Swedish study finds that children’s TV time and sweetened drink intake are linked
Most would agree that twenty-first century children could all do with less time in front of the television and less sugar in their diets. But in the contemporary world, how do parents make this happen? A recent study conducted at the University of Gothenberg in Sweden suggests that the answer is easier than you might think. The two problems appear to be each other’s solutions.
Imagine a child who drinks one glass of soda a day with dinner. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Imagine, though, if this soda was swapped out for water. In a year, the child would take in 36,500 less calories and 10,220 less grams of sugar.
Lowering children’s intake of sweetened beverages is one of the most effective ways to improve nutrition and overall health. Unfortunately, with so many different types of sodas and sugary drinks on the market, achieving this feat is not the easiest.
According to Stina Olafsdottir, one of the researchers involved in the Gothenberg study, “The children who watched more TV were more likely to drink these [sweetened] beverages. In fact, each additional hour in front of the TV increased the likelihood of regular consumption by 50 percent.”
The correlation comes as music to parents’ ears. Give kids a book instead of a remote and you might be giving them better diet habits in turn.
8 Guaranteed Ways to Emotionally F*ck Up Your Kids
Our children are the lights of our lives. We all start off as parents envisioning nothing but success, love and happiness for them. However, these dreams often do not manifest because they are not getting the important things they need to become disciplined, mature and motivated adults. The following are eight parenting f*ck-ups that will guarantee your child will suffer from depression, anxiety, anger, tense family relationships, problems with friends, low self-esteem, a sense of entitlement and chronic emotional problems throughout his or her life.
1. Ignore or minimize your child's feelings. If your child is expressing sadness, anger or fear and you mock them, humiliate them, ignore or tease them you minimize what they feel. You essentially tell them what they feel is wrong. When parents do this they withhold love from their child and miss opportunities to have open and vulnerable connections teaching them to bond and to know they are loved unconditionally.
2. Inconsistent rules. If you never talk about your expectations, you keep your child from knowing how to behave appropriately. Children live up or down to what you expect. Rules give them guidelines and boundaries to help them define who they are, good and bad. If you keep your child guessing and life is vague, they will begin to act out to find the boundaries themselves, which leads to low self-esteem and problem behavior.
3. Make your child your friend. Never share all your worries, concerns and relationship problems with your child or ask their advice. If you act helpless and defeated to your children they will never learn to respect you and will treat you as an equal or an inferior because you have used them for your own therapy. You must show your children you can stand up to problems, face your challenges and handle life through all the stress and come out on the other side. Be real, have your emotions, but do not burden your children.
4. Put down your child's other parent. If you never show affection and love to your partner/spouse in front of your child, the child does not develop a barometer for what love is or what it looks like. If you are always putting your spouse down and rejecting him/her, threatening divorce, you create a chronic state of anxiety for your child. If you are already divorced and you remain cold, distant, bitter, angry and blaming of your ex-spouse, you are sending the subtle message to your child that your ex-spouse is the cause of the divorce and you need to be the preferred parent. This is parent alienation.
5. Punish independence and separation. When we punish our children for growing up, we make them feel guilty for having normal developmental needs and desires which often causes deep insecurity, rebellion, cutting and other forms of behaviors that indicate failure to be able to branch out and be themselves as independent people.
6. Treat your child as an extension of you. If, as a parent, you link your own image and self-worth to your child's appearance, performance, behavior, grades and how many friends they have, you let them know they are loved not for who they are but for how well they perform and make you look good. This turns them into pleasers rather than doers, and they will always worry about being good enough.
7. Meddle in your child's relationships. Directing every action your child takes in their relationships -- from friends to teachers -- inhibits their maturity. For example, if your child gets in trouble at school and you immediately rush to talk to the teacher to get them off the hook, or you are constantly telling your child how to be a friend, as your child grows he/she will never learn to navigate the sharper edges relationships bring on their own.
8. Over-protect. When we protect our children from every problem and emotion, it creates a sense of entitlement and inflated self-esteem that often crosses the line into narcissism. They expect life to be easier than it is. They want everything done for them no matter how they behave. They then become depressed and confused when they don't get what they believe they deserve.
Tips to Reduce Screen Time
Explain to your kids that it's important to sit less and move more in order to stay at a healthy weight. Tell them they’ll also have more energy, and it will help them develop and/or perfect new skills, such as riding a bike or shooting hoops, that could lead to more fun with friends. Tell them you’ll do the same.
Set a Good Example
You need to be a good role model and limit your screen time to no more than two hours per day, too. If your kids see you following your own rules, then they’ll be more likely to do the same.
