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The Healthy Family Meals Newsletter, Issue #110 Tracking Obesity Levels in Schools
November 10, 2008

Welcome! Learn How to Combine Healthy Recipes with Family Adventure!

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Kindy's Musings....

Now every week, as your family dietitian, I will be scoping out the most relevant research and news that you can use to help your family make healthy nutrition and wellness choices.


...about the food industry we shop in as parents and educators...and family nutrition and health issues today.

Should we be tracking obesity levels in schools? Well, New York's answer is YES!

A recent article explains that as New York students return to public schools this year, some will find themselves asked to step up to the scale.

Legislation passed in 2007 went into effect in September, requiring public schools outside of New York City to collect and report a summary of students' weights and body mass indexes as part of an effort to combat childhood obesity. "Whatever you can measure, you can improve," said Dr. Richard Daines, the state health commissioner. "By requiring the measurement of body mass index, I think we'll see some improvement."

Doctors will now be required to test students when they come in for a student health certificate -- which is mandatory for attendance at New York schools. The information will be reported to schools, creating a set of data that will allow health officials to evaluate obesity levels based on geography. "We'll have a much better sense of the distribution of the problem (and) if there are areas that have more of a problem," Daines said.

The information will be confidential and collected at school entry and in second, fourth, seventh and 10th grades. Students will also have at their disposal portionpals, the popular diet measuring tool that helps individuals properly portion their food. The data will be passed on to the state Department of Health unless parents ask to have the information excluded.

A 2004 health survey of New York third-graders found that 21 percent were obese. The body mass index reporting requirement was pilot tested during the last school year with voluntary participation by 97 schools.

As of December 2007, 12 other states had some version of student BMI reporting: Arkansas, Texas, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Some New York City schools have been independently collecting similar data for the past two years through a program designed to promote a "culture of fitness," said Maibe Gonzalez Fuentes, a spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Education. Now about 1,000 schools participate in the program, which collects BMI information and provides students and parents with information about their health.

Read the latest food trends and happenings with the links below:





Broccoli Rabe with Shrimp and White Beans

This week, make a tasty seafood entrée – just thrown together, but creating a delightful feast for less than $10!


2 Bunches of Broccoli Rabe

20 Shrimp - frozen, uncooked

1 15oz. can small white beans, drained

3 Cloves garlic - chopped

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

1/2 Cup chicken broth

Crushed red pepper (optional)

1. Cut about 3-4 inches off the bottom of the broccoli rabe where the stems are thicker and discard.

2. Cut the remaining broccoli rabe in half and wash it thoroughly.

3. In a large pot sauté 2 cloves of garlic in a little olive oil.

4. Add the broccoli rabe to the pot and a little water (about a 1/2 cup), salt and pepper, and cook down until tender.

5. In a large skillet, sauté 1 clove of garlic in a little olive oil, then add the shrimp, watching closely because the shrimp will cook fast; about 2-3 minutes on each side.

6. Then add the can of beans, salt, pepper, and red pepper (if you are using) and 1/2 cup chicken broth and heat through.

7. Transfer the broccoli rabe into the skillet and mix all together before serving.


What will your family do for healthier MEALTIMES?

Celebrating Healthy Families 2008

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Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Kindy --Your Family Dietitian

Copyright (c) 2008,

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