Happy Meals Don’t Lead to Happiness, Says New York Councilman

Apr 06, 11 Happy Meals Don’t Lead to Happiness, Says New York Councilman

Posted by in Health, New York, News, Parenting

In the next of many steps to put the breaks on childhood obesity, one New York City councilman is taking up the fight against the kids’ meals industry. Leroy Comrie plans to introduce a bill making it illegal to distribute toys that come with kids’ meals unless they meet certain nutritional standards, as MyFoxNY.com reports. And it’s about time. Childhood Obesity The problem of childhood obesity has become an epidemic in the United States, with an estimated 16-33% of children and adolescents being obese. Overweight children are very likely to become overweight adults, creating greater risks for heart disease, early death, extra health care costs and much more. Obesity carries with it many risks from diabetes and heart disease to high blood pressure and sleep issues. What many people might now know is that child and adolescent obesity are also associated with emotional problems. Research has found that teenagers with weight problems have more emotional issues, lower self esteem and more problems with their peers. Kids’ Meals and the Law In step the Happy Meals. The problem with kids’ meals is that they are certainly the meal of choice for children. When a toy is placed in a high caloric, unhealthy meal choice, children are more prone to want this meal and to be encouraged to eat in an unhealthy way. As New York City councilman Leroy Comrie explained, “By ensuring that the toys are put in with nutritional meals, the parents will be able to have healthier options for their children.” Mr. Comrie has precedent from other locations for his actions. Last year, San Francisco lawmakers passed a similar law that made it illegal for toys in kids’ meals to have more than 600 calories, 640 milligrams of sodium or 35% or the calories from fat. Time will tell if New York gets on the healthy Happy Meal...

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Prisoners Read to Their Children in Rikers Island Program

Dec 26, 10 Prisoners Read to Their Children in Rikers Island Program

Posted by in New York, Parenting

At the Eric M. Taylor Center, one of nine separate jails on Rikers Island in New York, there are eight inmates who just finished a five-week course called “Daddy and Me.” The course taught these prisoners, who are also fathers, how to read out-loud and record themselves reading for their sons and daughters back home. This is the first time this program has been tried on Rikers Island, although there have been many other such trials in other prisons throughout the country, usually focusing on women inmates, since 1996, or even before. Explaining the goals of the program was Dora B. Schriro, the commissioner of the city’s Correction Department, who said, “People are multidimensional. Part of being a man is being a dad, and part of being a good man is being a good dad, in the most fundamental sense of the word.” The program was funded by a family literacy grant of about $3,800 which came from the state. Nick Higgins, head librarian at the correctional services program of the New York Public Library, ran the Taylor Center program. Mr. Higgins told the participating inmates on the very first day that, “Our objective is to hopefully change the attitude that some of you might have about reading to children, that reading is Mom’s...

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Texting and Social Networking Creating Big Problems for Teens

Nov 10, 10 Texting and Social Networking Creating Big Problems for Teens

Posted by in Health, Lifestyle, Parenting

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University presented a study which they conducted on over 4,000 students at 20 city high schools in Ohio revealing that those high school students who spent the greatest time texting on their cell phones or spending time on social network sites, or both, are at a greater risk for worse behaviors, such as eating problems, alcohol and drug abuse, depression, smoking and absenteeism from school. The study showed that about one-fifth of the students sent a minimum of 120 text messages each day, and about one-tenth were on social network sites like Facebook, for more than three hours per day. Four percent were engaged in both of these extreme behaviors. Those four percent had double the risk of nonusers for smoking, binge drinking, fighting, thinking about suicide and missing school or sleeping in school. “This is a red flag for parents – a red flag for their parenting” he said, “because they need to be monitoring and taking charge of the choices their kids are making. We want parents to set more restrictive rules for their kids regarding texting and networking, just as they would set rules about whether their child can go out on a school night and socialize for three...

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Homework Helpers Gets the Kids To “Do Their Homework”

Nov 08, 10 Homework Helpers Gets the Kids To “Do Their Homework”

Posted by in Lifestyle, Parenting

When both mothers and fathers have high-powered jobs, sometimes there is just no one at home to help the kids with their homework. Thus is born a new specialty niche, ‘homework helpers.’ Not quite the same thing as traditional tutors who give children, and sometimes adults, the one-on-one extra help they need with a subject, homework helpers are there to give support, encouragement and help when needed to kids who can basically do the work, but they are just not disciplined enough or motivated enough to do it on their own. So a homework helper arrives at the house, kicks the kids off the Xbox or iPod, and gets them to open up their books and do the homework. Usually this is not the only help the child needs. If a student is having difficulty getting down to the business of homework, reports, essays and the like, it is usually a sign that he/she needs some help learning organizational skills and time management. A homework helper can offer these services as well, in addition to just sitting there overseeing the student. Critics of this new type of service provider believe that when parents can’t be there and they instead send a proxy to hover over their children, in what is called ‘helicopter parenting”™ parents are depriving their children of developing the independence and self-motivating skills that they will need   later in life. All I know is that anyone that takes me away from the role of ‘evil mother”™ always saying, ‘get off that iPod and get to your homework, right now!” sounds more like a ‘mother’s helper’ than a homework helper to...

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