Healthy Diet & Lifestyle, Food Groups, Nutrition Before & During Pregnancy, Child (preschool) Nutrition, Physical Activity & more
“Good nutrition and vitamins do not directly cure disease, the body does. You provide the raw materials and the inborn wisdom of your body makes the repairs. Someday healthcare without megavitamin therapy will be seen as we today see childbirth without sanitation or surgery without anesthetic.” Andrew W. Saul, the “Megavitamin Man.
In 1912, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) celebrated 1911 as the healthiest year recorded till then. Noting that more people were living past the age of 100, the Journal accorded the triumph of American athletes at international sporting events like the Stockholm Olympics to their racial vigor. Racial vigor soon translated into the outcome of a healthy and energetic lifestyle. Herein lay the dawn of modern health practices, to provide the means for the common man to learn about and shift to a healthy and energetic lifestyle, which concept has grown into a global business in the trillions of dollars today.
Hark back even further to the nineteenth century and earlier. Our forefathers, the average people of that era, had really no means to go from Place ‘A’ to Place ‘B’, except on foot. Their financial situation warranted the requirement to travel to their place of work without mechanical aid. There were no cars, no motorcycles or any other forms of motorized, or, for that matter, horse drawn transportation for poor old great-great-granddad. While it increased the amount of time he spent away from home, he was unconsciously ‘working out’ and burning energy walking to work and back. His lifestyle was, willy-nilly, energetic and he gained and maintained good health as a direct outcome of his exertions.
In his era, there were no such maladies as Myocardial Infarction−the dreaded Heart Attack− or obesity, or deaths linked to lack of regular physical lifestyle. True, medical science was in its infancy and the leading causes of death were Tuberculosis, Diabetes, Angina, Malaria, Burns, Small Pox, Epilepsy, Apoplexy, Asthma, and Spontaneous Combustion (especially of alcoholics). These diseases were not related to physical activity, but to circumstance. Chart 1 gives a breakdown of the main causes of deaths in 1900. Nature, in her unfathomed and unstoppable manner, was balancing life and death.
Industrialization saw a gradual but inexorable shift from the lifestyle of the 19th century. While the rich and landed gentry did own horse-drawn carriages, very few lived a sedentary lifestyle. The bicycle, the dandy horse, also called Draisienne or laufmaschine, was the first human means of transport to use only two wheels in tandem and it took a Baron, the German Baron Karl von Drais, to invent it. It is regarded as the modern bicycle’s forerunner. It was not really affordable for the impecunious, but was the preferred means of transportation for its owners, mainly the middle class and higher. It still is, but has come down to an affordable price − in a motorized world − for the working class in China, India, Vietnam and many other countries.
Its greatest property was that it required a physical exercise. Today’s bicycles are sleek and expensive lightweight contraptions, fitted with various auxiliaries, but they still require physical effort. In fact, most advanced countries have built bicycle tracks wherever possible, except of course in congested business areas (like Wall Street or anywhere in Manhattan, admittedly two extreme examples). Most housing divisions are required to have one; smaller cities have dedicated cycle-tracks.
One strange and bizarre concept that was floated in the early 1900s was that eulogizing the survival of the fittest, or eugenics. This stemmed from the continuous increase in lifespan, where the weak, who had hitherto died young, were getting an extended lease of life. The NEJM carried a baseless but futuristic optimistic editorial in 1912 stating:
Perhaps in 1993, when all the preventable diseases have been eradicated, when the nature and cure of cancer have been discovered, and when eugenics has superseded evolution in the elimination of the unfit, our successors will look back at these pages with an even greater measure of superiority.
The medical establishment had mixed feelings about how modernization was impacting health. Longevity had increased but such paeans to progress did not diminish concern about changing lifestyle factors that were debilitating, such infirmities increasing with the passage of time. Chart 2 represents how fatality had diversified due to unknown ailments. One cause was the rise of “automobile knee”, indicating that cars were creating a sedentary section of humanity – an absolute change in routine that is visibly prevalent and, in all probability, increasing by the day. The contemporaneous manifestation is the couch potato we are dealing with now, owing to the rise of the television and computer culture . Physical inactivity led rapidly to heart disease, especially when coupled with diabetes.
