Playground Built in One Day in the Bronx

It’s heartwarming when you see ideas that actually get turned into actions. A new playground in the Bronx has done just this. Two nonprofits, DreamYard and KaBOOM! have come together with Delta Air Lines to build a play area on Washington Avenue near E. 166th Street in Morrisania. The project was completely dreamed up by kids.

As Tad Hutcheson, the VP of Community Affairs for Delta explained,

“Three months ago, we had a design day here and kids drew their ideal playground — what they like, swings, slides and all that. Some of those drawings included pools and roller coasters.”

KaBOOM! then used the drawings to develop a playground design with common elements that the kids had suggested. And in one day the playground was built and put into place.

Check out the finished project…and use this idea to dream bigger than you might imagine possible.

How Much Exercise Do You Really Need?

exercise-841167_960_720Yes, exercise is good for the heart and the energy level – but how much do you really need to get the full benefit? And how long do you need to sweat it out to feel the difference? You’ll be happy to hear what Dr. Thijs Eijsvogels and Dr. Paul Thompson have to say on the issue.

They compared the results of various amounts of exercise and various exercises to try to answer these questions. They found that the smallest amount of exercise that will still make a difference in your health…is only about 105 minutes a week. This is a shocking amount compared to what the NHS guidelines suggest, recommending 150 minutes of moderate activity each week.

While the researchers did agree with the Danish research which suggested that increasing your exercise helped with mortality benefits – they found that doing more than 240 minutes a week had no added health benefits.

They explained, “We agree that any dose of exercise is better than physical inactivity and did not intend to discourage individuals from pursuing more exercise. Performance of vigorous exercise is an effective way to reduce the risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. However, the dose-response relationship between exercise and cardiovascular health appears to be different for moderate-intensity vs vigorous-intensity activities.”

Three Tips for a Great School Year

schoolboy-990795_960_720Getting ready for the new school year can be quite exciting, but it can be nerve-raking as well. Little kids want to be seen as being cool and as fitting in. And that can be stressful both for the child and the parent as they search for the right school supplies and get all of the items together that the child will need for the coming year. Here are some suggestions that will help parents and children to navigate this process.

1. Clothing: Everything young girl wants to look just right for the new school year. If you haven’t already seen this company, check out the fun and feisty clothing at a place like LittleMissMatched. This company was acquired by Delta Galil with Isaac Dabah in 2012 and has continued created adorable and fashionable clothing. Delta Galil, with Isaac Dabah at the helm, leads the industry in technology innovation in textile manufacturing and design. At a company like LittleMissMatched, girls will find just the right clothing for the school year ahead.

2. Supplies: If you’ve been given a school list during the summer, it’s certainly worthwhile going to Target or a similar location and buying the school supplies. Bring your child with you so that she can pick the notebook colors and designs that she likes. This might seem like a little thing to you – but it will make a big difference to her.

3. Lunch Bags and Backpacks: Again, these may seem like little, inconsequential details and you may think of just picking up a lunch bag and backpack for your child without her present, but don’t. These are make-or-break items for looking and feeling cool as the school year starts. Let her shop for these items with you. Remember that you can also help the environment by buying a reusable lunch bag and avoiding the use of paper or plastic bags.
These tips should get you started on the right path. As soon as your daughter realized that you’re shopping with her and including her in the process, she’ll take ownership over it and will feel much better about her choices.

Thumb Sucking Just Might Be Good for Your Kid

mother-316879_960_720Many parents worry about their children and their thumb sucking or nail biting. But it’s possible that you should worry no longer, and here’s why. Scientists have actually found that children who sucked their thumbs or bit their names were more than 20% less likely to have allergies as adults.


It gets even better. The scientists from the University of Otaga in New Zealand found that for children who both sucked their thumbs and bit their nails – the risk was of having allergies was down to a third. The idea is that children who are engaging in these activities are ingesting bacteria living under their nails which can strengthen their immune systems and make them less prone to allergies.

This study did not show, however, a reduced risk for asthma or hay fever.

The study was conducted with the records of 1,037 women and men who were followed from the time they were children in the early 1990s as part of a New Zealand health study. Professor Bob Hancox studied the finger prick test they underwent at the age of 13 and again at 32 to check for allergies. As Professor Hancox said about the study, recently published in the journal Pediatrics: “The findings support the “hygiene hypothesis”, which suggests that being exposed to microbes reduces your risk of developing allergies.”

Stephanie Lynch, a medical student involved in the project cautioned, “I wouldn’t tell children to go out and suck their thumbs but it may just give a little peace of mind to parents and take the stress out.”

A New Way to Curb Cravings?

pizza-329523_960_720A new powdered food supplement just might end your cravings. Too good to be true? Scientists from Imperial College London and the University of Glasgow had 20 volunteers drink a milkshake that either had an ingredient called inulin-propionate ester in it, or a type of fibre called inulin. Participants then had an MRI scan where they were shown pictures of low and high calorie foods.

The researchers found that, when the volunteers had consumed the milkshake with the inulin-propionate ester, they had less activity in the brain in the area of reward when looking at the high calorie foods. Those participants also rated high calorie foods as less appealing.

There was a second part to the study, as well, where participants were given a bowl of pasta and told to eat as much as they wanted. With the inulin-propionate ester they at 10% less pasta than did those participants who drank the milkshake with the inulin alone.

As Professor Gary Frost, senior author of the study from the Department of Medicine at Imperial, said, “Our previous findings showed that people who ate this ingredient gained less weight – but we did not know why. This study is filling in a missing bit of the jigsaw – and shows that this supplement can decrease activity in brain areas associated with food reward at the same time as reducing the amount of food they eat.”

Claire Byrne, a PhD researcher also from the Department of Medicine, explained how this could be a good food additive. As she said, “If we add this to foods it could reduce the urge to consume high calorie foods.”

Adding to the discussion was Dr Douglas Morrison, author of the paper from the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre at the University of Glasgow. He said “This study illustrates very nicely that signals produced by the gut microbiota are important for appetite regulation and food choice. This study also sheds new light on how diet, the gut microbiome and health are inextricably linked adding to our understanding of how feeding our gut microbes with dietary fibre is important for healthy living.”