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Schools in your area may be assessing students’ health, collecting BMIs, or providing nutrition and physical activity education. What does all this mean and why is this becoming more common?

So what exactly is a BMI?

BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a method to measure body mass based on a person’s weight and height. Weight and height are plugged into a standard formula which can then be compared to a range or norm. The Center for Disease Control states that a BMI calculated result is a reliable body fatness indicator for most teens and children. Although BMI does not measure body fat directly, it can be used as an indirect measure. An example of a direct measure of body fat would be underwater weighing or the Bod Pod (air displacement plethysmography). BMI is useful as a screening tool to help identify weight concerns and implement prevention education.

After the BMI number is obtained, the number is plotted on the boy’s or girl’s BMI-for-age growth chart. A percentile ranking is determined and this percentile is used to assess growth patterns of the individual child. Comparison is done with children of the same sex and age. Four different categories of weight status are used to categorize the child or teen. These include underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and obese. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control recommend the use of BMI to screen children beginning at the age of 2.

Why BMI in Schools?

BMIs in schools vary per state and district. According to a comprehensive study in Preventing Chronic Disease, 20 states were requiring BMI or body composition screening with 9 additional states recommending the screening as of 2010. BMIs are designed to provide information and initiate conversations regarding ways to make healthy nutrition and physical activity choices.

Many factors must be taken into consideration with BMI and it is crucial to remember that BMI calculations are not perfect. Age and gender are important to consider in this assessment. The healthy level of the child or teen varies for age month by month and as his or her height increases.

Expert organizations still recommend using BMI surveillance as an effective screening tool. Although there needs to be more studies evaluating the effectiveness of these programs, with the proper use of guidelines and resources, BMI screening could become a more common, accepted, and useful tool in assessing and triggering interventions for obesity among children.

The BMI can be most useful when it is considered one additional tool in the toolbox. It is not the only tool, but one that can be a starting point for healthy conversations. BMI’s may be effective in evaluating the effectiveness of health programs.

Knowledge is power toward healthy behaviors.

girl on scale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/childrens_bmi/about_childrens_bmi.html

Nihiser AJ, Lee SM, Wechsler H, McKenna M, Odom E, Reinold C, Thompson D, Grummer-Strawn L. BMI Measurement in Schools. Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. 2009. 124;589:597.

http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/diet-weight-loss/should-body-mass-index-be-measured-in-schools-115934 (photo)

Written by: Shannon Erskine, Dietetic Intern/ Liz Smith, MS, RD, LDN, Ohio State University Extension, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, smith.3993@osu.edu.

Reviewed by: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD, LD, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Mahoning County, Stefura.2@osu.edu.

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buffetAs we enter the holiday season, we are often participating in pot-luck celebrations at work and dinners with family and friends. What are some steps we can take to help avoid food borne illnesses at these happy occasions?

If you are the one preparing the food, remember the four basic food safety rules: Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill. By following these four simple rules, you can help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria which could make your family ill and make your holidays less than jolly!

  • Clean. Begin by washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after handling food. Be sure that countertops, cutting boards and utensils are clean by washing with hot soapy water. Rinse fruits and vegetables that are not being cooked under cool running water.
  • Separate. Help prevent cross contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry and seafood away from ready to eat foods in your shopping cart and your refrigerator. Use one cutting board for these raw foods and another for salads and ready to eat food.
  • Cook. Use a food thermometer to tell if a food is cooked to a safe temperature – just going by color is not sufficient. Always bring sauces, soups, etc to a rolling boil when reheating. If using a microwave oven, cover, stir and rotate the food to ensure even cooking.
  • Chill.  Remember the “danger zone” where bacteria can grow rapidly, 40° – 140°F. Keep the refrigerator below 40°F., use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature. Thaw meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator, not on the counter. After the meal, chill leftover foods within 2 hours and put food into shallow containers to allow for quick cooling.

If you are participating in a pot-luck lunch at work or school, there are some things to keep in mind for food safety. The most important rule to follow is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold! Avoid the “danger zone”! It is often a good idea to appoint one person to make sure that foods are being kept at a safe temperature.

  • Foods that are to be served hot should be kept above 140°F.
  • Cold foods should be kept below 40°F.
  • Make sure that the surfaces where food will be served are clean.
  • Do not allow food to sit out for over 2 hours.
  • Any food that has not been kept at a safe temperature should be discarded after 2 hours.

