Monday: Health Points

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, a government advisory body, has drawn up healthy eating guidelines for both government and privately run schools to follow, said Sandhya Bajaj, a commission member.

"The number of overweight children in schools is growing," Bajaj said in a telephone interview. She said that the commission was getting complaints from parents who said that their children were buying unhealthy food from school cafeterias.
Chronic kidney disease patients who are also obese are much more likely than normal-weight patients to have a condition called hyperparathyroidism, which raises their risk of heart problems and death, U.S. researchers say.


Hyperparathyroidism involves elevated levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH). Normally, parathyroid hormone plays an important role in maintaining normal bone structure. Elevated levels of the hormone can lead to bone abnormalities and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Decreased kidney function is the main cause of hyperparathyroidism in chronic kidney disease patients.
Research shows that watermelons stored at room temperatures have much higher levels of antioxidants (beta-carotene and lycopene) than those kept chilled in the fridge. Warm watermelons are even better than fresh-picked melons.


One caution: once cut, watermelons must refrigerated. So try to enjoy your watermelons as soon as you slice and dice them. Then keep your leftovers cool.
This phenomenon is known as "assortative mating" - when men and women tend to select partners according to nonrandom attributes such as height, religion, age and smoking habits.


Researchers have suggested that assortative mating by obesity could increase the already high prevalence of obesity by helping to pass on genes promoting excess weight to the next generation.
A new study highlighted the summer weight-gain phenomenon among young children. Researchers in the Midwest looked at the body mass index, which relates height to weight, of 5,380 students. They followed them for two years, from kindergarten through first grade, and found the average index grew more than twice as quickly over the summer than during the school year.


Children of the working poor may be especially at risk because they are left indoors while their parents are at jobs. While at home, kids eat and drink what they want, says Dr. Jennifer Bass, a pediatrician who chairs a national pediatricians special-interest group on obesity. Bass estimates as many as 30 percent of her patients are overweight.
The report, issued on Thursday, also urged changes in public and private insurance policies to encourage doctors to spend more time counseling patients on how to stay healthy by eating right, exercising and avoiding tobacco.


Federal, state, and local policies have actually made healthful foods more expensive and less available, have limited physical education in schools and created an environment that discourages physical activity, the report said.
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