Healthy habits begin in childhood

Child Caring Online - information about the Child and Adult Care Food Program

Healthy habits begin in childhood

Nutrition wellness is not just for adults anymore. In fact, the patterns and habits we develop as children will often determine our lifestyle as adults. Day care centers can play a very important role in developing healthy attitudes in children that may decrease health problems in adults. Good nutrition and exercise habits are vital for healthy children.

Childhood obesity is a good example of how habits developed in childhood can affect adult lifestyles. Studies have shown that overweight children often become overweight adults who are more likely to have overweight babies. Overweight adults also have an increased tendency to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, respiratory problems, diabetes mellitus, tooth decay and social problems such as depression and poor self-esteem. The good news is that this overweight cycle can be broken, and child care providers can play a major role. By paying close attention to how you feed the children in your care and by encouraging regular exercise you are teaching healthy habits.

Some points to remember in establishing healthy eating habits are:

  • Set a good example. Children learn by watching you.

  • Provide a variety of wholesome, nutritious foods.

  • Avoid foods that may contribute to weight problems such as soda pop, chips, candy or rich desserts.

  • Give child-size portions; allow the children to ask for seconds.

  • Don’t insist that everything on the plate must be eatern. An appetite change where children eat less is normal.

  • Make meal times fun yet relaxed. This is not the time for watching television.

  • Don’t use food as a bribe, reward or punishment.

  • Encourage daily, physical activity by making exercise fun.

Childhood is not the time for dieting. Children need sufficient calories and essential nutrients to support growth and development. Rather than restricting calories, the goal is to keep the same weight while height increases. This results in the overweight child growing into her or his weight. Again, you can play an important role in children’s food choices by providing healthy, nutritious foods for meals and snacks.

Nutrition wellness education does not require years of study or advanced degrees. All it requires is a desire to help children develop healthy attitudes towards good nutrition and regular exercise. These requirements are easily incorporated into day care settings. Begin now to help children become healthy adults.

Healthy habits begin in childhood 2017-08-22T19:09:30+00:00

Snacks with child appeal

Child Caring Online - information about the Child and Adult Care Food Program

Snacks with child appeal

Planning snacks is an important task for all child care facilities. Snacks fill an essential nutritional need for young children who need that extra boost to meet their energy and growth needs. It requires time and effort to plan them creatively day after day. Day care providers accept the challenge to serve affordable foods the children like and to meet the CACFP requirements.

Snacks are a responsibility, but they are also an opportunity. Besides feeding hungry children they can also encourage good eating habits by providing children with food preparation activities and introducing new foods. They can also be used to teach math, vocabulary and other concepts.

Not every snack needs to require a lot of preparation time or be a complicated activity, but remember that there is more for snackers than crackers! Crackers and fruit juice or milk is a popular menu item, but variety is fun and healthy, too.

Here’s a fun and easy way to introduce yeast to children. Children of all ages can participate in making the pretzels. Give each child a lump of dough to knead and shape into animals, numbers, letters or whatever they choose to create. Bake and enjoy.


SOFT PRETZELS

  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour (2 cups of white and 2 cups of wheat work well)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Mix together the yeast and water. Add sugar, salt and flour, mixing well. Place on a floured board. Knead for five minutes. Cut into 20 pieces and roll into ropes. Make shapes and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Brush with the beaten egg.

Bake at 425 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes, until golden brown.

You can sprinkle them with salt, dust with cinnamon sugar or offer melted cheese, peanut butter or mustard for dipping.

A pretzel from this recipe will equal 1 1/2 servings of grain/bread for a 6 Р12 year old. 

Snacks with child appeal 2017-08-22T19:10:13+00:00

Snacking is fun for children

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Snacking is fun for children

To keep up with their rapid growth and high activity levels. children need lots of food. In fact, infants and children need more food, pound for pound, than any other age group. But they cannot handle too much food at any one time. What’s a child care provider to do?

Simply supplement healthy meals with nutritious snacks.

A snack can be many different foods: an apple, a piece of cheese or a brownie. Each food offers some nutritional value and has its place in the diet. The trick is to choose snacks that will offer the nutrients the children need without too many fat or sugar calories. Anyone can think of cookies, crackers or brownies for snacks. It takes a creative caregiver to think of a snack that is healthful and tasty. That brownie, while tasty, offers mainly fat and sugar calories.

