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American Heart Association

The 5 Ways Sugar Sneaks Into Your Child’s Diet

Ask 10 parents how much added sugar their child consumes each day and there’s a good chance that at least 9 of them will have no clue or will underestimate it. In fact, research published in the International Journal of Obesity reported that 92 percent of the parents surveyed in the study underestimated the added sugar content in foods and beverages. The study also showed that kids are more likely to be overweight when their parents are misinformed about sugar in their kids’ diet. Since sugar intake is associated with an increased risk of being overweight and parents are a child’s nutritional gatekeeper, it essential that they know the ins and outs of sugar.

“Added sugars have infiltrated our lives in a pervasive way, making it crucial that parents know how to identify it and how much is too much,” says Dr. Nimali Fernando, a Fredericksburg, Virginia-based pediatrician who founded The Doctor Yum Project. “Without solid information regarding sugar intake, we may be setting our children up for possible health problems later.”

According to the American Heart Association, children should consume less than 25 grams of added sugar per day, which is equivalent to 6 teaspoons, and that children under the age of 2 should not have any sugar-added foods or beverages. They report that eating foods high in added sugar throughout childhood is linked to a higher risk of developing such diseases in adulthood as heart disease. It’s also linked to obesity and elevated blood pressure in both children and adults.

Childhood obesity has become a hot-button issue in recent years, as the number of children considered overweight and obese continues to rise, particularly among children age 2-5. According to a recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine, 57 percent of today’s children are predicted to be obese by age 35.

Parents are often confused when it comes to sugar intake with their children. Sugar that comes in the form of whole fruit is generally good, while added sugar is what parents need to really watch. Added sugars are those sugars that have been used by the food industry to enhance a food’s flavor. While a piece of fruit is a good choice, “fruit snacks” (the kind that come look like soft candy, for example) may not be, because of the added sugars. Even some foods that seem healthy may contain “hidden” added sugars, making it important for parents to get to know the terms and become label readers.

Here are 5 ways for parents to become savvy about the sneaky ways food companies add sugar to foods:

  1. Confusing food labels. Figuring out how many added teaspoons are in a recipe is not straightforward. First, food labels report sugar in grams. So remember this equation the next time you look at a label: 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar. To further complicate things, food labels historically did not break down added sugar with naturally occurring sugar. So when we look at a label on a sweetened fruit yogurt, it’s often unclear how much of the sugar comes from natural milk sugars and fruit versus how much extra sugar the food company has added. Luckily, by the end of 2018 most food labels will be updated to break down total vs added sugar which will make reading a label more straightforward.
  2. Small portion sizes. A favorite food may not look like it has much sugar per serving, but if you look closely you may notice that the serving size is much smaller than what you may actually eat. Take the example of cereal. A typical serving size for cereal may be a half a cup or less than a cup per serving, which is much smaller than most people will actually eat (especially if it’s really sweet, because you are likely to eat more). If there are two teaspoons of sugar in a serving, but you can eat three servings, that 2 teaspoons quickly multiplies to 6 teaspoons, the recommended daily limit for a child.
  3. Sweetening with “healthier” sugars. Sweeteners like honey, agave and maple syrup may make a food appear healthier, but that doesn’t mean they actually are. While they may be more natural than refined sugar, manufacturers are still adding sugar to a food that may not need extra sweetness. Don’t be fooled by healthier sounding added sweetener ingredients.
  4. Using sneaky names for sugar. Sometime it can be hard to spot sugar in an ingredient list because there are so many code names. One nutrition source reports that sugar can be spotted with as many as 61 different names. Sugar’s many code names include: rice syrup, dextrose, maltose and barley malt, and high-fructose corn syrup. This is a great tactic, as companies are required to list foods by weight in decreasing order. By listing sugar with more than one name, companies may be able to bury sugar further down on the list, making it seem like there is less.
  5. Know the sneakiest foods. There are some foods that seem to have hidden sugars in them more often than others. Be aware of and read the labels carefully on such foods as granola bars, breakfast cereals, yogurt, fruit snacks, and juice. Juice is trickier because technically the sugar in juice is considered naturally occurring. However, it’s more like a processed food. There is nothing natural about a child drinking the equivalent of 5 apples worth of sugar. And when we drink apple juice, there is no fiber to help slow down the absorption the way there is when we eat an apple. Skip the juice and stick with water for hydration and whole fruit for fiber and nutrients instead.