Our conceptions of prevailing diseases are constantly changing, based on many factors. It’s a drifting and evolving snapshot of a specific era’s fears and foibles, frailties and cultural mores. Studying the multifold new maladies that have emerged in the past 200 odd years, statisticians have labeled how new diseases surface. New causes (bird flu, motorized vehicle accidents), new behaviors (smoking, injecting drugs), and even new therapies (radiation poisoning while fighting cancer) produce strange mutated diseases. Changes in environment along with societal conditions can swell the pervasiveness of once-vague disorders (myocardial infarction, Ebola, lung cancer, the neurodegenerative and fatal ‘mad cow syndrome’, etc.).
New diagnostic tools can reveal previously unrecognized conditions (hypertension, Alzheimer’s). Changing social mores and acceptance can decide what is or is not a disease. HIV–AIDS is a great example showing these modes of emergence. The emergence, recognition, and impact of disease cannot just be a bio-scientific process; the advent of a new malaise invariably involves social, economic and political processes that shape its epidemiology and sway our understanding and reaction.
Simply put, healthy living is a completely balanced daily routine which you can undertake without fear of illness or symptoms of disease. This implies:
- Sound sleep for around eight hours.
- A proper unhurried breakfast.
- A satisfactory day at work.
- A light lunch preceded and followed by short tea or coffee breaks.
- A social session of an hour or so, with a tot or two of mild alcohol. If you can avoid the alcohol, it would be beneficial, never mind the conjecture that a little red wine every day is good for you.
- A filling dinner.
If there is a bout of viral fever going around, just take adequate precaution and if it still hits you, bad luck. There are so many kinds of viruses that you cannot really evade them-your immunity system should be able to handle them. This is an ongoing battle, as most viruses mutate to bypass your immunity system, and your immunity system gathers available inputs to combat such mutations. Interestingly, a ten second kiss can transfer up to eighty million bacteria!
If you were born a normal child, you are predestined for a normal healthy life. Ignorance about a few matters related to health does reduce your inner strength, but that ignorance is now becoming a short-lived flash in the pan. A happy and healthy existence is always within reach. Healthy living is a long-term commitment, not a ‘here today and gone tomorrow’ phenomenon. Nothing stops you from becoming a healthier person. There are steps you can take today that will make you healthier tomorrow than today and chalk the path for a healthier day after tomorrow, too. The physical aspects are easy to understand: workout every day, a slightly more brisk walk, dietary supplements, etc. But there is more to it, as we shall soon see, all pointing to the food you eat as the primary ingredient.
Circadian Cycles – Syncing with Earth Cycles
Circadian Rhythms, a term coined by French geophysicist and astronomer, Jean-Jacques d’Ortous de Mairan in 1719, supposedly imposes a 24-hour cycle on our bodies. Essentially, a body clock, the so called suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), part of the hypothalamus in the brain, governs your life-cycle on a daily basis. There are three phases, all depending upon sunlight.
The first starts at dawn and lasts up to noon (eight hours); the second continues from noon up to dusk (eight hours) and the third takes up the remaining eight hours. The first is the preparatory phase, where the only meal is breakfast. The second is the active phase and includes both lunch and dinner, while the last is the recovery phase, where you sleep in peace and allow your body to digest all food consumed, ingesting the good properties while eliminating the bad.
While circadian rhythm disruption may be common among some, research conducted by Rush University Medical Center, Chicago suggests that it may be contributing to a host of diseases that may be prevented by regulating things such as sleep/wake patterns and times of eating to help prevent circadian rhythm disruption. Including prebiotics or probiotics, microorganisms (e.g., bacteria and fungi) that are host-friendly in the diet can also help normalize the effects of circadian rhythm disruption on the intestinal microbiota to reduce the presence of inflammation.
