Yoga for Children

kids doing yogaYoga isn’t just for moms and dads! The practice of yoga can help center your child, leading them to maintain healthy bodies, improve their school life and help with speech development. Best of all, yoga provides the perfect opportunity to bond emotionally and spiritually with your child.

Your child might feel overwhelmed on a daily basis. Many children today are suffering from a lack of connection to their bodies, to their environment, and to themselves. Our information-saturated, hectic, and stimulus-rich culture pulls kids in many directions, splitting their attention. For many children, it has become too much for their young, developing minds to absorb and process.

More and more American children from all walks of life are overweight, have stress and anger issues, and have attention and learning problems. There is a real separation of mind and body—your child’s attention might be pulled outward toward the ever-increasing distractions of the external world. Overworked parents and overscheduled children often face isolation from their families and their communities. Rather than sitting down to dinner together, it is now quite common for children and parents to communicate mainly via text messaging and e-mail. Does any of this sound familiar?

As mindful parents and adults, we must give our children every tool possible to assist them in counteracting a culture and environment that is potentially hazardous to their health and well-being. Through the use of yoga tools, stories, and play, we can provide children with opportunities to grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, helping them connect with themselves and others with compassion, understanding, and clarity.

Healthy Bodies with yoga

In 2012, the CDC reported that childhood obesity had more than tripled in the past thirty years. Children are simply spending more time indoors and less time moving. Even if your child is active, she can still benefit from yoga-based movement. With regular practice, her muscles, bones, and joints will lengthen and strengthen as her overall flexibility is improved. In addition, all of your child’s major bodily systems are supported by movement and improved circulation, including the digestive, endocrine, immune, and respiratory systems. Yoga strengthens your child’s entire body!
Here are some recognized benefits that yoga can provide for your child’s body:

  • Assists neuromuscular development
  • Promotes the development of the vestibular system
  • Increases circulation, uptake of oxygen, and functioning of hormones
  • Encourages motor development on both sides of the body
  • Increases balance, coordination, and overall body awareness
  • Develops core strength, essential for posture and alignment
  • Reduces the risk of injury; improves performance in sports

Improving School Life

Anti-bullying, health and wellness, and character education are all popular topics in American education today. As standardized testing has become more common, so has performance anxiety and stress in students (and teachers). It is not surprising to note that across the world, yoga and mindfulness education are increasingly being incorporated into the classroom day to help address these concerns, and with great results.

Yoga, by nature, supports and maximizes the learning process. Students experience improved concentration and creative thinking, and due to improvement in executive functions, they are better able to prioritize and organize. By doing yoga with your child, you will help him build better relationships with other students by promoting a sense of connectedness. If your child is athletic, a yoga lifestyle will help him maximize his performance by improving his focus, strengthening his muscles, improving his flexibility, and fostering team cooperation. If your child experiences social anxiety, yoga can help instill a greater sense of self-knowing, self-worth, and confidence.

Here’s how yoga can benefit your child’s life at school. Yoga:

  • Brings students into the present moment, ready for learning
  • Encourages community and connectedness in the classroom
  • Helps create a feeling of confidence instead of competitiveness
  • Eases anxiety before test taking
  • Enhances focus, concentration, comprehension, and memory
  • Supports social and emotional learning

Yoga for Speech Development

While yoga is becoming wildly popular with kids everywhere, one significant benefit often overlooked by parents and educators is the aspect of speech development. “Yoga,” “yogurt,” or “woga” classes can help advance a young child’s speech development through slow, repetitive verbal instructions, songs, and the imitation of simple sounds found in nature.

Children with speech delays are often more physical in nature, especially boys. A movement class like yoga can pair physical motion with repetitive sounds, which will likely catch their attention more so than a simple, quiet conversation. For example, a preschooler who has not yet mastered sounding out letters like S and Z might enjoy slithering like a snake, not only attempting to “hiss” but also watching your mouth as you hiss and lower yourself to the ground in Cobra Pose. After repeating this pose in subsequent sessions, he will immediately recognize the word and sound that go along with the pose and hopefully gain the confidence to try to say it himself.