Log Screen Time vs. Active Time
Start tracking how much time your family spends in front of a screen, including things like TV- and DVD-watching, playing video games, and using the computer for something other than school or work. Then take a look at how much physical activity they get. That way you’ll get a sense of what changes need to be made. Use the Screen Time Chart (141 KB) to do it.
Make Screen Time = Active Time
When you do spend time in front of the screen, do something active. Stretch, do yoga and/or lift weights. Or, challenge the family to see who can do the most push-ups, jumping jacks, or leg lifts during TV commercial breaks.
Set Screen Time Limits
Create a house rule that limits screen time to two hours every day. More importantly, enforce the rule.
Create Screen-free Bedrooms
Don’t put a TV or computer in your child's bedroom. Kids who have TVs in their room tend to watch about 1.5 hours more TV a day than those that don’t. Plus, it keeps them in their room instead of spending time with the rest of the family.
Make Meal Time = Family Time
Turn off the TV during meals. Better yet, remove the TV from the eating area if you have one there. Family meals are a good time to talk to each other. Research shows that families who eat together tend to eat more nutritious meals. Make eating together a priority and schedule family meals at least two to three times a week.
Provide Other Options
Watching TV can become a habit, making it easy to forget what else is out there. Give your kids ideas and/or alternatives, such as playing outside, getting a new hobby, or learning a sport. See more tips for getting physically active.
Don't Use TV Time as Reward or Punishment
Practices like this make TV seem even more important to children.
Understand TV Ads & Placements
Seeing snack foods, candy, soda, and fast food on television affects all of us, especially kids. Help your child understand that because it’s on TV—or your favorite TV characters/actors eat or drink it—doesn’t mean a food or drink is good for you. Get your kids to think about why their favorite cartoon character is trying to get them to eat a certain brand of breakfast cereal.
Kids need at least 60 minutes of physical activity on most if not all days of the week.
Reduce Screen Time Tools and Resources
Information and materials to help families and communities reduce screen time
Healthy Adventure Infographic (572 KB PDF)
Tips on ways you and your family can get healthy together
DON'T feed your kids in front of the TV
Childhood obesity is a red-hot topic right now, and for good reason. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that about 16 percent of U.S. children are overweight -- that&aposs an increase of 45 percent in just a decade. There&aposs no doubt television has something to do with it, but it&aposs not necessarily that the sedentary act of watching TV cuts down on the time kids spend exercising. Instead, researchers believe the connection has more to do with kids eating in front of the TV and the food marketing found in commercials.
Getting a child to finish his dinner is a classic parenting challenge, and TV can work wonders, which may help to explain why 53 percent of kids under 6 eat at least one meal or snack while watching TV, according to a 2004 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
"My older son used to be a very picky eater," says Georgeta Lester, of Blacksburg, Virginia, whose kids are 4 and 7. "In the mornings, the only way to get him to eat was to turn on the TV. He&aposd eat anything, even spinach. But I felt guilty -- I thought he wasn&apost processing what he was eating."
Lester&aposs instincts are spot-on. Watching TV can interfere with a child&aposs ability to respond to cues of fullness, potentially causing him to overeat, which may lead to weight problems, says Lori Francis, PhD, professor of biobehavioral health at Pennsylvania State University. For preschoolers who ate meals while watching television, says Francis, "we found that the TV appeared to distract them from eating. So they ate more while it was on."
How Typical Are Our Welfare Families?
Because of the way Edin drew her sample, we suspect that her 25 mothers had somewhat more outside income than the average welfare mother in their city. We doubt, however, that the difference was large. Edin also interviewed 25 welfare workers in the same city who reviewed recipients' rent and utility bills in order to calculate Food Stamp entitlements. These case workers all agreed that when a recipient lived in private housing her rent consumed most of her check and that utility bills consumed the rest. They therefore assumed that most recipients in private housing had additional unreported income.
The case workers Edin interviewed all turned a blind eye to such indirect evidence of cheating because investigating a recipient's unreported income would have required extra work and would not have earned them any credit with their superiors. Many case workers also felt moral scruples about preventing welfare recipients from supplementing their checks, since they believed it was impossible to live on what welfare paid. Perhaps because case workers habitually ignored all but the most flagrant evidence of cheating, officials further up in the welfare hierarchy all seemed to believe that most recipients lived on their checks.
