Friday, January 3, 2014

Food for Thought for 2014

In the December 4, 2013 issue of the Natural Medicine Journal, author Jacob Schor comments on a study (originally published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) that evaluated the impact that school based interventions had on elementary students' fruit consumption.  There were 3 groups of elementary aged children in this study:  1 group received no intervention/served as a control, 1 group was taught a 15 minute lesson 1 time per week for the entire school year around developing skills for making healthy food and life choices, and 1 group received no specific lessons but their homeroom teacher brought fruit to school at least 3 times per week, kept the fruit on their desk until they ate it, and in general ate healthy snacks during the school day.  Both the group who received the lessons and the group whose teacher ate healthy snacks increased their fruit consumption during the school year in comparison to the control group, but interestingly only the group whose teacher ate healthy snacks maintained an increased level of fruit consumption at the 1 year post intervention follow-up.  This study provides an excellent insight into how important it is for adults to model healthy food choices for the little people in their lives - telling kids what is best to eat will not be as effective as them seeing their adult loved ones eating the food themselves as well.  For me, the message of this study extends beyond food and can be applied to our behaviour in general -  it is how we move through the world and choose to behave, rather than just what we say, that has the deepest impact on those around us and has the most potential to help make the world a more peaceful and healthy place.  For me, this message serves as a great reminder and a great motivator moving forward into 2014.  

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