December 2017 | | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 9, Issue 12]

Limiting Screen Time Before Bed

Smartphones and tablets are a part of our daily lives and the lives of our kids. They're wonderful, for the most part, but too much screen time right before bedtime can disrupt sleep for a lot of kids (and adults).

That's not much of a surprise, but it's also possible that too much screen time before bed is associated with a higher risk of obesity.

Screen time before bed can disrupt sleep and nutrition in children

This news story from Consumer Affairs describes a study that finds kids who use electronic devices with screens are more likely to be obese. So how can that be? It's hard to say for sure, but poor sleep or lack of enough sleep is linked with obesity. Or maybe kids who use screens just before bed tend to be less active overall. Another possibility is being too tired in the morning to bother with breakfast, and skipping breakfast has been associated with weight problems.

What to do:

  • There's no need to take smart phones away, but it's important to put away the light-emitting screens before bed.
  • Design a family media use plan (yeah, goes for adults as well). Decide if digital media should be put away during meals, or other family time, as well as bed time.
  • Teach kids the importance of eating a healthy diet with the right amount of calories and find ways to get more activity into the day.
Little Kids and Food Ads on TV

Major food companies in the US have promised not to target preschoolers because very young children can't always tell the difference between advertising and other types of information. But it looks like preschoolers are exposed to these ads anyway.

Think little kids are safe from food ads? Think again

This news story published by HealthDay talks about a study done recently that finds preschoolers are seeing the ads that are targeted to older kids but those ads are just as appealing to the little ones. The study authors believe advertising and food companies need to do more to prevent the youngest kids from seeing the ads.

Excessive Take Out May Be Bad for Kids' Health

Grabbing something for dinner on your way home from work is convenient for sure, but all too often, take out is high in calories, fat, sugar and sodium. A new study suggests that kids who eat take out foods regularly show signs of heart disease risk factors.

Too much takeout food threatens kids' health

This news story from HealthDay describes the study done by British researchers. The study team looked at the eating habits of almost 2,000 kids and found that about one in four ate takeout food at least once a week. Those kids also had higher body mass index measurements and high blood cholesterol compared to the kids who rarely, or never, eat takeout.

What You Can Do:

  • Talk about fast foods in health class and why they tend to be harmful to health.
  • For kids in foods classes, look for easy recipes that can be made at home.
  • Create a digital cookbook with these recipes that kids can take home.

Older Adults and Little Kids Learn about Nutrition Together


Sometimes both little kids and senior adults need to learn some similar lessons, so why not learn them together? A new program from the Virginia Tech Virginia Cooperative Extension called "Food for Long Life" does just that.

Kids and seniors learn about healthy food, nutrition

This news story from Lynchburg, Virginia's The News & Advance talks about the new program. Seniors team up with children from the local Head Start program and help them learn about new healthy foods and the seniors learn something too. Such a great idea for seniors who love to work and play with little kids.

Diagnosing Food Allergies Is Tricky

Food allergies may be more common than they used to be... or maybe not, it's hard to tell. They're often hard to test and diagnose so patients just go by a feeling. Add in food intolerances and it becomes even more confusing.

How Bad Are Food Allergies? We Don't Know, Experts Say

This news story from NBC News describes the state of food allergy testing and diagnosing. In short, current tests include skin tests or blood tests, but they're not all that accurate. So, experts say more research is needed.

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More About School Lunches, Nutrition and Healthy Kids

New guidelines aim to reduce weight stigma, discrimination for kids

Childhood obesity prevention: does the environment play a role?

Adult obesity possible for about 50% of today's children

Kids' movies promote poor diet and stigmatize obesity

A key to tackling childhood obesity: Involve families and follow up

Warning labels can help reduce soda consumption and obesity, new study suggests

About Shereen Lehman

Shereen Lehman is a health and nutrition writer with two decades of experience counseling people on nutrition and diet. She has a master's degree in human nutrition.

Shereen writes about nutrition for the large website and she, is co-author of Superfoods for Dummies ( and Clinical Anatomy for Dummies (