Can Feeding Children Peanut Products at an Early Age Prevent Future Allergies?

design (3)As the number of children allergic to peanuts is rapidly increasing, a new study in The New England Journal of Medicine reports on recent research that indicates that withholding these products at a young age could be a contributor to the increase in the number of peanut allergies in the U.S. and other Western countries. This groundbreaking revelation is contrary to what many parents have been advised by pediatricians, who have historically recommended against giving young children ages 0-3 peanuts, due to choking concerns. Though the new research may not be entirely conclusive , it does suggest that advice disseminated to prevent one risk may have contributed to the rise of another, more prominent risk amongst children.

Here is a roundup of the reporting on this new research:

Preventing Peanut Allergy through Early Consumption — Ready for Prime Time?” Rebecca S. Gruchalla, M.D., Ph.D., and Hugh A. Sampson, M.D., The New England Journal of Medicine

“Feeding Infants Peanut Products Could Prevent Allergies, Study Suggests” Andrew Pollack, NYTimes

“Study finds peanut consumption in infancy prevents peanut allergy” National Institutes of Health

“Advisory about not feeding peanuts to infants and young children at risk for peanut allergy” American College of Surgeons, Science Daily

“Feeding Babies Foods With Peanuts Appears To Prevent Allergies” Rob Stein, NPR

 

 

 

 

Kids and Cooking: Four Fun Websites With Recipes for Young Chefs and Families

Untitled design (2)Teaching kids how to cook is a gift with many benefits to health, family dynamics, motor skills, math skills, and more. One of challenges of cooking with kids is finding recipes that are simple enough for kids to follow while still presenting interesting and healthy food options for the whole family.  Finding entire websites dedicated to overcoming these challenges can also be tricky, many websites offer recipes that are family friendly to eat but not necessarily family friendly to cook. Here are four websites dedicated to teaching kids how to cook by providing recipes and instructions for independent young chefs.

ChopChopKids

ChopChopKids is a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire and teach kids to cook real food. Their mission is guided by the principle that cooking and eating together as a family is a vital step in resolving the obesity and hunger epidemics.

What You Need to Know: There is a wealth of interesting and appealing recipes on the ChopChopKids website that are kid tested, including Pineapple Frozen Yogurt, Breakfast Kabobs, and Broiled Grapefruit. Access to these recipes are free and include helpful images and detailed recipes and instructions. In addition, ChopChopKids offers quarterly magazine subscriptions and a cookbook, both are great options for engaging young cooks to become involved in food choices.

Spatulatta

Spatulatta ‘s mission is to present a fun and compelling website that will help foster the new generation of young cooks, not only by introducing cooking skills, but also through modeling behavior for using healthy, fresh, basic ingredients with a minimum of processing. Spatulatta also encourages children to cook with their families and learn from the older generations to keep family and cultural traditions alive.

What You Need to Know: Each recipe is accompanied by an instructional video, edited down to a few minutes, which is extremely helpful and engaging for young cooks. The recipes are geared towards kid’s interests and are presented as such, including Sea Turtle Taters, Weenie Weiner Dogs, and Teddy Bear Tea. The website also offers help on basic skills and ways to incorporate arts and crafts in the kitchen.

Cook With Amber

Amber is an 11-yr old healthy kid chef and cooking show host who shows kids how easy and fun it is to make delicious, healthy, kid-friendly meals. Amber knows that eating well, moving well, and thinking well, are key to a happy life – she wants everyone to know that “Being healthy is COOL!”

What You Need to Know: Cook With Amber is a kid friendly website with a variety of ways to inspire young cooks, including fun recipes (Creepy Apple Bites, Puking Peppers, Salad on a Stick) and videos of appearances by Amber and cooking segments. This website is compelling because of Amber’s excitement for cooking and her contagious positivity, demonstrating to young chefs that cooking and eating healthy food can be cool.

Food Network Cooking With Kids

The Food Network encourages families to cook together and eat together with a selection of family friendly recipes that kids can make on their own or with an adult. With an explosion of kid centered TV shows and competitions, young chefs will be drawn to this website for its familiar hosts and enticing recipes, including Zucchini Pirate Boats, Pizza Skewers, and Taco Cheeseburgers.

