Our kids need us to be as healthy as possible. 5 parents share how they do it.

For the parents in the room: Do you remember what it was like when your baby first came into your life?

Love. Nothing but love. GIF from “Supernatural.”

Amazing, right? But then the worry sets in.

Outside of the typical concerns about finances and child development, parents worry about their own health. And rightfully so. Almost half (45%) of the adults in the U.S. are managing at least one chronic health condition.

As a dad with two young daughters, I feel the need to be as healthy as I can be for them, but oftentimes it’s a struggle.

With that in mind, I asked five parents how have having kids affected their approach to health and wellness.

1. Rebecca feels she owes it to her youngest son to live a long, healthy life.

Rebecca had her first child when she was a teenager and her fourth and last child when she was 30.

Rebecca (black sweater) and her four kids. Photo from Rebecca, used with permission.

Let’s be clear that 30 shouldn’t be considered “old” by anyone’s standards. But more women than ever are choosing to have children later in life. For Rebecca’s 12-year-old son, that was a problem.

“My youngest has been expressing his anger toward me that I had him so much later than his siblings,” Rebecca said. “He’s worried that I won’t be around for him as long as his brothers and sisters will.”

As a single mom, that made her aware of her own mortality. “Every decision I make now is to be as healthy as possible so I can be there for all of my kids for as long as I can.”

2. Jake started cutting back on his working hours.

Jake is a father of two young boys and he used to work really long hours at his job at a Los Angeles law firm. Yeah, he made really good money, but that salary came at a steep price. He was always tired and stressed and his sons noticed it.

“I would snap at my kids for the smallest things,” Jake told Upworthy. “I could feel that they were becoming uncomfortable around me, and that’s the last thing I wanted.”

It’s not surprising to see many Americans working into the wee hours of the night.

It’s hardly a secret that Americans are extremely overworked. The average full-time employee now works 47 hours in a five-day work week. Additionally, almost half of full-time employees work at least 50 hours a week.

Jake knew his job was taking a toll on his health and his relationship with his kids, so he found a new employer that allowed him to spend more time with his family. Yes, he makes significantly less money now, but he’s healthier mentally and emotionally than he’s ever been.

“I have a real relationship with my kids now and I’m happy,” he said. “You can’t put a price tag on that.”

3. Sheila learned that while nutrition and exercise are important, they’re not everything.

Before having her kids, Sheila admits that she wanted to control everything in her life. Without fail, she ensured that each day included three square meals and two snacks in addition to exercising.

But when she became a mom, things changed.

Now that she’s a mom, Sheila sees the bigger picture. Photo from Sheila, used with permission.

“As a mom, I realized that loving and living is much more important than exact measurements of food and supplements,” Sheila said. “I took a step back because as I watched my kids grow, I was able to witness the awesomeness of the human body.”

Sure, she still eats well and exercises but she’s not going to flip out over skipping a meal or a workout like she used to. The big picture is way more important than the small stuff in her world.

4. Dan uses a simple reminder to keep himself focused on the big picture.

Dan still misses his dad. He hopes his children won’t miss him for similar reasons. GIF from Fodada, used with permission.

When Dan was in college, his dad passed away from a fatal heart attack. He was only 55 years old.

“I would do anything to have him around,” Dan said. “Being a dad myself now, it just reminds me how important it is to be there [for my kids].”

Then Dan found Fodada, an apparel company catering to dads that runs a “Red Beanie Bond” campaign providing red beanies to newborn babies.

This beanie is way more than a fashion statement. Photo courtesy of Fodada, used with permission.

These aren’t just cute accessories. Putting one on a newborn’s head symbolizes a promise that dads will do whatever it takes to live healthy lives for the sake of the little ones who depend on them.

“The moment you put this on your baby, you should understand that the decisions you made for your life and your health for all of the previous years of your life change,” Dan said. “All of your decisions should be for this little beanie and who it goes on.”

5. Emily taught herself to stop worrying so much.

Kids can be unpredictable and wild. Own it. Photo from iStock.

Emily, a mom of four, probably put it best of all.

“If you want to have ice cream for dinner one night, do it. If your kid skips a nap, get over it,” she said. “I believe that worrying about every little thing makes us so unhealthy that we can’t focus on what’s important which is being there for our kids.”

No matter how you choose to live a healthy lifestyle, continue to do it. Your kids will be glad you did.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/our-kids-need-us-to-be-as-healthy-as-possible-5-parents-share-how-they-do-it?c=tpstream

Mathematical study shows exactly how big an impact ride-sharing could have

Ride-sharing could reduce New York City’s need to just 2,000 cars, a new study says.
Image:  Tobias Zils/stocksnap

We already know ride-sharing has the potential to drastically cut the number of the cars on the road. But it turns out that impact could be way more than anyone has previously estimated.