The only other in-depth study of urban welfare recipients' non-welfare income is Jagna Sharff's field study of a Puerto Rican neighborhood in New York. After two years in the neighborhood Sharff concluded that almost every man, woman, and older child participated in the underground economy and that no welfare recipient reported such income to the welfare department. Unfortunately, Sharff did not collect data on how much income welfare families derived from the underground economy
WE HAVE NO DIRECT evidence regarding welfare recipients in other cities, but we do have indirect evidence. Food, clothing, laundry, appliances, furniture, and transportation cost about the same amount in every major city. Even rent varies less than many people imagine. Furthermore, big city rents are lower in the Midwest than in other parts of the country, so Edin's 25 welfare mothers were under less pressure to supplement their AFDC checks than mothers in many other places. In 1984-85, for example, low-income families in Midwestern metropolitan areas with 1.25 to 4 million inhabitants paid $143 a month in rent. The figure was $171 in the East, $224 in the South ' and $227 in the West. The same pattern recurs for metropolitan areas of more than 4 million (New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Francisco). Edin's mothers needed $954 to make ends meet in the Midwest. They might have needed as much as $1,025 to live equally well in Los Angeles or San Francisco. They could not have gotten by on much less than $900 in any major American city.
If welfare mothers need $900 to $1,025 a month to make ends meet in major American cities, no state pays enough for a mother to survive on welfare alone. In 1988 a single mother with two children got cash and Food Stamps worth $750 a month in Los Angeles, $701 in New York, $699 in Detroit, $589 in Philadelphia, $552 in Chicago, $491 in Atlanta, $412 in Houston, and $346 in Birmingham.
The situation may be different in rural areas. Edin interviewed a small number of welfare mothers in rural Minnesota, where the combined value of AFDC and Food Stamps is 25 percent higher and rent is typically about half what it is in the city we studied. She found several Minnesota mothers who said they lived entirely on their AFDC check. Those who supplemented their checks also earned far less than their big-city counterparts. We would expect to find the same pattern in depressed rural areas of other high-benefit states.
In the rural South, however, making ends meet on AFDC is probably even more difficult than it is in our Midwestern city. In 1989 Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas gave welfare mothers with two children less than $200 a month in cash. While it costs less to live in the rural South than in the urban Midwest, it is hard to see how a family of three could get by on $200 a month anywhere in America, even if they did get Food Stamps. Furthermore, opportunities for supplementing AFDC are probably more limited in rural areas than in big cities. If a welfare mother gets any kind of job in a rural area, her neighbors soon know about it, which probably means her case worker knows too. Case workers may look the other way if a welfare mother earns a little money from baby sitting or cleaning someone's house, but they are unlikely to tolerate her taking a regular job without reporting her earnings.
Google Assistant privacy commands
If you are concerned about your commands being stored by the search giant, there are a few Google Home commands you can use to protect your privacy:
- Access Google’s privacy portal: “OK, Google, how are you keeping my data safe?”.
- Delete your most recent voice command: “OK, Google, delete what I just said”.
- To delete commands from a past time frame: “OK, Google, delete everything I said today/this week/this month/this year”.
6. Mirror content
If you’re streaming something on your phone in one room and want to display it on a TV, just use the display mirroring option. Make sure you have the most recent version of FireOS, which you can check by going to Settings, clicking My Fire TV, then About and Software Update.
When you’re ready, press and hold the home key on your remote. On your smartphone, look for Smart link, Screen Mirroring, Display Beam or something similar. The wording will depend on your device. Tap on the applicable option and select Fire TV. Easy, huh?
If you’re not sure what to watch, consider using your phone or laptop to stream some free films and shows. Tap or click here to see the 10 best sites to watch free movies, then mirror them to your TV.
Natural Insomnia Remedies: Foods, Herbs, and Supplements
Melatoninis a hormone that helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle, an internal pacemaker that controls the timing and our drive for sleep. It causes drowsiness, lowers body temperature, and puts the body into sleep mode.
Research on melatonin in people with insomnia is mixed. Some research shows that taking it restores and improves sleep in people with insomnia. Other studies show that melatonin does not help people with insomnia stay asleep.
Melatonin might be of benefit to people with issues such as jet lag or shift work. It is not regulated by the FDA and can have problems with purity. You should only use it under close supervision by a doctor.
Warm milk. You can put a tasty spin on your grandmother’s natural insomnia remedy by sipping warm milk before bed. Almond milk is an excellent source of calcium, which helps the brain make melatonin. Plus, warm milk may spark pleasant and relaxing memories of your mother helping you fall asleep.
Sleepy-time snacks. The best sleep-inducing foods include a combination of protein and carbohydrates, says Shelby Harris, PsyD. She's the director of the behavioral sleep medicine program at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y.
