives, Kevin A. Auton, Ph.D., formed the online platform Activ8rlives.com in response to his own needs as a family. Commenting on this he said,

“Like so many others, we are a busy working family. No time to exercise, too busy to eat the right food and storing up health problems for our futures. What shocked us into action was the effect this was having on our children as well as ourselves. Our kids were storing up health issues – and we were the problem, not them! Individually, we tried diets, pre-measured food in packets and gyms, but found that only when we improved our lifestyle together as a family, that positive changes were achieved. These were small changes – no big deal and a lot of fun”.

“The key challenge was finding time to be active. So we had to reinvent our schedule as a family. My youngest daughter goes to a school too far away to walk. So we drive within 1 mile and walk the rest. We call this our “Park and stride”! This is one simple change to our routine which has made a big difference for me and for my younger daughter (who really is the inspiration behind what we have developed). This simple action gives me a budget of 5,000 steps – about 40% of what I need each day to stay healthy. At the same time, we have become very mindful of what we are eating and have made some small, but really important changes. This self monitoring of food intake became the Image-based Food Diary. The weight fell off and stayed off, but every day, we work at staying well. It is not always easy, but it is achievable and sustainable”.

“The NICE guidance are particularly welcome as we have not seen the NHS tackling the problem of childhood obesity in the long-term, although they have developed some excellent short-term educational programmes but there is nothing to sustain and support the whole family approach beyond short interventions,” continues Mr Auton.  “NICE are placing the onus firmly back on parents, the heart of the issue, to take responsibility for managing  obesity within the family unit.”

Posted by Amy Moylan

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Can you help? Child’s lifetime of suffering to be reduced by operation in USA.

RoxiThey say bad luck comes in threes, but for 22 month old Colchester born Roxanne Aldrich, her whole short life has seen one problem come after another, leaving her with a medical file thicker than those of both her parents combined.

Even before birth, Roxi’s medical history was picking up pages and her lifetime of suffering has culminated with a recent diagnosis of Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy. A disability that stiffens her legs and means she may never walk. If mother Adriana, had not stumbled across the symptoms/causes of CP as part of her university studies, Roxi’s disability could still have remained undiagnosed. As health professionals continually said she would catch up on her missed developmental milestones, such as rolling on her front, crawling and even touching her toes. Blaming her slow physical development on the fact she was born 7 weeks premature and her content nature.

Having finally got a diagnosis, Roxi’s parents Joe and Adriana, have learnt of a revolutionary surgery known as SDR (Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy) which, if undertaken will almost certainly guarantee Roxi being able to walk unaided in the future.

To get the surgery their daughter needs, the family have started a fundraising appeal, with an aim of generating £50,000 before Roxi’s 3rd birthday. In the first week alone they had generated over £1000 through Facebook. The family’s hard work and dedication to Roxi’s future has persuaded Caudwell Children’s Charity to take notice and they will soon be covering Help Roxi Walk with their registered charity status.

  • FEBRUARY – JULY 2011:  3 months into the pregnancy, Mum/Adriana was told she had miscarried, yet an emergency scan showed Roxi was still there.
  • At 23 weeks an examination of the cervix showed it was too short and there was a possibility of premature labour. Intervention was not possible as it would almost certainly cause pre-term labour.
  • 9 weeks before her due date, Adriana’s waters broke meaning daily hospital check-ups were required. Because of this and earlier complications she spent the majority of her pregnancy in bed resting.
  • AUGUST 2011: Born 7 weeks premature due to an infection and delivered with forceps, Roxi appeared to not be breathing following delivery, and was quickly rushed into Special Care.
  • Roxi’s first 24 hours were spent in an induced coma whilst she was given steroids to help her lungs develop.
  • Roxi was tube fed breast milk as her natural sucking reflex had not yet developed.
  • She was treated for jaundice and reflux and had a painful lumbar puncture to check for infection as well as regular blood checks.
  • SEPTEMBER 2011: Following her discharge from SCBU (still with jaundice), Roxi was soon in hospital again after frequently stopping breathing.
  • JUNE 2012: Following a home visit by the Health Visitor, Roxi was assessed as reaching her developmental milestones.
  • JULY 2012: Roxi gets admitted into hospital again with further breathing difficulties and is given a steroid-inhaler for future use.
  • AUGUST 2012: At one year of age Roxi was unable to touch her feet, roll-over, sit-up unaided or crawl.
  • The day after Roxi’s first birthday she had corrective surgery on her eyes for a squint.
  • SEPTEMBER 2012: Roxi was seen by orthopaedic but X-Rays showed no problems and physiotherapy was considered unnecessary. Once again she was expected to meet her developmental mile stones.
  • OCTOBER 2012: Roxi is seen by a dietician following concerns her physical delay is related to her size. Dietician reports no concerns for Roxi’s diet.
  • Adriana reads about the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy and the family immediately contact their GP.
  • NOVEMBER 2012: Having been placed on the waiting list for a Physiotherapy assessment, Roxi’s parents arrange for private physiotherapy treatment.
  • DECEMBER 2012: Paediatrician arranges for MRI and urgent physiotherapy.
  • JANUARY 2013: 8 weeks after her first physiotherapy session, Roxi begins to commando crawl.
  • Roxi goes for her MRI but the sedation fails to work.
  • Roxi finally receives her first physiotherapy treatment through the NHS.
  • FEBRUARY 2013 Roxi attends a second MRI but the sedation fails once again.
  • MARCH 2013: Roxi is diagnosed as having Cerebral Palsy despite not having MRI results and as part of her treatment is prescribed a muscle relaxant called Baclofen.
  • 2 weeks after taking Baclofen, Roxi goes from commando crawling, to arm and leg crawling and almost overnight is able to get herself into a sitting position.
  • APRIL 2013: Adriana and Joe learn about SDR treatment at St Louis Children’s Hospital, Missouri, USA.

