Concerned about your children’s weight? Less obsession with their weight and spending more time together as a family could be the answer.
According to a study conducted by paediatrician and researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, adopting healthier household routines can help improve children’s weight.
The study involved around 121 families with children ages between two and five. Sixty-two families were educated about, and supported to adopt healthy household routines, but not touching on issues related to children’s weight or obesity. They were encouraged to eat meals together, limit their screen time and get more sleep. The rest of the families received educational materials focusing on children’s developmental milestone, without discussing household routines. During the study, both groups kept the numbers of meals that children shared with the families.
After six months, the families were evaluated, and researchers found that children in families that were encouraged to adopt healthy household routine were sleeping an hour longer than when they started. And their TV viewing time had also gone down by an hour on weekends. Most importantly, children of families that adopted their routine had reduced body mass index (BMI), while those who kept to their routine showed an increase in BMI. The result suggests that the changes in the family routine have contributed to the reduction of the children’s weight.
Senior author of the study, Dr Elsie Taveras, also believed that support and encouragement played a big role in helping families adopt healthier routines. She said that simply telling families to become more physically active is not effective. GPs have to discuss routines with families, and continue to support them while they are making the changes.
Although the study is limited due to the small number of participants, and the findings are not necessarily new, medical professionals welcomed the result. Director of Paediatric Obesity in Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Dr Aaron Carrol, said he is encouraged to see evidence that what our common sense think is right, works and is feasible.
The study was published in JAMA Paediatrics in 9th September.
November 25th is the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
According to UN estimates 70% of women will be affected by violence at somepoint during their life time. While we tend to assume things involving the UN happen overseas, violence against women affec ts every country.
It is not right, we should not accept it.
Whilst often our biggest fear is of strangers the simple fact is that the vast majority of attacks are done by people who the victim knows. And it can happen to anyone from jetsetting business women to stay at home mums. The UN day is all about standing up to this. Domestic violence used to be something which we avoided talking about, hushed up and ignore. We should not do that any more. We at Funky Giraffe support the UN’s call for an end to gender based violence.
If you are affected or know some one who is help is available.
In the UK you can ring the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline 0808 2000 247
Early this month, researchers from University of Glasgow’s School of Medicine, published their report, claiming that most ready-made baby foods available in the market have lower nutrient contents than homemade baby meals, and just as much as breast milk. The researchers studied baby food made by Boots, Heinz, Ella’s Kitchen, Organix, Cow & Gate, and Hipp Organic, and found that, although they are richer in iron, they contain lesser nutrients than baby food prepared at home. Additionally, they tend to be sweeter. The research also claimed that, to get the same amount of energy and protein, they get from home cooked meals; babies will need to eat twice as much commercial baby food.
The new study, has once again, brought the fore the issue of when to wean babies, and how. Should parents wean babies at four months, or should they stick to baby milk for six months?
The debate on when to wean babies to solid is as old as pro-creation itself. As long as I can remember, my family didn’t have a consensus on this issue. Ok, my memory doesn’t span thousands of years. But, considering that my dad is one of nine siblings, with each sibling having more than five children, I’m one of eleven siblings, and in my last count, I have over 30 nieces and nephews, that’s excluding grandnieces and grandnephews, I can probably safely claim that I have heard considerable debate about weaning. And no one came up with a definitive answer.
It’s not only my family who can’t agree on the issue; even medical experts can’t make up their mind on when babies should be weaned into solids. Some countries recommend that complementary foods can be introduced between four and six months, but the World Health Organisation and the NHS recommend that babies should be exclusively on milk for six months.
But even though the NHS recommends that babies should be exclusively milk-fed for six months, they add a cop out statement that should parents decide to start weaning their babies before six months, they should check with their GP or health visitor, who will in turn, refer them back to the NHS guideline. Thus, leaving parents confuse and unsure.