So enjoy the holidays and the events that accompany them while keeping yourself, your family, friends and co-workers safe from food borne illness.

Sources:

Safe Food Handling Factsheets http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling

Be Food Safe   www.befoodsafe.org 

EXTENSION CONNECTION: Keeping Food Safe (pot luck party tips) http://www.crestviewbulletin.com/news/community/extension-connection-keeping-food-safe-potluck-party-tips-1.56092?page=2 

Author: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County

Reviewer: Linette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

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I can almost smell the celery and onions sautéing as they await grandma’s stuffing recipe… Mmmmmm… Have you also been thinking about your Thanksgiving meal, either what you will prepare or what you will eat? Food is an important part of most holiday traditions and memories, especially Thanksgiving. This year, maybe there is a way to take your traditional favorites and lighten them up a bit. Here are some great tips from USDA’s ChooseMyPlate.gov:

Tweek the Sweet – How about serving fruit as a colorful healthy option for dessert? Try a crustless pumpkin pie.

Cheers to Good Health – The best low calorie drink ever is water! You can add a special “twist” with a slice of lemon or lime or raspberries. Another alternative is seltzer water with a little 100% fruit juice for flavor.

Bake Healthier – Did you know you can substitute unsweetened applesauce or any fruit puree for the butter in recipes? Try replacing butter with ½ fruit puree and ½ canola oil to reduce the saturated fat and increase the fiber.

Spice it up – Use spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and you can reduce the amount of sugar in a sweet recipe. Use more herbs and less salt in savory dishes.

2013-11-28 09.20.52Brighten your meal – Let the rainbow of colors found in vegetables and fruit brighten the buffet table, fill (at least ½) your plate with high quality nutrition and fiber and even help you control your weight and blood pressure.

Skim the fat –Use evaporated skim milk instead of heavy cream in all your holiday baking.

Swap the grains – Add a little whole grain to your buffet. When I make bread in my breadmaker, I usually use half white flour and half whole wheat flour. You can sneak whole wheat flour into other recipes as well.

Go easy on the gravy – Think “drizzle” instead of “drown”. You can also try putting a few tablespoons on the side of your plate and dipping your turkey into the gravy.

Enjoy leftovers – Leave some for later! Be creative in how you use leftovers… turkey in wraps or soups and veggies in omelets. It’s fine to continue enjoying your leftovers up to five days after the holiday, then freeze for later use.

Focus on family and fun – After your meal, go for a walk, toss a ball around, MOVE a little. Just standing up (as opposed to sitting) allows your digestive system to work a little better.

Give to others – What better way to celebrate our abundance than by sharing it with those who have less? I have a friend that would make an extra Thanksgiving feast and deliver one to a shelter. That was a favorite memory and part of the holiday every year for her son.

Maybe I’ll sauté those celery and onions in a little olive oil instead of butter and use some extra sage and less salt. How will you make your holiday healthy this year?

References:

“Make Healthier Holiday Choices,” 10 Tips Series No. 32. 2013. USDA. www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet32MakeHealthierHolidayChoices.pdf

“MyPlate Holiday Makeover.” 2013. USDA. www.choosemyplate.gov/downloads/infographics/2013-HolidayMakeover.pdf

Rodack, J. “9 Healthy Substitutions for Everyday Foods.” American Heart Association. 2014. https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/heart-healthy-cooking-tips/healthy-substitutions/

“The Natural Beauty of Fruits and Vegetables.” American Heart Association. 2014. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/SimpleCookingwithHeart/The-Natural-Beauty-of-Fruits-and-Vegetables_UCM_430112_Article.jsp

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Kathryn Dodrill, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County

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Handwashing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness to others. Despite the importance of how people should wash hands many young and old forget. Germs are tiny microorganisms that exist all around us and are invisible to the human eye.

They are different types of germs and how long they can live on the surfaces. These germs are on handles, door, keyboards, cell phones, shopping carts and most things we touch daily. Touching one of these contaminated surfaces then touching your eyes, nose, mouth, a cut, or other opening in the body, can lead to an infectious disease.