“Childhood is where many of our food habits are formed, making it that much more important that we help our children learn to sensibly navigate the nutritional landscape,” added Heidi DiEugenio, director of the Doctor Yum Project. “The more we can help them learn better and healthier food habits now, the more they will benefit from those choices and habits into the future.”

10 Ways Fit Moms Squeeze in Exercise

Squeezing in a work out when you have children and a schedule that’s already overloaded isn’t easy. In addition, exercise may conjure up negative feelings because for some it implies long, strenuous hours in a musky gym. However, staying active is imperative to your physical, mental and emotional well-being, so finding convenient ways to sneak exercise into your daily routine is a must.

  1. Make Yourself a Priority – To be the best parent you can be, you have to make sure you take care of yourself, too. This means keeping your physical and mental health a priority. Setting aside time for yourself each day, even if it’s only 20 minutes, is a way of getting into a routine that will allow you to spend a little time on yourself.
  2. Just Breathe – Studies conducted by the Division of Internal Medicine at Aoyama Clinic in Niigata, Japan on the Senobi breathing technique and a 2006 American Heart Association-published study on pranayama yoga breathing exercises indicated that the way you breathe can affect your overall health and fitness. If you don’t have the time for a full work out, exploring these breathing techniques may be a helpful alternative.
  3. When in Doubt, Stretch it Out – If you’ve missed your window of making it to the gym, spending just 10 minutes on the floor stretching each evening before crawling into bed or first thing in the morning before you start your day is a way of keeping limber and increasing your range of motion.
  4. Play Dates Aren’t Just for the Kids – Set up play dates with other parents looking to incorporate exercise while supervising their little ones for the support and accountability of a dedicated work-out group. Brisk walks around the playground or jogging with the kids in strollers are options to buddy-up and stay motivated with other parents or your spouse.
  5. Baby Weight – Who said that lifting weights had to include heavy barbells and awkward gym equipment? Some post-natal yoga classes are even designed to incorporate your child as resistance weight. Try doing lunges across the front yard while carrying baby in your arms or doing a few exercises of your own during baby’s tummy time.
  6. Sleep it Off – In order to optimize the benefits of any exercise routine, you need to get plenty of rest. Find a routine that doesn’t leave you completely drained of energy or interfere with your parenting, but understand that sometimes it’s important to skip a work out and simply rest when you’re feeling exhausted.
  7. No Sweat – Sweating brings fresh, oxygenated blood to tissues and organs and helps rid the body of toxins. It’s also a sign of the body working, but you don’t have to spend hours on a treadmill to break a sweat. Incorporate exercise into your daily activities. Have a dance party with your kids in the living room. Jog alongside your kids when they go for a bike ride. When possible, park farther away at the store and by-pass the elevator for the stairs. These kinds of minor changes add up and over time you will start to notice these tasks becoming easier and easier.
  8. Mutual Investments – If running or walking is your favorite type of exercise, invest in a well-built stroller made to accommodate these kinds of activities. This will optimize your efforts and minimize your frustration when you’re on the go. Or, make it a family affair and purchase a video game console that offers games that use physical activities, such as dancing, as a way to connect with your kids and also get in a sweat session.
  9. Sharing is Caring – Take advantage of your gym membership. Many gyms today have on-site day care services so that moms and dads can take a break from parenting and get in a work-out. If you’re not a member of a gym, you might opt for finding parents that are willing to work out a schedule so each of you has time to get out and exercise.
  10. Stay Motivated – Keeping motivated is an issue for most, whether there are children involved or not. Making an effort to find things that motivate you can help you accomplish your goals. Music you groove to, gym classes you enjoy and people who inspire you are all great ways to keep you motivated. If you aren’t getting pleasure in what you’re doing or who you’re with, it is likely you will give up or quit. Instead, set goals and find inspiration to keep you going.

Truth be told, fitting exercise into your schedule when you have children all comes down to convenience and sustainability. If it’s not convenient, you’re not likely to continue with a particular regimen. Find an exercise program that fits your lifestyle and daily needs as a parent. Stay positive and don’t beat yourself up for missing a work out here and there. It’s possible to be a good parent and keep a fit lifestyle; you just have to find the right balance.

