Obesity Risk Reduced With Water Fountains in Schools

water fountain

A study of about 3000 children in 32 schools in Germany found that installing water fountains, giving the children refillable water bottles, and using teaching lessons promoting the health benefits of water consumption reduced the risk of being overweight by 31%. [Read more…]

Nature Play–Photography Walk

Helping your children to create a love for nature will help nurture their love for the Earth. In return, they will care more for the environment and have a deeper understanding of the importance of being eco-friendly. Investigating the nature close to your home is the perfect way to start! If they care for the nature that they see every day it will carry on to their love for nature everywhere. We love to investigate our neighborhood and the beauty right around us. The girls and I go on “Nature Photography Walks” where we take two cameras and take pictures of things that strike our fancy along the way.

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Depression Drug Illegally Marketed to Kids, Kickbacks Paid, FDA Approved Anyway

depression drug, FDA, kickbacks

A five year probe of Forest Laboratories by the U.S. Justice Department into illegal marketing of Lexapro to children has an ironic twist to it: The FDA just approved the use of Lexapro for depression in children.

“Federal health care programs have paid thousands of false and fraudulent claims for Celexa and Lexapro prescriptions that were not covered for off-label pediatric use and/or were ineligible for payment as a result of illegal kickbacks paid by Forest.”

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Peanut Allergy Breakthrough Mimics Homeopathy

new treatment for peanut allergy involves small doses of peanuts

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A new treatment for peanut allergies involving small doses of peanuts has shown promising results.

Peanut allergies are the most prevalent food allergy in the US affecting one and a half million people.  The allergy is a disease affecting the immune system after exposure to the proteins in peanuts.  It is also the most deadly allergic reaction. [Read more…]

WebMD Health eHome: Find Out How to Make Your Home Safe

The WebMD Health eHome is a a new educational collaboration between WebMD and Healthy Child Healthy World and is sponsored by Seventh Generation.  It provides you the tools to discover how to create a safer and healthier home for you and your children.  While many of the writers here provide daily information on how to provide your family a safe environment both outside and inside your home the WebMD Health eHome promises to provide more wonderful information on how to rid your home of health hazards.  With a variety of tools it may even enlighten some ECP readers on new ways to improve their quality of life.

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Cooking with Fair Trade Products

Image courtesy of AlterEco.com

As a family, we love to cook together, it is a wonderful time to have fun and bond as a family. Cooking with your children has numerous benefits: It teaches your children mathematics, gives your child a sense of pride and accomplishment, will help your children try new things and they are also more likely to eat what they help make. In our home we have a silly tradition of “dolling” ourselves up for cooking together. We wear fun bright aprons, put on our favorite lip gloss and dance around to our favorite music.

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Homemade Glue for Kids Crafts

All-Natural Homemade Glue is a simple recipe to do along with your children that can keep for weeks in the fridge. My girls enjoy using it for all of their weekly art projects and I don’t get worried if my baby takes a taste or two! You simply mix 1 cup of flour, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1 1/2 cups of water (you might need a bit more or less) and 1 tsp of vinegar. Then you warm it up on the stove till it thickens a little bit, let is cool and it is ready to use.

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Winter Nature Play

In my family we make it a goal to have unstructured play in nature every day. Unstructured play in my family means giving my children access to a safe environment without toys, playground equipment, electronics, etc. and give them the opportunity to explore nature and learn to be creative on their own. I notice a huge behavioral change when we don’t take time to spend in nature. My children tend to be calmer, more obedient and happier when we spend time outside. Child development specialists have preached the benefits of nature play for years, just a few of the benefits are: an increase in your children’s academic potential, social skills and creativity.

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Class Action Lawsuit Seeks $200M For Lead Poisoning From D.C. Tap Water

tap water

A class action lawsuit seeking $200 million was filed against the Washington D.C. Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) by the single father of twin boys who were poisoned as infants by lead contaminated tap water. John Parkhurst filed the suit on behalf of himself and other parents in D.C. whose children were poisoned due to extremely high levels of lead in the municipal water supply from 2001 to 2004.

“In June 2001, WASA discovered that that toxic levels of lead were leaching into the District’s drinking water. Not only did the Authority fail to eliminate this danger, it actually took affirmative steps to hide the lead contamination from its customers and federal authorities. At the same time, WASA encouraged the public to consume this dangerous product. As a result, tens of thousands of children and pregnant mothers faced elevated risks for years longer than they should have. WASA’s actions endangered thousands of children living in the District between 2001 and 2004, many of whom, like Jonathan and Joshua Parkhurst, are now profoundly affected by their ingestion of this highly poisonous element.” – Stefanie Roemer, Sanford Wittels & Heisler.