New Obesity procedure

New obesity procedure appears to also reduce muscle mass.  A study about a new obesity procedure for the treatment of obesity has raised some concerns. This is because, while the treatment leads to weight loss, the pounds a person sheds consist of skeletal muscle as well as fat. Also, body fat loss seems to be mainly of the subcutaneous — as opposed to the riskier visceral — type.
obesity procedure doctor taking measurements of obese man
Visceral fat can harm health, and some people with obesity resort to surgical procedures to remove it.

Skeletal muscle is necessary for good health; its loss can result in not only physical problems, but it can also impair metabolism and raise the risk of injury.

Visceral fat is the type of fat that surrounds the organs deep inside the abdomen. Doctors have linked carrying too much of it to health problems, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The new obesity procedure is called left gastric artery embolization. Interventional radiologists have been using it for decades to stop bleeding in emergencies.

However, the idea of using gastric artery embolization to treat obesity is new, and clinical trials are currently evaluating its safety and effectiveness for such a purpose.

The aim of the new obesity procedure treatment is to reduce the effect of an appetite hormone by injecting microscopic beads to block an artery that supplies blood to the stomach.

The study’s findings featured recently at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America that is currently taking place in Chicago, IL.

Need for new cost-effective, low-risk obesity procedures

Study lead author Dr. Edwin A. Takahashi, who is a vascular and interventional radiology fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, explains that a lot of research has shown that gastric artery embolization can achieve weight loss.

“However,” he adds, “there has been no data on what is contributing to the weight loss, whether the patients are losing fat, as desired, or muscle mass, or some combination of the two.”

Obesity is a significant global public health issue with links to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and other serious illnesses and health problems.

Rates of obesity and being overweight have almost tripled worldwide over the last 40 years, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO estimates for 2016 suggest that being overweight affects more than 1.9 billion of the world’s adults. This figure includes some 650 million adults with obesity.

While changes to lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity can work, for many people, these are not enough, and they opt to undergo weight-loss operations that reduce the size of the stomach.

Such surgical procedures have proved effective as treatments for obesity, but they are costly and carry risks and complications.

Left gastric artery embolization

Left gastric artery embolization — if found to be effective and safe — could offer people a less invasive option for the treatment of obesity.

The obesity procedure involves injecting microscopic beads into the artery that delivers blood to the stomach. The radiologist inserts a catheter either in the wrist or groin and uses imaging to reach the artery.

Once released into the artery, the microbeads block the flow of blood through the smaller blood vessels to the stomach. This has the effect of reducing production of ghrelin, a hunger-stimulating hormone.

Early trials have shown promising results that the procedure can help people lose weight. However, there is little information about where the weight loss comes from, and how it affects body composition of fat and muscle.

Dr. Takahashi and his team examined computed tomography scans of 16 overweight people, some with obesity, who had undergone left gastric artery embolization to stop bleeding.

With help from special software that analyzes tissue density, they assessed fat and muscle composition on scans taken before and about 1.5 months after the treatment.

Results raised some concerns by new obesity procedure

All 16 of the individuals who underwent embolization lost a significant amount of weight afterward. On average, they lost 6.4 percent of their body weight in the ensuing 1.5 months.

Their body mass index (BMI) fell by 6.3 percent over the same period.

The weight loss came as no surprise to the researchers; however, what did surprise them was the alteration in body composition.

They calculated that skeletal muscle index reduced by 6.8 percent. This index reflects the quantity of muscle in the body that is attached to bone and helps the movement of limbs and other body parts.

Loss of skeletal muscle can not only reduce physical function, but it can also damage metabolism and raise the risk of injury.

“The significant decrease in the amount of skeletal muscle,” says Dr. Takahashi, “highlights the fact that patients who undergo this procedure are at risk for losing muscle mass and need to be managed accordingly after [the] procedure.”