Harris suggests a light snack of half a banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter, or a whole wheat cracker with some cheese. Eat one of these snacks about 30 minutes before hitting the hay.
Magnesium apparently plays a key role with sleep. Research has shown that even a marginal lack of it can prevent the brain from settling down at night. You can get magnesium from food. Good sources include green leafy vegetables, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, and almonds. Check with your doctor before taking magnesium supplements. Magnesium can interact with many different medications, and too much of it can cause serious health issues.
Lavender. Lavender oil is calming and can help encourage sleep in some people with insomnia, research shows. “Try taking a hot bath with lavender oil before bed to relax your body and mind,” Harris says.
Valerian root. This medicinal herb has been used to treat sleep problems since ancient times. “Valerian can be sedating and may help you fall asleep,” says Tracey Marks, MD, an Atlanta-based psychiatrist.
Research on the effectiveness of valerian for insomnia is mixed. Marks says if you try valerian as a sleep remedy, be patient. It can take a few weeks for it to take effect. Talk to your doctor before taking valerian and follow label directions.
L-theanine. This amino acid found in green tea leaves may help combat anxiety that interferes with sleep. A 2007 study showed that L-theanine reduced heart rate and immune responses to stress. It's thought to work by boosting the amount of a feel-good hormone your body makes. It also induces brain waves linked to relaxation. Talk to your doctor before taking it.
"Black Screen Of Death" Afflicts Many Flat Screen TVs
Millions of consumers went out and purchased a flat screen television set 12 to 24 months ago, hoping for years of trouble-free viewing. Increasingly, some of these consumers are encountering the same frustrating - and expensive - problem.
"My children were sitting and watching TV and it all of sudden went black," Angela, of Anaheim, California, told ConsumerAffairs.com. "The sound was still on so I thought maybe the video cord was loose or something. I tried everything and realized that nothing was going to work to fix this problem. Got the same run around as everyone else. The TV costs more to fix than I paid for it."
Angela's lament is one of 61 complaints about Vizio flat screen TVs received at ConsumerAffairs.com in the last 12 months. Many of the complaints describe the same problem suddenly the picture disappears, leaving a blank screen - "the black screen of death," as it has been dubbed by some consumers.
Dennis, of Belfry, Kentucky, bought a 47" Vizio LCD in December 2007 and experienced the "black screen of death" three months after the warranty expired. He took his set to a number of area repair shops until he found one that would work on it - Hall's TV Service, in Pikeville, Kentucky.
"I wouldn't say Vizio is any worse than any of the off -brand TV sets out there," owner Ray Hall told ConsumerAffairs.com. Most are cheaply made and not real easy to work on."
Besides Vizio, Hall said he sees a lot of Polaroid flat screens in his shop. Both brands are sold at Wal-Mart stores and both produce plenty of complaints. ConsumerAffairs.com has logged 206 complaints about Polaroid TVs in the last 12 months.
"We purchased a new Polaroid FLM-373b in February 2007 for $997.00 from Wal-Mart," said Michelle, of Raton, New Mexico. "Three months out of the box we had an issue with our TV not wanting to come on."
Hall said in many cases the problem stems from a power supply failure.
"Most of these sets have three power supplies," he said. "The main power supply usually holds up but what happens, one of the screen power supplies fails.
When that happens the screen goes dark and repairs can be costly, assuming a service provider can get the parts. Hall says he has found Polaroid, in particular, is difficult to deal with. On the other hand, he says, he finds it easy to work with Sanyo.
But for consumers considering what flat screen TV brand to purchase, Hall says one brand is about as good as another. Which means, not very.
"It used to be you could buy a TV set and it would last 20 years," said Hall. "It's not like that with these flat screens."
Alexa Enabled Lights: What do You Need?
This project only requires two products:
1. Amazon Echo Device – There are several Amazon Echo devices to choose from. Learn how you can use the Amazon Echo in your smart home or check the price on Amazon below.
|Alexa Device||Description||Best For||Buy|
|All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen) | Smart speaker with clock and Alexa | Glacier White||Modern styling to add smart home voice control throughout your home.||Amazon Price|
|Echo Dot (3rd Gen) - Smart speaker with Alexa - Charcoal||Adding smart home voice control in all rooms.||Amazon Price|
|Echo (3rd Gen)- Smart speaker with Alexa- Charcoal||Larger rooms where you want better sound.||Amazon Price|
|Introducing Echo Show 8 - HD 8" smart display with Alexa - Charcoal||Kitchens and bedrooms to see recipes and security cameras.||Amazon Price|
|Echo Plus (2nd Gen) - Premium sound with built-in smart home hub - Charcoal||Entry level smart home controller built-in.||Amazon Price|
|Introducing Echo Flex - Plug-in mini smart speaker with Alexa||Bathrooms and kitchen counter plugs.||Amazon Price|
2. Smart Lights – Smart light bulbs, light switches or smart plugs connected to a light. You can use any and all of these products in your light group.
