2012-13 Bullying Surveys
Below you will find a copy of the content within the 2012-13 Bullying Survey that is being given to all students in grades 4-12. If you have any questions, please contact your child's school.
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SRVHS EPIC Healthy Choices Newsletter
Apples, Broccoli, Lettuce, Peas…
Most of us are aware that energy use all around us needs to become more efficient…our cars need to be more fuel efficient, our homes also need to use energy and fuel more efficiently. There is, however, one machine that deserves more attention than it is getting. That machine is YOU, your body, and yes, it needs the most efficient forms of fuel to power the brain, the skin, the heart, the muscles, the bones, the blood and so on…
Unfortunately, many Americans feed their bodies with very inefficient fuel (in other words unhealthy foods). Examples of unhealthy food include many processed foods, everything from most breakfast cereals to beverages sold as ”sports drinks” laden with high-fructose corn syrup and sugar. In his book “The World’s Healthiest Foods,” author George Mateljan points out that the United States is a prime example of a nation whose diet depends on nutrient-depleted foods. In our fast-food nation, this eating pattern is referred to by its ironic acronym S.A.D., which stands for Standard American Diet. The health effects of the Standard American Diet are revealed most clearly in today’s almost epidemic statistics of childhood obesity and Type ll diabetes. At least 30% of US children are overweight, having more than doubled in the last 25 years. Corresponding with this trend, childhood diabetes has increased 10-fold in the last 25 years. (Olshanky, et al., New England Journal of Medicine, 2005)
Michael Pollan , food journalist and author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals,” states that when populations are faced with cheap food they will eat it and the average American’s daily intake of calories has jumped by more than 10 % since 1977 (pg 102). Of all the cheap foods available, Pollan says none is more widespread than corn. He is not referring to sweet summer corn on the cob, nor to the corn tortillas or most other foods that are recognizable as corn but to all of the industrial permutations of corn, such as sweeteners and an array of processed foods. It is so pervasive in our food supply that if you eat fast foods or packaged foods at all, it is likely that you are eating corn.
http://www.michaelpollan.com/pollan_bio_long.pdf (about the author)
For example, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), an inexpensive, highly concentrated product synthesized from cornstarch, is widely used in the food industry, most notably as the primary sweetener in soft drinks and baked goods. What is less widely known is that the usage increased 1000% between 1970 when it entered our food supply and 1990 (Bray et al , 2004, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 79 (4):537). HFCS currently represents 40 % of sweeteners added to foods and beverages, and it is conservatively estimated that the average rate of consumption is 132 calories for everyone over the age of two (Bray et al , 2004). For heavy consumers, this figure increases to more than 300 calories a day. This calculates out to about 10 -20 % of daily calories from HFCS.
The skyrocketing use of HFCS in the food supply has paralleled our nation’s rapid increase in obesity. Here’s why: The Bray 2004 study, mentioned above, reported that HFCS, and fructose in general, metabolizes differently than glucose and sucrose. This study revealed that fructose does not elicit a response from insulin; it actually short-circuits the hormonal process that signals appetite satisfaction and helps regulate food intake and body weight. Instead, fructose is sent directly to the liver, bypassing the intermediary breakdown steps that occur with sucrose. The liver’s response to fructose is to generate new fat cells, which are then dumped into the blood stream as triglycerides, creating the opportunity for Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease or NAFLD, which is on the rise, particularly among children and teens, for which there is no cure.
Where does the rest of corn go? There are many other sweeteners made from corn, including maltose, maltodextrin, dextrose, glucose, and crystalline fructose. Who could fault the most intrepid label-reading consumer for not knowing this? Always read labels! When inquiring about whether a product contains corn, look for corn flour, corn oil, corn starch and sugar (dextrose) as well as HFCS. Keep in mind that a sweet drink labeled “fruit juice” may actually have very little real fruit in the contents. The importance of eating a piece of fruit is to also get the natural fiber that the body needs in its digestive process.
In addition to HFCS, there are other “inefficient fuels” in the food we consume that are also linked to obesity and serious health problems. Because we lead active, busy lives, it can be difficult to really understand the contents of “convenience” products we eat. But keeping our “body machine” efficiently fueled, and especially teaching our children and teens to do so for their long-term health, can involve a few simple steps: read the labels, understand what the ingredients are (especially if you can’t pronounce them!), and take steps to maintain a diet lower in sugar, corn-derivative sweeteners, and fat. Aim for a diet that includes fresh or minimally processed foods made up vegetables and fruit, nuts and legumes, healthy fish, etc.
The following are helpful pointers in trying to avoid purchasing the foods that contain sugar/HFCS:
1. If you are looking for something sweet to eat, buy a piece of fresh fruit! Not only will it take care of your sweet tooth, you will be getting nutrients that your body can put to use
2. When your children say they are thirsty, offer them a bottle of water, not a sports drink, soda or other sweetened beverage
3. Consider shopping at the farmers market to buy your fruits especially as the weather warms, the colors and smells of fresh fruits and vegetables are a great way to satisfy the bodies cravings for what it needs for fuel.
Sheila Eckel, author of this month’s article, received her certification as a Nutrition Educator from Bauman College. Bauman offers a forum on their website where the public can ask health-related questions and receive responses from professionals. She is a 21-year resident of Alamo with her husband and she has two sons, one in college and one at SRVHS. Her passion is to educate students and their families in our community on good nutrition and healthy eating habits. More information on the content of this article can be found on the Bauman website listed below in the article written by Dr. Ed Bauman and faculty member Jodi Friedlander. Sheila will be joining the SRVHS Just for Moms gathering in May—watch for details!
Mateljan, George. The World’s Healthiest Foods (Seattle: George Mateljan Foundation), 2006
visit Mateljan’s website at: www.whfoods.org for a free online newsletter and quick, simple recipes with a daily “tip” on nutrition
Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. (Penguin Press: NY), 2006
www.deliciouslivingmag.com free newsletter online
www.baumancollege.org - public forum and other information related to nutrition and health
www.mercola.com Dr. Mercola has a number of articles on High Fructose Corn Syrup and its relationship to obesity and diabetes
www.chezpanissefoundation.org Alice Waters and her commitment to changing the school lunch programs
www.yaleruddcenter.org Yale University site containing food related articles
Healthy Choices Newsletter
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