The importance of good and timely eating habits has been recorded thousands of years ago. Ayurvedic scholars and yogis knew the circadian rhythms long before de Mairan coined the term. The daily practices are the external observances ayurvedic practitioners engage in, in order to maintain the synchronicity of our circadian rhythms. As an ayurvedic practitioner, you follow cues observed in nature with your behavior, so that your circadian rhythm is in line with the earth’s rotation. Ayurveda has shown that when you are out of sync with this rhythm, disease and imbalance can develop, which is what we see or hear about every day.
The Ayurvedic theory divides your 24 hour circadian day into three cycles. Tanya Alekseeva, a Wellness Coach who specializes in Raw Food Nutrition and Detoxification options and the founder of Better Raw and Corporate Créme in London, explains these three segments:
- Elimination (4 am-12 pm): Your digestive system never stops working. You can still eat or drink in this time. This is the period most important for cleansing and releasing toxins (‘Eliminating’), so you can make the correct food choices if you plan to eat. This is why professionals call breakfast ‘the most important meal of the day’, so you can make an informed decision on what’s light on digestion. From your side, give elimination a chance.
- Appropriation (12 pm – 8 pm): During this period, we are most awake and active and busy digesting, metabolizing and burning most of our ingested food. This is why the majority of meals (lunch, dinner and snacks) also occur during this cycle. Remember, the older generations ate early, by today’s standards. Eat only when hungry and in small portions. This will give your body enough time and opportunities to break down the food with minimum effort, so it holds back some energy for everything else you need doing, not just spending it on digesting your food.
- Assimilation (8 pm−4 am): At this time you are most likely to be relaxed or sleeping. This period is when all the ‘absorption of nutrients and minerals from your food occurs and is redirected to your organs, bones and cells via your blood. All the rebuilding, renewing and healing takes place now. It is prudent to eat dinner early, so that the food you eat is digested and moved out of the stomach, preparing in advance for this phase. Since all the benefit from the food you have eaten goes to strengthen you, the remains get ready for Elimination, starting the cycle afresh.
1. Assess Yourself, Your Physical Condition, Your Social Life
The best person to help you assess yourself is your doctor. Get whichever test is required done and over with. Clarify all doubts with your doctor. Check your weight versus your BMI to see where you stand. Are you active enough? How much and what type of physical exercise are you averaging in a week? Do you find your physical activity boring or is it fun? Get in a good mix of aerobics and muscle-strengthening physical activities over a full week. This topic will be examined in great detail later in this guide.
Keep note of your food eaten. Be meticulous in your record maintenance. Don’t skip items that embarrass you. If you don’t know or acknowledge what you should be aware of, how can you change it? As stated earlier, healthy living takes account of emotional and mental wellness and includes adequate rest. What’s with your mood of late? Any tell tale warning signs of depression? Anxiety? Do you get eight hours sleep at night?
Now look at your social activity. How well connected are you with your with own family and circle of friends? Are you into group social or religious activity that you enjoy and find fulfilling or enriching your days? It is accepted that humans have an essential need for positive and long lasting relationships. If you are not happy with the overall results, try to assess where you stand today so that you can set your healthy living goals. Remember, it’s not about being “fine” or “awful,” “correct” or “wrong”.
2. Treat Illnesses, Conditions if any
If you have persistent disabilities, be it heart disease, depression, diabetes, or any other ailment, the first priority is treatment, a no brainer for a healthy life. The same applies to risky behavior, like smoking, or self-abusive addictions of any kind. Unless you have the will power, you will need to look ahead with a trained person, i.e., your doctor. The sooner you start the better.
3. Increase Physical Activity
Kansas State University researchers found that office workers could be risking their health simply by sitting at their desk. People who spend more than four hours a day sitting down are at greater risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Escalating physical activity is no mean achievement. It can be painful or painfully boring. So, add an element of fun. Go hiking, backpacking, treks with pals, cycling, take up belly-dancing or kung fu, or whatever gives you enjoyment. Keep note of it. Record all physical activity you undertook in a book. Set a weekly goal for activity. To build your confidence, make the first goal easy so you feel, “I can do that blindfolded.” Set week by week goals; if you miss out one day, weekly goals provide you enough flexibility to recover lost time.
