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Protect your family’s health this year (ARA) — Every January, people make New Year’s resolutions that focus on exercise, diet or other ways to stay healthy. But the best resolution to keep the entire family healthy is food safety in the kitchen. Here are a couple of tips from the Institute of Food Technologists and the Partnership for Food Safety Education to start your 2010 in a healthy way: • Mark the date on everything you put into your freezer or refrigerator so you know how long it’s been in there. • Consume uncooked beef stored in the freezer within three to four months, or one to two days for refrigerated beef. • Keep cooked poultry up to four months in the freezer and three to four days in the fridge, but uncooked poultry should be eaten within nine months of freezing and one to two days of refrigeration. • Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item, and before you cut the next item. • Use two cutting boards, one for raw meats that you plan to cook and one for ready-to-eat foods. SHERI BANDELEAN | ARGUS OBSERVER

Vegetables are the most typical kind of food finnicky children may turn their noses up at, but parents can take certain steps to introduce foods into their children’s diets.

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Mealtime doesn’t have to be a power struggle JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO When is your child a picky eater, and what, as a parent, can you do to counteract such finnicky habits especially if meal time is becoming a challenge instead of a relaxing family time together? Lindsay Grosvenor, Malheur County WIC Program registered dietitian, said before assuming a child is a picky eater, first determine whether he or she actually is. First of all, she said, parents of both picky and regular eaters need to remember what they are responsible for and what their child is responsible for. Parents, Grosvenor said, are responsible for determining what is being served, when and where. Children, she said, are re-

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DALLAS — Here are the seven secrets to a long life: Stay away from cigarettes. Keep a slender physique. Get some exercise. Eat a healthy diet and keep your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar in check. Research shows that most 50-year-olds who do that can live another 40 years free of stroke and heart disease, two of the most common killers, says Dr. Clyde Yancy, president of the American Heart Association. The heart association published the advice online Wednesday in the journal Circulation. The group also is introducing an online quiz to help people gauge how close they are to the ideal. If you fall a bit short, it offers tips for improv-

ing. ‘‘These seven factors — if you can keep them ideal or control them — end up being the fountain of youth for your heart,’’ said Dr. Donald M. LloydJones, a cardiologist who was lead author of the statement. ‘‘You live longer, you live healthier longer, you have much better quality of life in older age, require less medication, less medical care.’’ Specifically, those with ideal cardiovascular health can answer yes to the following seven questions: — Never smoked or quit more than one year ago. — Body mass index less than 25. — Get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. — Meet at least four of

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picky eaters are very limited in the number of foods they eat,” Grosvenor said, adding children who are truly finnicky have less than 20 to 30 foods in their food repertoire. Vegetables are typically the foods parents have trouble getting their children to eat, Grosvenor said, but parents should not despair. She recommends they try a number of approaches to serving vegetables and other foods to try and solve their child’s fussiness. The first rule to remember, she said, is to lead by example. Parents should eat what they want their children to eat, and children, in turn, will be more likely to try new foods. Older children can help pick out the fruits and vegetables to be served. Typically, children, around ages 1 or 2, may normally start being suspicious of what’s put in front of them or may not want to eat as they assert their independence. In such cases, parents should keep in mind that everything is SEE CHILDREN | PAGE C6

Heart group lists 7 essentials for heart health JAMIE STENGLE

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sponsible for deciding whether they will eat or not, deciding what they eat and how much to eat. In some cases, Grosvenor said, the child’s eating habits are fine, but they may not be eating the amounts their parents wish them too, and parents may be incorrectly attributing that to picky eating. She said, if that is the case, it is the parents who may have to re-evaluate their thinking because only a child knows when he or she is full, and parents may be serving their child too much food. Grosvenor said, if children are still developing normally physically and mentally, they are likely eating enough food. By pressuring children to eat more food than they want, parents could be inadvertently training their children to eat more than they need, which could lead to future problems, such as obesity. Instead, Grosvenor suggests, once they are old enough, to let children serve themselves at meals or serve them small amounts of food and let them have seconds. In contrast, “Children who are

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these dietary recommendations: 4 1/2 cups of fruit and vegetables a day; two or more 3.5ounce servings a week of fish; drink no more than 36 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverages a week; three or more 1-ounce servings of fiber-rich whole grains a day; less than 1,500 milligrams a day of salt. — Total cholesterol of less than 200. — Blood pressure below 120/80. — Fasting blood glucose less than 100. The online quiz calculates a score based on the answers, 10 being the ideal. Doctors say the quiz is a good way for people to get a handle on how they’re doing, especially since people often think they’re doing better than they actually are. The heart association found just that in a recent survey that showed 39

percent of Americans thought they had ideal heart health, yet 54 percent of those had been told they had either a heart disease risk factor or needed to make a lifestyle change to improve heart health, or both. With America’s obesity epidemic, weight especially is a pitfall for patients trying to meet these seven health factors, doctors say. ‘‘Many people are surprised to find out how overweight they may be,’’ said Dr. Randal Thomas, director of the cardiovascular health clinic at the Mayo Clinic. Lloyd-Jones, also chair of the preventive medicine department at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said, ‘‘People I think are far

