Posts Tagged ‘Childhood obesity’


November 4, 2017

Data from the huge SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study – that includes more than a whopping 20,000 participants – reports the incidence of type 2 diabetes is increasing in our children.1 We are talking a 7% rise annually between 2002 and 2012.

Until recently, type 2 diabetes was referred to as ‘adult-onset’. Now, kids as young as 3 years are being diagnosed.

Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable, yet can lead to significant health issues, including cardiovascular disease,2 blindness, amputations and even reduced length of life. This is aside from onerous the day-to-day monitoring and management, and symptoms such as depression and a poorer quality of life.3;4

Causes of type 2 diabetes are multifactorial, with familial, lifestyle and environmental factors at play.

From a dietary perspective, to reduce the risk of developing the condition here are some things to consider for you and your kids.

Reduce added sugar intake
Surprise! Too much sweet stuff may contribute to the onset of type 2 diabetes – especially regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. Leave the highly refined sweet stuff behind, and replace with whole foods like fruit and healthful drinks like water and unsweetened tea.

Replace refined and heavily processed foods with real foods
Any food far removed from its original state should be limited. Heavily refined oils and trans-fats should be replaced with less processed oils and healthy fats, such as olive oil, nuts, avocado and oily fish.

Fibre-less flours can be just as detrimental to the body as added sugars. Instead, choose whole foods that are low in glycaemic load, swapping white rice for quinoa, or white flour for ground buckwheat, coconut or almond meal. 

Create a healthy gut
The state of our intestinal microbiome can influence our health in a variety of ways. Recent research indicates the prevalence of certain gut bugs may be linked to precursors of type 2 diabetes. Considering our diet hugely affects which microbial populations of the intestine thrive or decline, more attention should be paid to keeping those helpful guts bugs nourished to keep the unhelpful ones at bay.

A great place to start is limiting intake of heavily processed foods while ensuring fibre intake is up and enjoying some fermented foods.

Stabilize blood glucose fluctuations
Enabling blood sugar highs followed by almighty lows increases the risk for pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. You can manage the blood sugar swing by eating regularly throughout a day, ensuring meals and snacks are comprised of ingredients offering fibre, healthy fats and protein. This offers a slow, steady release of energy to the body and therefore avoids the extreme fluctuation in blood glucose levels and high demand for insulin production. 

Enjoy plenty of anti-inflammatory foods
Blood concentrations of inflammatory markers such as CRP, TNF-a, & IL-6 are elevated in type 2 diabetes. While inflammation has it’s role in the body – such as healing the skin of a grazed knee – we don’t want to be living in high and chronically inflamed state. Choose to eat foods that keep inflammation in check, such as leafy greens, deep coloured berries, fresh herbs and spices, and heaps of vegetables.

Chat with a pro
Overall, if you’ve concerns or a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes has already been made, please do chat with your trusted healthcare professional. They can run tests and work with you on a personalized diet, lifestyle and (if necessary) medical treatment plan to help turn type 2 diabetes around.

By Angela Johnson (BHSc Nut. Med)

Coffs Coast Health Club eNews – November 2014

November 2, 2014
Our MEMBERS ONLY special offer is back & is proudly sponsored by Parrys JewellersParrys Logo
for this November.
The fantastic team at Parrys Jewellers have kindly donated A PRIZE A WEEK
to reward you for encouraging your friends to become your gym buddy.Each Friday this month, we will be drawing the lucky winner!
We have 4 x Freshwater Pearl Bracelet and Earrings Sets (valued over $160 each) to give away.All you need to do to WIN is refer your friends to come in & try the club for FREE.Parrys 2014 cut
You will then get a ticket in the draw & if they decide to join, they will avoid the $149 joining fee & you will also receive 2 WEEKS FREE for each friend that you referred who joins.

There are NO LIMITS to the amount of friends you can refer & tickets you can get into the draw each week.
The more you refer, the better your chance of winning, so what are you waiting for?

Parrys Jewellers are also kindly offering 10% OFF all ticketed prices to Coffs Coast Health Club Members.
Simply show your membership tag when you are there to get your discount. Don’t forget Christmas is just around the corner!


Annual Outdoor Balance Class! ????????????????

It’s that time of the year again when we take Coffs Coast Health Club’s Saturday morning Balance class outdoors to Sawtell’s Southern Headland.

Last years event was again a huge success with over 60 participants & a beautiful morning to remember.
Balance classes are a combination of yoga, tai chi & pilates incorporating strength, flexibility, balance & relaxation exercises.
Participating in this class while over looking the ocean & whales

frolicking in the background is a simply amazing experience.balance image

Bring as many friends as possible, a yoga mat or towel, drink bottle, a donation for beyondblue & remember to dress in blue.

Who:     All members & their invited guests

When:   Saturday 8th November at 9am
(enough time to get there after the 7.30am pump class in the club)

Where:  Sawtell Headland, off Boronia St, Sawtell

How:     Book at reception on your next visit, by calling 6658 6222 or via

As a SPECIAL BONUS, anyone that joins the club on the day can choose their own joining fee (normally $149) & we will donate the entire amount to beyondblue


Position Vacant – Full Time Business Management Traineeship!

One of our frontline legends Josh has just finished his Certificate III in Fitness & will be heading to Newcastle with his girlfriend in the next few weeks to chase their dreams together.
This leaves a position vacant for a New Trainee to join the team.

As we already have Maggie studying Fitness, we have decided to offer some diversity & provide a Business Management Traineeship instead. The successful applicant will get the opportunity to study a Certificate III in Business Management & will be employed full time in a reception, customer service role.

We accept applications from anyone of any age with any background, as long as they have a wonderful work ethic and a desire to service our magnificent members.

If you or anyone you know is interested in this exciting career opportunity, please forward this email to them, get them to complete the application form here & drop it in to reception before 6pm Sunday 9th November.


Stress Resilience & Happiness Seminar!

georgie3 3Transform Your Life… and Thrive!