- WHATS IN THE BOX: Each kit contains 3 Philips Hue White A19 60W LED Smart bulbs (able to fit most lamps, overhead lights, and 4-inch recessed cans ) Philips Hue hub that can reliably control up to 50 Hue lights without slowing your Wi-Fi and one Smart Button with mounting plates
- VOICE ACTIVATED: By using the Hue Hub, these Smart Bulbs connect to your favorite smart home devices like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or Google Assistant for the ultimate smart home experience
- EASY & VERSATILE: The Hue Smart button is easy to use and install. Equipped with magnets, tape, and a wall bracket, the button can be placed in multiple locations in multiple ways. No hard-wiring required. Control your lights without touching your smart phone.
If you don’t have smart lights in your home, then I suggest that you get started with a Philips Hue Hub. Voice control over your lights is one of the best features of a smart home. The Philips Hue Hub is the fastest and easiest way to add or expand smart lights in your home.
Child deaths are linked to social deprivation in England – NHS report
About 700 child deaths could be avoided each year in England by reducing rates of social deprivation, according to an NHS England-funded report.
The research, which analysed the records of 3,347 children who died in England between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020, identified a clear association between the risk of death and level of deprivation, for all categories of death apart from cancer.
It concluded that more than a fifth (23%) of all child deaths might be avoided if children living in the most deprived areas had the same mortality risk as those living in the least deprived areas.
Judith Cavanagh, the coordinator of the End Child Poverty coalition, said: “We already know that children who grow up in poverty experience worse physical and mental health than their better-off peers that poverty restricts their opportunities in the future and blights their childhood with shame, stigma, stress and worry. What this report shows is that deprivation is killing children, not just limiting their lives and life chances.
“It is imperative that the government commits to an ambitious and comprehensive plan to tackle child poverty that will address the causes of deprivation through greater investment in children’s benefits, tackling low pay, and addressing high costs such as rent and childcare.”
Using postcode data, Prof Karen Luyt at the University of Bristol’s National Child Mortality Database and colleagues linked each child’s residential address to the government’s measures of deprivation index, which uses data on income, employment, education, health, crime, access to housing and services, and living environment to calculate a deprivation score, with one being the lowest and 10 the highest. They found that for each point (decile) increase in deprivation, there was a 10% increase in the risk of death, with almost three times as many deaths occurring in the most deprived decile, compared with the least deprived.
The majority (87.8%) of children who died lived in urban areas, and 63% of the deaths, were in infants less than one year old.
The team also scrutinised those child death records where deprivation was mentioned as a contributing factor. This revealed that problems relating to family debt or financial difficulties, homelessness in pregnant mothers, poor maternal nutrition, and mental health problems in either parent were the most frequently reported contributory factors.
Housing problems – such as a lack of cleanliness, unsuitable accommodation (including overcrowding), or maintenance issues such as damp or mould, or homes being in poor repair – were identified in 123 of the deaths reviewed.
Homelessness, either related to the father, mother, or child, featured in a further 33 deaths. This most commonly affected pregnant mothers, who went on to give birth to babies who subsequently died families with young children and young people leaving or being forced out of their family home.
“If families are living in homes where there literally isn’t a bed for every member of the family, and parents are sleeping on the sofa with their newborn baby, for instance, then that puts their risk of dying a sudden unexpected death up by a factor of about 30,” Luyt said.
A child’s postcode can also influence their risk of traumatic death, such as being hit by a car while playing out on the street because there is nowhere else to play. Deaths from infections such as meningitis or pneumonia are also associated with social deprivation. Luyt said: “We have universal healthcare, but families may not have the income to get to hospital if their child is very ill. It’s that sort of thing where I think social deprivation starts to affect a child’s survival.”
The study only counted deaths up to 31 March 2020, so it did not examine the impact of the pandemic, which is believed to have increased rates of child poverty. Luyt said: “Because of the measures we’ve been taking, we have seen a reduction in infections of all sorts in children across the board, because they’ve not been exposed to viruses and so on in schools. But certainly, the pandemic is not going to help the inequity that we can see.”