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FDA debates tougher cancer warning on tanning beds LAURAN NEERGAARD ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — Just as millions head to tanning beds to prepare for spring break, the Food and Drug Administration will be debating how to toughen warnings that those sunlamps pose a cancer risk. Yes, sunburns are particularly dangerous. But there’s increasing scientific consensus that there’s no such thing as a safe tan, either. This is a message that Katie Donnar, 18, dismissed until a year ago when, preparing for the Miss Indiana pageant, she discovered a growth on her leg — an early-stage melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. She can’t prove tanning beds are to blame, but started using them as a sixth-grade cheerleader, says she stepped under the bulbs about every other day during parts of high school, and at one point even owned one. No more. ‘‘It seemed somewhat of a myth that I was putting myself at risk,’’ says Donnar, of Bruceville, Ind., who found the melanoma before it spread. ‘‘The warning label was so small, nothing to make me stop and think, ‘This is real,’ ” she said of the tanning bed. The World Health Organization’s cancer division last summer listed tanning beds as definitive cancercausers, right alongside the ultraviolet radiation that both they and the sun emit. They’d long been considered ‘‘probable’’ carcinogens, but what tipped the scales: An analysis of numerous studies that concluded the risk of melanoma jumps by 75 percent in people who used tanning beds in their teens and 20s. Next comes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has long regulated tanning beds as ‘‘Class I devices,’’ a category of low-risk medical devices that includes bandages. Tanning beds do bear some warnings about the cancer link, but the FDA recently decided those labels aren’t visible enough to consumers and don’t ful-


Katie Donnar, 18, shows her scar from where the melanoma was on the calf of her leg, Jan. 14, in Vincennes, Ind., in front of a tanning bed like the on she used at her home and at the tanning salons. Donnar was in the sixth grade when she started using tanning beds.

ly convey the risk, especially to young people. So in March, the FDA’s scientific advisers open a public hearing to explore stricter tanning bed regulation, both stiffer warnings and reclassifying them to allow other steps. ‘‘We don’t recommend using them at all, but we know people do use them so we want to make them as low-risk as possible,’’ says FDA UV radiation specialist Sharon Miller. The Indoor Tanning Association, already fighting pending legislation that would tax tanning salons to help pay for Congress’ health care overhaul, argues there’s no new science to justify increased FDA regulation. Any risk is to people who overdo it, says ITA President Dan Humiston, arguing that’s easier to do in the sun. The industry is open to some change in warning labels, Humiston says, to ensure customers ‘‘understand the whole process, so there’s no chance they

could be overexposed, no chance they could get a sunburn.’’ But the FDA also says some people go too often, using tanning beds three times a week, for example, when its research shows once a week would provide visually the same tan. The tanning bed debate isn’t an excuse to roast in the sun instead. Nor is melanoma the only risk. Also linked to UV exposure are basal and squamous cell carcinomas, which affect more than 1 million Americans a year. They’re usually easily removed but the American Cancer Society counts 2,000 annual deaths. Melanoma is more lethal: Nearly 69,000 U.S. cases were diagnosed last year, and about 8,650 people died. Fair-skinned people who don’t tan easily are at highest risk. Melanoma is particularly linked to sunburns at a young age, and while it usually strikes in the 40s and 50s, doctors are seeing everyounger cases like Donnar.

(ARA) — Having a family meal isn’t easily accomplished these days. Busy schedules, long work hours and even technology make it feel easier to simply grab a meal and go, rather than take the time to sit everyone down together around the table. But American families really do miss coming together around the table. In fact, 93 percent of Americans acknowledge dinner time as the best way to connect as a family, according to a study conducted by Barilla. The obstacles barring the way for family dinner are work schedules, children’s schedules and picky eaters in the house. However, the benefits of overcoming these obstacles can be lasting for families. In fact, according to the study, Americans who eat with others more frequently are more satisfied with every aspect of their own lives, including their relationships, their physical and mental health and their level of achievement in life. In addition, the study shows: • Sharing meals ranks No. 1 above all other activities (including family vacations, playing together and attending religious services) in helping Americans connect with their families and their kids. • Nearly six in 10 families agree that they don’t have as many opportunities to connect with their family or friends as they’d like. • Americans who eat with others fre-

