Why female athletes should pay attention to missed periods

With spring sports finishing and fall sports on the horizon, many female athletes train year round to stay in shape. They may be trying to increase mileage and eat healthier to improve their performance. Sometimes, during intense sports seasons, a teen or young woman will realize that her period has stopped.

What’s wrong with that? Not many of us actually enjoy getting our periods. They can cause physical discomfort or irritability and, frankly, they aren’t pleasant. But few people realize …Continue reading →

How to promote a healthy body image and prevent a potential eating disorder

Everywhere we look, we are flooded with images of what “beautiful” should look like. We open up the latest Teen, YM and Cosmo magazines and are greeted with images of models who are stick thin and airbrushed while reading about how we too can “lose 10 pounds in 5 days.” We drive down the highway and see billboards promoting weight loss, and we turn on the TV and see actresses who are unbelievably thin. It’s not hard to understand why American girls and women have such a hard time loving their own bodies …Continue reading →

Three easy ways to take the salt out of your Thanksgiving meal

Thanksgiving. A time to be with family, watch football, relax and eat a lot of salty, rich foods. For many people Thanksgiving is not a time to focus on their health, and especially not a time to focus on their diets, but this can change.

In general, sodium (salt) intake is much too high in the United States. The American Heart Association recommends a limit of 1,500 mg of sodium per day for adults. One teaspoon of salt contains …Continue reading this post

Tricks for handling Halloween treats

This year, enjoy all the fun and frights of Halloween without fretting about the consequences of gobs of candy and other sweet treats. Excessive candy consumption can be bad for kid’s teeth and provide them with unneeded calories. As parents, it can be a challenge to make Halloween fun while restricting access to treats. Here are some ideas …Continue reading this post

Size matters: What parents need to know about weight

Would you be surprised to know that 1 in 4 children in the U.S. is considered obese? So statistically speaking, if you have four children, one would be obese. How can you know for sure? During your child’s yearly physical his or her height and weight are taken. Something called body mass index (BMI) is determined by height and weight measurements. That information is plotted …Continue reading this post

Packers fans, it’s time to get your game on!

The lock out is over and now it’s time to cheer the Packers on to another Super Bowl Championship! To many people, football season is synonymous with hours on the couch, high calorie beverages, brats, cheese and unhealthy weight gain for both kids and adults. The only people that are healthy during football season are perhaps the players themselves. It’s time to change that! We can still enjoy the Packers and the usual not-so-healthy party favorites while incorporating some fun activities and healthy foods for a good balance. …Continue reading this post

Heart-healthy diet: Tips for parents

Following a heart-healthy diet not only helps the heart, it also helps you maintain a healthy weight. Use these tips to jumpstart your diet:

  • Choose leaner meats.
  • Increase fruits and vegetables.
  • Increase whole grains.

High-fat meats are among the most significant sources of saturated fat and cholesterol. Limit beef, sausages, hot dogs and fried or battered foods. Choose lean meats such as chicken, turkey and fish. Try baking, grilling and broiling meats instead of …Continue reading this post

Parents can lead the way to good health

For most families, it’s difficult to change daily routines and lifestyle habits to be healthier. NEW Kids at the Y teaches parents how to stick with lifestyle changes and improve the health of all family members. Starting and sticking with a program long enough to affect change is much more likely when you get quality information and motivational support.

The program empowers families to become healthier by teaching them to:

  • Become smart grocery shoppers.
  • Adjust serving sizes.
  • Choose healthier snacks and beverages.
  • Increase activity and play time.

Kids look to their parents to be role models in all aspects of life. When parents make good decisions and take steps to improve their health, it’s a great example for their children.

NEW Kids at the Y is a great partnership between Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. The program is offered at the following YMCA centers:

South Shore YMCA: Thursdays from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
West Suburban YMCA: Wednesdays from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Northside YMCA: Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Tri-County YMCA: Wednesdays from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA: Mondays from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.

For more information about enrolling in the NEW Kids at the Y Program, contact Stephanie Navarre at (414) 274-0832.

~ Erin Ruenger, YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee

All about whole grains

Eating whole grains can reduce risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, constipation and colorectal cancer. Whole grains are rich in antioxidants that help prevent damage to the body. The fiber in whole grain foods helps you feel full faster and regulates bowel functions.

Whole grains have fiber, vitamins, minerals and more. Good examples of whole grain foods include:

  • Whole-grain pasta.
  • Whole-grain bread.
  • Whole-grain crackers.
  • Brown or wild rice.
  • Barley.
  • Low-fat popcorn.
  • Oatmeal.

A good way to see if food contains whole grains is to look for a whole grain stamp. This stamp means the food has at least half a serving of whole grains.

If you can’t find a stamp, check the product’s ingredient list. Food with whole grain listed as the first or second ingredient can be good for you. Don’t be fooled by products that include enriched flour at the beginning of the ingredient list – these are not whole grain!

According to the Whole Grains Council, an average person eats less than one serving of whole grains per day. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s choosemyplate.gov recommends at least three servings or more of whole grains each day. Encourage your family to eat healthier by gradually introducing more whole-grain products. The benefits will do you a whole lot of good.

~ Heather Fortin, RD, CSP, CD, clinical dietitian specialist, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin with Stacy Brand, RD, CD, manager, Patient Services, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Maintaining structure during summer vacation

Summer vacation is here. Without the pressures of school, many kids spend their days riding bikes, eating ice cream and going swimming with friends. One of the best things about summer vacation is having a break from the structure and order of school.

At the same time, structure and order help put parameters around our lives. It helps us know when to get up in the morning, when to go to bed at night, when to eat and how to spend our time.

During the summer, some kids become more active. Others spend their days conquering new video games, spraining their thumbs while texting and updating their social networking sites. Some kids wander in and out of the kitchen, finding new things to eat. Others get so busy they forget to eat meals. This lack of structure can create an environment where kids can find themselves in a world of weight loss trouble.

During summer vacation, parents should set their children up for success. Set a bedtime, wake-up time, schedule of daily activities and a menu. This structure will help children make significant strides in managing their weight, even while enjoying summer vacation.

~ Brian Fidlin, PsyD, director, NEW (Nutrition, Exercise and Weight Management) Kids Program