Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Teens and TV: Are They Overdoing It?

posted by Linda Mintle

Raising Healthy KidsBy now, most of you are aware that too much screen viewing for children and teens is linked to  elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, lack of sleep, school problems, aggression, and being overweight. And we know that teen viewing habits often carry over to adult viewing habits.

So how are teens doing with the American Academy of Pediatricians’ recommendation to limit screen time to two hours or less a day. Yes, that is ALL screens. Furthermore, children under the age of two are supposed to have ZERO hours of screen time.

The 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the 2012 National Youth Fitness Survey reports the following:

  • 31% of youths that are normal or underweight are meeting the guideline  (this includes computer use)
  • 23% of overweight and 20% of obese youths are meeting the guideline
  • 99% of teens report watching TV every day
  • 91% of teens report using their computers every day outside of school
  • Gender differences for the amount of TV viewing were not significant, meaning there was little difference between boys and girls
  • A break down of TV habits by race and Hispanic origin show 29% white, 26% Hispanic and 20% black teens meet daily screen-time requirements

Clearly, we still have work to do when it comes to limiting screen usage. And keep in mind these numbers could be low given it is difficult to capture screen usage with all the possible devices kids and teens could be using.

In my book, Raising Healthy Kids in an Unhealthy World, I encourage all parents to make a media plan and list several suggestions. Here are 5:

1) Take TV out of a child’s bedroom.

2) Find the “good media”. The right kind of media can improve learning and teach empathy, tolerance and interpersonal skills

3) Model good media usage as a parent. Kids watch what you do to learn.

4) Turn off the TV during meals and don’t have it on for background noise.

5) Bypass commercials in order to limit exposure to junk foods and other unhealthy choices.

 

Body-Brain Connection: When Bigger Really is Better

posted by Linda Mintle

brain“As your weight goes up, the size and function of your brain goes down.” This, according to psychiatrist, Daniel Amen. It’s true, smaller doesn’t always mean better, especially when it comes to the size of your brain!

Dr. Amen, author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, wants us all to get on his brain program and avoid what he calls the “Dinosaur Syndrome.” Yes, dinosaurs, those creatures with little brains and big bodies. Apparently some of us fit the description. Our bodies are growing in size, but are brains are getting smaller.

When a person is overweight, brain function decreases, especially in the area know as the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex in the brain  is responsible for impulse control, decision-making and other reasoning functions. So when you see that large scrumptious piece of chocolate cake, your overweight brain may say, “Go for it!” When you are confronted with multiple choices of tempting concoctions at that buffet, reason goes out the window. You give in and eat!

And to add insult to injury, when Dr. Amen imaged overweight brains, he found that the overweight brain also appears to be more typical of older people. To use the dinosaur metaphor, not only are our bodies bigger, our brains smaller , but like the dinosaur, our brains appear older! You might be thinking, “Great, is there any good news here?”

Yes. With so many of us overweight, Dr. Amen says exercise can help increase gray matter and even help avoid dementia in some cases. He also advocates a healthy diet that includes eliminating sugars, too much alcohol and processed foods. You can make lifestyle choices to not only improve your brain, but make it bigger. In this case, bigger is better!

As usual, the solution here is one that you have heard repeatedly–eat better and exercise more. There seems to be no way around this tried and true advice. So if you want a bigger brain that functions along with your age, get on that treadmill, walk the dog and commit to those five servings of fruits and vegetables we all need daily. When you do, your expanded brain will thank you!

5 Proactive Steps to Get Rid of Job Worry

posted by Linda Mintle

Letting Go of WorryDownsizing, added work loads, difficult co-workers, budget cuts and poor leadership can cause even the calmest person to worry on the job. On way to deal with stress and job worries is to control the things you can and trust God for the rest.

Here are 5 proactive steps you can take in order to get rid of job worry:

1) Organize the clutter. If you are running around your office like the White Rabbit in Alice and Wonderland, thinking, “I’m late. I’m late, for a very important date!” you may need to declutter. You control your workspace. Clutter creates distraction. Distraction slows you down and can cause you to miss deadlines or turn in late assignments. Cleaning papers off your desk can free your mind.

2) Find positive, supportive people. Find at least one person in your workplace that will help you stay positive on the job. Befriend that person or better yet, become that person for others.

3) Use humor to break tension. Humor is a self-care tool that fosters a positive and hopeful attitude. It releases emotions and stimulates the immune system. Studies at Cornell University concluded that people exposed to humor in the workplace were more creative problem-solvers and could better see the consequences of their individual decisions.

