Is Childhood Obesity Your Mom’s Fault?

According to a recent study, moms who are overweight tend to feed their children more often—and fill up their plates more. This behavior increases the risk for childhood- and future adult obesity.

Please, May I Have Some More?

Today’s world seems to have such a disparity between childhood starvation and childhood obesity. Neither is healthy—or fair to the child. The particular study that observed the behaviors of overweight and obese mothers was out of the University of Florida.

Of the 29 obese women in the study, researchers concluded that they all assumed their children were hungrier than they were. They fed their children more food than did the mothers of a healthier body weight. The 29 children were all between the ages of three and six years.

Results of Too Much

The lead investigator on the case commented on one of the (negative) aspects of the findings. “Young children have difficulty recognizing when they’re full. The more they’re fed, the more likely they are to eat.” Whether they are full or not.

Certainly, parents and caretakers need to oversee that children are fed when hungry. The difference, however, is that the obese women presupposed that the kids required more food than they did. This study opens up a great dialogue on how parents and children together can work on reasonable portions.

The Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics recently published these discoveries. Appropriate portions during childhood can lead to a lifelong of healthy eating habits. Additionally, learning at a young age what it’s like to feel hungry—and then full—is essential for each.

Snacking Situation

Snacks can be good. In fact, they can increase metabolism, help lower blood sugar, and relieve hunger before the next meal. But, they have to be nutritious!

Salty snacks (high in sodium and low in fiber or vitamins) and candy are the major calories derived from the worst snacking. Research in the past decade has shown that children’s snacks consist of almost one-third of their daily caloric intake. Since the 1990’s, kids’ calories from snacks have gone up almost 170 calories, daily.

Snacks for children and adults should be fiber and nutrition-rich. Some examples are carrots, a handful of nuts, or a scoop of peanut or almond butter on a celery stick. Fruit is good in moderation and should be derived fresh (not from juice or cans.) A scoop of anything with healthy fats (avocado, hummus) on an organic corn chip is perfectly acceptable and delicious. And, don’t forget to drink a glass of water!

Knowledge is Power

Knowing how much to feed yourself—and your child—is essential to maintaining a healthy body weight. Remember that your stomach is much larger than a toddler’s. It’s also important to recognize true hunger. Are you really hungry? Or bored? Or stressed?

And just because it tastes good, are you eating more than you need?

You can help prevent your child from becoming overweight by teaching healthy eating habits early in life. Part of how this can be accomplished is through modeling. Check with your practitioner, pediatrician, or nutritionist for professional guidance. You can always check here for other tips on nutrition, parenting, and best health practices.


Could You have Diabetes (or Prediabetes) and Not Know?

The newest number from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 100 million adult Americans currently have diabetes or prediabetes. Diabetes can be an extremely disabling condition. Could you be on the road to developing diabetes and not know it? Or could you already be living with it and not know?

Diabetes Disaster

Diabetes and Prediabetes is an epidemic in the United States as well as in numerous other countries. A published study in the June 2017 New England Journal of Medicine reported that over 2 billion people in the world are overweight or obese. Obesity is a primary cause for the onset of type-2 diabetes.

Diabetes, according to research collected in the U.S. in 2015, was the seventh leading cause of death. The CDC’s recent report revealed that nearly one in four adults in the U.S. do not know they even have diabetes.

Recently, the director of the CDC announced that over a third of American adults have prediabetes. “And the majority don’t know it.” It’s pretty frightening that millions and millions of people are prediabetic and are unaware of their own condition.

Prediabetes is the condition that can lead to type-2 diabetes when left untreated.

When a person develops type-2 diabetes, he/she is at greater risk for:

  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • kidney disease
  • nerve disorders
  • vision loss
  • hearing impairment
  • bacterial and fungal skin infections
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Although it make takes years to develop and show outward symptoms, routine blood sugar tests (perhaps with a yearly physical) can inform you and your health practitioner if there are any concerns.

If you experience symptoms such as:

Increased thirst, increased hunger, extreme fatigue, frequent urination, blurred vision, areas of darkened skin, or have slow-healing sores…

These may be signs that you are diabetic.

Reversing the Damage

The body is an amazing healing machine. Even with prediabetes and type-2 diabetes, making specific lifestyle changes can help you overcome your body’s resistance to insulin. But, before you fall ill, you may want to start taking better care.

Two major recommendations are:

1) Feed yourself properly and healthily.

2) Exercise.

Choose fresh foods. Eat lots of vegetables. Avoid processed foods and meats. Cut down on any products with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and corn syrup. (There is sugar in bread, by the way.) Avoid all artificial sweeteners except for Stevia.

Any time you move your body, you may consider that exercise. Walking as much as you can (and often) can do wonders. Swimming, cycling, running, dancing, making love, taking the stairs, gardening… these are all excellent ways to cleanse toxins from your body and help you lose weight.

GetThrive online and its newsletters offer a wealth of ideas on how to lose weight and how to stay healthy. Today is a great day to start your journey to wellness!




Is Stress Fattening?

A recent study shows that people who are experiencing stress are more apt to eat tastier foods and relinquish their dietary willpower.

Calm and Slim

The experiment was conducted with 51 men. Half were placed in a stressful situation by keeping their hand in ice water for a long period of time.

Levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) actually increased. Those guys in the stressed-out group chose the less-healthy food than the calmer guys because it looked good, and they needed comfort at that moment.

Looking Into The Future

A steadfast mind can keep on track to reach a goal. But when the mind gets anxious, it tends to look at the present—what’s the quickest gratification? So, if you’re on a diet and you start feeling stressed, remind yourself that you have a goal. Try to keep the big picture in mind. This too shall pass.