Over 7 modules we bring together the latest research, practical skills and proven tools for real and lasting change.
This weekend intensive brilliantly presented by Quantum Life Skills teaches you 7 powerful keys for stress proofing your brain,
building resilience and creating happiness from the inside out.

Georgie Cooke believes that you are not here just to survive. You are here to learn, love, grow and thrive!
She will show you how to do just that…

Who:         Everyone (members of CCHC receive 10% OFF)

When:       Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th November

Time:        10am – 1pm each day

Where:      19 Park Avenue, Coffs Harbour (enter via gordon st)

More Info:


Welcome to all new Fitness Passport Members!

Coffs Coast Health Club is proud to be the first health club in the region to offer the fantastic service of Fitness Passport.
The healthy workplace initiative from NSW Health is available to their employees & their direct family members.

For the month of November all Fitness Passport members will also receive the following special

  • A  24/7 access key tag for only $29
  • 3 x 30 minute Personal Training Sessions with a trainer of your choice for only $99 (SAVE 20%)
  • 50% OFF a 60 minute massage with Angela our massage therapist
  • A FREE Weight Loss consultation with a Healthy Inspirations Weight Loss Coach

Simply contact reception on 6658 6222 or for further information.


Our Very First Movie Night – Cereal Killers!

“One of the top 10 independent movies of 2013 that could change the world!”cereal-killers-movie-540

The film follows Donal – a lean, fit, seemingly healthy 41 year old man – on a quest to hack his genes and drop dead healthy
by avoiding the heart disease and diabetes that has afflicted his family.

When Donal’s sports star father Kevin suffered a heart attack later in life, family and friends were shocked. How does a lean,
fit and seemingly healthy man – who has sailed through cardiac stress tests – suddenly fall victim to heart disease?

  • Does FAT make you FAT?
  • Is sugar TOXIC?
  • Should BREAD be BANNED?

When: Tuesday 11th November

Time:  6.30 – 8.00pm (movie duration 63 mins)

Where: Coffs Coast Health Club Childminding Studio

Cost: FREE if you bring a friend or just $5 otherwise

Sponsored by:  Healthy Inspirations

Book at reception on your next visit, by calling 6658 6222 or via


The Power of NanoPro as opposed to standard protein supplements!

We all know that protein is an essential nutrient for the human body, but how do you know which protein is best?
We’ve got you covered. Our EXCLUSIVE nanopro takes protein to a whole new level. It is not just for muscles,
it’s a full body internal tissue repair system that helps heal the entire body from the inside, out.

Product Benefits:nanopro

  • The highest bioavailability of any Protein supplement on the market
  • Increase lean muscle and bone mass
  • Speed recovery time from exercise, injury, illness, or surgery
  • Reduce injuries related to working out
  • Help maintain a trim, fat-burning, lean body mass
  • Stabilize blood sugar and blood lipid levels
  • Healthy appetite regulation
  • Supports low carb diets
  • Cellular detoxification and protection
  • Healthy heart, brain, bones, organs, tissue repair
  • Support a balanced immune system

Nanopro protein is truly a quantum leap in functional food nutrition that provides optimal health benefits. As part of our CORE4 range we are offering Nanopro for $69.99, however if you purchase a CORE 4 pack you will also receive a 10% OFF.


Annual Members & Guests Christmas Party!

xmas 14
We wait all year for this night! Come & join us for a night of fun, frivolity, good food, great company and fantastic music…

When:  Friday 28th November

Time: 6.30pm – 10ish

Where: Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club

Entertainment:    Vanessa Henderson – beautiful acoustic solo musician.
Check her out here if you haven’t heard her before! Gold!

Dress: Party Clothes

Cost:  $30 each. BYO alcohol and other drinks. Tickets are limited, so book now at receptionxmas party 13

Lucky door prizes, Team Member of the Year, Member of the Year,
Most frequent visitor to CCHC,
Winner of the Healthy Inspirations Weight Loss Challenge & other prizes and giveaways.


Starters served on platters…from the fabulous Spare Chef Catering Company!

Mezze with House made Dips, Cider Poached Chorizo Sausage, Marinated

Fetta, Artichokes and Olives with Pita Wedges

Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls with Nam Jim Sauce

Grilled Haloumi and Vegetable Skewers with Lemon and Parsley Gremolata

Thai Beef Salad with Asian Slaw and Rice Noodles, Nam Jim Dressing

Main Course served in individual Noodle Boxes…

Mediterranean Salad with Char Grilled Chicken, Lemon and Olive Oil Dressing

Sweet Potato, Chick Pea and Baby Spinach with Tandoori Yoghurt

Dessert….from Wicked Berries (of course)

Wicked Berries Famous Christmas Cake complete with loads of fabulous Wicked Berries



Click here for more information on membership, personal training, weight loss, massage therapy, rehabilitation,
group exercise, childminding, privileges card & fitness careers or call us on 6658 6222 for more help.

Invite your friends for a FREE TRIAL & grab yourself a new training buddy!


Your CCHC Team

Start Shaping Up

August 19, 2014


As a nation, our waistlines are growing. Today, over 63% of Australian adults and one in four children are overweight or obese.

Unhealthy eating and not enough physical activity can lead to overweight and obesity, and an increased risk of developing a chronic disease such as some cancers, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Shape Up Australia is an initiative to help Australians reduce their waist measurements and improve their overall health and wellbeing. There are many everyday changes you can make to help you Shape Up and get on your way to a healthier lifestyle.


Life can be busy, and it’s easy to think that there just isn’t enough time to be physically active.  But being physically active doesn’t mean you have to spend hours exercising each day or that you have to push yourself to the point of feeling exhausted.

There are great benefits to getting even a small amount of physical activity each day, both mentally and physically.  Being active gives you more energy, helps you sleep better, reduces the risk of depression and can help to prevent a range of chronic diseases.

You can start with small changes, like increasing the distance you walk by getting off the bus earlier or parking your car further away from the shops.  Gradually increase the amount of physical activity you do – it all adds up.  Aim for 30 minutes (or more) of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week.

