Only positives for reduced sodium intake

Congress is currently considering legislation to reauthorize child nutrition programs, including nutrition standards for school meals. The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee’s bill takes a measured, bipartisan approach, addressing children’s health needs with respect to sodium reduction while providing flexibility to school food programs that need more time to reduce sodium levels. 

Unfortunately, the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s discussion draft bill dismisses that reasoned approach and guts the sodium standard. Moreover, it presents a disingenuous picture about the science behind sodium reduction in children. The discussion draft cherry-picks which studies can be considered when setting sodium standards and ignores what expert scientists and medical professionals use when analyzing the evidence of nutrition science. That evidence — or what we call the preponderance of evidence — supports current nutrition standards that reduce sodium intake as a means to lower blood pressure and prevent its adverse health consequences.

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2 Your Health: “Do you want your child to eat healthier?”

Most parents would love for their children to eat a well-balanced diet.

But, sometimes getting children to buy-in to the idea of eating what’s good for them can be a struggle.

Of course, it’s best to start children in the habit of eating healthy from a very young age, but just because a child may have a taste for unhealthy foods, it doesn’t mean that it’s too late to make diet changes.

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How to Finally End Lead Poisoning in America

Lead is a devastating poison. It damages children’s brains, erodes intelligence, diminishes creativity and the ability to weigh consequences and make good decisions, impairs language skills, shortens attention span, and predisposes to hyperactive and aggressive behavior. Lead exposure in early childhood is linked to later increased risk for dyslexia and school failure. When lead exposure is widespread, it can undermine the economic productivity and sustainability of entire societies.

Lead is a silent poison. In most children, lead wreaks its havoc in the absence of any obvious signs or symptoms. Infants in the womb and children under the age of 5 are the most vulnerable. Research has shown that higher levels of exposure are the most dangerous, but that no level of lead is safe.

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How to Develop a School Culture That Helps Curb Bullying

After years of dealing with school bullying through traditional punishments, Carolyne Quintana, the principal of Bronxdale High School in New York City, introduced restorative justice approaches at her school because she wanted students to feel trusted and cared for.

“It wasn’t just about bullying incidents, it was about the whole school culture,” she said.

To build community and handle “instances of harm” among the students, teachers bring the kids together to talk in “restorative circles,” where everyone has an opportunity to listen and be heard. Bronxdale uses circles for most of its group communications, including parent meetings and ninth-grade orientation. The circles are a natural outgrowth of the Socratic method teachers use in class, Quintana said.

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Perceiving children’s obesity

Pediatricians can now predict the risk of severe obesity in early childhood when a child is as young as 6 months old. But as a child grows, how well do parents recognize if their kid is becoming obese?

Not very, according to a new study in the journal Obesity. If a child is overweight or obese, the vast majority of parents underestimate their child’s weight status. In fact, parents are far more accurate at perceiving their own obesity than that of their children.

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Health break: April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month

Nationally, April is recognized as Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. During the month, we challenge our community to learn more about the role we all play in preventing and protecting children from abuse. Through awareness and prevention, we can make a difference in the lives of so many children.

Statistically, 1 in 5 children has a likelihood of being sexually abused before his or her 18th birthday. This staggering statistic alone raises questions as to what can be done to not only prevent child abuse, but also to accurately and appropriately respond, should one have suspicions of abuse.

 

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Study: WIC Food Improves Diet Quality Of Young Children

Malnutrition and obesity are one of the growing concerns among children. Most, if not all, failed to practice a healthy diet. A new study suggests that eating more fruits and vegetables will improve the diet quality among children.

WIC Food Package Offers Healthier Food

According to a new study, the special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) added more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat milk in their food voucher and this resulted in a better diet among four million children, Science Daily reported.

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Parent Support May Help Transgender Children's Mental Health

Six-year-old Sophie says she has always known she's a girl. "I used to be Yoshi," she says. "But I didn't like being called Yoshi." And she didn't like being called a boy.

Sophie lives with her family in Bellingham, Wash. Her mother, Jena Lopez, says she started seeing the signs before Sophie turned 2.

"She'd say things like, 'I'm a she, not a he,' " Lopez says. "She would cry if we misgendered her. She'd become angry."

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Foster Home Crunch Strands Children in Psych Facilities

Abused children in Texas are being left in psychiatric facilities longer than they were six years ago as the state's child protective services system grapples with federal court scrutiny and diminishing options, according to data obtained by The Texas Tribune. 

Last year, 17,151 Texas children were removed from abusive homes. While the agency could not say exactly how many were placed in private and state psychiatric hospitals, data from 2009 to 2015 shows roughly 4,000 psychiatric admissions for foster care children each year.  

But the number of total days foster care children together spend in psychiatric facilities past their initial 8 to 10 days of treatment covered under Medicaid has risen. In June 2009, children taken together spent a total of 10 extra days in the facilities. By August 2015 that number had grown to 768 days. 

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