4) Lose the perfectionism.Perfectionists worry about every detail on the job. They want approval and don’t want to disappoint. Perfectionism impacts productivity and job satisfaction and can also damage relationships with supervisors and colleagues. It is self-imposed stress. Look at the big picture and stop getting lost in the details.

5) Evaluate your working conditions. If they are poor, see if you can make changes in small things or decide to look for another position if the workplace is dangerous or toxic. For example, is the worked too demanding with too few people, are expectations unclear, is communication poor, do you lack the resources needed for the job, is there air pollution or ergonomic problems that are not getting solved? When working conditions are poor you can suggest changes, accept the poor conditions or find another position.

 

Adapted from Letting Go of Worry by Dr. Linda Mintle (Harvest House 2011)

Hair Raising: Kids Getting Bikini Waxes

posted by Linda Mintle

girlWhen the New York Post reported that 14-year-old Glynis Coyne has been getting her legs waxed since she was eight years old, I just gasped. Apparently, I am not up on the trend–hair removal for prepubescent girls! Instead of a trip to the candy store, a growing number of moms choose spa visits. The menu includes leg and bikini waxing and eyebrow shaping.

Honestly, did you ever think about body hair at the age of eight? Who is pointing out the hair and telling children this is a problem? It has to be the parents.

And what about potential side effects of inflammation of the hair follicle and irritation of the skin? I cannot wait to hear what dermatologists think of this.

Hair removal for cosmetic purposes is just one more way to sexualize and objectify young girls, making them even more obsessed about their appearance. And with record rates of eating disorders and body image disturbance, the pressure to have and maintain the perfect body is not relieved.

How does a young girl learn to like her body, flaws and all, when her mother is taking her for “treatments” at the ripe old age of 8? This is beauty obsession gone wild! Children are already bombarded with repeated images of what they are supposed to look like and know they will never measure up. Every day, they face a culture obsessed with cloning Barbie. Children do not need their mothers adding to the problem. They need to know they are unconditionally loved.

To be fair, there is probably a mom or two who thinks waxing is an answer to the problem of mean-spirited classmates who tease girls who physically develop early. More girls are reaching puberty at younger ages. But even these well-meaning moms must rethink how they solve the teasing problem. Hair removal for self-esteem is not an answer. Better to have talks about normal development and physical changes. And kids who tease a girl’s physical development should be disciplined and taught respect.

So any parent who is considering hair removal for their tweener, please rethink this decision. Do not play in to the cultural prescriptions for beauty that only lead to anxiety and obsession. Teach your children that true esteem cannot be found in a hair treatment but in the loving treatment of an accepting parent.

 

Previous Posts

Teens and TV: Are They Overdoing It?
By now, most of you are aware that too much screen viewing for children and teens is linked to  elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, lack of sleep, school problems, aggression, and being overweight. And we know that teen viewing habits often carry over to adult viewing habits. So how are

posted 7:00:54am Jul. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Body-Brain Connection: When Bigger Really is Better
"As your weight goes up, the size and function of your brain goes down." This, according to psychiatrist, Daniel Amen. It's true, smaller doesn't always mean better, especially when it comes to the size of your brain! Dr. Amen, author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, wants us all to get o

posted 9:27:01am Jul. 17, 2014 | read full post »

5 Proactive Steps to Get Rid of Job Worry
Downsizing, added work loads, difficult co-workers, budget cuts and poor leadership can cause even the calmest person to worry on the job. On way to deal with stress and job worries is to control the things you can and trust God for the rest. Here are 5 proactive steps you can take in order to g

posted 7:00:22am Jul. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Hair Raising: Kids Getting Bikini Waxes
When the New York Post reported that 14-year-old Glynis Coyne has been getting her legs waxed since she was eight years old, I just gasped. Apparently, I am not up on the trend--hair removal for prepubescent girls! Instead of a trip to the candy store, a growing number of moms choose spa visits. The

posted 7:00:32am Jul. 14, 2014 | read full post »

10 Reasons Couples Therapy Needs a Spiritual Base
Let's say your marriage is hurting and you know you need help. If you are a Christian couple, does it matter who you see and what approach the person uses to help you? Absolutely. So much of couples therapy is based on a secular humanistic approach and not on the truths of Christianity. Here i

posted 7:00:27am Jul. 11, 2014 | read full post »


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