Selecting smart snacks

Children need lots of nutrition. A “Carry Their Weight” snack packs lots of nutrition, but is light on fat and sugar calories. It is a healthful snack like cheese or meat cubes, small pieces of fruit, raw vegetables, cereal, juices, yogurt or breads.

Children don’t need large snacks. Too much food may prevent the children from being hungry at meal time. Large servings also may overwhelm young children. They may react by not eating anything. This can lead to wasted food.

Children like finger foods. Crackers, raw vegetables, toast triangles, fres fruit or cheese slices are easy for toddlers to handle and easy for you to clean up.

Children like bright colors. Choose snacks like orange fruit juice cubes or red cherry tomatoes. Cut foods into fun shapes like sandwich triangles, banana roudns, carrot sticks, cucumber circles. Children can easily learn about colors and shapes while enjoying a healthful snack.

Children like variety. For fun, try offering bean sprouts or broccoli flowerets. Offer a variety of textures for snacks: crisp raw vegetables with smooth dips, crunchy fruits and creamy yogurt, tender moist meats and crunchy crackers.

Avoid choking
We know we want snacks to be nutritious and offer more than just calories. Is there anything else to know about snacks? Yes1 Some typical snack foods can cause children to choke. Choking is a serious concern when caring for young children. In fact, choking kills more young children than any other home accident. Children can easily choke if a snack is eaten on the run, or if foods that are difficult for young children to eat are served. To prevent the children in your care from choking:

  • Never leave the children alone while they are eating.

  • Teach the children to sit quietly and eat slowly.

  • Serve small portions and encourage children to chew their food well.

  • Grind up tough foods.

  • Cut food into small pieces or thin slices.

  • Be careful of round foods like hot dogs. Cut them into strips or small chunks to prevent choking.

  • Remove all bones from fish, chicken and meat.

  • Remove all seeds and pits from fruits.

Some foods are more likely to cause choking than others.

Beware of:

  • Firm, smooth or slippery foods that slide down the throat before chewing, like hot dogs, hard candy, peanuts and grapes.

  • Small, dry or hard foods that are difficult to chew and easy to swallow whole, like popcorn, potato and corn chips, nuts and seeds, and small pieces of raw carrot.

  • Sticky or tough foods that do not break apart easily and are hard to remove from the airway, like peanut butter, tough meats, and raisins or other dried fruit.

Adapted from: Snacking Is Fun for Children, Ohio Cooperative Extension Service

Snacking is fun for children 2017-08-22T19:10:13+00:00

Healthy foods mean healthy teeth

Child Caring Online - information about the Child and Adult Care Food Program

Healthy foods mean healthy teeth

Serve foods that bacteria snub, not foods that bacteria love. Bacteria love sticky sweet foods like caramels, frosting, honey, sugar, candy, cake, cookies, soft drinks, gum with sugar, and dried fruits. Bacteria snub unsweetened foods like vegetables, fruits, cheese, meat, fish, chicken, eggs, beans, bread and cereals. There are some sugars naturally found in fruits, juices, milk and brads. If the children eat these foods constantly throughout the day, they also can cause cavities.

Have the children brush often and keep the teeth as clean as possible.

Teach the children to swish and swallow after meals or snacks. It would be great if they would brush every time after eating. That is often not possible. The next best solution is to swish and swallow. Have the children drink a small amount of water, swish it in their mouths for a few seconds, then swallow. This will help clean the sugar off the teeth.

Have the children brush after eating sticky sweet foods. Eating foods that are sticky sweet, like caramels, honey or even dried fruit, is a double whammy for teeth. The sugar gets with the germs and can make acide even longer because the sugar is sticking to the teeth longer. Be sure to brush or to swish and swallow after eating sticky foods.

Watch how often the children eat. While it is true that children need snacks each day, they do not need to eat constantly. Eating constantly, even nutritious foods that bacteria usually snub, can cause cavities. Walking around with a sipper cup of juice or a bag of cereal all day means the bacteria on teeth have a constant supply of food. The germs and the sugar in the food will form acid all day and the children are more likely to get cavities.

Adapted from Snacking is Fun for Children , Ohio Cooperative Education Service

Healthy foods mean healthy teeth 2017-08-22T19:09:30+00:00

Nutrition for the preschool child

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Nutrition for the preschool child

The preschooler’s growth is slower than that of an infant. An average child age two through five years will grow about 2 1/2″ and gain four or five pounds each year. Because growth rate is slower, appetites may decrease. The preschool period is an excellent time to help your child become familiar with the idea that eating a proper diet is part of a healthy lifestyle.