If you’re worried you don’t have the time, keep in mind that you don’t have to do your 30 minutes (or more) all at once – combine a few shorter sessions of 10 to 15 minutes each throughout the day.  Those short bursts are just as effective as longer exercise sessions.

To get started, check out these physical activity tips or find activities in your local area using the activity finder.


Tips for being more physically active every day

  • The saying “no pain, no gain” is a myth.  Some activity is better than none, and more is better than a little.  But you don’t have to exercise to the point of collapse to get a health benefit.  Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.
  • Set a date for when you will start. Write the date down and stick to it.
  • Make time to be physically active and schedule it as you would an appointment.  The Shape Up activity planner can help you plan and track your activity.
  • Set short-term and long-term goals.  Make your goals specific, measurable and achievable.  Rather than a vague goal like “I will get fit”, try “I will walk every day for 10 minutes after meals” or “I will get off the bus/train two stops earlier than my usual stop”.
  • Build up gradually.  If you are starting a new activity or have been inactive for some time, start at a level that you can manage easily and gradually build up.
  • Choose activities that are right for you.  Do something that you enjoy or go for something different you’ve always wanted to try, such as walking, jogging, joining a team sport, taking a group fitness class, dancing, cycling or swimming.
  • Mix it up.  Consider changing your activities every so often to avoid becoming bored.
  • Plan physical activity with others.  This can help you stick to your plan and achieve your goals.
  • Do not give up before you start to see the benefits.  Be patient and keep at it.
  • HAVE FUN! Physical activity can make you feel good about yourself and it’s a great opportunity to have fun with other people or enjoy some time to yourself.


It can seem hard to find time for physical activity.  One solution is to look for opportunities to build as much physical activity into everyday activities as you can.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Rather than spend five minutes circling a car park looking for that “perfect space” right near the entrance, park five minutes away and spend that time walking instead.
  • If you arrive at a bus or tram stop early, why not make use of the time to walk to the next stop?
  • Walk rather than rest on escalators… it’s quicker so you’ll actually save time! (Or better still, use the stairs).
  • Work in the garden – get into some energetic gardening activities like digging, shifting soil and mowing the lawn to raise your heart-rate.
  • Clean the house! Activities like vacuuming, cleaning windows and scrubbing floors that raise your heart rate are all good examples of moderate intensity physical activity.
  • Park further away from work (or get off public transport a few stops early).  If you walk for 10 minutes to and from work, you’ll have done 20 minutes without even noticing.  Add a 10 minute brisk walk (or more!) at lunch time and you’ve met the guidelines for the day.


What is moderate intensity activity?

Moderate-intensity activity will cause a slight but noticeable increase in your breathing and heart rate.  A good example of moderate-intensity activity is brisk walking; that is, at a pace where you are able to talk comfortably, but not sing.  Moderate-intensity activity should be carried out for at least 10 minutes at a time.

What is vigorous activity?

Vigorous activity is where you “huff and puff”; where talking in full sentences between breaths is difficult.  Vigorous activity can come from such sports as football, squash, netball, basketball and activities such as aerobics, speed walking, jogging and fast cycling.

Note: If you are pregnant, have been previously inactive, or suffer from any medical conditions, it is recommended that you seek medical advice before commencing vigorous physical activity.


Eating a diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods every day helps us maintain a healthy weight, feel good and fight off chronic disease.

Best of all, healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard if you follow these seven golden rules:

  1. Drink plenty of water
  2. Eat more vegetables and fruit
  3. Watch how much you eat – even foods that are good for us, when eaten in large portions, can lead to weight gain
  4. Eat less processed food
  5. Eat regular meals – don’t skip meals – and always start the day with a healthy breakfast (e.g. a bowl of hi fibre cereal with sliced banana and low fat milk)
  6. Restrict your alcohol intake
  7. Remember that some foods are high in added fat, salt and sugar and so are best eaten only sometimes or in small amounts.  Examples include lollies, chocolate, biscuits, cakes, pastries, soft drinks, chips, pies, sausage rolls and other takeaways.

To help you eat well every day, check out these healthy recipes and snack suggestions, tips for staying on track when eating out, our guide to healthy eating on a budget, and tips for drinking to health.

Snack suggestions

  • Add fruit and yoghurt to low fat milk and blend them together to make a great tasting smoothie.
  • A slice of wholegrain bread or raisin toast with a healthy spread such as avocado or low-fat cream cheese, makes a filling, healthy snack.
  • A piece of fruit – like a banana or apple – can make a great “on the run” snack.
  • Instead of reaching for a chocolate bar or packet of chips, try vegetable sticks with low-fat hummus.
  • An occasional handful of unsalted nuts or dried fruit makes a nutritious snack.
  • Grab a tub of natural low-fat yoghurt and add your own fruit.
  • Air-popped popcorn with a sprinkling of salt makes a great afternoon snack.
  • When the weather is hot, fruits such as oranges and grapes make delicious frozen snacks.

Other useful links:

Australian Dietary Guidelines

Stay On Track When Eating Out Fact Sheet

Your Guide To Buying Fruit And Veg In Season Fact Sheet

Information sourced from this Government Website:

Sweet Poison – sugar, it never fully satisfies our cravings.

August 12, 2014

In the last 24 hours, I’ve drunk several cups of coffee, each one sweetened with a sugar cube. I’ve eaten a bowl of porridge sprinkled liberally with brown sugar and I’ve enjoyed on three separate occasions, a piece of my date and apple birthday cake, to which the chef tells me he added one cup of castor sugar.

This is pretty standard fare for me (birthday celebrations notwithstanding) and although occasionally I fret that my sugar intake is perhaps a little high and that I should reign it in or else risk all manner of health problems down the track, I continue to indulge my sweet tooth. Although after listening to David Gillespie present at Happiness & Its Causes 2011, I’m seriously thinking I really do need to wean myself off the white stuff.

Gillespie, a former lawyer, is the author of Sweet Poison: why sugar makes us fat, whose thesis is that sugar, or more specifically fructose (of which folk are consuming, on average, about one kilo a week), actually does much more that pack on the kilos. It also makes us physically ill and exacts a significant toll on our mental health.