Put activity into your day. “Ten percent of something is better than 100% of nothing. So even if you have 10 minutes, it’s better than zero minutes,” says Kathianne Sellers Williams, MEd, RD, LD, a nutritionist and wellness coach. Walk around your office, take a 10-minute walk prior to lunch or just go up and down the stairs.
Wear a pedometer to check how many steps you take per day (10,000 steps a day is what most experts recommend) or join up with a pal to chat through an ongoing exercise routine. If you want to know many calories you’re consuming, use an exercise-related calorie calculator.
4. Review Your Diet
Williams, a nutritionist for over a decade, says her advice on diet isn’t about what to eat and what not, but about awareness and choices. She suggests that you should stock your pantry with healthy food and take healthful snacks with you so you’re prepared when you get hungry. If you are a mother, follow the advice you gave your kids. Slow down and savor your food.
Eat a Mediterranean-style diet. This can cut heart attacks, strokes and death rates in people at high risk of heart disease by 33 percent, according to a Spanish study. Changing the balance of foods in a diet can lessen the risk even before heart-related illness strikes. Swedish researchers have agreed with the findings and calculated that the recommended regime could add an extra three years to your life. A Mediterranean-style diet is a rich source of chemicals called anti-oxidants that fight cancer, heart disease and can slow the ageing process. The diet is high in fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grain cereals and low in meat and dairy, which contain large amounts of saturated fats. Olive oil is used in place of butter in cooking, as well as for dressing salads and moistening bread. Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat, which is considered a safeguard against heart disease.
Plan for five daily servings of varied fruits and vegetables. Get as many types of fruit and vegetable across the entire band of vivid colors to get a good mix of nutrients, so that your collection looks like the proverbial rainbow. And there is a pot of gold the other side, as you work and eat your way through your colorful collection.
The contrarian view: Eat throughout the day, a little at a time
Your body needs some foods to stay strong and healthy. As you work through the day, this food gives you the energy desired. Keep eating as you work for optimum gain.
- Eat 6-11 servings a day of breads or grains, like rice, pasta, tortillas, or cereal.
- Eat 3-5 servings a day of vegetables, like carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, broccoli, or peas.
- Eat 2-4 servings a day of fruits, like apples, peaches, mangos, bananas, or fruit juice.
- Eat 2-3 servings a day of meat, fish, beans, eggs or nuts, for protein.
- Eat 2-3 servings a day of dairy products like yogurt, cheese, or milk.
- Cut down on alcohol, fatty foods such as butter, grease and oil, and “junk food” like chips, French fries, etc.
If in about 15 hours, you have to eat the meals supra, you will be munching something throughout the day.
5. Manage Stress
- Routine maintenance: Williams suggests you develop positive coping skills, such as meditation and visualization, and look for activities, such as yoga or exercise, to keep your baseline stress level in check.
- Breakthrough stress: Find ways to handle stressful situations that flare up without warning. For instance, after a stressful meeting at work, walk up and down the stairs a few times to burn off anger (and calories), or get into a bathroom stall to take a few deep breaths and refocus or climb the stairs all the way up to the terrace and scream into the wind.
- Many experts advise you to try this specific breathing exercise: count your breaths for a minute, and then try to cut that number of breaths in half for the next minute. Back to normal, repeat this exercise five times.
- Another known remedy is to lie down, close your eyes, push your fingers into the socket above your eyes and apply gentle pressure on the top of your eyeballs. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat five times whenever you lie down.
- Inhale deeply through one nostril and exhale through the other in sets of five at least 50 times a day.
6. Sleep Better
If you have trouble sleeping, sleep medicine specialist Lisa Shives, MD, suggests:
- Avoid watching TV or working on your computer starting two hours before bedtime. This is because of their light. “We’re very sensitive to the cue that light gives you that it’s time to be up and about,” Shives says. She recommends light, calming reading lit by a lamp that doesn’t shine directly into your eyes.