Attitudes and habits formed during preschool years are likely to be carried into the future. By 15 months of age, most children have developed enough fine motor skills to feed themselves without help.

Basic nutritional needs of children are similar to the nutritional needs of other family members. Amounts needed differ because of age. Offer your child a variety of foods from the basic food groups: breads, cereals, rice, pasta, vegetables, fruits, milk, yogurt, cheese, meats, poultry, fish, dry beans, dry peas and eggs.

Over time, the preschooler will take in adequate nutrients when allowed to choose from a variety of healthy foods. Protein is needed for growth. Protein in the diet is supplied by milk, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese and dry beans and peas. Calcium is needed for strong bones and teeth. Dietary calcium is primarily found in milk and milk products and to a lesser extent in leafy green vegetables. Iron is an important mineral you get from meat, poultry, fish, eggs, green leafy vegetables and iron fortified cereals. Iron from cereal will be absorbed better when served with a food rich in Vitamin C. Citrus fruits and their juices and dark green or yellow vegetables are good sources of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Breads and cereals contribute minerals and vitamins.

Plenty of water is needed to regulate body functions in small children. As a percentage of body weight, children have more water in their bodies than adults; therefore, their bodies can become dehydrated more quickly than adult bodies. Offer water to your preschooler several times during the day.

Fat is a necessary nutrient in a child’s diet. Fat helps provide extra calories and needed nutrients for active and growing children. No fat restriction should be applied to children below the age of two years. For children over the age of two, fat intake should represent about 30 per cent of the total caloric intake. As with the adult diet, limit foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol for children over the age of two. Help your child develop beneficial low-fat dietary habits such as drinking skim or low-fat milk instead of whole milk. Remember, these recommendations for fat intake are not for children under the age of two years or those children who have special dietary needs.

 

Sugary foods provide few nutrients and should be eaten on a limited basis. Chewy, sticky, sugary foods may promote tooth decay. Teach children to properly brush their teeth daily to help diminish this effect.

Make meal times pleasant experiences for your young child by following these tips:

Involve your child in meal preparation. By allowing your preschooler to take part in meal preparation, you may help increase your child’s interest in a new or unfamiliar food.

Include at least one of your child’s preferred foods. Offer a choice of foods. The meal should have at least one food that you know the child will select and eat.

Offer a variety of colors and textures. This will create interest and increase the number of foods your child will accept.

Keep portions child size. One way to consider portion sizes is to have one tablespoon of each type of food for each year of the child’s age.

Play it safe with foods. Round cuts of hot dogs, cherries, grapes, carrot chunks, tortilla chips, peanut butter or nuts may cause a child to choke. Simply cut hot dogs into fourths lengthwise; cook and mash carrots; cut grapes and cherries into fourths. Don’t serve peanut butter by the spoonfuls, combine it with other food items to improve consistency. Nuts and chips should be cut finely or crushed.

Expect and tolerate child-like table manners. Let a child be a child Children are always learning from your table manners.

The eating environment is important. Comfort is important at meal time. Select chairs, tables, dishes and silverware suitable in structure and size for the preschooler. Do not expect the young child to sit still at meals; yet some reduction in activity is desirable. A child may be excused from the table if finished or disinterested in eating.

Serve meals and snacks on a dependable schedule. Try to schedule meals before your child becomes overly hungry, tired or irritable. Most children require planned nutritious snacks to safeguard an adequate intake of nutrients and calories.

Offer a variety of healthy foods and children will eat what they need. Remain calm if your child leaves a portion or an entire meal untouched.

Meal time can be a family time. Meal time is a good time to teach nutrition by example. Good eating habits that preschoolers learn from their parents can develop into lifelong patterns.

Most preschoolers experience food jags and may for a time eat only a few self-selected foods. When a parent prods, the child is less likely to try new foods. Finicky food habits are often temporary and will disappear if not reinforced by emotions and unnecessary rules. Food should not become the object of bribes or punishments. If a food is rejected, do not make an issue of the situation as this may make your child more determined to refuse the food being offered. Try the rejected food at a different time. Allow preschoolers as well as adults to dislike foods. Watch family behavior. Are some foods rejected by adults in the family? serve a variety of foods even if rejected by some adult family members.