What we’ve come to identify as sugar is actually a combination of two molecules: fructose and glucose, the latter an indispensable element to the body’s healthy functioning. As Gillespie explains, “The glucose half is fine. It’s more than just fine; it’s vitally necessary for us. We are machines that run on the fuel of glucose.” Indeed, all the carbohydrates we consume – and which for most of us constitute about 60 per cent of our diet (everything else is proteins and fats) – are converted to glucose.

Fructose, on the other hand, is not metabolised by us for fuel but rather converted directly to fat. As Gillespie says, “By the time we finish a glass of apple juice, the first mouthful is already circulating in our arteries as fat.” But even worse than that, fructose messes with those hormonal signals which tell us we’re full so that we keep on eating sugary, fatty foods.

Two hormones in particular are affected, the first one being insulin “which responds immediately to the presence of all carbs except fructose,” says Gillespie. “When insulin goes up, appetite goes down. So insulin tells us, ‘all right, you’ve had a meal, stop eating’. Fructose does not provoke a response from insulin and in fact, over time, it makes us resistant to the signals we do get from everything else we eat.”

Leptin is produced by our fat cells and works as our “on board fuel gauge” in that the more fat cells we have, the more leptin we produce and the less hungry we are. The problem with fructose is it “makes us resistant to that signal,” says Gillespie.

And yes, this leads to all manner of health problems including Type 2 Diabetes and its associated symptoms including lethargy, blurred vision and skin infections, and what Gillespie says is “significant damage through something called glycation”, the destruction through the excessive production of so-called AGEs (advanced glycation end products) of our skin’s elasticity which causes hardening of our arteries and brittle skin, both unmistakable signs of ageing. Gillespie also cites some biochemistry studies that have found fructose accelerates the growth of pancreatic cancer tumours.

These are just some of the physical effects. The addictive quality of fructose means it’s also a bit of a downer and that’s because of how it interferes with the balance of two feel-good hormones in the brain, dopamine and serotonin. Gillespie explains, “It significantly ramps up our dopamine (released when we anticipate pleasure) at the expense of our serotonin (released when that pleasure is delivered).” In other words, it never fully satisfies our cravings, and as anyone who’s battled an addiction knows, unfulfilled cravings are never much fun.

Article sourced from:

The “NEW” Australian Dietary Guidelines

March 5, 2013



Australia is facing an obesity epidemic.  The scientific evidence suggests that one of the contributing issues is the replacement of healthy, nutritious food with energy dense food with minimal nutritional value in Australian dietary patterns.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released new Australian Dietary Guidelines today.

Health professionals working with people trying to achieve a healthy diet now have access to updated scientific evidence about the best dietary patterns for Australians of all ages.

“To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, Australians need to balance physical activity with amounts of nutritious foods and drinks that meet energy needs. We all need to limit energy rich nutrient poor ‘junk foods’ that are high in saturated fat, added salt or sugar,” NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson said.

A stringent review of around 55,000 scientific publications shows that the scientific evidence has strengthened about the link between diet and health.

“The evidence that links a healthy diet and reducing the risk of chronic health problems such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers is stronger. There is also stronger evidence about the kind of foods that can increase the risk of weight gain and health problems,” Professor Anderson said.

Read the full press release on the NHMRC website.

Australian Dietary Guidelines – key points

  • Good nutrition contributes significantly to maintaining healthy weight, quality of life, good physical and mental health throughout life, resistance to infection, and to protection against chronic disease and premature death.
  • The revised Guidelines are based on Systematic Literature Reviews which looked at around 55,000 pieces of peer reviewed published scientific research. This created a body of evidence on which the Guideline recommendations are based (not single studies).
  • The revised Australian Dietary Guidelines reflect the expert technical dietary modelling around 100 flexible dietary patterns based on nutrient requirements, cultural acceptability and Australian consumption patterns and the evidence for optimal health and wellbeing.
  • The evidence about what is healthy to eat and what is not so healthy has strengthened since the 2003 edition of the Dietary Guidelines.
  • There has been strong consultation throughout the revision of the Guidelines and all submissions have been carefully considered.
  • The Guidelines have been developed to help health professionals give advice to the public about their dietary choices and their health.
  • The total diet approach of the Guidelines reflects information about helping Australians eat the right foods for health, with an energy (kilojoule) intake to help achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight.
  • The Guidelines reflect stronger evidence that Australians should eat more fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereals and core reduced fat dairy foods, while limiting their consumption of energy rich nutrient poor ‘junk’ foods.

This information was sourced from

Helping today’s kids fight obesity

December 11, 2012


Heart Research Institution

Obesity in children has doubled in just 10 years. There are now seven times more overweight or obese children than was the case a generation ago. As a result, experts predict that these children will be the first to have a shorter lifespan than their parents due to the known links between obesity and the increased risk of heart disease! Here are 20 tips to help address this problem:

1. Set a good example – research shows that the eating habits of parents are closely related to the weight of their children.

2. Turn off the TV – too much TV makes kids fat. Restrict them to an hour or so a day and get them outside playing.

3. Size of the meal – don’t overload your kids’ plates and don’t force them to eat everything once they’ve had enough. Keep meals regular with only small, healthy snacks in between.

4. Make water the main drink at home – soft drink, concentrated fruit juice and cordial are way too high in sugar.

5. Keep the junk food at bay – only allow it occasionally.

6. Careful with rewards – rewards are great when your kids excel, but don’t use food as the prize.

7. Careful with the school food – know what’s available at school and limit canteen lunches to once a week.

8. Be smart with snacks – most ‘snack foods’ are full of sugar, fat and salt.

9. Keep on the move – make life fun for your kids by taking them to the park and kicking a ball around.

10. Take the low fat option – once your children reach 2, feed them low fat milk, yoghurt and cheese.

11. Options – get your kids to try lots of different types of foods, providing plenty of healthy alternatives like cereals, fruit, yoghurts, etc.