quently report lower levels of overweight children. “Family meals are more than feeding events; they are precious opportunities for family connection in a hurry-up world,” says Dr. William Doherty, a professor with the University of Minnesota Department of Family and Social Science and an expert on family time and family rituals. “Children grow up healthier, smarter and better adjusted when their parents take the lead in having regular dinner times.” The importance of sharing dinner is not lost on chef Mario Batali or music star Martina McBride, who are working together with Barilla to spread the word about how families can ‘Share the Table’ and create lasting memories. A mother of three and one of country music’s top female vocalists, McBride understands the challenges of work/life balance and family dinners. Martina’s tips for creating the best family dinner experience include: • Once in a while, make everyday dinners seem fancier with candles, a linen tablecloth and your fine china. This will add an element of fun and something to get excited about. • Carry on your favorite dinnertime traditions from your childhood and tell your children about family meals from when you were a kid. • Plan ahead so you can fit dinners into busy schedules.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. newborns are arriving a little smaller, says puzzling new Harvard research that can’t explain why. Fatter mothers tend to produce heavier babies, and obesity is soaring. Yet the study of nearly 37 million births shows newborns were a bit lighter in 2005 than in 1990, ending a halfcentury of rising birth weights. The change isn’t big: The average birth weight of fullterm babies is just under 71⁄2 pounds, a drop of about 1.8 ounces, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. That’s surprising considering doctor warnings about 9-pound, or bigger, babies. So the researchers doublechecked. The proportion born large for their

gestational age dropped about 2 percent, which is good. ‘‘What physicians are responding to is that the bigger babies are getting bigger,’’ said lead researcher Dr. Emily Oken of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Plus, ‘‘babies are still bigger than they were 30, 40, 50 years ago. ’’ That’s particularly true for women at lowest risk for too-small babies: White, well-educated, married non-smokers who got early prenatal care. Still, their babies, on average, weighed 2.8 ounces less over the study period. Babies born too big are at increased risk of obesity and diabetes later in life. On the other hand, babies born too small may require intensive care right away and also be at risk for later chronic diseases.

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CHILDREN: Can learn to eat and like a variety of foods without a mealtime challenge FROM PAGE C4

new to their children, Grosvenor said. Parents should also remember children at that age have tastebuds and olfactory senses that are stronger and more acute than adults, so vegetables in particular may taste or smell stronger to children. Grosvenor recommends preparing the vegetables in a number of ways: serving them raw, hiding them in a sauce or with other foods or even pureeing them and putting them in something else. “Ideally, you want them to know what they’re eating and

like what they’re eating,” she said. Grosvenor also said just because a child does not like a food once does not mean a parent should stop serving that food. She said studies indicate reintroducing a type of vegetable 10 or more times may encourage a child to try it. “If they don’t like it, don’t force the issue,” she said, adding parents should also not force children to eat foods or even try them. Instead, Grosvenor said, parents might allow a child to put a vegetable or food in their mouth, chew it up and spit it out.

To ensure children receive the nutrients they need from food, parents should offer a broad variety of fruits and vegetables. If they don’t like one vegetable, such as carrots, parents may considering offering other fruits and vegetables of the same color, like sweet potatoes or cantaloupe. In the beginning, she said, it is normal for children to only want to eat a certain type of food or vegetable because they are going through phases. While parents should never let the child dictate what kinds of foods will be served or go out of their way to cook something

else for their children, Grosvenor said it is not unreasonable to serve at least one food a child likes at each meal. Grosvenor also said, however, appetites will vary as they grow, and sometimes children will not eat much at all, even of foods they like. “And as long as they have just as many good days as bad days, everything is fine,” she said. For additional information about picky eaters and children’s diets, go to WANT TO GET breaking news right to your computer? Go online to and sign up for our E-Newsletter

Tips for mealtime ❑ Introduce new foods along with favorite foods. ❏ Don’t bribe or reward children with food. ❑ Helping with meals can be fun. Children may eat foods they help prepare. ❏ Don’t force a child to eat. ❏ Young children are easily distracted. Keep the television off while eating. ❏ Offer foods with a variety of colors and textures. ❏ Children like to eat with the rest of the family.

HEALTH: Online tool available FROM PAGE C4

too accepting of their waistlines.’’ Thomas praises the online tool for giving people a score so they’ll have something to work toward. It offers advice for problem areas: for instance, advising someone who’s over weight to set a goal of losing a pound a week by burning up to 3,500 more calories than are taken in. Yancy, the heart association president and med-

ical director of the Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute in Dallas, said the organization has a goal for 2020 of improving cardiovascular health of Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent. He said that in the last decade, there’s already been a nearly 40 percent reduction in death from heart disease and a nearly 35 percent reduction in death from stroke.


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Health, Mind and Body  

Health special section, Janary 2010