We must make sure they receive adequate nutrition to minimize the amount of muscle tissue they lose.”

Dr. Edwin A. Takahashi

The results also showed that the individuals lost a lot of body fat; there was an average drop of 3.7 percent in body fat index.

However, most of the body fat loss was due to the reduction in subcutaneous fat. Loss of visceral fat was insignificant over the follow-up.

Subcutaneous fat is all over the body under the skin. Visceral fat is fat that surrounds the organs deep in the abdominal cavity.

Science “has been distinctly linked” carrying excessive amounts of visceral fat to several health problems and conditions. These include impaired metabolism, insulin resistance, increased risk to certain cancers, prolonged hospitalization, and higher risk of complications.

The team now want to focus further studies on individuals who undergo left gastric artery embolization specifically to treat obesity.

Peanut butter benefits

Benefits of peanut butter are enormous. Peanut butter is a firm favorite among adults and children alike. Although tasty, many people still wonder about the health benefits of peanut butter.

Peanuts and peanut butter contain nutrients that may boost a person’s heart health and improve blood sugar levels.

Depending on how people use peanut butter in their diet, it can help them lose weight, or put on pounds during weight training or bodybuilding.

However, the benefits of peanut butter should be carefully evaluated because peanut butter is high in calories and fat, so people should enjoy it in moderation.

In this article, we look at the benefits of eating peanut butter and explain the risks associated with consuming it.

Nutritional benefits of peanut butter

Peanut butter in a jar from above
Peanut butter is a good source of protein and vitamin B-6.

Peanut butter provides a good amount of protein, along with essential vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

Most notably, each 2-tablespoon (tbsp) serving of smooth peanut butter provides the following nutrients, minerals, and vitamins:

  • Protein. Peanut butter contains 7.02 grams (g) of protein per 2-tbsp serving. This counts toward the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for women of 46 g and 56 g for men, which varies by age and activity level.
  • Magnesium. With 57 milligrams (mg) of magnesium, each serving helps towards the RDA of 400–420 mg in men and 310–320 in women. Magnesium is essential for health, playing a role in over 300 chemical processes in the body.
  • Phosphorous. Each serving contains 107 mg of phosphorus, which is about 15.3 percent of the RDA of 700 mg for adults. Phosphorus helps the body to build healthy cells and bones and helps cells to produce energy.
  • Zinc. A serving of peanut butter provides 0.85 mg of zinc. This is 7.7 percent of the recommended daily intake of 11 mg for men, and 10.6 percent of the RDA of 8 mg for women. Zinc is necessary for immunity, protein synthesis, and DNA formation.
  • Niacin. Peanut butter contains 4.21 mg of niacin per serving, which makes a useful contribution towards a person’s recommended intake of 14 to 16 mg. Niacin benefits digestion and nerve function and helps produce energy.
  • Vitamin B-6. With 0.17 g of vitamin B-6 per serving, peanut butter provides almost 14 percent of an adult’s RDA of 1.3 mg. Vitamin B-6 plays a role in over 100 enzyme reactions in the body and may be necessary for heart and immune system health.

However, there are also nutritional disadvantages if a person eats more than the recommended amount of peanut butter.

Peanut butter is high in calories, saturated fats, and sodium.

Each serving contains 3.05 g of saturated fats, which is 23.5 percent of the American Heart Association’s maximum recommended daily intake of saturated fat for those consuming 2,000 calories a day. People should aim for less than 13 g of saturated fat per day.

It also contains 152 mg of sodium, which is 10.1 percent of an adult’s ideal daily upper intake of sodium of 1,500 mg.

Health benefits of peanut butter

Eating peanut butter in moderation and as part of an overall healthful diet may provide the following benefits:

1. Weight loss

Several studies suggest that eating peanuts and other nuts can help people maintain their weight, or even help with weight loss.

This may be because peanuts improve satiety, which is the feeling of fullness, thanks to their protein, fat, and fiber content.