A new study from researchers at Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that shared rides whether through Uber and Lyft or a traditional taxi could fulfill demand with just 15 percent of the current taxi fleet in New York City.

“Ride-sharing services are transforming urban mobility by providing timely and convenient transportation to anybody, anywhere and anytime. These services present enormous potential for positive societal impacts with respect to pollution, energy consumption, congestion, etc. Current mathematical models, however, do not fully address the potential of ride-sharing,” the study’s authors wrote.

This study, released Monday, used a mathematical model to figure out exactly how vehicles could best meet demand through ride-sharing. Previous studies were generally limited to vehicles shared between only two passengers, rather than a full Uber Pool car, the authors said.

The study, called “On-demand high-capacity ride-sharing via dynamic trip-vehicle assignment,” also accounted for variables like vehicle capacity, waiting time, travel delays and operational costs using 3 million points of ride data from New York City.

The study found that 2,000 vehicles with a 10-person capacity could serve 98 percent of ride demand. With that model comes a mean wait time of 2.8 minutes and a mean trip delay of 3.5 minutes. Two-thousand vehicles is just 15 percent of New York’s current taxi fleet.

Reducing that capacity from 10 people to four brings the number of vehicles up to 3,000.

A ride-sharing model like this would work particularly well with autonomous vehicles, the authors concluded.

Now the autonomous future has a mathematical model to follow.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/01/02/ride-sharing-study-january-2017/

Stores defy experts to recommend sports supplements to teens, study says

(CNN)More than two-thirds of sales attendants in vitamin stores nationwide recommended using a popular sports supplement to a caller who claimed to be a teen athlete, going against expert medical opinion, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

The supplement in question was creatine, a favorite of weight lifters, typically purchased in flavored powders and mixed with liquids. Because this naturally occurring compound is involved in the body’s energy production, many athletes believe it helps them develop muscles faster.
    “No sales person was coerced into recommendations,” Milanaik said. “If a salesperson was willing to answer to our questions it can be assumed that he/she would give similar answers to actual teen customers.”
    Sales attendants at 164 stores (about 67% of the 244) recommended creatine. Of these, about 38% recommended creatine without prompting, and nearly 29% recommended creatine after being asked specifically about it.
    Nearly 10% of sales attendants recommended a testosterone booster to the caller, though medical experts believe this too could be harmful for teens.
    Although it is not illegal to sell these products to teens, many have labels that say they are recommended only for adults.
    “Not only did we find that health food stores were making recommendations contrary to medical opinion, we found that they were actually ignoring age restriction warning labels on the product packages,” Milanaik said. She and her co-authors found that just over 74% of sales attendants stated a 15-year-old was allowed to purchase creatine, while slightly more than 41% said the same-age teen could purchase a testosterone booster.

    An individual matter

    Richard Kraus, owner of Health Unlimited, a health and natural supplements store based in Atlanta, says he has never encountered this issue with his own customers.
    “I talk to a handful of people with athletic teenagers, but that’s never come up for that age group,” Kraus said. He added that, in general, older teens — over the age of 17 — are more likely to purchase supplements or ask for advice. When that happens, his sales associates steer them to Kraus, since he is more knowledgeable.
    “I’ve read things and talked to different trainers,” Kraus said. He’s been in the business for many years but admits, “I’m not a scientist, not a doctor, so I haven’t studied it in a lab or reviewed a lot of studies.”
    Still, the creatine products on his shelves are sourced from “reputable companies,” he said, with labels cautioning “for adults only,” or “consult your health care professional before using.”
    Kraus said he probably wouldn’t recommend the product to anyone under the age of 17 who wasn’t seriously into athletics.
    “In general, a 15-year-old would be too young to benefit from it,” he said, adding that teens that age should concentrate on eating a really good diet instead.
    Still, Kraus sees supplementation as an individual matter, since some teens are more developed than others and some “demand much more of their bodies and need different things to replenish themselves” compared with the average person, Kraus said. “It’s not one-size-fits-all.”

    ‘Deception is necessary’

    Though the study results serve as an important warning for parents, some might question the ethics of researchers constructing an elaborate ruse in order to gather information.
    “Deception in research should be minimized whenever possible,” Milanaik said. “However, there are circumstances where deception is necessary, and we believe this is one of them.”
    She added that she and her colleagues considered an alternative method of a self-report survey of young teens but decided such a survey would not achieve the objective of “focusing on the quality of information provided by employees in stores specializing in sales of vitamins and supplements.”
    Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, NYC, said that using an undercover approach to investigate selling supplements to minors is “certainly justified.” Glatter had no involvement in the research. “It only makes sense that this would be a rational and logical way to approach such an inquiry.”
    He added that he could “attest to the dangers of creatine as well as testosterone,” because, while working in the ER, he has taken care of teens who have developed kidney and liver problems as a result of using such products.
    The American Academy of Pediatrics, which published the study, agreed that no matter its methods, the research was worthwhile. The journal Pediatrics “publishes studies that are relevant to improving the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents. Every manuscript goes through peer-review and an editorial board discussion prior to making a decision as to whether or not to publish. The same process was followed for this study,” the academy wrote in an email.
    The study raises important issues for many people, Milanaik said.