12. Beware negative comments – never say negative things about the shape of your kids or their weight.

13. Time – everyone’s busy, but take the time to cook healthy dinners instead of getting takeaway.

14. Breastfeeding – can protect against weight problems later in life.

15. Get physical – schedule in regular exercise with your kids, allowing them to try different sports as they grow up.

16. Balance – never ban a food completely… it only makes it more desirable. (My wife and I did this with Coke and our daughter Paloma now wants it more than anything!)

17. Emotional eating – understand that kids often use food as a means of coping with difficult times, so be careful if (e.g.) they’re being teased at school, etc.

18. Long term – as with many adults, children need to lose fat slowly and it often takes a year to see results. They do have growth spurts that help them lose weight.

19. Do breakfast – overweight people tend to skip breakfast. Set up good habits right from the start.

20. Varied appetite – a child’s appetite will vary as they go through different stages such as growth spurts. Let them determine this to some degree so they understand how much food is enough.

By Guy Leech, Information Sourced from

8 reasons to make time for your family to eat together

September 2, 2012

Soccer practices, dance rehearsals, playdates, and other scheduling conflicts make family mealtime seem like a thing of the past. Suddenly, we’re feeding our kids breakfast bars during the morning commute, sneaking 100-calorie packs at our desks, and grabbing dinner at the drive-thru window.

If you’re finding it difficult to get together with your family at the dinner table, here’s a little inspiration.

Dinner together can be a stress reliever

Believe it or not, if you have a demanding job, finding time to eat with your family may actually leave you feeling less stressed.
In 2008, researchers at Brigham Young University conducted a study of IBM workers and found that sitting down to a family meal helped working moms reduce the tension and strain from long hours at the office. (Interestingly, the effect wasn’t as pronounced among dads.) Alas, the study didn’t take into account the stress of rushing to get out of the office, picking up the kids, and getting a meal on the table.

Kids might learn to love their veggies

A 2000 survey found that the 9- to 14-year-olds who ate dinner with their families most frequently ate more fruits and vegetables and less soda and fried foods. Their diets also had higher amounts of many key nutrients, like calcium, iron, and fiber.
Family dinners allow for both “discussions of nutrition [and] provision of healthful foods,” says Matthew W. Gillman, M.D., the survey’s lead researcher and the director of the Obesity Prevention Program at the Harvard Medical School.

It’s the perfect setting for new foods

A family meal is the perfect opportunity for parents to expose children to different foods and expand their tastes.
In a 2003 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, children were offered some pieces of sweet red pepper and asked to rate how much they liked it. Then, each day for the next eight school days, they were invited to eat as much of the pepper as they wanted. On the final day, the kids were again asked to rate how much they liked it.
By the end of the experiment, the children rated the pepper more highly and were eating more of it — even more so than another group of children who were offered a reward for eating the pepper. These results suggest that a little more exposure and a little less “You can leave the table once you finish your broccoli!” will teach kids to enjoy new foods, even if they don’t like them at first.

You control the portions

Studies show that families spend more than 40% of their food budget on meals outside of the home. Eating out can be convenient but it’s also caloric — portion sizes in restaurants just keep growing! The average restaurant meal has as much as 60% more calories than a homemade meal. When we are presented with more food, we eat more food, possibly leading to our expanding waistlines.

Healthy meals mean healthy kids

Studies have shown that kids who eat with their families frequently are less likely to get depressed, consider suicide, and develop an eating disorder. They are also more likely to delay sex and to report that their parents are proud of them. When a child is feeling down or depressed, family dinner can act as an intervention.
This is especially true of eating disorders, says Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, who has studied the impact of family meal patterns on adolescents. “If a child eats with his or her parents on a regular basis, problems will be identified earlier on,” she says.

Family dinners help kids “just say no”

Eating family dinners at least five times a week drastically lowers a teen’s chance of smoking, drinking, and using drugs. Teens who have fewer than three family dinners a week are 3.5 times more likely to have abused prescription drugs and to have used illegal drugs other than marijuana, three times more likely to have used marijuana, more than 2.5 times more likely to have smoked cigarettes, and 1.5 times more likely to have tried alcohol, according to the CASA report.
“While substance abuse can strike any family, regardless of ethnicity, affluence, age, or gender, the parental engagement fostered at the dinner table can be a simple, effective tool to help prevent [it],” says Elizabeth Planet, one of the report’s researchers, and the center’s vice president and director of special projects.

Better food, better report card

Of teens who eat with their family fewer than three times a week, 20% get C’s or lower on their report cards, according to the CASA report. Only 9% of teens who eat frequently with their families do this poorly in school.
Family meals give children an opportunity to have conversations with adults, as well as to pick up on how adults are using words with each other, which may explain why family dinnertime is also thought to build a child’s vocabulary.

Put a little cash in your pocket

In 2007, the average household spent $3,465 on meals at home, and $2,668 on meals away from home, according to the national Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
When you take into consideration that the $2,668 spent on meals away from home only accounts for about 30% of meals (according to historical data), that’s about $8 per meal outside of the home, and only about $4.50 per each meal made in your own kitchen. You do the math!

By Sarah Klein,
October 25, 2011 — Updated 1157 GMT (1957 HKT)

Kids’ diet benefits whole family

July 24, 2012
At Coffs Coast Health Club we are committed to healthy individuals, families & communities.  This Sydney Morning Herald article highlights how the way we eat affects EVERYBODY.  If your child needs to lose weight it might be an ideal opportunity to think about your own eating habits.
Chicken with sesame and bok choy.Diet dish … chicken breast with bok choy. Photo: Vanessa Levis

Step One: Pull everything from your kitchen pantry and inspect the ingredient labels closely. Look for glucose, sucrose, fructose, any kind of sugar. Now, for a reality check, consider that about 4.2 grams of sugar equals one teaspoon.

Step Two: Open the fridge and calculate the sugar load in sweetened beverages such as soft drinks and sports drinks. Visualise the 10 teaspoons of sugar in some 600ml sugary drinks.

