A delegation from Iraq recently spent four days touring schools in Maryland and Virginia to learn more about their meal programs. The initiative, organized through the Global Child Nutrition Foundation, was intended to help educational and government leaders in Iraq improve their own school programs. "The Iraq Ministry of Education wanted to restart school feeding, particularly in the elementary schools in Iraq. This is a good model," said Stanley Garnett, the foundation's executive director.
A Maryland elementary school recently was selected by World's Finest Chocolate to receive a visit from the world's largest chocolate bar -- a 12,000-pound piece of chocolate. Officials said the program is intended to teach students about proper nutrition and portion sizes in a memorable way. Students received a regular-size portion of chocolate and a jump rope as part of the program.
Chesterbrook Elementary teachers created an exercise trail for the McLean, Va., school using Quick Response codes that students scan with a smartphone to get instructional videos at stations along the path. Physical-education teacher Jay Levesque said, "I can sit right here in the middle and kind of oversee everything and I know the kids are getting instruction ..."
To get students moving and expose them to new things, a volunteer group recently taught students in Wyoming about hip-hop dance. The students performed the moves as part of their physical-education class. Gayla Hammer, a sixth-grade science teacher, said the lessons are especially beneficial to students who are not traditional athletes, and teachers said students appeared more confident following the lessons.
West Virginia University is among several colleges that have opened a food pantry on campus to help students get enough to eat. WVU's Jacqueline Dooley said elementary and middle schools have reduced-cost lunches for students, and their financial problems do not go away when those students enter college. Demand for food at the pantry is at an all-time high, officials said.
Registered dietitian, diabetes educator and nutrition consultant Kathy Warwick disputes recent reports that sugar is responsible for a host of illnesses. "Perhaps the problem is not with sugar itself, but with the amount consumed," she writes. "After all, drinking too much water can be fatal."
Diet can help treat diabetes by regulating blood glucose, and while carbohydrates are a major concern, they should be managed, not eliminated, experts said. University of Maryland diabetes educator Catherine Brown says there is no need to swear off an occasional sweet treat as long as total carbohydrates stay within set goals. Certified diabetes educator Marion Franz says cutting back total calories helps with blood glucose levels as well.
An Australian study of children from birth to age 14 showed that the top 32% with the most rapid weight gain had high blood pressure, and it was detectable as early as age 3. Reducing childhood obesity and early fat gain could curb levels of metabolic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, the lead researcher said. The findings were presented at the European Society of Hypertension conference.
Researchers at the University of Washington found that frequent intake of white potatoes was not linked to the onset of obesity or type 2 diabetes or to higher C-reactive protein levels when demographic factors are taken into account. The study was reported at The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Conference.
All public schools in Virginia will be required to provide epinephrine auto-injectors and have trained personnel to administer them to children with serious allergic reaction, according to a bill signed into law Thursday by Gov. Bob McDonnell. The bill was prompted by the death of 7-year-old Amarria Johnson after she suffered a severe allergic reaction while at school.