Give special consideration to providing foods that appeal to the child’s senses. Include finger foods; foods that crunch or crackle when you eat them; foods that differ in texture; foods with different flavor. Foods that are too hot or too cold may be refused. Children may try a new food if it is prepared to be attractive to a child, such as cut in animal shapes. Present new foods at the beginning of the meal when your child is really hungry. Brightly colored vegetables may also attract a preschooler. Many times the true flavor of foods is overwhelmed with sauces, gravies, syrups, herbs and spices. A favorite or familiar food served with the new food may encourage the acceptance of different foods.

It is hard for preschoolers to eat enough in three meals to provide the nutrients and calories they need. Offer snacks between meals. Snack time may be a good time to introduce new foods. Many times children will refuse food at meal time, but accept it at snack time. Snacks should provide more than just calories. Some good snack foods include: dry cereal with milk; meat or peanut butter sandwiches; vegetable or fruit breads such as pumpkin or banana; fresh, dried or canned fruit; fruit or vegetable juices; plain yogurt or yogurt with fruit; cheese and crackers; or oatmeal cookies and milk.

To promote a positive attitude towards good food habits, it is important that parents and caregivers help children understand they are “good kids.” What children “do” may be unacceptable at times, but who and what they ‘are” inside are normal, healthy and okay kids.

Source: NebGuide, Nutrition for the Preschool Child, used with permission.

Nutrition for the preschool child 2017-08-22T19:10:05+00:00

What is cholesterol?

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What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance. Cholesterol is used by your body to make cell membranes, vitamin D, and some hormones and digestive juices. Your body gets cholesterol two ways: it makes cholesterol and it gets cholesterol from the foods you eat.

How is cholesterol listed on the food label?

The amount of cholesterol in a serving of food is listed in milligrams (mg) and as a per cent of the Daily Value on the nutrition label. The Percent Daily Value (% Daily Value) for cholesterol gives a general idea of how much cholesterol a serving contributes to the total daily diet.

Nutrition experts recommend diets that contain 300 milligrams of cholesterol or less per day. This number stays the same for all calorie levels. The % Daily Value for cholesterol on the nutrition label is based on 300 milligrams.

What’s the difference between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol?

Dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol are two different things. Dietary cholesterol is the cholesterol found in foods. Only animal foods contain dietary cholesterol. Blood cholesterol is the cholesterol is the cholesterol in the bloodstream. It comes from foods in the diet and the body’s own manufacturing process.

Why worry about cholesterol?

Eating a diet higher than recommended in cholesterol and fat, especially saturated fat, may increase blood cholesterol levels in some adults. A high blood cholesterol level is associated with increased risk for heart disease.

What is saturated fat?

Saturated fat, a type of fat, is a concentrated source of calories for the body. There are three kinds of fats: saturated fats, monosaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

How is saturated fat listed on the food label?

The amount of saturated fat in a serving of food is listed in grams (g) and as a percent of the Daily Value on the nutrition label. The Percent Daily Value (% Daily Value) for saturated fat gives a general idea of how much saturated fat a serving of food contributes to a 2,000 calorie reference diet.

Nutrition experts recommend diets that contain 30 percent or less of calories from total fat, with about 10 percent coming from saturated fat. The % Daily Value for saturated fat on the nutrition label is based on 20 grams. This number comes from a 2,000 calorie reference diet that has about 10 percent of calories from saturated fat. It is rounded for labeling.

Why worry about saturated fat?

Eating a diet higher in saturated fat than recommended may increase blood cholesterol levels in some adults. Saturated fat may raise blood cholesterol levels more than anything else in the diet. A high blood cholesterol level is associated with increased risk for heart disease.

What is cholesterol? 2017-08-22T19:10:18+00:00

Developing positive attitudes toward food

Child Caring Online - information about the Child and Adult Care Food Program

Developing positive attitudes toward food

We probably all wish at some time that we had the same power to influence children’s food choices that food companies seem to have in television advertising directed to the child audiences.

Personnel in group feeding settings with children may be doing better than they think at influencing children’s attitudes about food. Children are very good at picking up unspoken clues from the adults around them. Their attitudes toward food are formed by what they see around them. Children are great imitators.

You are sending some nonverbal messages every day to help children develop positive attitudes toward food when you do some of the following:

Eat and enjoy the same foods the children are served. Children really notice if the grownups choose to eat different foods, or if they have negative feelings about the regular menu.

