NWI Parent

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows <em>Sesame Street</em> characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

This undated photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine shows Sesame Street characters Elmo, second from right, and Super Grover, right, as they pose with four new Muppets representing healthy food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains as part of their “Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative in New York. The program is aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S.—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don't get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability. (AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Richard Termine)

“C” is for cookie. And “N” is for nutrition.

The folks at Sesame Street are hoping to spell out a message of eating well with a new initiative aimed at fighting hunger.

The program, “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget,” is being put together by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. It’s aimed at the 15 percent of households in the U.S—accounting for approximately 9 million children—who don’t get food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability.

School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

October 17th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

In this August 18, 2006 file photo, students eat lunch at Pleasant View Middle School in Springfield, Tennessee. The U.S. government is trying new approaches to get kids to choose healthier foods.
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hide the chocolate milk behind the plain milk. Get those apples and oranges out of stainless steel bins and into pretty baskets. Cash only for desserts.

These subtle moves can entice kids to make healthier choices in school lunch lines, studies show. Food and restaurant marketers have long used similar tricks. Now the government wants in on the act.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced what it called a major new initiative last Tuesday, giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to improve kids’ use of the federal school lunch program and fight childhood obesity.

A fresh approach is clearly needed, those behind the effort say.

Filed under: Education, Food, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

The Bod Squad uses TV to target childhood obesity

October 11th, 2010 - By Lauren Everitt, Medill News Service

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island.  The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity. (Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac in their personal training studio near Goose Island. The duo is raising funds for a pilot TV series to help fight childhood obesity.
(Photograph by Lauren Everitt/Medill.)

Television is an unlikely tool in the fight against childhood obesity but if Chicago fitness trainers Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac have their way, kids will be counting, shaking and toe tapping their way to a healthier lifestyle alongside The Bod Squad, the duo’s pilot television series.

Perched on exercise balls in their apartment, which doubles as a personal training studio, Elliott and Drapac explained their shared passions for fitness and the arts, a desire to combat childhood obesity and their plans for the show.

The duo aims to help reduce the incidence of obesity among children through a follow-along adventure television series that keeps kids on their feet for a full 60 minutes, while teaching them the essentials of healthy living, Drapac, 27, said.

Students kickoff year-long wellness challenge

October 5th, 2010 - By Kathleen Quilligan

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

A Munster football player helps students during Game-On—The Ultimate Wellness Challenge at Eads Elementary School in Munster. Throughout the year students at the school will learn about nutritious food choices and exercise through an USDA Team Nutrition Grant.

Eight-year-old Ty Morgan was so excited for the Wellness Challenge at his school Wednesday that he couldn’t sleep Tuesday night.

Linda Bevil, principal at James B. Eads Elementary, doesn’t mind what got him so excited was the promise of interaction with Munster High School football players helping with a lesson in hydration rather than the lesson itself, because she sees the high school students as part of the recipe for success of the program which will teach students fitness and nutrition tips throughout the school year.

“We have PTO moms setting up drinks,” Bevil said Wednesday, gesturing to a table full of cups of water. “The whole community is involved, the school, parents, high school students.”

Project aims to break bad food habits

September 27th, 2010 - By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Before Simone French was one of the nation’s foremost researchers on eating habits—long before her studies warned about fast-food marketing and Coke machines in schools—she was a teen who snacked after school on Twinkies and dined with her mom at Burger King.

Which is to say she understands the cravings and time crunches and cost concerns that make people choose unhealthy foods even when they know, deep down, they shouldn’t. “Right now,” she said in an interview this week, “the easy choice is the unhealthy choice.”

French, 46, is part of a powerhouse team at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health that won a $7 million federal grant this month to change the habits of hundreds of families. The project is part of an ongoing university research program that seeks to motivate better health and eating through studies of family dinners, school lunches and food commercials.

Think outside the box when packing lunch

September 26th, 2010 - By Heidi Bell Gease Journal, Rapid City Journal

If there were a lunch box queen, Holly Riker would own the crown.

Over the past six years, Riker has packed more than 2,000 lunches for her children, Hannah, 12, Jack, 10, and Max, 8.

“My kids have never eaten school lunch,” the Rapid City woman said. “It’s just kind of become habit more than anything.”

Habit, and a strong belief that homemade can be healthier.

“Me knowing that they’re getting stuff that’s less processed has really been kind of the goal,” Riker said.

In other words, you won’t find bologna sandwiches or candy bars in the Riker kids’ lunch boxes. Instead, the menu might include Greek salad, roasted eggplant spread with pita strips or, in Hannah’s case, sushi.

“Each kid has their own specific preferences,” Riker said.

Somehow she manages to keep those preferences straight and tailor lunches accordingly—”which is why my husband claims he can’t pack lunches,” she said with a laugh. (In fact, Riker also packs husband Mike’s lunches.)

Fitparenting 101—Back to school lessons for Mom, Dad

September 13th, 2010 - By Marilynn Preston, The Associated Press

The Back to School banners are waving, and parents all over America are being tested with difficult questions that weren’t even an issue 10 years ago: Is my child too fat? Too stressed? Too medicated? Over-programmed or under-programmed? Too shy or too aggressive? Is his backpack too heavy?

Is she spending too much time texting and shopping when she should be on the soccer field, building muscles and a future as a team-playing corporate executive?

Parenting has never been tougher, and yet it’s not too late to make the grade. The U.S. school system—a chronic failure struggling to improve—can only do so much.

Snack attack—Schools try to get the junk out

July 19th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, The Associated Press

It’s not hard to figure out that stocking school vending machines with sugary sodas and salty, fatty snacks is a bad idea. Replacing those culinary culprits with something more nutritious is tougher.

But a growing number of school districts around the country are trying anyway.

“I can’t say enough for what it does for the kids to have the junk out of the machines,” says Patricia Gray, who as former principal of San Francisco’s Balboa High School oversaw a switch to healthier snacks.

Filed under: Education, Health & Wellness. Tags: , .

Indiana teens may face early deaths

June 10th, 2010 - By Dan Carden

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

State health commissioner says survey shows teen health habits must improve

The health habits of Indiana’s teenagers make them more likely to die younger than the generation before.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said Thursday that is his interpretation of the results of a statewide survey of 1,515 Indiana teens questioned about their eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, driving and sex practices.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life as the generation before them,” Larkin said.

Filed under: Food, Health & Wellness.

Food choices can affect antibiotic’s effectiveness

Art Smith, Elmo team up to cook up good nutrition

November 29th, 2010 - By Michelle Locke, for the Associated Press