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    Health food stores might want to raise awareness among employees about age-restricted products so they can redirect teens to healthy diets, she said.
    Meanwhile, pediatricians might raise awareness of this issue, both among themselves and among parents. Milanaik said she and her co-authors hope their article will help physicians “guide teens in making more educated choices about their health.”
    Finally, both parents and teens might want to “look at product labels before taking supplements and talk to their physicians if they have questions,” Milanaik said. “It should not be assumed that all products in a health food store are ‘healthy’ for all consumers.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/02/health/teen-creatine-supplements/index.html

    We Love Ready Meals But What Are They Doing To Our Health?

    Who doesnt like a ready meal once in a while? People in the UK certainly do: consumption of ready meals and convenience meat products has increased five-fold over the last 40 years, according to the latest National Food Survey on UK food-buying habits. High levels of calories and fat in some of these products can be spotted on the label. But there are other concerns about the nutritional value of some ready meals things you wont find on the label.

    Lost Nutrients

    One concern is the way these foods are cooked. Cooking processes can be just as important for our health as the sugar, salt and fat content. Beetroot turning cooking water purple is a vivid example of how nutrients (antioxidants called betalains) can be lost. But other nutrients disappear unnoticed into the cooking water, such as B vitamins from leafy vegetables, and anticancer glucosinolates from members of the cabbage family. At home, we can minimise this by steaming vegetables or using the cooking water. But we have no control over the making of convenience foods and ready meals. Do firms that make these products take care to prepare ready meals in ways that preserve the nutrients? We simply dont know.

    Labelling on ready meals tends to be limited to fat, sugar and salt. Makers of ready meals dont have to label total vitamin content, and probably dont bother figuring out how many of the myriad of cancer-preventing compounds in plant foods are lost during production. Even when they do mention vitamins on their labels, this can just mean that the vitamins were in the raw ingredients. Its not an indication of what remains in the end product.

    Some makers of ready meals compromise health by substituting healthy ingredients with less healthy ones. For instance, rapeseed oil is common in ready-prepared Mediterranean dishes such as hummus and pizzas, even though they are traditionally made using virgin olive oil. Virgin olive oil has well-established health benefits against cardiovascular disease and possibly even against breast cancer, but there is no evidence for these benefits with rapeseed oil.

    Another example is the way olives are processed. Beneficial antioxidants that lower the risk of cardiovascular disease are lost during the processing of some cheap black olives. Fortunately, the shopper can identify these nutritionally-depleted olives by the ferrous gluconate (added to stabilise the black colour) mentioned on the label.

    Mmm ferrous gluconate. www.shutterstock.com

    The nutritional value of ready meals matters since groups such as the single elderly rely on them for a lot of their nourishment. Surveys regularly find that elderly people arent getting enough heart- and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins, vitamin D or minerals such as calcium, magnesium and selenium. Supplements might be one answer, but they dont provide all the nutrients including fibre and cancer-preventing compounds needed for overall health. So health authorities generally recommend eating a healthy diet rather than relying on supplements. And if ready meals are a significant part of the diet, its important that they preserve the nutrients that were present in the raw ingredients.

    Its Not Just Whats Taken Out

    Lost nutrients arent the only concern. Other potential perils lurk on the ready meals counter. Carcinogens known as heterocyclic amines are produced in meats roasted or grilled at high temperatures. So reducing consumption of ready meals containing these meats could be a good idea. Also, popular meat products such as chicken nuggets and kebabs have high levels of substances known as AGEs (advanced glycation endproducts). These are linked to an increased risk of diabetes and also possibly of dementia. People with diabetes or kidney disease (who are less able to excrete AGEs) are advised to limit their intake of foods containing these substances.

    Poor diet is the main reason ahead of smoking and lack of exercise for the epidemic of chronic diseases in developed countries such as the UK. Firms that make ready meals could help the fight against these chronic diseases by providing nutrient-rich meals. Concern over poor diet often focuses on sugar, salt and fat, but nutrient levels are also important. For example, new research indicates that an optimal combination of nutrients can help prevent diseases as seemingly intractable as Alzheimers disease. But to achieve these nutrient-levels, those eating ready meals should be able to rely on them being produced to a high nutritional standard.

    Richard Hoffman, Lecturer in Nutritional Biochemistry, University of Hertfordshire


    Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/we-love-ready-meals-what-are-they-doing-our-health