So, with confusion all around, where does it leave you as parents? I guess, like every issue concerning your children; it’s always best to trust your instinct and use your common sense. Whenever you decide to wean your baby, make sure to have plastic mats to cover your floor and loads of dribble bibs on the ready because one thing is for sure, more food is going to end up on the floor and on your baby than inside his tummy. And put your posh bandana bibs away if you are using shop-bought foods because those stain are not easy to remove.
Thirty five year old and professional weightlifter, Lea-Ann Ellison, caused a major hoo-ha in cyberspace early this month, when photos of herself lifting weights were posted on Facebook. One visitor went as far as saying it’s the ‘most disgusting photo I’ve ever seen in a long time’, and another called her ‘selfish’ and ‘a disgrace.’ But what kind of photos had created this outrage? It’s of heavily pregnant Lea-Ann lifting heavy weights just two weeks before her due date.
Although, Ms Ellison received lots of positive feedback over her fitness, many were quite forthcoming with their criticism. One Facebook user accused Ms Ellison of being selfish and endangering her baby for her own personal gain, while another cautioned that lifting heavy objects whilst pregnant can break the placenta, cause major damage, which can result to miscarriage or early labour.
Ms Ellison is not the first woman to be criticised for doing, what others deemed as extreme exercise, whilst pregnant. In 2012, glamour model and amateur athlete, Neil MacAndrew, was also criticised for running in the marathon whilst pregnant.
The backlash pregnant women received, when doing extreme exercise, reveals that many people still believed in the myth that pregnant women should put their feet up and rest; and that exercise can damage the unborn baby or cause a miscarriage.
Obviously, it is senseless to start strenuous exercise when pregnant if you are not used to it, but it is important for pregnant women to exercise. Medical professionals actively encourage women to be physically active during pregnancy. The NHS recommends that pregnant women keep up with their normal routine for as long as they feel comfortable, and that includes running and other sports.
Personally, I know the difference that exercise makes in pregnancy. When I was pregnant with my first born, I exercised until my due date. I may not be lifting 35lbs of weight, but I was on the cross-trainer and the swimming pool daily. As a result, I didn’t gain excess weight, my labour only lasted 5 hours, no need for any pain relief, and my daughter was fit and healthy. Fast-forward four years; I was pregnant with my second baby. I wasn’t exercising much and I wasn’t fit. By 7 months, I was very big and my legs were swollen. And delivery was difficult. After 10 hours of labour, trying all the pain relief available, I ended up on the operating table.
Just coincidence? I don’t think so. Fitness makes a difference during pregnancy and delivery.
It seems a bit naff discussing the pros and cons of different types of bibs for babies. After all, a bib is just a bib. It performs a simple function: to keep baby’s chin and neck dry. There’s nothing complicated about it. Or so you think.
Try having a baby who dribbles a lot and goes through a bib every half an hour, and you’ll find yourself looking for something that isn’t only super absorbent, but also easy to wash and if possible, stain repellent. Not to mention, funky enough, so that they don’t look too grubby to use for special occasion. You don’t really want to have a bib set aside to be used just a handful of times.
So, what are your options?
Traditional bibs – You should have a handful of this. They are extremely absorbent, easily available, washable and most of all, cheap (unless you are buying branded ones.) And they have stood the test of time. But they can look grubby and not funky enough for special occasion, when you want to dress up your little one. Plus, if you get bigger size, they don’t tend to cover the baby’s neck and chest, so dribbles end up going their chest. If you buy a small size they are tight around the neck, and exact sizes, don’t last long before the baby outgrows them. So, parents end up replacing them regularly.
Cover-all bibs – These are great to use when babies have started eating solids. They are usually made up of plastic and they give babies’ clothes protection, including the sleeves. And they are wiped clean. Unfortunately, not many babies like them, as they can be uncomfortable, especially around the wrists.
Disposable bibs – These are perfect for holidays and emergencies only. They don’t offer as much protection as other types of bibs, and they’re not comfortable, either, but you don’t have to keep them until you can wash them.
– The newest fashion in bibs. They look funky and dressy enough to use for special occasion. They are absorbent, and they cover a wider area than traditional bibs. Plus, they keep babies’ neck and chest dry. However, they are more expensive than traditional bibs.