Some germs live in body fluids like mucus, pus, and stool. Even the invisible drops released when people talk, cough, sneeze can carry germs. Some germs spread through the air when some one coughs or sneezes they can release germs. When harmful germs are inhaled, they can cause illness.

Communicable diseases are ones that we can spread from one person to another. Handwashing is like a “do-it-yourself” vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps (think Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of diarrhea and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy. Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. There are many vaccines to help us prevent many of these infectious diseases but for other illnesses the number one way to for prevention is HANDWASHING!

Start with Healthy Preventative Habits:

  • Wash Hands often. Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available. Rub hands together to make lather and scrub all surfaces. Continue rubbing hands for 15-20 seconds. Rinse hands well under running water. Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet. hands
  • Wash hands after using bathroom, playing with pets, being outside
  • Clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve- don’t cough into the air or on your hands
  • Handle and prepare food safely
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Don’t share personal items … like drinking from the same cup.

 Get Immunized: A process by which a person becomes protected against a disease through vaccination. Protect yourself, your family, and friends.

Remember Handwashing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness to others. Reducing illness increases productivity, less time at doctor appointments and more time at work or school. Protect yourself today get immunized and wash your hands!

Writer: Marie Economos, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Western Reserve EERA, economos.2@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Resources:

Center for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/

Ohio Department of Health: http://www.odh.ohio.gov/features/odhfeatures/handwashing.aspx

 

 

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According to Mark Twain, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”  After reading Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog!  21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, I have come to the conclusion that everyone’s life would be much easier if we got into the habit of “catching those live frogs and eating them” first thing in the morning.  Are you ready to “eat those frogs” that you’ve been avoiding and stop procrastinating in your personal and professional life?  Do you procrastinate on very important tasks that you don’t enjoy doing?  Do you need to set priorities and concentrate on what needs to be done when it needs to be done?  Are you ready to “eat those frogs”?

Which procrastination quotes will inspire you?jump of joy

Find quotes which will help you “eat those frogs” and post them at locations where you will see them often such as your work desk, refrigerator, entrance to your home, car, computer, etc.  In the words of Don Marquis, “Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.”  Take action today!”  No one is certain who the author was, but he must have understood procrastination when he said “The best way to get something done is to begin.”

What do you value and believe in?

It’s important to reflect upon, appreciate and acknowledge what is important to you in your life.  Success?  Happiness?  Family?  Spirituality?  Community?  Friends?  In his book, Eat That Frog!  21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, Tracy focuses on what he calls the “simple truth” which is the following:  “The ability to concentrate single-mindedly on your most important task, to do it well and to finish it completely, is the key to great success, achievement, respect, status, and happiness in life.”  He shares with the reader twenty-one principles which he has discovered over the years as the “most powerful principles on personal effectiveness”.  As he states “the key to success is action” so make sure to keep going, don’t procrastinate and “eat those frogs”.

What are some of Brian Tracy’s twenty-one principles?

  • Set the Table – Decide what you want to achieve in every area of your life.
  • Plan Every Day in Advance – Break down your workload into step-by-step activities.
  • Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything – The 80/20 Rule, the Pareto Principle, means that in anything a few (20 percent) are vital and many (80 percent) are trivial.
  • Consider the Consequences – Make sure and have a clear idea of what is important to you in the long term.
  • Practice Creative Procrastination – Do the important things first and procrastinate on activities which are of a low value.
  • Use the ABCDE Method Continually – Write a list on paper of everything that needs to be done and then place next to each item one of the following: “A” is very important; “B” is a should do; “C” is a nice to do; “D” is a delegate; and “E” is an eliminate.

What’s one final thought about Procrastination and “Eating Those Frogs?

Are you going to enjoy “catching that live frog and eating it”?  Probably, no!  Are you going to procrastinate on very important tasks at work and in your personal life?  Probably, yes!  Will you benefit, both professionally and personally, by learning to set priorities, overcome procrastination, and concentrate on the most important tasks in your life?  Absolutely, yes!  So, what are you waiting for?  Ready, set, go and “eat those frogs!”

Written by:  Janet Wasko Myers, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Ohio State University Extension, Madison County, myers.31@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Sources:

Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, Brian Tracy, Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 2nd edition (January 1, 2007).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0W7GB5Fh2XM
Eat That Frog! By Brian Tracy YouTube

Time and Life Mastery – Putting First Things First, Developed by Kurt Utterback, Presented by Communicate Institute Training and Development in partnership with Walsh University, North Canton, Ohio, Graduate courses for teachers, WEB:  www.communicateinstitute.com/  Analysis Paper and Book Review on:  Eat That Frog!  21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.