- Avoid heavy exercise close to bedtime. Vigorous activity heats up your body’s core temperature, which makes it harder to sleep.
- Take a hot bath. It relaxes you mentally, but will heat up your core body temperature. When you get out of the bath, your core temperature will fall rapidly, which may help you get to sleep.
- Don’t count on weekend catch-up sleep. If you have chronic sleep problems, you probably can’t make up for that on the weekends. But if you generally sleep well and have a rough week, go ahead and sleep in on the weekend.
- Prioritize good sleep. This is as important as diet and exercise.
7. Quit Smoking
German researchers stated in November 2014 that giving up smoking even when middle aged or older is decidedly good for health. “It can never be too late to change. Making major changes like giving up smoking while refining your diet lowers the risk of heart disease and lung cancer,” they said. Lifelong smokers eschewing smoking rather late in life achieved a huge 40% drop in the hazard of cardiac problems and stroke in only five years.
What Does a Healthy Balanced Diet Mean?
A healthy balanced diet means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. The key to a healthy balanced diet is:
- Eating the right amount of food for how active you are.
- Eating a range of foods – this is what balanced means.
It is accepted that the quantity and type of food you eat has a pronounced influence on your health. For a given body structure and primary vocation, there is an optimum energy gradient and range of food that you need to eat. Your lifestyle will dictate the quantity of food best suited to the way you live. If you eat a well-balanced diet, it can reduce your risk of various diseases as well as help you to maintain a healthy weight. There are certain times in one’s life cycle when it becomes principally important to make sure that you follow a healthy diet, for instance, if you want to lose excess weight to drop down in a boxing weight scale, or if you’re careful about what you eat because you’re pregnant. However, what is most important is that you eat a healthy diet throughout your life, no matter what age you are, while gracefully accepting the changes demanded by age – there can never be a bad time to make gradual changes to improve your eating habits.
The range of foods in your diet should include:
- Plenty of fruit and vegetables.
- Plenty of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods (choosing whole grain varieties when possible).
- Some milk and dairy foods (choosing lower-fat varieties when possible).
- Some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein.
- Just a small amount of foods high in fat and sugar.
|Daily Amount of Food From Each Group|
|Fruits||1 cup||1 cup||1,5 cup||1,5 cup||1,5 cup||2 cups||2 cups||2 cups||2 cups||2,5 cups||2,5 cups||2,5 cups|
|Vegetables||1 cup||1,5 cup||1,5 cup||2 cups||2,5 cups||2,5 cups||3 cups||3 cups||3,5 cups||3,5 cups||4 cups||4 cups|
|Grains||3 oz-eq||4 oz-eq||5 oz-eq||5 oz-eq||6 oz-eq||6 oz-eq||7 oz-eq||8 oz-eq||9 oz-eq||10 oz-eq||10 oz-eq||10 oz-eq|
|Meat and Beans||2 oz-eq||3 oz-eq||4 oz-eq||5 oz-eq||5 oz-eq||5,5 oz-eq||6 oz-eq||6,5 oz-eq||6,5 oz-eq||7 oz-eq||7 oz-eq||7 oz-eq|
|Milk||2 cup||2 cup||2 cup||3 cup||3 cup||3 cups||3 cup||3 cup||3 cups||3 cup||3 cup||3 cups|
|Oils||3 tsp||4 tsp||4 tsp||5 tsp||5 tsp||6 tsp||6 tsp||7 tsp||8 tsp||8 tsp||10 tsp||11 tsp|
|Discretionary calorie allowance||165||171||171||132||195||267||290||362||410||426||512||648|
Why is Healthy Eating Important?
It is proven that eating a healthy and wholesome diet reduces your risk of putting on weight to the point of obesity and concomitant illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, cerebral-vascular disorder (stroke), osteoporosis (a progressive bone disease characterized by a decrease in bone mass and density which can lead to an increased risk of fracture) and even some types of cancer. The food you eat comprises several different types of nutrients, all of which are essential for the many vital processes in progress within your body. Key nutrients in your diet include the following:
- Carbohydrates that provide you with energy.