“If you knew you could give your child the opportunity to walk, who wouldn’t try to make that a reality” Adriana Martinkovicova – Mother

Our aim is to give our beautiful girl a bright future.  A future without walking frames or wheelchairs where one day she can walk and dance with her friends. Joe Aldrich – Father

To find out more simply visit www.helproxiwalk.co.uk and for regular updates on the fundraising process go to www.facebook.com/helproxiwalk.

To contact the family please email: helproxiwalk@hotmail.co.uk
or call 07845 828 315.

Posted by Amy Moylan

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Safety coalition urges MPs to confront concerns that stop kids getting out and about

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and Sustrans have joined together to encourage and help children to be outside more, a scheme they call “Free Range Kids”.

Hundreds of professional bodies are calling on Parliament to tackle the culture of fear and frustration that prevents young people from exploring the world around them with knowledge and confidence.

The LASER Alliance, hosted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), is throwing its weight behind the “Free Range Kids” drive – which wants to see future generations of independent young people getting out and about as a result of improved skills and opportunities. To generate debate, the alliance is calling on as many MPs as possible to put their name to Early Day Motion (EDM) 1954.  More than 150 MPs have already signed-up, but the campaign needs at least 50 more to make an impact.

The motion is part of the wider “Free Range Kids” initiative, which is being orchestrated by Sustrans, a charity enabling more people to make their everyday journeys by foot, bike and public transport. Sustrans is also a member of the LASER Alliance.

To reach the 200 target, the alliance is urging its 215 members – and their staff and supporters – to call on their elected representatives to help.  Sustrans’ email tool has made contacting MPs quick and easy.

The ultimate aim is for the Government to help reverse the decline in the proportion of children walking and cycling to school by addressing the safety concerns that prevent children from feeling able to walk, cycle and play outside. The departments for transport, health, environment and education are being urged to work together to encourage local authorities to invest and educate consistently over the next 10 years to create safe and pleasant environments for walking and cycling. This would not only benefit the health of children but also the communities they live in.

Cassius Francis, LASER Alliance co-ordinator, said: “If we’re serious about improving the happiness and health of our children, then we must work with them to develop the knowledge and confidence they need to get out and about. “Our mantra – that life should be as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible – reflects that some degree of risk-taking is an inescapable part of producing well-rounded individuals.”

Dr Jenny McWhirter, RoSPA’s risk education adviser, said: “Without learning to manage risks safely, young people might never be able to fulfil their potential. When this happens on a national scale, it’s a tragedy: not just for them, but for all of us.”

Sustrans’ policy adviser, Eleanor Besley, said: “We believe every child deserves to be ‘free range’. They should experience the freedom from their front door to go exploring, play outdoors, and make their own way to school and beyond.

To get some ideas to help your kids become more ‘free range’, and to add your voice to the ‘Free Range Kids’ pledge, visit Sustrans web page.

Click here to find out more about the LASER Alliance. The alliance includes members of two former safety education projects – CSEC (Child Safety Education Coalition) and LASER (Learning About Safety by Experiencing Risk). Its aim is to lead the way in practical safety education.

Posted by Clare Kersey

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Win a wonderful Taggies Spotty Dog.

Here at Kid Around magazine we have a fantastic new competition!  We have a lovely Taggies Spotty Dog to give away and 15 lucky runners up will receive a great ‘Let’s Play Together’ Wall Chart.

Win Taggie dog and wallcharts.

Most children will get chickenpox at some stage, usually before the age of four. Generally the symptoms are mild, although the spots can be very itchy, scratching the spots can lead to infection and long-term scarring, which is a major worry for parents.

When a child does contract chickenpox, Dr Chris Steele, the resident doctor on ITV’s This Morning programme, has urged parents “to ditch the calamine lotion in favour of Care ViraSoothe Chickenpox Relief Cooling Gel” to help ease the misery of chickenpox itching. Dr Chris says that Care ViraSoothe: “is a revolutionary new product that is specifically formulated to relieve the irritating symptoms of chickenpox. The cooling gel helps to break the itch, scratch, infection cycle, soothing and calming the itch and helping to avoid long-term scarring.” Care ViraSoothe is gentle enough to use on the face and body and can be used on children as young as six months. It costs £5.73 for 50g and £8.33 for 75g and is available from Boots, Sainsbury’s, Lloyds Pharmacy, Morrison’s, Co-op pharmacy, Asda Pharmacy, independent pharmacies and online.

Care ViraSoothe have given us a unique cuddly Spotty Dog from Taggies for 1 lucky winner and 15 will runners-up will receive a specially designed ‘Let’s Play Together’ Wall Chart. All you need to keep your child amused with or without chickenpox!!

The colourful and cuddly Taggies Spotty Dog (RRP around £25) has crinkly ears and is trimmed with 10 different satin feel tags of different sizes, colours and patterns that little fingers find irresistible. The Taggies Spotty Dog is designed to appeal to toddlers, but is suitable from birth.

The ‘Let’s Play Together’ Wall Charts (RRP around £15) have been developed by the award-winning Victoria Chart Company. Designed to go on the wall or fridge, the chart lets you record the great activities you and your child do together. Children will love placing a smiley face sticker on the chart each time they have fun! Each chart comes with sticky tabs, a sheet of face stickers and a special pen so you can write on the chart, then wipe it clean.

To enter, just answer the simple question below:

What product does Dr Chris Steele recommend to relieve chickenpox itching?

Email your entry to Comps@kidaround.biz remember to include your name, address and phone number.

Full terms and conditions are available by writing to Thornton & Ross.

Competition closes Tuesday 10th January 2012

Posted by Clare Kersey