Step Three: Congratulate yourself. You now know almost as much as a five-year-old. That is, a five-year-old being schooled in healthy eating in a new, innovative paediatric weight management program for kids aged five to 18 at Kaiser Permanente Medical Centre in Sacramento, California.

The program echoes heightening concern over the obesity epidemic in the United States.

Obesity can lead to Type 2 diabetes, a chronic ailment once known as adult-onset but now increasingly seen in youths who lack access to healthy food and activity choices. Diabetes can cause heart disease, strokes, amputation and, when advanced, can bring on early death.

Already, some of the youths enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente program are pre-diabetic, with higher than normal blood pressure and high lipids levels, said Dr John Struthers, a paediatrician who helped develop the program.

Though the program is free, it’s in high demand and competitive. Families are screened before being allowed to participate.

Every 10 weeks, 20 new participants are added to the 20-week program, but not before parents sign contracts, agreeing to support their child, attend the sessions and provide healthy meal choices.

Making the program a family affair is one of the benefits that Tiffany Romano, 16, a participant since late April, most enjoys.

“I like how the family is involved and how we do activities,” said Tiffany. “We have family meetings, take family walks and learn about food together.”

When Tiffany attends weekly sessions, her father, Bryant Romano, is there to back her up. At age 50, her father said he’s been watching his health, too, and he’s shed around 21kg while accompanying his daughter.

The most surprising fact that Tiffany has learned so far, she says, is the extent to which sugar is found in processed foods, and that “low-fat” processed foods often have sugar added to fool the taste buds.

Tiffany said her goal is “to be healthy and more active”. She rises at 5am, works out, plays basketball and touch football, and has stuck to a regimen of chicken breasts, broccoli, protein drinks and salads.

According to America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making modest behaviour changes such as improving food choices and upping physical activity to at least 150 minutes per week is enough to help participants lose five to seven per cent of their body weight. And that’s enough to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 per cent in people at high risk.

One of the key components of the program is a reward of sorts that the kids have to earn by coming to each session on time and demonstrating their commitment. It’s a money-clip-sized wireless physical activity tracker they wear, or pocket, to track calories spent walking, climbing stairs, running, even dancing.

Called a Fitbit, the device automatically uploads data from up to 4.5 metres away to a base station connected to a computer.

The information then goes to a website that shows the day’s activity in a pie chart that represents the past 24 hours and how much of it was spent being lightly active, fairly active, very active or sedentary.

The device appeals to the kids because it syncs to mobile phones they use to input what they ate and information about their activities. Then they, or their parents, can go online to check progress.

Read more:


Obesity is a major contributor to the global burden of chronic disease and disability. Around the world, levels of childhood obesity have been rising for a number of reasons including a shift in diet towards increased intake of foods that are high in fat and sugars and a reduction in the amount of time spent on physical activity.

Obesity not only has significant health and social impacts, but also considerable economic impacts. According to Access Economics, in 2008, the total annual cost of obesity in Australia, including health system costs and productivity and carers costs was estimated to be around $58 billion.

In 2007, the Australian Government announced the development and promotion of healthy eating and physical activity guidelines for children. These measures will form part of the Government’s Plan for Early Childhood and Plan for Tackling Obesity. One of the main aims of the National Preventative Health Taskforce is to develop a National Obesity Strategy.

Changes over time

In 2007-08, one-quarter of all Australian children, or around 600,000 children aged 5-17, were overweight or obese, up four percentage points from 1995. The obesity rate for children increased from 5% in 1995 to 8% in 2007-08 (graph 11.9).

11.9 CHILDRENS BODY MASS INDEX – 1995, 2007-08(a)
Graph: 11.9 CHILDRENS BODY MASS INDEX – 1995, 2007–08(a)

Age and sex

Between 1995 and 2007-08 there was a significant increase in the proportion of boys who were obese. The rate of obesity for boys aged 5-17 years doubled from 5% in 1995 to 10% in 2007-08. Increases in obesity occurred for younger and older boys. For boys aged 5-12 years, 8% were obese, up from 4% in 1995. Of boys aged 13-17 years, 13% were obese, up from 6% in 1995.

While for boys there were significant increases in obesity, there were no such increases for girls. The obesity rate for girls aged 5-17 remained unchanged at 6%. While the obesity rate for girls did not change from 1995 to 2007-08, the proportion of girls who were overweight increased. The increase occurred for girls aged 13-17 years, up from 12% in 1995 to 20% in 2007-08. In contrast, there was no change for younger girls aged 5-12 years, with the overweight rate remaining constant at 17% in both time periods.

Socio-economic factors

The Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) Index of Disadvantage summarises various attributes such as income, unemployment and educational attainment of an area in which people live. Children living in the areas of greatest relative disadvantage had more than double the rate of obesity (28%) of children living in areas with the lowest relative disadvantage (13%). Aside from socio-economic differences between areas in terms of education, income and employment, some areas may also offer greater opportunities for physical activity and greater access to healthy food options.

Physical activity

The 2004 Australia’s Physical Activity Recommendations for Children suggest that children aged 5-18 years need a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. The following section looks at physical activity using results from two ABS surveys. The 2006 Children’s Participation in Culture and Leisure Activities Survey collected information on the participation of children aged 5-14 years in organised sports and informal sports during the 12 months prior to interview. It provides insight into some of the physical activities in which children aged 5-14 are participating. The 2007-08 National Health Survey collected information for children aged 15-17 only.


Children aged 5-14 years

In 2006, 63% of children had played sport which had been organised by a school, club or association outside of school hours, an increase from 59% in 2000. Over the six year period, girls’ participation in organised sport rose by six percentage points from 52% to 58%, compared with three percentage points for boys from 66% to 69%. While the participation rates of about 45% were similar for children aged 5 years, by 13 years of age the participation rate for boys was 73% and for girls was 55%. The highest rate of participation for boys was at 10 years (77%), while for girls it was 9 years (67%) (graph 11.10).

