Fighting Child Obesity and Promoting Healthy Eating

Forty Two chefs Michael Selig and Stephen Burrow recently visited Forest Park Elementary School in Little Rock as part of their mission to promote healthy eating in children. Their restaurant is located next to the William J. Clinton Presidential Center, and the partners have adopted former president Clinton’s efforts in that area.

“If we change just one of two kids from drinking so much soda or picking up carrots instead of chips, we’ve done something good,” Selig said. “The holidays are synonymous with overindulging on rich food. We don’t want to take away the fun in eating during the holidays, but we want to teach kids to make healthy food choices.”

As a means to achieve this goal, the two chefs have created a program and presented in central Arkansas schools on a monthly basis. Demand grew throughout the state, and now the pair are booked through the end of the school year. The idea was inspired by a culinary day camp which took place last summer at the Clinton Center to fight obesity. According to the foundation’s statistics, one in three adolescents is overweight or obese in the U.S. today.

“Childhood obesity is one of our country’s most pressing health issues, and the problem is even more prevalent in the South,” explained Stephanie S. Streett of the Clinton Foundation. “The Clinton Center and Forty Two are proud to be a part of the ongoing solution by educating and, more importantly, empowering children to understand food and lifestyle choices.”

Writing Difficulties and ADHD

A recent study revealed that children, and especially girls, with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are more likely to have writing difficulties. These problems include poor spelling, grammar and handwriting.

As parents of ADHD kids already know, difficulties in reading or math are common signs for teachers when it comes to identifying the disorder. However, “written-language disorder is kind of overlooked,” according to study author Dr. Slavica Katusic.

She went on to explain that writing “is a critical skill for academic success, social and behavioral well-being.” She added that if writing problems aren’t identified early on, it can affect children into their adult years.

Specialists who were not involved in the study have confirmed the logic of the results. Annette Majnemer studied handwriting in kids with ADHD at McGill University in Montreal. She agreed that many children suffering from ADHD have difficulties in the field.

“It might be partially the fact that they’re inattentive and distractible and hyperactive,” she said, adding that other possible causes are problems with motor skills and coordination.

Dr. Katusic stated that genetics may also contribute to ADHD and writing problems. No matter what the cause, Katusic explains that treatment and early identification of learning disabilities can contribute greatly to children’s lives. It is important to identify all possible learning problems in a child before planning a treatment, she said.

“When parents notice something or teachers notice something, kids have to be treated not only for ADHD, but they have to be tested to see if they have other learning problems,” she said. “Clinicians and the teachers have to emphasize that the testing has to be done for everything, every kind of learning disability. It has to be identified early and the treatment has to start early.”

How to Use the Internet to Motivate Your Child This Summer

As the school year takes its leave and summer vacation takes over, it is important to keep our kids involved with more than just the internet and TV shows. One great way to do this is by looking for short, educational updates on the internet- this way, it shouldn’t be too difficult to convince your child to cooperate.

Choosing a Subject… Art?

It is wise to choose a subject that truly interests your child, as well. For example, if your child is interested in art or design, you may want to encourage them to check up on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website from time to time. They have a page dedicated to their current and upcoming exhibitions, which will undoubtedly fascinate your child, and may even encourage them to visit the museum during their free time, if possible. The featured exhibitions include ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,’ ‘Guitar Heroes,’ ‘Thinking Outside the Box’ and many, many more.

Or American History?

Perhaps your child is enamored by American history. If so, Shapell Manuscript Foundation has a new online project called ‘Between the Lines,’ which they describe is as “a unique look at this day in history.” Every few weeks the site features a manuscript that was written or is directly tied to an event that happened that day, many decades ago. The manuscript currently featured on their site is a letter from George Armstrong Custer to the Secretary of War regarding his little brother, Boston. Just this week, on June 25th, the Custer brothers fell at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in year 1876.

As strange as it may sound, the internet can be a great way to get your child motivated enough to leave the computer and pursue his or her interests this summer!