Photo: Bumbleride

The 8 Things You Can Do To Keep the Rest of Summer Safe

Summer is a great time to get out and have fun, but be mindful of the following safety tips:
  1.     Make sure your CPR and first Aid certifications are up-to-date. Accidents happen regardless of how many safety precautions you take. Being prepared to handle whatever may come up helps you stay calm during an emergency, take the correct action quickly, and keep injuries to a minimum. If your certifications have lapsed, contact your local Red Cross or American Heart Association to schedule a renewal class. Proper training can literally save a life.
  2.     One of the best ways to spend a summer afternoon is playing at the pool, lake, or ocean. But water can be deceptively dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year about 800 children drown. Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 3, and the second-leading cause among kids under 15. Keeping a watchful eye on all children and staying within an arm’s reach of younger children is essential to keeping them safe at the pool, lake, or ocean. Don’t assume children who are strong swimmers are automatically safe around water. Every child can fall victim to a cramp, tiring, or an unseen undertow.
  3.     Staying hydrated is one of the most important safety precautions you can take during summertime. Instead of stocking up on juice and sports drinks, invest in a quality water filter and plenty of refillable water bottles. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that “water, not sports drinks, should be the principal source of hydration for children and adolescents.” What about kids involved in summer sports? The AAP says, “Sports drinks can be helpful for young athletes engaged in prolonged, vigorous physical activities, but in most cases they are unnecessary on the sports field.” Making sure kids drink plenty of water throughout the day will keep them hydrated and ready to take on summertime fun.
  4.     Putting sunscreen on kids 6 months and older every time they go outside is a must. Applying sunscreen 30 minutes before children are in the sun ensures they have full protection. Teaching kids to spell BEENS will help you remember to cover often forgotten spots: Back of knees, Ears, Eye area, Neck, and Scalp. Reapplying sunscreen every two hours, more often if the kids are swimming or playing in the water, will help keep kids safe throughout the day.
  5.     Insects are an unavoidable part of summer and painful or itchy bites can quickly dampen any outdoor activity. Using a safe and effective bug repellant makes time spent outside a lot more enjoyable. The American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control recommend parents and caregivers use an insect repellant that contains 10% to 30% DEET on children 2 months and older. Combination sunscreen / insect repellent products shouldn’t be used because sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours, but insect repellent doesn’t.
  6.     Ticks are another troublesome part of summer. They can infect both children and adults with bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause serious illness including Lyme disease. Even when using an insect repellant with DEET children can pick up ticks, especially when playing in areas where ticks thrive like the woods and grassy lawn areas. Doing a full body check for ticks each day is the best way to ensure your charges stay tick-free. Adding a daily tick patrol to the evening bath routine makes a routine check easy and fun to do. If you do find a tick, grasp it with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, and pull it straight out.
  7.     Summer is the perfect opportunity for you and older children to enjoy a bike ride on local trails or through a favorite park. Making sure kids are wearing a quality correctly-fitting helmet is necessary to prevent injury in the case of an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says, “A properly fitted bicycle helmet reduces the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent.” Helping kids personalize their helmets to reflect their own interests and hobbies is an easy way to get them excited about adding it to their safety routine.
  8.     Bikes aren’t the only thing that requires a helmet. Blades, scooters, and skateboards all pose their own risks. Knee and elbow pads are a smart idea for children of all skill levels. Pads should have a hard plastic shield, not interfere with movement, and fit snugly without cutting off circulation. For beginners, outfitting kids with additional gear such as wrist guards, gloves, and mouth guards will offer added protection and peace of mind.

Study: Pregnancy Complications linked to Heart Disease Later


pregnancy heart disease

Women who experience complications during pregnancy may be at greater risk of dying from heart disease later in life than women with uncomplicated pregnancies, according to new research in the American Heart Association‘s journal Circulation.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is the No. 1 killer of American women. According to the American Heart Association, 399,503 women died of CVD in 2013. CVD is also the leading cause of death among American men.