Children who did participate were spending 6 hours per fortnight on average on organised sport participation. Swimming and outdoor soccer were the most popular sports. The survey also collected information on informal sports, such as bike riding, rollerblading and skateboarding, to get some indication of children’s involvement in informal physical activity. The survey found that around two thirds of children had been bike riding and a quarter had been skateboarding or rollerblading in the previous two weeks. The amount of time spent on these informal activities was the same as organised sport participation, with an average of 6 hours per fortnight (graph 11.10).

Children aged 15-17 years

In 2007-08 over three-quarters of children aged 15-17 took part in sport or recreational exercise in the two weeks prior to the National Health Survey. However, just under one quarter said that they either did no exercise, or very low amounts during the two week period.

Sedentary lifestyles

According to the Department of Health and Ageing Australia’s Physical Activity recommendations for children, children who do not get enough physical activity and spend significant amounts of time in sedentary states increase their likelihood of poor fitness, raised cholesterol and being overweight in adulthood. Related research has also shown that the incidence of obesity is highest among children who watch TV for long periods each day, compared with children who watch TV for a smaller amount of time each day. Australian guidelines recommend that children should not spend more than two hours a day watching TV, playing computer games or using other electronic media for entertainment.


In 2006, almost all children aged 5-14 had watched television, videos or DVDs during the two-week period of the survey and almost two-thirds had played electronic or computer games. Around 45% of children who watched television, videos or DVDs, and 10% of children who played electronic or computer games, did so for 20 hours or more over the fortnight period. Overall, the average amount of time spent on these two activities by most children averaged across a two-week period, was 2 hours per day (graph 11.10).

Data sources and definitions

The information in this article comes from the 2007-08 NHS and 2006 Children’s Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities Survey (4901.0). Physical activity results from these surveys may not represent total physical activity, since the surveys only cover sport organised by a school, club or association which has been played outside of school hours. The article looks at children aged 5-17 years unless stated otherwise. Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated from measured height and weight information (using the formula weight (kg) divided by the square of height (m)). Height and weight were measured for children in the 2007-08 NHS. Overweight and obesity are defined according to the BMI scores, indicating a relationship between height and weight. There are BMI cutoffs for children which are based on the definitions of adult overweight and obesity adjusted to specific age and sex categories for children. For a detailed list of the cutoffs used to calculate BMI for children, please see the ABS National Health Survey Users’ Guide(4363.0.55.001).


World Health Organisation Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, Overweight and Obesity, viewed 6 July 2009.

Access Economics, The Cost of Obesity, Canberra, 2008.

Department of Health and Ageing, Early Childhood Nutrition, viewed 15 June 2009.

Australian Health Ministers Communique, Delivering Results, 18 April 2008.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Making Progress, Canberra, 2008.

King, T et al. 2005, ‘Weight and place; a multilevel cross sectional survey of area-level disadvantage and overweight and obesity in Australia‘ International Journal of Obesity, viewed 5 August 2009.

ABS Australian Social Trends, (4102.0) September 2009.

Department of Health and Ageing, Australia’s Physical Activity Recommendations for children, viewed 21 May 2009.

Jamie Oliver visits Australia in the fight against “Childhood Obesity”

March 8, 2012
Jamie Oliver fights Australian obesity

Jamie Oliver fights Australian obesity

The Shocking Facts

Childhood obesity is big news and unfortunately, like the waistbands of our nation’s children and teenagers, it’s set to get even bigger.

Obesity in children in Australia is increasing at an alarming rate.

Just like child obesity in America and child obesity worldwide, child obesity in Australia has increased greatly in the past few years.

Some statistics about child obesity in Australia

According to the Australian government:

An estimated 1.5 million people under the age 18 are considered overweight or obese.

This means about 20-25% of Australian children are overweight or obese.

The proportion of overweight or obese children in Australian is increasing at an accelerating rate. This pattern, showing up since the 1980’s, is similar internationally.

Children are getting less aerobic exercise.

The amount of aerobic fitness is decreasing about .4% a year.

Between 1985 and 1997 obesity levels in the population doubled.

While obesity increased 2-4 times, being overweight increased 60-70%. This shows signs not just of increasing, but accelerating.

If weight gain continues the path it is following, by the year 2020, 80% of all Australian adults and a third of all children will be overweight or obese.

A study in Queensland showed that up to 30% of Australian children have low fitness levels while 60% have poor motor skills.

There is an indication that walking and cycling are used less for transportation for Australian children. Studies also seem to show that those among the least fit of Australian children are the group deteriorating the fastest over time.

In Australian schools, physical education is being reduced even with no dispute about how important physical education is.

50% of obese adolescents continue to be obese as adults.

Studies show that relative body weight is most often carried from childhood to adulthood. Once a child or adolescent is obese or overweight, they are not likely to reduce it as an adult.

Obesity in a child or adult is defined as a condition where excess fat has accumulated to the point that it can impair health.

A primary cause of obesity is an energy imbalance.

An intake of high energy foods, combined with a low level of exercise or a sedentary lifestyle is a cause of this energy imbalance.

One study estimates that for every 1% increase in the proportion of physically active people, nearly 122 lives can be saved that would have been lost to coronary heart disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes. All of these diseases have links to obesity.

It is estimated that in 1995-1996 the cost of obesity in Australia was between $680-$1239 million.

Obesity as a child is linked to an increase in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in an adult regardless of the adult weight. Being overweight as a child brings and an increase for heart related diseases like high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and high blood sugar.

Child obesity is also related to many medical conditions like respiratory disorders, orthopedic problems, release of growth hormone, arthritis, and gastric problems.

A study estimated that less than 70% of girls that were year 8 and year 10 students remained adequately active over winter in 1997.

Basically, what you can see from statistics like these is that being overweight or obesity in a child is increasing.

A primary cause can be an increasing lack of exercise compared to an intake of high energy foods. It must also be noted that once a child is obese or overweight,  it can be difficult to lose that weight during a lifetime. Obesity in a child may also lead to an increase in obesity related diseases.