Photo Credits:

www.rgbstock.com

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Walk into any convenience store, and you’ll see a wide variety of energy drinks to choose from. In recent years, news reports have brought attention to some of the consequences of their overuse. Some of these reports document emergency room visits related to mixing energy drinks and alcohol or teens having heart palpitations and dizziness. Some high schools around the nation have banned these products because so many students were “wired” on caffeine and many becoming ill. Are energy drinks as popular and as dangerous as the media portrays them to be? A factsheet from the University of California Cooperative Extension service explores the facts behind these popular products.

  • The term energy drink refers to beverages that contain caffeine in combination with other ingredients such as taurine, guarana, and B vitamins purported to supply consumers with extra energy.
  • Limited research suggests that energy drinks can improve physical and mental performance, improve driving ability when tired, and decrease mental fatigue after long periods of concentration. However, researchers do not know if these improvements are due to caffeine, herbal ingredients, or a combination of both.
  • An 8 ounce serving of energy drink can contain anywhere from 80 to 150 mg of caffeine. The caffeine content is more than that of sodas (22-46 mg per 8 oz serving) but more comparable to tea (48 to 175 mg per 8 oz serving) and brewed coffee (134-240 mg per 8 oz serving). The problem is that most cans contain 2-3 servings, often raising the caffeine intake to over 300 mg per can! Assuming that an adolescent consumes 3 cans per day, caffeine intake can easily exceed over 900 mg (comparable to 9 cups of coffee!)
  • Research has suggested that 400 mg or more of caffeine per day can result in nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness, increased urination, abnormal heart rhythms, decreased bone levels, and upset stomach.
  • Herbs such as guarana and ginseng can enhance the effects of caffeine. Guarana actually contains caffeine and adds to the total amount. Many of the herbs added to the energy drinks do not have the research based evidence to back up their functional claims.
  • Mixing alcohol and energy drinks can be a dangerous combination. Individuals on this mix are more alert but just as intoxicated. In addition, caffeine and alcohol are both diuretics, increasing the likelihood of dehydration and cardiovascular problems.
  • A study in the Journal of College Health suggests that energy drink consumption is associated with risk taking behavior such as unprotected sex, substance abuse and violence. Researchers point out that the findings don’t mean the drinks cause the behaviors, rather over consumption should be a red flag for parents that their children might be more likely to take risks.
  • A study of 78 youth (11-18 years) found that 42.3% of participants consumed energy drinks.
  • Although some beverages are sugar-free, in many the sugar content is comparable to soft drinks (30 g per 8 oz serving). However, since cans often contain 2-3 servings, sugar content could be as high as 90 g per can (equivalent to about 22.5 teaspoons of sugar)! Considering the high rates of obesity, this is another reason to moderate consumption.

Source: Nutrition and Health Info Sheet, produced by Karrie Heneman, and Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr, Nutrition Science Specialist, Cooperative Extension, University of California- Davis at http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8265.pdf

Writer: Dan Remley, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness

Reviewer: Susan Zies, Assistant Professor, Extension Educator

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Halloween Health and Safety Tips

Autumn holidays like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times for children of all ages. They can dress up in costumes, enjoy parties, try fall fruits and vegetables and eat yummy treats. These celebrations also provide a chance to give out healthy snacks, to be active and to focus on safety.
Check out these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for trick-or-treaters and party guests.

Going trick-or-treating?

  • Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
  • Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Always walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
  • Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
  • Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

 

  • Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others to see you. Always WALK; don’t run from house to house.
  • Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
  • Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
    Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
  • Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.
  • Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Don’t eat homemade treats made by strangers.
  • Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses; don’t stop at dark houses; and, never accept rides from strangers.
  • Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

Halloween

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expecting guests?

Follow these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for everyone:
• Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks. For party guests, offer a variety of fruits, vegetables, and cheeses.
• Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.
• Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could result in falls.
• Keep candle-lit jack o’lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
• Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely.

Written by: Polly Loy, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Belmont County.
Reviewed by: Kathy Dodrill, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Washington County
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/

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