Category: Nutrition and Fitness

January 25, 2015

What Is Overweight?

Overweight refers to an excess of body weight compared to set standards. The excess weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. One scientific tool to estimate a healthy body weight is a Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a measurement that compares a person’s weight and height. For children and teens, age and gender are also taken into consideration. For adults, a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and a BMI of 30 or over is considered obese. For Asian adults, a BMI of 23.0 to 27.4 is considered overweight, and a BMI of 27.5 or over is considered obese.

To calculate your BMI and see what it means to you:
For adults and teens –


What Is a Healthy Weight Loss?

Studies show that people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1-2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping the weight off. Healthy weight loss is not just about a diet or program. It is about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits. In the process, it is extremely important for you to have a properly planned diet, which should not only limit your calorie intake but also, more importantly, provide you with all the nutrients you need to stay healthy.


How To Lose Weight On A Healthy Diet

The key is to avoid high-calorie items and eat a variety of healthy foods. A healthy diet should:

  • Be within your daily calorie needs
  • Emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products.
  • Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
  • Be low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.

Stay away from junk food and impulse eating. Try to keep a “food diary” for a few days. This is a good way to become more aware of what and when you are eating and to help yourself avoid unhealthy eating habits.

 Good Eating Habits

Most overeating is due to bad habits. Good eating habits help you to counteract the tendency of gaining weight.

  • Eat regular meals, including breakfast.
  • Chew your food slowly.
  • Watch portion sizes.
  • Stop eating when you feel full (Don’t insist on cleaning your plate).
  • Skip the desserts.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day.
  • Make plans for what you are going to eat.
  • Avoid eating when you are not hungry.


Burning Calories With Exercise

When combined with a good diet, daily exercise increases the rate of weight loss and improves your general physical wellbeing.

  • Exercise for about 60-90 minutes a day, for at least 5 days a week.
  • Try a variety of sports: walking, running, hiking, biking, skating, swimming, dancing, basketball, tennis, and group exercise classes.
  • Have specific plans: Instead of  “exercise more,” tell yourself to “Walk for 60 minutes a day, 3 days a week for the first week.”
  • Walk or ride a bicycle instead of riding in a car.
  • Use stairs instead of elevators.


Other Tips:

  • Set realistic goals.
  • Focus on lifestyle changes that you can maintain.
  • Limit the time spent watching TV, playing video games, and on the computer.
  • Participate in meaningful extracurricular activities to keep your mind off food.
  • Remind yourself again and again of your original motivation and the health benefits of weight loss.


Helpful Resources:

January 24, 2015


Sports injuries are the number ONE reason for emergency room visits among youth. The majority of these injuries are mild, but they can cause great inconveniences to the injured person. With proper precautions, many of these injuries can actually be prevented.


Common Sports Injuries:

  • Bruises – Injuries in which the capillaries are damaged, allowing blood to seep into the surrounding tissues.
  • Sprains – The pulling or tearing of the ligaments that join the ends of bones together. Sprains commonly affect the ankles, knees, and wrists.
  • Strains – The pulling or tearing of muscles or tendons (the tissues that attach the muscles to the bones).
  • Bone fractures – The cracking or breaking of bones.
  • Dislocation of joints – The bones in a joint become displaced or misaligned. It is often caused by a sudden impact to the joint.
  • Tearing of the Achilles tendon – The Achilles tendon is the large group of tissues that connects the calf muscles to the heel.
  • Overuse injuries – Injuries such as “runner’s knee” and “tennis elbow,” that are due to overuse of a body part when participating in a certain activity.


What is the Difference between Acute and Chronic Injuries?

  • Acute injuries usually occur suddenly while playing sports or exercising. They may result in sudden and severe pain, the inability to bear weight on a limb, or move the affected body part.
  • Chronic injuries usually result from overuse of one body part over a period of time. Symptoms of chronic injuries include pain during a physical activity and soreness and a dull ache when at rest.


Tips for Preventing Sports Injuries:

  • Be sure to wear all the required safety gear every time you play or practice.
  • Know how to correctly use your equipment.
  • Understand and follow the rules of the sport.
  • Always warm up and stretch before playing.
  • Do not bounce when stretching.
  • Land with your knees bent when jumping.
  • Gradually build up to the length and intensity of exercise that you are aiming for.
  • Know when to stop. Do not over-exert yourself.
  • Cool down with mild activities after any sports or workouts.
  • Change your activities so that you use different muscle groups.
  • Avoid playing when very tired or in pain.
  • When exercising on the streets, such as walking, running, riding bikes, and rollerblading, make sure you obey the rules of the road and have fluorescent patches on your clothing if it’s dark outside. Use iPods with caution as these devices can take your attention away from the surrounding environment and block other sounds that might alert you to danger.