Am I at Risk for Colorectal Cancer (even if I’m 25 or 30)?

Medical providers generally suggest a colonoscopy for those 50 years old and above. There has been, however, a noticeable increase in rectal cancer for those in their 20’s and 30’s. What’s more worrisome is that the increase is not due to genetics, but perhaps, rather, environmental factors.

Spiking Rates

“Someone born in 1990 would now have twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer than at the same, had they been born in 1950,” according to researchers at the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.

Frighteningly, colorectal is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer.

How Could It Possibly Be Me?

Doctors and researchers cannot absolutely pinpoint the cause of this growing trend of younger people being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. One hypothesis is that someone in his 20’s is less likely to suspect that signs and symptoms of the disease are pointing towards cancer.

Screenings for this type of cancer, as mentioned, are not recommended for those under 50, unless they’re in a high-risk group. High-risk might include someone with Crohn’s, IBS, or an Autoimmune disease such as HIV. And because younger people aren’t paying attention to symptoms, and not getting tested, often the colorectal cancer is finally detected at more advanced stages.

Not having access to health insurance can also thwart someone from getting screenings or seeing a specialist.

Better if You’re Older

Because of suggested screenings, rectal cancer in those over 50 is often found at an early stage. Back in 1985, approximately 225 people out of 100,000 (over age 50) were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. As of 2013, those rates changed to 116 out of 100,000.  That’s a significant drop in numbers.

Additionally, when a 55-year old notices blood in her stool, she apt to question its origin more than a 25 year-old would. Often, blood found on toilet tissue is mistaken as a sign of bleeding hemorrhoids. Obviously we shouldn’t panic over certain signs, but there may be some that are worth discussing with a physician.

Some symptoms are:

-unusual sustained bloating

-unintended weight loss

-chronic constipation

-blood in stools

Keeping Calm

Yes, newer studies and data are showing increased numbers in younger people diagnosed with colorectal cancer. However, the truth is that the rate of people in their 20’s getting the disease has only increased by two cases for every 200,000 people per year. In 2013, the research showed that approximately 8 out of 100,000 adults under 50 were diagnosed positive for the cancer.

And although the colorectal cancer rates are rising slightly in the younger set, the mortality rate has not increased. Younger people are not dying at higher rates. It’s still fairly uncommon to be diagnosed if you’re under 50, but the rates are rising—and quickly.

Lifestyle, Environment, and Behavior

There is an increased risk of getting any cancer, amongst any age group, when “healthy, mindful living” isn’t part of one’s habitual daily life. Sure, there are folks who smoke, are obese, never exercise, and never get cancer. But, that might be called a “fluke” or “getting lucky.”

How we treat our bodies reflect how well it treats us. And sadly, there, too, are folks who get diagnosed with cancer who’ve taken great care of themselves all along. That unlucky roll of the die is most likely attributable to the toxins in our air, water, and soil.

Regardless, you can decrease your risk, overall, if you are mindful of the foods you eat, the air your breather, the water your drink, and your body’s stress levels. High fiber, low fat, organic foods can help keep your digestive system functioning at optimum capacity. Daily exercise also lends to expelling toxins, increasing oxygen-rich blood, and experiencing less tension and stress. All of these behaviors can certainly keep you healthier than if you didn’t practice them.


Weight Gain & Mental Illness – Can They Be Linked?

Weight Gain—Can it Be Linked to Mental Illness?

Having a mental illness such as bipolar disorder does not necessarily make you gain weight. Studies have shown, however, that over three-quarters of those with a severe mental disability happen to be overweight or obese.

Why the Weight Gain?

Mental illness, in and of itself, most likely does not create weight gain. Research hasn’t determined if, for example, bipolar disorder directly affects the body, making it gain weight. Metabolism is affected, which can certainly instigate weight fluctuation. But, a disorder such as binge eating would more likely trigger behavior that could potentially cause obesity.

There are several reasons that may be contributory. The most obvious are poor eating habits and inactivity. Whether mental illness is a factor or not, any human being who eats poorly (processed, fried, or fast foods) can expect to gain weight. This is especially true if a person is not moving around or exercising.

Some medicines prescribed for mental disorders cause increased appetite. Others create metabolic changes that simply augment weight, regardless of higher caloric intake. For example, Lithium, a mood stabilizer, is known to be responsible for adding pounds. Also, many antipsychotic drugs cause weight gain.

The Heavy Facts

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), over 80 percent of people with serious mental illnesses are overweight or obese. One study out of Germany observed over 2,000 women between the ages of 18 and 25. It found that obese women had the highest rate of mental disorders.

One major reason patients with mental illness have a higher mortality rate is due to increased risk of disease. Being overweight or obese may lead to acquiring high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that within the next four years, obesity will be the single biggest killer on the planet.

There are several challenges in the attempt to aid those with mental illness to maintain or lose weight. Some may have memory impairment—learning new behaviors may be too difficult. Some may not have access to a gym or may be too afraid to workout in a public space.

How to Help

If you, or someone you know, is a caretaker of a person with mental illness, perhaps begin by observing eating and activity habits. Help create a nutrition and simple exercise plan. It will be stressful to make changes, so begin with easy modifications. Perhaps fruit with eggs in the morning instead of adding bacon or pancakes. A nice walk outdoors is a great way to start getting active. Also, see about encouraging local psychiatric rehabilitation outpatient programs to incorporate physical fitness instructor and nutritionists. For more articles on mental health and wellbeing, check out