Tag Archives: families

Stop bodyweight bullying

Today is Pink Shirt Day with a focus on working together and treating others with dignity and respect. As a mom of three I have seen how kids are affected by bullying and how hurtful it is. As a dietitian I continue to see the harm done to kids by body weight comments and related bullying.  Both overweight and underweight children can fall victim of all kinds of bullying. Bodyweight bullying can easily happen even in the home environment.  Calling out a child on their body size or commenting on their food choices could damage a child’s healthy relationship food. The damage done by weight bullying can be more dangerous than the body weight itself.

Parents who are concerned about their child’s weight should consult with accredited health care professionals including a registered dietitian and address the issue with as much empathy as possible.

How can you help your child develop healthy habits?

You can play an important role in helping your child build healthy eating, drinking, physical activity, and sleep habits. Here are 5 tips to get you started:

  • Serve food ‘family style’ and allow children to serve themselves.
  • Put healthy foods in the fridge or on the counter where they are easy to see.
  • Eat family meals together as often as possible. Studies show eating together at least 5-7 times a week improves children’s health and behaviour.
  • Discourage eating in front of the television, computer, or other electronic device and have fewer meals ‘on the run’.
  • Don’t make your child clean his or her plate and don’t offer food or drinks as rewards.

Your child’s weight – helping without harming

Dietitian expert Ellyn Satter is a leader in child nutrition and her book ‘Your child’s weight – helping without harming’ has been a highly valued resource for parents and professionals.

Ellyn emphasizes good parenting with respect to the provision of food, feeding dynamics and physical activity.  The Satter model of “division of responsibility in feeding” is this:

  • Adults are responsible for the what, when and where of feeding
  • Children are responsible for the how much and whether of eating

Do you have questions about good nutrition and healthy eating? Connect with us! We offer expert personalized sessions to help you simplify eating and leverage the benefits of credible nutrition science. As dietitians we love food and look beyond the fads and gimmicks to deliver reliable, life-changing advice.

Contact us directly or complete this Nutrition Counselling Session Registration Form for your individualized nutrition coaching appointments in a virtual format.

 

February signals Black History Month and Heart Month

L.Weiler, Canva

Every February is Black History Month and also Heart Month. Do you think this is a coincidence or is there more to consider?

As dietitians and health care professionals, especially this year, we reflected deeper. We are taking the time to recognize health disparity and reflect on what is happening in our health care community. Now is the time to double down on efforts to listen and learn from our colleagues in the Black community and act accordingly.

When people think about heart health, it’s important to consider what this could mean in terms of things we can and cannot change.  Research shows that people of African descent are at higher risk of developing heart disease and stroke. This is because they are more likely to have high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes or other risk factors for heart disease at a younger age (Heart and Stroke Foundation Canada, 2021).

Studies also confirm that there are Black-White health inequalities in Canada (Veenstra, 2016). For example, Black women and men were more likely than their White counterparts to report diabetes and hypertension. The authors of this study concluded that high rates of diabetes and hypertension among Black Canadians may stem from experiences of racism in everyday life. University of Ottawa Heart Institute’s prevention and wellness experts explain that ‘people of the same ethnicity share many of the same genes, which is why family history and ethnicity are so closely linked.’  Studies also indicate that ‘people from minority populations are less aware that smoking, high cholesterol, and family history increase their risk for heart disease. Awareness levels can impact a person’s decision about whether to start making healthy lifestyle changes’ (Ottawa Heart Institute, 2021).

We are committed to continue navigating through these changing times with an open mind, positivity, compassion and hope for a better future. We are reading the science, listening to colleagues in the Black community at conferences and on their media and social media channels.

Here are some resources we found informative:

As we journey to do better, you can rely on us as Registered Dietitians to bring you trusted food and nutrition information to help you make informed choices about your health and wellness. We love food – it unites us all.

Reference List:

Veenstra (2016)  Black-White Health Inequalities in Canada. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25894533/
Ottawa Heart Institute (2021) Heart Health Education. Available at:  http://pwc.ottawaheart.ca/education/heart-health-education/risk-factors/ethnicity)
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (2021) Risk & Prevention Available at: https://www.heartandstroke.ca/stroke/risk-and-prevention/risk-factors-you-cannot-change

Introducing the NEW Canada’s Food Guide!

Today, Federal Minister of Health, Ginette Petitapas Taylor launched the new Canada’s Food Guide. The new Food Guide takes a modern approach to communicating guidance to consumers, health professionals and policy makers. This first suite of resources includes a document Canada’s Dietary Guidelines for Health Professionals and Policy Makers, as well as a Food Guide Snapshot.

Here’s just a sampling of what’s new in the Food Guide:

1. Positive key messages for Canadians in a modern format. Key messages are: Eat well. Live well. Eat a variety of healthy foods each day. The new Food Guide delivers healthy eating information in a mobile-friendly web application.

2. Beyond food. Healthy eating is more than the foods you eat. The new Food Guide offers advice on what to eat, what not to eat, and how to eat. Tips include cooking more often, eating meals with others, being mindful of your eating habits, enjoying your food, limiting foods high in sodium, sugars or saturated fat, using food labels, and being aware of food marketing.

3. Food groupings instead of food groups. Bye bye rainbow and the four food groups. A healthy meal is comprised of a variety of foods from three key food groupings: vegetables and fruits; whole grains; and protein foods. These foods should be consumed regularly.

4. Proportions not portions. There are no recommended servings to eat or serving sizes of food. A plate snapshot of the Food Guide gives at-a-glance information on what to eat. In the plate snapshot, 1/2 the plate is filled with vegetables and fruits; ¼ of the plate is comprised of whole grain foods; and ¼ of the plate is made up of protein foods.

5. Water is the beverage of choice. To help Canadians stay hydrated without adding calories to the diet, water is recommended. Alcoholic beverages are also flagged as potentially adding calories with little to no nutritive value.

The suite of online resources replaces the old “all-in-one” version of the previous Food Guides. Additional consumer resources are expected to be released later this year.

Want to discover more about how to make the Food Guide work for you and your business?

Save the date for our upcoming webinar on The New Canada’s Food Guide – Tuesday, April 16th, 1-2 pm ET. We’ll share:
• The science and rationale behind Canada’s Food Guide
• A closer look at the recommendations and considerations
• How to apply Canada’s Food Guide to your business plans

Can’t wait? Contact us now for an in-house presentation / workshop.

Written by: Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc and Lucia Weiler, BSc, RD, PHEc
– Co-Founders of Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists TM

Frequent Family Meals Matter!

Studies show that families who eat together tend to eat better. There is a link between family meals and healthy weights, and research also shows that when families eat together, they generally consume more fruits and vegetables at meal time. Teens who eat dinner with their families are more motivated to do well in school and are more likely to stay away from destructive behaviors like smoking and drinking.  It’s surprising to know that as children move from middle school to high school the number of them who eat dinner with their families decreases by more than 50%.

The topic of family meals continues to be relevant as seen on he cover of the most recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.  Dietitians of Canada’s fall cross country speaker series is also about making the most of mealtimes. Contact us to learn more about the latest research on the benefits and strategies of family meals.