A 2018 study suggests that eating nuts, including peanuts, reduces a person’s risk of being overweight or obese. This study compared the dietary and lifestyle data for over 373,000 people from 10 European countries over 5 years.

Earlier research based on data gathered from over 51,000 women suggested that those who ate nuts twice weekly or more experienced slightly less weight gain over an 8-year period than women who rarely ate nuts.

2. Boosting heart health

Peanut butter contains many nutrients that can improve heart health, including:

  • monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)
  • polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)
  • niacin
  • magnesium
  • vitamin E

The proportion of unsaturated fats (PUFAs and MUFAs) to saturated fats in the diet plays a particularly important role in heart health. Peanut butter has a similar ratio to olive oil — which is also known as a heart-healthy option.

A high intake of nuts may have links to a reduced risk of mortality from heart disease or other causes. The researchers recommend peanuts in particular as a cost-effective way to improve heart health for some people.

Research also suggests that including 46 g per day of peanuts or peanut butter into an American Diabetes Association (ADA) diet plan for 6 months could benefit the heart, improve blood lipid profiles, and control weight for people with diabetes.

However, as peanut butter is high in calories, it is crucial that a person limits their intake if they do not want to put on weight. Eating more than the recommended amount will also increase fat and sodium intake, which does not benefit the heart.

3. Bodybuilding

Senior lady working out at the gym
Peanut butter is an easy way to increase calorie intake.

Many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts include peanut butter in their diets for various reasons.

Although calorie amounts will vary based on stature, activity level, and metabolic rate, the typical daily recommended calorie intake ranges from around 1,600–2,400 calories per day for women and up to 3,000 calories per day for men. However, active adult men should consume up to 3,000 calories daily, while active women need up 2,400 calories per day.

Thanks to its high-calorie content, peanut butter is an easy way to increase calorie and unsaturated fat intake.

Nut butter is also a source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscles. Although peanut butter is not a complete protein — meaning it does not contain all of the essential amino acids the body needs — it does count toward a person’s daily protein intake.

Spreading peanut butter on whole-grain bread makes a more complete protein meal, as the bread contains the amino acid methionine, which peanut butter lacks.

4. Managing blood sugar levels

Peanut butter is a relatively low-carbohydrate food that contains good amounts of fats and protein, as well as some fiber.

These characteristics mean that peanut butter, with no added sugar, does not have a significant impact on blood glucose levels. This means it can be a good option for those with diabetes and confirm the benefits of peanut butter.

The ADA recommend that people replace saturated fats with monounsaturated fats in their diets. They suggest peanut butter, peanuts, and peanut oil as good sources of monounsaturated fat.

A small 2013 study suggests that eating peanut butter or peanuts for breakfast could help women with obesity and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes to manage their blood glucose levels. According to the survey, the women who added nuts to their breakfast had lower blood sugar levels and reported less hunger compared to women who ate a breakfast that contained the same amount of carbohydrates but no nuts.

Peanut butter is a good source of magnesium, which is an essential nutrient for people with diabetes. Continuous periods of high blood sugar may reduce magnesium levels in the body. Low magnesium levels are linked to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

5. Reducing the risk of breast disease

Eating peanut butter, especially from a young age, may reduce the risk of benign breast disease (BBD), which increases the risk of breast cancer.

A study in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, reports that eating peanut butter and nuts at any age may result in a lower risk of developing BDD by age 30.

The researchers examined the data for over 9,000 schoolgirls in America. Other types of pulses, such as beans and soy, along with vegetable fats and other nuts, may also offer protection from BBD.

Even those with a family history of breast cancer had a significantly lower risk if they ate peanut butter and these other foods.