Give a warm and welcoming smile to each child who comes to your dining area. A pleasant eating environment creates positive feelings about the food served there. We can’t control all of the environmental factors, but we can make eaters feel comfortable.

Demonstrate that foods that are “good for us” actually taste good. We do this when our balanced, nutritious meals and snacks are well prepared and look appealing. It’s a myth that foods either taste good OR are good for us.

Provide a mix of familiar and new foods. Just like the rest of our lives, most of us feel happiest with a combination of foods we know and like and occasional surprise to keep things from getting boring.

Respect each child’s right to decide what and how much he or she will eat. Food times should be enjoyable, and pressuring a child only drives him into rebellion or sullen submission. If good food is offered, most of the child’s decisions will be okay and he or she will have a more positive attitude about the food and about self.

The best attitude that anyone can have is a belief that food times are fun times, that there is an infinite variety of food colors, flavors and textures that are tasty and enjoyable, socializing over food is pleasant and food choices do affect the way one looks and feels. Although parents, friends and advertising media expose children to other messages, out-of-home nonverbal messages can play an important role in improving attitudes toward food.

Source: Food and Nutrition Bulletin, Maryland Department of Education

Developing positive attitudes toward food 2017-08-22T19:09:24+00:00

Maintaining a healthy weight

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Older adults need to maintain a healthy weight

Many Americans are overweight. Being overweight can increase the risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Recent research suggests that people can be a little heavier as they grow older without added risk to health, although just how much heavier is not yet clear.

As people age, they usually need fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight. Older people may become less active, too. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight should be an ongoing part of health care. People who need to lose some weight shouldn’t try to lose weight too fast and should avoid extreme approaches. Quick weight loss plans often deprive the body of important nutrients and usually don’t keep the weight off.

Be physically active

Physical activity can help reduce and control weight by burning up calories and should be part of a healthy lifestyle at any age. Moderate exercise that places weight on bones, such as walking, helps maintain and possibly even increases bone strength in older adults – another good reason to exercise. Scientists looking into the benefits of exercise for older adults agree that appropriate exercise improves overall health at any age. Regular exercise can improve the functioning of the heart and lungs, increase strength and flexibility and contribute to a feeling of well being.

You don’t have to jog or do aerobics to benefit from exercise. Any regular physical activity is good. Regular brisk walking is an easy and enjoyable form of exercise that helps control weight, but you will benefit from any form of gentle exercise, even light gardening. Use common sense to prevent injury when exercising, and check with your doctor before beginning a vigorous exercise program or if you haven’t exercised in a while.

Reduce calories, not vitamins and minerals

To lose weight, you need to reduce the amount of calories you eat. But you need to do this without giving up important nutrients. A weight-reduction diet will be difficult to follow if you always feel hungry. Choosing low fat foods allows you to cut calories without sacrificing important vitamins and minerals. For example, one cup of skim milk has about the same amount of calcium as one cup of whole milk, but only traces of fat and half the number of calories. On the other hand, fatty spreads and dressings, sugary foods such as candy or soft drinks and alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine and liquors add calories to your diet, but have little or no nutrients. Limiting your intake of fats, sweets and alcoholic beverages will help keep the calories in your diet down, without sacrificing nutrients.

Source: Food Facts for Older Americans, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Maintaining a healthy weight 2017-08-22T19:09:35+00:00

Fat

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Information about fat

What is fat?

Dietary fat, along with protein and carbohydrates, provides energy in the form of calories. Fats can be described as liquid oils, such as soybean or corn, and as solid, like butter or the fat seen on meat. Fats can also be visible, like melted butter or margarine on toast or invisible in foods such as nuts or whole milk.

Dietary fat increases the appeal of many foods by heightening the flavor, aroma and texture. Because it digests more slowly, it remains in the stomach longer and helps us feel full and satisfied. Fat also provides almost twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrate.

Some fat is necessary for good health. It helps in the transmission of brain and nerve signals, keeps our skin smooth, cushions internal organs, helps our bodies maintain temperature and provides most of the energy needed to perform much of the body’s work, especially muscular work. In addition to these functions, fat is necessary to help the body carry the vitamins A, D, E and K and to provide the needed fatty acids. In infants and young children, fat and cholesterol are essential for brain and nerve development.

Why should fat intake be controlled?