Keep Your Body Hydrated:

As you sweat in playing sports, you should drink equal amounts of fluid to maintain your body’s hydration level. Usually 1 to 1.5 liters of fluid (about 4-6 cups) is needed for each hour of intense sport activity. You should drink fluids before, during, and after playing sports. It is also better to drink frequently, in small amounts, to avoid stomach cramps from drinking large amounts of fluids at once. Avoid beverages containing carbonation and caffeine, because these substances dehydrate the body.

Common symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Thirst
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Dark-colored urine


Treating Injuries:

For severe injuries, seek medical attention immediately. Timely and appropriate treatment reduces the risk of complications and speeds up the recovery. You should contact your doctor when:

  • The injury causes severe pain, swelling, or numbness
  • The joint feels abnormal or unstable.
  • The injured part is unable to tolerate any weight.
  • An old injury hurts or swells.


For a mild strain, sprain, or swelling, you can try to treat the injury at home using the R.I.C.E. method. But if your injury does not improve or worsens after 3 days, you should contact your health care professional.

  • Rest – Rest the injured area for at least 24 to 48 hours. While you are healing, try not to stress the injured area.
  • Ice – Apply an ice pack to the injured area for 20 minutes several times a day. Take the ice off after 20 minutes to avoid cold injury.
  • Compression – Apply mild and even pressure on the injured area to help reduce swelling. One common method is to wrap the injury with bandages. Ask your doctor what is best for your injury.
  • Elevation – Elevate the injured area on pillows when you’re sitting or lying down to help reduce swelling.


For Information on Specific Sports or Conditions:

January 24, 2015

IMG_9980What Is Vegetarianism?

Vegetarianism is the practice of a diet that excludes meat, poultry, and fish (including other seafood). There are several variations of vegetarianism, some of which also exclude eggs, dairy foods, or other animal by-products:

  • Lacto-vegetarians: Eat dairy products, but no meat, poultry, fish, or eggs
  • Ovo-vegetarians: Eat eggs, but no meat, poultry, fish, or dairy products.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Eat dairy products and eggs, but no meat, poultry, or fish.
  • Vegans: Do not eat any animal products.


Why Do People Become Vegetarians?

There are many reasons why people choose to follow a vegetarian diet, some of which include:

  • Food likes and dislikes
  • Animal rights concerns
  • Religious or cultural beliefs
  • Diet and health concerns
  • Family decision

These are acceptable reasons for choosing not to eat meat. It is important to note that in some cases, the decision to avoid meat or to be on an overly restrictive diet can be an early sign of an eating disorder, which is a negative eating behavior that affects one’s physical and mental health. If you have questions or concerns about your diet, talk to your health care provider for professional assistance.


Is It Healthy To Be a Vegetarian?

Being a vegetarian can be either helpful or harmful to your health, depending on whether you get proper nutrition. A properly-planned vegetarian diet is able satisfy the nutritional needs for all stages of life, and can significantly reduce the risks of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases, and some types of cancer. This is true provided that you continue to eat a variety of healthy vegetarian foods, and do not substitute potato chips and candies for meat.


How Can I Make Sure That I Am Getting Enough Nutrients As a Vegetarian?

The key to a healthy vegetarian diet is to eat a variety of foods including vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds, and soy products. If the diet is not properly planned, vegetarians may not get enough vitamins and minerals that are found in dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, and fish. These include calcium, iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. You also need to have enough protein. Discuss with a registered dietician or other health professionals about an eating plan that works best for you and whether a vitamin/mineral supplement is helpful for you. Below is a list of important nutrients and their sources.