Researchers analyzed data from the Public Health Institute’s Child Health and Development Studies (CHDS), which enrolled 15,528 pregnant women in the Oakland, Calif., metropolitan area from 1959 to 1967. As of 2011, 368 women (average age 66) had died of CVD. Researchers confirmed several pregnancy complications associated with CVD reported in other studies (pre-eclampsia, pre-term delivery and small-for-gestational-age delivery) but here also found that preeclampsia in early pregnancy strongly predicts premature CVD death before age 60.


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Study: Pregnancy loss linked to heart disease later

Miscarriages and stillbirths might be a marker for women at higher risk of developing heart disease later in life, an observational study suggested.
The study suggests that physicians should now include stillbirth or miscarriage on their list of items to ask about in screening for cardiovascular disease.
Coronary heart disease risk was 27% higher for women who had a history of stillbirth compared with none (multivariate adjusted odds ratio 1.27, 95% CI 1.07-1.51), Donna R. Parker, ScD, of Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island in Pawtucket, and colleagues found.
That risk was a significant 18% to 19% elevated among women with one or two prior miscarriages compared with none in an analysis of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) observational cohort appearing in the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.
“Women with a history of one or more stillbirths or one or more miscarriages appear to be at increased risk of future cardiovascular disease and should be considered candidates for closer surveillance and/or early intervention,” they urged.
The American Heart Association guidelines already include pregnancy complications as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in women due to growing evidence for an association, but these don’t address long-term cardiovascular implications of pregnancy loss, the group pointed out.
Physicians should now include stillbirth or miscarriage on their list of items to ask about in screening for cardiovascular disease, argued Roxana Mehran, MD, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, who was not involved in the study.
“This is so important because the prevalence of pregnancy loss is increasing as the [average] age of women who are becoming pregnant is increasing,” she told MedPage Today.
Women with a history of pregnancy loss perhaps should be screened earlier, agreed Mehran, the founding and immediate past chair of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions’ Women in Innovations program, working with ob/gyns to promote screening women for cardiovascular risk factors.
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Study: Placenta cells may curb Preeclampsia Stroke risk

Researchers are conducting tests to see if cells from baby’s placenta can be used to treat preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication.
Preeclampsia is one of the leading killers of pregnant women in the U.S. and around the world, and occurs in 3-5% of pregnancies in the U.S. In severe cases the disease can cause strokes, seizures, and even the death of a pregnant woman or her baby. 
The only cure for preeclampsia is delivery. The disease can start in mid- pregnancy so a very early delivery may be needed to save the life of the mother. Preterm delivery can negatively impact an infant’s health across her lifespan. Preeclampsia is actually responsible for 12% of preterm births in the U.S.
Until recently it was thought that preeclampsia had no long term effects on a woman’s health after she delivered. This February, however, the American Heart Association & American Stroke Association announced that women who had a history of preeclampsia had twice the risk of stroke and four times the risk of developing high blood pressure even decades after their pregnancies. 
Right now there are no cures and scientists do not completely understand the causes of preeclampsia, although abnormal development and function of the placenta are thought to play a central role.  
Doctors can sometimes treat symptoms but no treatments stop the progress of the disease. There are few ongoing clinical trials to evaluate potential treatments. Novartis and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development each have an ongoing study.
A new trial is being designed by Pluristem Therapeutics to test a placenta-based cell therapy for treatment of preeclampsia. Pluristem takes cells from the placenta, which is generally discarded after birth, and expands and modulates them in 3 dimensional bioreactors. The therapeutic cells produced in their manufacturing facility are injected into muscle where they secrete proteins which could potentially treat preeclampsia. The first human trial of this treatment is expected to begin towards the end of the year. 
The US Preventive Services Task Force and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommend giving low dose aspirin to pregnant women with specific high risk factors for developing preeclampsia because it reduces their chance of developing the disease by 24%.
 Many women who develop preeclampsia have no identifiable risk factors, however, and with 75% of treated women still developing the disease, preeclampsia remains a significant unmet medical need that needs to be addressed with research and development of therapies. A treatment, whether it be a drug or a cell therapy, would have a significant impact on the health of pregnant women and their children worldwide. 
Karine Kleinhaus, MD, MPH, is Divisional VP, North-America at Pluristem Therapeutics. She has worked with multiple public and private biotechnology companies on both public and investor relations. Prior to that, she was an assistant professor in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine. At NYU, Dr. Kleinhaus conducted medical research funded under a multi-year NIH grant. She published more than 25 papers in leading peer-reviewed journals such as the Annals of the New York Academy of Science, American Journal of Medical Genetics, and the American Journal of Epidemiology. Before that Dr. Kleinhaus practiced obstetrics and then completed two fellowships at Columbia University. 
Dr. Kleinhaus received her medical degree from Tel Aviv University, earned a Master of Public Health from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, and a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Princeton University.

