HEADLINES / TRENDS l STATS l RESEARCH l MEDIA l PEOPLE

September 2013

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Connecting Farms and Schools

for Healthier Children

The cliché of kids only wanting to eat hot dogs and chicken fingers contains, sadly, a large grain of truth. But that doesn’t have to be the case; introducing children to fresh produce early on can encourage health habits that last a lifetime. In that spirit, the National Farm to School Network fosters partnerships between local farmers and school districts across the country with the goal of “serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities and supporting local and regional farmers.” Here are a few Farm to School project snapshots; for more information, visit www.farmtoschool.org.

 

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Vitamin D Deficit Linked to Allergy,

Infection Risks in Kids

Obesity tends to make allergy more prevalent and harder to control in children—and vitamin D deficiency may explain why.

A research team led by Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, studied 86 youngsters between the ages of 10 and 18. Those who were obese were all found to be vitamin D-deficient.

The researchers found linkages between D levels and those of hormones produced by fat cells and
those of IgE, an immune-system component that regulates allergic reactions.

“This is the first study that ties together the relationship of vitamin D deficiency and increased allergy risk and severity in obese and overweight adolescents,” study leader Candace Percival, MD, told a recent meeting of The Endocrine Society.

A group of Colombian scientists found an association among children between low levels of vitamin D and an increased risk of gastrointestinal and ear infections.

This team measured D levels in 475 preteens and followed them for an academic year. Ten percent
of the youngsters were D-deficient; another 47% had lower-than-normal levels. Deficiency was
associated with increased rates of earache with fever and diarrhea with vomiting.
Results were reported in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

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EDITOR'S CHOICE

Vitamix, for Versatility in the Kitchen

Pore over the pages of a dozen smoothie recipe books, as we have for the feature “Smoothies & Juices: The Comeback Kids”, and 8 or 10 of them will probably cite the same kitchen appliance as the blender of choice for making one of the healthful and deliciously thick concoctions: Vitamix.

That’s because the company has been doing it for so long and because its blenders are sturdy, powerful beasts capable of crushing nuts and other tough ingredients that overwhelm many other blenders.

This versatility has, in turn, enabled health-conscious home cooks to turn out not just smoothies but soups, nut butters and more, making a Vitamix blender an essential fixture in your kitchen.

In addition to creating smoothies, the Vitamix TurboBlend VS, pictured, can create thick juices that have the benefit of keeping the pulp and fiber of fruit in the drink, company officials say, satiating and curbing the appetites of its consumers. The Vitamix TurboBlend VS will help you create nut milks, as well. Visit www.vitamix.com.

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NUMBERS

Good News (Mostly)

on Childhood Obesity

 

18

States in which obesity
rates among low-income preschoolers declined
2008-2011

 

5

States in which rates dropped by at least one percentage point

 

3

States in which rates rose

 

Source: Centers for Disease Control

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