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How to Make a Green Smoothie

Child drinking smoothieMy kids and I are crazy about green smoothies. We make them a couple times daily usually. Never before has it been so easy to get my kids to eat plenty of those all important leafy greens! Just check out my daughter’s green smoothie moustache (left).

You may be wondering what a green smoothie is exactly. Or maybe not, they seem to be getting really popular in healthier living circles everywhere lately. A green smoothie does not refer to being “green” in the eco sense of the word. Although they can be that too. The green in a green smoothie refers to what is in the smoothie and usually the color as well. Quite simply, green smoothies are blended beverages that combine fresh or frozen fruit and leafy greens like Kale, collard, spinach, or wild edibles. Veggies like carrots may make a cameo appearance in green smoothies as well. The genius of a green smoothie is that they are jam packed with nutritional goodness, usually in its raw life living form, and they taste absolutely fantastic! When was the last time your kids begged you for fresh spinach? Well, mine ask me daily for some. ;)

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Children's Mental Health Disorders Cost US $247 Billion a Year

Mental Health

A new report from the National Research Council says that childhood depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental and emotional disorders are as common as broken bones in children, take a huge toll on kids and their families, and end up costing the US about $247 billion annually. According to the authors, the federal government should make preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders and promoting mental health in young people a national priority.

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“There is a substantial gap between what is known about preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders and what is actually being done. It is no longer accurate to argue that these disorders can never be prevented.  Many can.  The nation is well-positioned to equip young people with the skills and habits needed to live healthy, happy, and productive lives in caring relationships.  But we need to develop the systems to deliver effective prevention programs to a far wider group of children and adolescents.” – Kenneth E. Warner, committee chair and dean of the University of Michigan School of Public Health

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Nuritious After School Snacks

Healthy, nutritious after school snacks

Editor’s note: The following post was originally published on Green and Clean Mom. “Green & Clean Mom can inspire you to try a little harder, be a catalyst for change and to offer you some new tips and news on how to be the green, sexy and sassy mom…I know you are!”

Children get home from school and they are hungry. The day was packed full of learning energy zapping activities and they need to refuel. When I got off the bus after school I remember eating chips, cookies, drinking soda and complaining if these items weren’t around.

Sorry mom and dad, I just made you look really bad.

I would eat these junk food snacks and then at dinner not be hungry. I filled up on sugar, carbohydrates and fat. Nothing that helped to refuel me and tide me over until I could have a well balanced nutritious meal. Just as it is important for our children to be fed healthy meals they need healthy snacks. It is known that what we eat plays a role in our brain function, our weight and overall how we feel. Health Guidance has a great article describing nutrition and brain function that all parents might want to consider reading. The article isn’t focused on children but the article still applies, especially the behavior part! Many children have behavior issues in the evening from fatigue, stress and probably nutrition issues. I’m finding this to be true in my own household. [Read more…]

I Love Dirt Book Review

I Love Dirt by Jennifer WardDirt used to be the only place for kids to play, before we concreted most of it up. As recent news has shown playing in the dirt and grass actually made kids healthier a lot of parents are tossing their kids back into the yard for some old fashioned fun. That’s where the book I Love Dirt by Jennifer Ward comes in.

This is one of my favorite books of ideas for getting kids outside and playing. I Love Dirt is more of an activity guide, featuring 52 wonderful ideas for kids ages 3-8 to get out in nature, explore, and even learn something along the way. The various activities span the entire year, covering ideas for spring, summer, autumn, and winter. No matter if your kids are in the middle of a city, out in the suburbs, or already enjoying the country side you will find something worth doing. I love that Ward also included little “Help Me Understand” sidebars for adults to help us explain the science aspects of nature.

“Here is the potential for much fun, many meaningful experiences—and a trove of shared stories.”

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"Selfish Parents" are Screwing Up Kids, Says British Study

A 3-year study focusing on 35,000 children, parents and professionals, claims British children are less happy than those in almost any other developed country.

The aggressive pursuit of individual success by adults today is the greatest threat to our children….There is unease about the unprecedented speed with which children’s lives are changing; the commercial pressures they face; the violence they are exposed to; the rising stresses of school; the increased emotional distress they feel.

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