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Pregnancy, Birth Control Pills & Stroke linked

Taking birth control pills can influence a woman’s risk of stroke. So can migraines and menopause.

Even though women die of stroke at a greater rate than men – it’s their third leading cause of death, compared to men’s fifth – many aren’t aware they have a unique set of risk factors.

“If you are a woman, you share many of the same risk factors for stroke with men, but your risk is also influenced by hormones, reproductive health, pregnancy, childbirth and other sex-related factors,” said Dr. Cheryl Bushnell, author of a new statement published in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association.

The statement, issued Thursday by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, lays out for the first time a set of stroke prevention guidelines for doctors and their female patients.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking are stroke risk factors for both women and men. But other risk factors including migraine with aura, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, depression and emotional stress are more common in women.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/women-stroke-risk-factors-pregnancy-migraines-article-1.1606130#ixzz2sfoiyN43

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National Wear Red Day is Tomorrow – Tips for Managing Stress & fighting Heart Disease in Women

Tomorrow, Friday, February 7   Go Red for Women  to show your support to fight Heart Disease, the No. 1 killer of women in the United States which claims more lives than all forms of cancer. Recent studies also found that cardiac disease in pregnancy is becoming more common.
For over 10 years, the American Heart Association has sponsored National Wear Red Day® to raise awareness in the fight against heart disease in women.
Practically speaking, you can support by educating yourself and your female friends and loved ones on how to stay heart healthy.
There are 4 simple things you can do to improve your chances of living a healthy life and avoiding heart disease:  1) Quit smoking,  2) Get Consistent exercise,  3) Manage your Stress and Eat healthier including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry, fish and nuts,  and avoiding red meat, as well as sugary and processed foods and foods that are high in sodium.
40 Red dresses under $100

The Go Red website offers tips for managing stress:

Think ahead

Practicing effective time management is key to lessening stress in the workplace. Jacobs recommends starting projects far ahead of deadlines to guard against scrambling at the last second. Take note of how long tasks or projects take you to complete so you can best manage your own expectations and those of your colleagues. Avoid the stress of being late to meetings by setting your watch five to 10 minutes ahead.

Focus on one thing at a time

Instead of trying to deal with everything at once—answer emails, make calls, organize your desk, finish a report—focus on accomplishing one thing at a time. For example, answer emails for an allotted amount of time, then stop and focus on something else, like the report you need to finish. This helps minimize stress by allowing you to focus on the objective at hand instead of feeling scattered.

Take a break

“We all need to build in rest periods during the day,” Jacobs says. “Working through lunch is a terrible way of managing stress. Try taking 30 to 60 minutes to step away from your desk and decompress. You will come back with a sense of replenishment.”

Adjust your expectations

While it is important to challenge yourself at work, taking on more than you can handle can create a tremendous amount of stress.

“If you have no chance of meeting expectations in the workplace, it can cause feelings of demoralization,” Jacobs says. “Find ways to decrease the demands made upon your self, if that means being less self critical or having a frank conversation with your superior about adjusting your workload.”

Use emergency stress stoppers

Emergency stress stoppers help you deal with stress on the spot. These can be extremely effective in the work environment when you’ve got a lot on your plate, your mind is racing and the stress is mounting. You may need different stress stoppers for different situations and sometimes it helps to combine them.

  • Count to 10 before you speak.
  • Take three to five deep breaths.
  • Ask for time to handle a stressful situation, so you can accomplish it to your liking and on your terms.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m sorry,” if you make a mistake.

If you shop at Party City stores nationwide, from  February 2nd through March 1, 2014, it will collect $1, $3 and $5 donations from customers in stores with all proceeds raised to be donated to Go Red For Women.

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