Peanut butter benefits and nutritional profile

The table below provides a detailed nutritional profile of 2 tbsp of smooth peanut butter:

Calories 188
Protein 7.02 g
Saturated fats 3.05 g
Monounsaturated fats 6.63 g
Polyunsaturated fats 3.63 g
Carbohydrates 7.67 g
Fiber 1.80 g
Sugars 2.08 g
Calcium 17 mg
Iron 0.69 mg
Magnesium 57 mg
Phosphorus 107 mg
Potassium 189 mg
Sodium 152 mg
Zinc 0.85 mg
Niacin 4.21 mg
Vitamin B-6 0.18 mg
Vitamin E 1.90 mg

Peanut allergies

Peanuts and other nuts are common allergens, with a peanut or tree nut allergy affecting over 3 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Those with a known peanut allergy should avoid peanut butter and foods containing the nuts.

The NIH also note that just 20 percent of those with an allergy will eventually outgrow the allergy and stop having reactions to nuts.

Which peanut butter is best?

When selecting a peanut butter product, look for one that contains just peanuts and few or no other ingredients.

Some peanut butter brands will contain other ingredients, such as sugar, salt, and added oils. Avoid these where possible. Try adding a little honey to peanut butter dishes as a sweetener instead.

It is normal for pure peanut butter to separate into solid and liquid form. Stir the contents thoroughly, and the consistency will return to normal.

People can buy natural peanut butter in health food stores and online.

To stop the peanut butter going off, store it in the refrigerator.

How to add peanut butter to your diet

Peanut butter, rice cakes and banana
Peanut butter is a healthful option when enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.

Eating more peanut butter is easy. Sometimes, it can be too easy — so be sure to be mindful of your intake to avoid eating more calories than you may need in a day. Remember 2 tbsp of peanut butter is close to 200 calories.

People can include peanut butter in their diets by:

  • Making a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, using whole fruit, low sugar jelly, and whole-grain bread.
  • Spreading peanut butter on rice cakes and top with banana slices.
  • Whipping up a Thai peanut dressing for salads, using lime juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and honey.
  • Adding a spoonful of the nut butter to smoothies to make them more filling.
  • Dipping apple and pear slices into peanut butter for an easy snack.
  • Stirring peanut butter into yogurts or warm oatmeal.

Summary

The benefits of peanut butter indicate at that peanut butter can be a healthful option when people enjoy it as part of a balanced diet. It is rich in several nutrients, including protein and magnesium, which may help protect the heart and manage blood sugar and body weight.

However, eating too much peanut butter can increase a person’s daily intake of saturated fat, sodium, and calories.

Those who have a peanut allergy should avoid peanut butter as it could trigger a potentially deadly reaction.

BMI calculators and charts

BMI Calculators and Charts enable health professionals to evaluate the optimum weight of individuals. Body mass index, or BMI, is one way a person can check if their weight is healthy or not. BMI takes both height and weight into consideration.

Carrying too much or too little weight can increase a person’s risk of health problems, either now or in the future.

BMI is not the only factor that affects this risk. Other tools for assessing whether a person has a healthy weight include waist-to-hip ratio, waist-to-height ratio, and body-fat percentage.

However, BMI is a useful starting point. This page provides some tools for people to work out their BMI.

BMI calculators

These BMI calculators and charts can give an indication of whether a person’s weight may affect their risk of health problems.

We are publishing the calculators here courtesy of The Calculator Site. There are two calculation options available: Metric and imperial.

1) Metric BMI Calculators

2) Imperial BMI Calculators

BMI charts

To use the charts below, find your weight in pounds along the top and your height in feet and inches down the side. Then look across to find your BMI.

There are two charts. If a person’s weight is 200 pounds (lb) or under, they should use the first chart. If their weight is over 200 lb, they should look at the second one.

The shaded areas correspond to BMI values that indicate either a healthy weight, excess weight, or obesity.

In addition, researchers and clinicians divide obesity into three categories.

  • Class I: BMI is 30 to 34.9
  • Class II: BMI is 35 to 39.9
  • Class III: BMI is 40 and above

The charts are an adaptation of the Adult body mass index (BMI) chart. created by the University of Vermont, in the United States.