What You Need to Know: There are a lot of bells and whistles and this website, as is expected for The Food Network. However, if users can navigate through to the actual recipes, there are interesting ideas that will encourage even the pickiest of eaters to try something new.

Asperkids: Seeing Pink on the Autism Spectrum

On this the eve of April, also known as National Autism Awareness Month, the United States will begin to light up blue as a special opportunity to educate the public about Autism and issues within the Autism community. It is a wonderfully charged initiative that will positively touch many families and individuals who live with Autism and Asperger’s. However, as communities recognize and support the various “Light It Up Blue” campaigns across our nation, our education on Autism is only half complete without “Seeing Pink on the Spectrum” as well.

“Seeing Pink on the Spectrum” creator, Jennifer Cook O’Toole, is bringing attention to the fact that girls on the Autism/Asperger’s spectrum present characteristics and traits that can be VERY different than how boys on the spectrum present. Not only is this true for Autism/Asperger’s, it’s true for ADD/ADHD as well. And because not all parents, educators and even some medical providers are aware of these differences, some girls on the Autism/Asperger’s spectrum are getting lost, or labeled incorrectly.

Jennifer Cook O’Toole was diagnosed as an Aspie in adulthood, is the mother of three Asperkids, the wife of an Aspie, an award-winning educator and author of the internationally-celebrated “Asperkids” book series. Through her Asperkids organization, she is on a relentless mission to educate and help the Asperger’s community on this issue, among others:

“Girls who don’t fit in are casually dismissed as ‘too smart,’ ‘oversensitive,’ and ‘dramatic.’ Adults will shrug, ‘Girls can be so mean.’ Or they pejoratively attach labels like ‘bossy’ or ‘stuck up’ when they ought to use the one that can help: ‘Aspie’.”

Her article, “Seeing the Pink on the Spectrum: An Aspie Mother’s Gift to Her Aspie Daughter….and Yours” is a must read. With a checklist included, this article could help you understand you or your child better.

Find out more about Jennifer Cook O’Toole and Asperkids at www.asperkids.com.

Rethinking Whole Milk vs. Low-Fat Milk

glass-of-milk

There is an interesting article on the npr.com blog site “the salt” about results from a new study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, of preschool-aged children that finds that low-fat milk was associated with higher weight. This is especially confusing to those who are routinely guided by pediatricians to switch their children to low-fat milk at age 2. And also counterintuitive to the logic that lower fat intake should equate lower body fat. Interestingly, this study is not the first to reach this conclusion. Although the study was not comprehensive, certainly the findings should prompt further research and dialogue with health care providers.

Read more here.

Update: There is HOPE for Severe Allergies-A Letter from Dr. Kari Nadeau

A few weeks ago, thechildrensblog.com published a post discussing an article in the NY Times Magazine about groundbreaking research and progress in the field of allergies (see post and link to NY Times article, below) . Subsequently, Dr. Nadeau has published a letter for readers to elaborate on some of the information contained in the article. This letter is further enlightening and can be read by clicking here.

Original post:

If you or your child (ren) suffer from any life threatening allergies, you know all too well that there are indisputably more questions than answers when it comes to  food allergies.  The number of questions continue to rise as the number of children with food allergies (5.9 million in the U.S, or 1 out of 13 kids) continues to rise. Many of these children are in danger everyday, just by going to school, to a restaurant, or to a party. As parents, some of us have been lucky enough to identify our children’s allergies prior to a reaction. Many of us, however, have experienced that terrifying moment when we realize that our child has eaten something that is causing his or her body to shut down. How could their little bodies turn on themselves like that?  How are they ever to experience a normal childhood living in fear that something as harmless as a cupcake could kill them? Will there be an Epi Pen , will there be someone who knows how to use an Epi Pen? Please, let them grow out of whatever has started this allergy.

Within the ever-present cloud of questions and concerns about allergies, there seems to be progress. Melanie Thernstrom wrote and article for The NY Times Magazine that profiles the research and progressive trials of Dr. Kari Nadeau of the Stanford Alliance For Food Allergy Research. Dr. Nadeau’s radical trial of desensitizing children who suffer from multiple allergies has produced successful results and gives all children and families who suffer from life threatening allergies hope for a cure.

Read the article “The Allergy Buster.  Can a Radical New Treatment Save Children With Severe Allergies?” by clicking  here.

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