The Washington Times-Herald

March 19, 2014

Spring's the thing at Purdue Extension


The Washington Times-Herald

---- — Greetings Daviess County residents. I think it might be safe to say spring is on the way. Birds and nature are starting to become more active and are out and about more. Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? Also this week, March is Poison Prevention Week. So this week I would like to share some information with you on both of these subjects. Remember if I can be of assistance please don’t hesitate to contact me or stop by the office. You can reach me at 812-254-8668 or email jstefanc@purdue.edu. The office is located at 214 N.E. Third St., Washington. Until next time, happy spring and enjoy the nicer weather.

National Nutrition Month-Family Meal Time Benefits

Make mealtime a family time. If you can get together for meals even a few times a week, family meals mean healthier eating – and more. For National Nutrition Month®, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages all families to make a commitment to eating more meals together and “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.”

“Research shows that family meals promote healthier eating – more fruits, vegetables and fiber; less fried food; and often fewer calories,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Angela Ginn. “This year’s National Nutrition Month theme, ‘Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right,’ reminds families to return to the basics of healthful eating by returning to the family dining table.”

“And family meals do much more than put healthy food on the table. Beyond preparing the meal itself, we sometimes forget that mealtimes offer time to talk, listen and build family relationships. And it’s a chance for parents to be good role models for healthful eating,” Ginn says.

Ginn offers ideas for adding more family meals to any family’s routine:

•Start slowly. “However many meals you eat as a family now, add one more to your weekly schedule. If school nights are too hectic for a family dinner, make it a leisurely weekend breakfast or lunch. After a few weeks, add another family meal to your schedule,” Ginn says.

•Plan tasty menus together. “Putting together a family meal does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. Let every member of the family choose a favorite item and build simple, delicious meals around them. Even small children can pick a main dish like tacos or pasta, a vegetable like a green salad or cooked carrots and sliced apples or fruit salad for dessert,” Ginn says.

•Set the right mood. “Food is just one important part of mealtime. Your table setting can improve the mealtime mood with very little expense: a candle, colored napkins and wipe-clean plastic tablemats for children,” Ginn says.

•Talk! “The conversations families have while eating together have a huge impact, as you share experiences and ideas, and pass along family values. Pick topics that are positive and allow everyone to talk. Even toddlers like to discuss topics like ‘What is your favorite color?’ or ‘What made you laugh today?’” Ginn says.

•Turn off the TV, phones and anything else that makes noise. “They create distractions that can throw off any family’s mealtime routine,” Ginn says. “Declare mealtime a TV- and phone-free zone, except for emergencies, of course. Instead, put on some background music, played at low volume, to add a relaxing atmosphere.”

No matter your children’s ages, parents and caretakers can find countless resources and a wide range of information about eating right – all backed by the unequalled expertise of nutrition professionals like registered dietitian nutritionists – at Kids Eat Right (www.KidsEatRight.org), a joint initiative of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Academy’s Foundation. “Kids Eat Right helps families shop smart, cook healthy and eat right,” Ginn says.

You can also get helpful reliable information from www.choosemyplate.gov and through Extension at www.extension.purdue.edu

National Poison Prevention Week, March 16-22: Nicotine Poisoning

The emergence of e-cigarettes raises new concerns about nicotine poisoning and other adverse effects for both adults and children. Nicotine poisoning causes adverse reactions such as tremors, nausea, vomiting, agitation, and in more extreme cases, seizures, coma, and death.

E-cigarettes are designed with a battery-operated heating element that vaporizes chemicals inside the replaceable cartridges. They are being promoted as a less dangerous alternative to cigarettes or a smoking cessation aid. However, e- cigarettes have not been approved as safe by the FDA. In fact, the FDA has warned the public that e-cigarettes contain various toxic and cancer causing chemicals.

Studies have found that e-cigarette vapor contains nicotine, ultrafine particles, toxins such as lead and formaldehyde, and other toxins that are known to cause cancer. Exposure to fine and ultrafine particles may exacerbate respiratory ailments like asthma, and constrict arteries which could lead to a heart attack.

The solutions in e-cigarette cartridges are very concentrated. A 30 ml container of e-cigarette solution can easily contain 500+ mg of nicotine, and some labelled as nicotine-free have been found to contain nicotine. Some may even be over 1,000 mg per bottle, and they come in candy flavors. This creates a risk of overdosing or poisoning. The lethal dose of nicotine for adults is 30 mg to 60 mg if swallowed. The lethal dose of nicotine for children is just 10 mg.

In December, Kentucky Regional Poison Control Center of Kosair Children’s Hospital reported a 333 percent increase in calls about e-cigarettes in 2013, compared to 2012. Nationally, poison control centers have seen a 161 percent increase in calls from people with concerns about poisoning from e-cigarettes, and the CDC reports that the percentage of children who have tried e-cigarettes doubled between 2011 and 2012.

It is important for parents to be aware of emerging tobacco products their children may be exposed to.

and to talk to their children about the dangers of tobacco and other nicotine delivery products. For more information about the health effects of e-cigarettes, visit www.no-smoke.org.