  • Protein: Dried peas and beans, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, tofu.
  • Calcium: Leafy greens, broccoli, tofu (made with calcium sulfate), dried beans, fortified soymilk and fortified orange juice.
  • Iron: Dried beans, oatmeal, spinach, iron-fortified cereals and bread.
  • Zinc: Wheat germs, nuts, fortified cereals.
  • Vitamin C: Citrus fruits and juices (oranges, tangerines, grapefruits), peppers, strawberries, kiwi
  • Vitamin B12: Eggs, dairy products, fortified cereals and breads.
  • Vitamin D: Milk, fortified soymilk, fortified cereals


Vegetarian Recipes:

October 22, 2014

The teen growth spurt is one of the most dramatic changes that the human body experiences. To support this major change, the body requires increased calories and nutrients. Maintaining a healthy diet not only contributes to your physical growth, but it can also help you feel better, stay healthier, and perform better at school. Below is a list of quick tips to get you started:

  • Eat regular meals, especially breakfast.
  • Eat a variety of foods.
  • Get lots of calcium.
  • Choose fiber-rich foods.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Limit consumption of fast foods and junk foods.


Eat Regular Meals:

To meet the energy needs, teens should eat at least three meals per day: in the morning, afternoon, and evening with light snacks in between. This is the best way to maintain both energy levels and a healthy weight. When you skip meals and are overly hungry, you are more likely to choose foods that are not as healthy. Also, it is very important for you to eat breakfast! Studies show that eating breakfast can help you stay more alert at school and better able to learn and perform sports or other physical activities.


Eat a Variety of Foods:

A good start to a healthy diet is to eat a variety of foods. Get the different nutrients your body needs by choosing a variety of items from each of the following food groups:

  • Vegetables – Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice.
  • Fruits – Any fruit or 100% fruit juice.
  • Grains – Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain.
  • Milk, Yogurt, & Cheese
  • Meat & Beans: Including meat, poultry, fish, dried beans, peas, eggs, and nuts.


Calcium and Milk:

Calcium is the key building block for strong bones. Calcium intake is extremely important during the pre-teen and teen years when bones are growing the fastest. Lack of calcium will have a big impact on bones and teeth. The calcium need during teenage years is something that cannot be made up for later in life.

Milk contains a large amount of calcium in a form that the body can easily absorb. Milk also has other important nutrients that are good for bones and teeth. One especially important nutrient is vitamin D, which helps with calcium absorption. Most types of milk have approximately 300mg of calcium per cup (8 fluid ounces), which is about 25% of the calcium that children and teenagers need every day. The best choice is 1% low-fat or fat-free milk, which provides calcium without adding excess fat to the diet.

Other Sources of Calcium:

  • Low-fat or fat-free Yogurt
  • Calcium fortified orange juice
  • Low-fat cheese
  • Enriched or calcium fortified soymilk
  • Firm tofu made with calcium sulfate
  • Calcium-fortified cereals or breads
  • Dark green leafy vegetables


What if I cannot drink milk?

People with lactose intolerance have trouble digesting lactose, the natural sugar found in milk and dairy products. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating, or gas within 15 minutes to several hours after drinking milk or eating other dairy products. The best way to eliminate these discomforts is to choose lactose-free milk and milk products. There are also over-the-counter products, such as Lactaid or lactase enzyme, that help to break down lactose.


What is Dietary Fiber and why do I need it?

Dietary fiber includes all parts of plant foods that your body cannot digest or absorb. Unlike other food components such as proteins, carbohydrates, or fats that your body breaks down, fiber passes through your gastrointestinal tract almost unchanged. Fiber is best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. Eating plenty of these fiber-rich foods may also reduce your risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Fiber can also fill you up so you don’t eat as much. Various types of fiber can be found in whole-grain breads, cereals, dried beans, peas, vegetables, and fruits.


What are “Junk Foods”?

The term “junk food” usually refers to foods that are high in salt, sugar, fat, or calories and low in nutrient content. Major junk foods include salted snack foods, candies, cookies, most sweet desserts, fried or fast foods and carbonated beverages (soda).


Healthy and Tasty Snacks:

  • Dip strawberries or apple slices in low-fat yogurt.
  • Dip baby carrots and cherry tomatoes in low-fat dressing.
  • Blend soymilk with strawberries and a banana for a delicious smoothie
  • Mix together cereal, dried fruit and nuts in a sandwich bag.
  • Celery sticks with peanut butter, topped with raisins.
  • Mini-sandwich with tuna or egg salad on whole grain bread
  • Frozen yogurt topped with fresh berries.
  • Low-fat yogurt with crunchy granola
  • Dried cranberries and chopped walnuts in oatmeal.
  • Microwave a cup of tomato or vegetable soup and enjoy with whole grain crackers.


Where to learn more about smart food choices



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