Strong Families Eat Together
The WVU Extension’s Strong Families Eat Together program is an educational program designed to help provide parents with tools to improve their family mealtime experiences and develop better family communication skills. Educational resources are available in Spanish. To learn more, contact the Extension Office.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services released The National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy aimed at making health information and services easier to understand and use. The plan calls for improving the jargon-filled language, dense writing, and complex explanations that often fill patient handouts, medical forms, health web sites, and recommendations to the public. According to the report, efforts to improve the health literacy skills of both the public and health professionals are needed to achieve a health literate societya critical need as health reform generates more demand for consumer and patient information that is easy-to-understand and culturally and linguistically appropriate.
Based on research from the U.S. Department of Education, only 12 percent of English-speaking adults in the United States have proficient health literacy skills. The overwhelming majority of adults have difficulty understanding and using everyday health information that comes from many sources, including the media, Web sites, nutrition and medicine labels, and health professionals. To review the plan in its entirety, visit: http://www.health.gov/communication/HLActionPlan
It’s Never Too Early OR Too Late to Make Bone Health a Priority
By Nancy Zwick, RD, LD, National Dairy Council
By 2020, half of all Americans over age 50 will be at increased risk for fractures from osteoporosis and low bone mass if no immediate steps are taken, according to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis. Adolescents and children aren’t getting enough bone building nutrients in their diets either. Healthcare professionals are beginning to see an increased rate of bone fractures among children.
Dr. Lisa Hark, director of the Nutrition Education and Prevention Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and host of the first season of “Honey, We’re Killing the Kids,” a television show on The Learning Channel, says parents need to know that it’s more than just the calcium and vitamin D in dairy foods that help build stronger bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis it’s dairy’s entire package of bone-building nutrients, which includes calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and vitamin D.
“Eating three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt or reduced-fat cheese each day in a healthy diet ensures adequate intake of essential nutrients that can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis years from now,” Dr. Hark says. “Parents should also encourage their children to be physically active.” Dr. Hark offers three simple steps to help build strong bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis for the entire family: # Eat a nutrient-rich diet that includes three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt or reduced-fat cheese each day. # Be active—participate in weight-bearing activities. # If you’re a parent, be a role model. Children will follow your lead.
A recent survey of approximately 1,000 moms nationwide found that less than half of Moms said they do not consume the recommended three servings of dairy foods a day. And data show that less than half of children ages 2-8 and only one-fourth of children ages 9-19 get the recommended three servings of dairy foods a day. Leading health professionals recognize the valuable role milk and flavored milk can play in a child’s diet to help them get the three servings of dairy they need each day.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, in a policy statement discouraging soft drinks in schools, encourages consumption of nutritious beverages including low fat or fat free white or flavored milk, water or real fruit or vegetable juice as a healthful alternative to soft drinks.
Supplements can’t duplicate what foods offer naturally. Plus, many foods rich in one bone-building nutrient also contain other helpful ones. For example, milk is rich in calcium, but it is also a good source of vitamin D, potassium and magnesium. If you are not able to drink milk or eat foods that contain calcium, you may need a supplement to meet your body’s calcium needs.
For more information, contact a registered dietitian at www.eatrightwv.org.