Populations that consume diets high in fat have more obesity and certain types of cancer. The higher levels of saturated fat and cholesterol have also been linked to heart disease. A diet low in fat makes it easier for us to include the variety of foods needed for nutrients without exceeding calorie needs. At the present time, it is estimated that U.S. adults get about 37 per cent of their total calories from fat. The latest research tells us that Americans over the age of two should consume no more than 30 percent of their calories from fat. Remember that children’s diets low in fat may be too low in calories if the calories that came from fat are not replaced with adequate calories from other foods such as bread, cereal, vegetables and fruits.

Types of fats

Saturated fat These fats are found in large proportions in foods of animal origin. They include fats in whole milk, cream, cheese, butter, meat and poultry. Most saturated fats are hard at room temperature. Some vegetable fats like coconut and palm oil contain even more saturated fat.

Monosaturated fat – These fats are found in foods of both plant and animal origins. Olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil are the most common examples of this type of fat.

Polyunsaturated fat – This type of fat is found mostly in fats of plant origin. Sunflower, corn, soybean, cottonseed and safflower oils are vegetable fats that usually contain a high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Cholesterol

High blood cholesterol levels are strongly linked to heart disease but a certain amount of cholesterol is needed for your body to produce hormones and to form the sheath around nerves. The liver produces all of the cholesterol your body needs. There is no need to take in cholesterol in food. Animal products are the source of all dietary cholesterol. There is no cholesterol in any vegetable oil nor in peanut butter. It is often irrelevant when the food manufacturers advertise their product has no cholesterol. All such products share the same distinction. The foods never had cholesterol so choice must be made based on different criteria. Eating less fat from animal sources will help lower cholesterol.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage us to “choose a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in total fat.” When planning our own meals and the meals for those in our care, we must strive to meet the goal to restrict the total calories from fat to 30 per cent of total calories in the diet. Remember that it is the total fat and cholesterol eaten in a day that counts and not just the individual foods. If you choose a food that is high in fat, balance that with an intake of fruits, vegetables and grains. Even though symptoms may not yet be exhibited, studies have found that plaque in the arteries is building up during the teen years.

Summary

  • Choose low fat dairy products.

  • Choose lean meats, fish, and poultry without skin.

  • Eat moderate portions of meat, poultry or fish, keeping total amount to five to seven ounces per day.

  • Use low fat preparation methods (bake or broil foods, don’t fry them).

  • Reduce the amounts of fasts added at the table.

  • Use liquid vegetable oils rather than solid fats and shortening, whenever possible.

  • Eat fewer high-fat bakery items and chips.

  • Choose foods from all groups to have a well-balanced diet, just be sure to choose wisely.

Source: The Lunch Line, Iowa Department of Education 

Fat 2017-08-22T19:09:27+00:00

Fat, cholesterol and older Americans

Child Caring Online - information about the Child and Adult Care Food Program

Fat, cholesterol and older Americans

A blood cholesterol level of 200 mg/dl or less is considered desirable for adults. The relationship of blood cholesterol to the risk for heart disease is less clear in older adults than in middle-aged people. However, heart disease is still the number one cause of death in older Americans, both men and women. Smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, lack of exercise, heredity and being overweight are other risk factors. If you don’t know what your blood cholesterol level is, as your doctor to check it the next time you go for a visit. Your doctor can help you evaluate your risk and determine whether your cholesterol level is too high.

Many of us eat too much fat. Even if your blood cholesterol level is not high, you may want to make some changes in your food choices to reduce the amount of fat and saturated fat you eat. If you’re like most Americans, 36 percent of your calories come from fat. A diet with 30 percent or less of calories from total fat (and less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat) would be healthier. Reducing fat may help you control your weight if necessary. This is important because obesity increases your risk for high blood pressure, stroke, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes and also aggravates arthritis by putting added stress on your joints.

Did you know?
Fat is not the same as cholesterol. Some foods contain a lot of cholesterol, but are low in fat, like liver; and some foods have no cholesterol, but are high in fat, like nondairy creamers, vegetable oil or margarine. A food that says “no cholesterol” can still be high in fat. Read the label to see how much and which kinds of fats are included int he product before you buy it.

All types of fat have the same number of calories – both butter and margarine have about 36 calories per teaspoon. Go easy on all fasts and foods made with a lot of fat.

Fat, cholesterol and older Americans 2017-08-22T19:09:27+00:00
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