Also in the report on child obesity in Australia, were statistics showing that there in an increase in homes with both parents at work. Also noted was an increase between 1986 and 1999 where a sole parent was working.

A lot must be done to reverse child obesity in Australia and child obesity worldwide.

An emphasis must be made on the need for exercise and eating the right foods. Also, we need to understand not just how a child becomes obese, but the why they become obese may be just as important. If nothing is done, the possible 2020 statistic of 80% obese or overweight Australian adults may become true from today’s child obesity in Australia.

 Jamie Oliver fights Australian obesity

Jamie is on a mission to ensure that people all over the world know how to cook. Through his school dinners campaign launched in 2006, he learned that it wasn’t enough to just change how kids ate at school, if parents didn’t support with wholesome food at home. So he followed up with a Ministry of Food campaign in 2009 which featured centres where individuals and families could learn to cook for free. The Ministry of Food centres have been a great success, with classes booked up months ahead of time, and has been followed by equally popular centres in Leeds and Bradford in 2010 (and more to come!)

Jamie is looking beyond the United Kingdom, and he has teamed up with The Good Guys (a major consumer electronics and whitegoods retailer) who are committing AUS$5million to build, equip and run community based Jamie’s Ministry of Food centres, both permanent and mobile, around Australia.

Australia is now one of the most obese countries in the world. Changes in family life, the rise of convenience foods, and a lack of compulsory food education in schools has resulted in huge numbers of people losing touch with one of life’s most essential skills: cooking. Jamie passionately believes that the most effective way to combat this lack of knowledge is to tackle it head on, with good information and practical cookery lessons for everyone.

“When you know how to cook, you’ve got control over your life and your health. Cooking is one of the most important things we can ever learn in life and with the right sort of information and teaching, absolutely anybody can cook. It’s wonderful, it’s fun, and most importantly, it changes lives,” says Jamie.

In Australia, shocking figures provided by the National Preventative Health Taskforce show that being overweight or obese affects over 60% of Australian adults and 25% of Australian children. The total financial cost in Australia of obesity alone, not including overweight people, was estimated at $8.3 billion in 2008. The most recent projections indicate that there will be an extra 6.7 million obese Australians by 2025. This frightening statistic clearly demonstrates an urgent need for action!

In an effort to tackle this Australian health issue, The Good Guys have committed significant funding and resources to set up and develop Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia. The Good Guys has announced the establishment of a new independent not-for-profit organisation called The Good Foundation, of which Jamie’s Ministry of Food will be a priority project.

Andrew Muir, chairman of The Good Guys says, “The growing list of health concerns related to poor eating habits affects all Australians for which we all need to take responsibility. We believe this initiative has the potential to improve the health and social welfare of communities right across Australia. The Good Foundation is putting up its hand.”

Jamie’s food revolution will empower people, through giving them the skills to change their eating and cooking behaviour, to make both short and long terms changes to their lives. Based on the success of Jamie’s Ministry of Food initiative in the UK, Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia is all about encouraging people to go back into the kitchen and cook again.

Jamie says, “I’m delighted that The Good Guys will be helping to make Ministry of Food a success in Australia.”

About the Author: Monisha Saldanha works on Jamie Oliver’s web team. “It’s the best job ever, combining my love of food and the internet. Couldn’t ask for more!” she says.

Visit for more information about the “Ministry of Food” program with lots of useful information and recipes.

Sizzling Beef with Spring Onions & Black Bean Sauce

sizzling beef with spring onions and black bean sauce
© David Loftus
servings 2


This works best with rice that has been made earlier, cooled, and then chilled in the fridge. But if you can’t prepare rice for this dish in advance, cook it then spread it out on a tray in a thin layer so that it cools down quickly while you’re cooking the rest of the dish.


sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
130g long-grain or basmati rice
1 x 200g sirloin or rump steak
1 red pepper
a handful of baby corn
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
2 cloves of garlic
½ a fresh red chilli
2 spring onions
a small bunch of fresh coriander
a handful of mange tout
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon groundnut oil
2 tablespoons of good-quality black bean sauce 1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 limes
1 large egg, preferably free-range or organic
Equipment list
Chopping board
2 bowls
Wooden spoon
Tin foil
Kitchen paper

To prepare your stir-fry:
1. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the rice and cook according to the packet instructions. Drain the rice in a sieve, run it under a cold tap to cool, and then allow to dry out in the fridge.
2. Trim any excess fat from your steak and slice the meat into finger-sized strips. Halve and deseed your pepper and cut it into thin strips. Trim and halve your baby corn lengthways. Peel and finely slice the ginger and garlic. Finely slice the chilli. Cut the ends off your spring onions and finely slice. Pick the coriander leaves and put to one side, and finely chop the coriander stalks.
3. Get yourself a big bowl and put in the red pepper, baby corn, mange tout, ginger, garlic, chilli, spring onions, coriander stalks and steak strips. Add the sesame oil and mix everything together.

To cook your stir-fry:
4. Preheat a wok or large frying pan on a high heat and once it’s very, very hot add half of the groundnut oil and swirl it around. Add all your chopped ingredients from the bowl. Give the pan a really good shake to mix everything around quickly. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, taking care to keep everything moving so it doesn’t burn. Add the black bean sauce, and stir in half the soy sauce and the juice of half a lime. Keep tossing. Taste and season with black pepper.
5. Remove the pan from the heat, transfer everything to a bowl and cover with tin foil.
6. Give the pan a quick wipe with a ball of kitchen paper and put back on the heat. Add the rest of the groundnut oil and swirl it around. Crack in your egg and the remaining soy sauce – the egg will cook very quickly so keep stirring. Once it’s scrambled, stir in your chilled rice, scraping the sides and the bottom of the pan as you go. Keep mixing for a few minutes until the rice is steaming hot, then taste and season with a small splash of soy sauce, if needed.

To serve your stir-fry:
7. Divide the rice between two bowls or plates. Spoon over the meat and black bean sauce and sprinkle over the coriander leaves. Serve with wedges of lime – great!

Adapted from Jamie’s Ministry of Food