Body mass index chart: Weight from 95–245 pounds

bmi chart underweight to overweight
Adult BMI chart showing ranges “under healthy weight: BMI

Body mass index chart: Weight from 250–400 pounds

obese bmi chart
Adult BMI chart showing ranges “obese I: BMI 30–34.9,” “obese II: BMI 35–39.9” and “obese III: BMI? 40.”

These figures are only a guide. The BMI Calculators will not determine whether a person has an ideal body weight, but it can help to show if an individual’s weight is increasing their risk for disease.

A person who is very fit, for example, an Olympic athlete, may have a high BMI.

This does not necessarily mean that they are overweight. The excess weight, in this case, may be due to increased muscle mass.

BMI categories

The following table shows the standard weight status categories associated with BMI ranges for adults:

BMI Weight status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5–24.9 Healthy
25.0–29.9 Overweight
30.0 and above Obese

BMI of less than 18.5

A BMI of less than 18.5 indicates that you are underweight, so you may need to put on some weight. You are recommended to ask your doctor or a dietitian for advice.

BMI of 18.5–24.9

A BMI of 18.5–24.9 indicates that you are at a healthy weight for your height. By maintaining a healthy weight, you lower your risk of developing serious health problems.

BMI of 25–29.9

A BMI of 25–29.9 indicates that you are slightly overweight. You may be advised to lose some weight for health reasons. You are recommended to talk to your doctor or a dietitian for advice.

BMI of over 30

A BMI of over 30 indicates that you are heavily overweight. Your health may be at risk if you do not lose weight. You are recommended to talk to your doctor or a dietitian for advice.

Health risks

A healthy weight can help prevent a range of diseases and health conditions.

People with a BMI of 30 or more have a higher risk than others of diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, colorectal cancer, for example. Some of these can be life-threatening.

Having a BMI of under 18.5 can increase the risk of malnutrition, osteoporosis, anemia, and a range of problems that can result from various nutrient deficiencies. It can also be a sign of a hormonal, digestive, or other problem.

Varying cutoff points

Evidence suggests that the associations between BMI, percentage of body fat, and body fat distribution may differ across populations, due to variations in race and ethnicity.

A Brazilian study, published in 2017, looked at the correlation between BMI and body-fat percentage in 856 adult men and women.

They concluded that to predict obesity-type body-fat percentage:

  • The standard BMI threshold of 29.9 kg/m2 was appropriate for men.
  • A more suitable cutoff point for women appeared to be 24.9 kg/m2.

In 2017, Korean researchers pointed out that people in the Asia-Pacific region often have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease at a BMI below the existing WHO cutoff point.

In Korea, they added, there is evidence that almost twice as many people have features of metabolic obesity but a normal weight compared with the U.S.

In 2010, results of a study published in The International Journal of Obesity found that Asian Americans within the healthy weight range were more likely to have symptoms of metabolic syndrome than their non-Hispanic white counterparts.

The following table, published in 2006 by the World Health Organization (WHO), shows some comparisons and cutoff points that may apply.

Doctors may use these variations when treating or advising specific people.

Classifications BMI (kg/m2)
principal cutoff points
BMI (kg/m2)
additional cutoff points
Underweight
Severe thinness
Moderate thinness 16.00–16.99 16.00–16.99
Mild thinness 17.00–18.49 17.00–18.49
Normal range 18.50–24.99 18.50–22.99
23.00–24.99
Overweight ?25.00 ?25.00
Pre-obese 25.00–29.99 25.00–27.49
27.50–29.99
Obese ?30.00 ?30.00
Obese class I 30.00–34.99 30.00–32.49
32.50–34.99
Obese class II 35.00–39.99 35.00–37.49
37.50–39.99
Obese class III ?40.00 ?40.00

Takeaway

BMI is a useful tool that gives a general idea about whether a person’s weight is healthy or not. However, it is a simple tool that does not tell the whole story about people’s individual weight and health risks.

Anyone who is concerned about their weight should speak to a doctor, who may also consider the individual’s body-fat distribution and the ratio of their waist size to their height. A health professional will also be able to offer advice to suit every individual.