- Proteins that not only provide you with energy but are also essential for the growth and repair of all tissues in your body.
- Fats are a very concentrated source of energy and also have a number of other roles, including helping to transport essential vitamins around your body.
- Vitamins and minerals that keep your body healthy and functional.
- Another important element of your diet is fibre. Fibre isn’t classified as a nutrient, but it’s essential to keep your digestive system healthy and certain types of fibre can help to control your blood cholesterol levels.
Food Intake Patterns
The National Health Service in the UK has launched their food program called the 5-A-Day Plan. Their aim is to provide a ready reckoner to their people/everybody about what should eat and why.
They state that we should be eating at least five portions of a variety of fruit and veg daily.
5 A DAY tips: A few small changes can help you and your family get the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Why 5 A DAY? Fruit and vegetables are part of a balanced diet and can help us stay healthy. That’s why it’s so important that we get enough of them. The 5 A DAY message highlights the health benefits of getting five 80 gm (3 oz) portions of fruit and vegetables every day. That’s five portions of fruit and vegetables in total, not five portions of each. 5 A DAY is based on advice from the World Health Organization, which recommends eating a minimum of 400 gm of fruit and vegetables a day to lower the risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
5 A DAY: what counts? Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your 5 A DAY, including frozen, canned and dried varieties.
5 A DAY on a budget: A diet full of fruit and vegetables doesn’t have to be expensive. The link will take you to a site that will advise you how to get your 5 A DAY and save some money.
Plan your 5 A DAY: This meal planner makes it easy to get your 5 A DAY. It’s packed with tasty recipes and compiles your weekly shopping list for you.
5 A DAY and your family: Cooking for a family, including a fussy eater or two? These tips will help your kids get their 5 A DAY.
Tips for growing your own fruit and vegetables: Find out how growing your own fruit and veg can help you get your 5 A DAY, and get tips from other gardeners.
5 A DAY on the go: Juggling a hectic work schedule and a busy social life? Here are some easy ways to fit in 5 A DAY.
5 A DAY portion sizes: One 5 A DAY portion of fruit or vegetables is about 80 gm (3 oz) or around one handful.
5 A DAY recipes: Try the 5 A DAY fajita recipe and download a 5 A DAY recipe leaflet, plus more healthy recipes for you and your family.
5 A DAY FAQs: We answer some frequently asked questions about the 5 A DAY program.
5 A DAY school scheme: The 5 A DAY school fruit and vegetable scheme entitles all children aged four to six to a free piece of fruit or vegetable.
How to wash fruit and vegetables: How to store, wash and prepare fruit and vegetables to prevent food poisoning, including E. coli.
Hearty vegetable soup: Packed with tomatoes, celery, carrots and beans, this is a great option to include more vegetables in your diet.
Although calories are part of the metric system, the International System of Units (SI System) uses the joule. One small calorie is approximately 4.2 joules (so one large calorie is about 4.2 kilojoules). In many countries, such as the European Union, Australia and New Zealand, it has become standard practice to include energy data in food labels in joules (kilojoules) instead of kilocalories (calories). In the United States, most food labeling is done in calories.
This can be confusing and irritating if you live in a country where the food labeling is done in joules but all exercise programs, diet regimes and health topics regarding energy consumption talk in calories. Fortunately, most food labels in the European Union also add calorie-equivalent information. This paper will deal with calories in depth at a later stage.
The Foods We Eat: Food Groups
Now that we have seen the same viewpoint on either side of the Atlantic, we can go ahead and scrutinize each segment in detail. To recap, the five segments are: Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, Milk and Meat & Beans plus Oils.
Food Grains are small, hard, dry seeds, with or without attached hulls or fruit layers, harvested for human or animal consumption. The plants producing such seeds are called “grain crops”. The most common types of commercial grain crops are cereals such as wheat, rice and rye. All cereal crops are members of the grass family. Cereal grains contain a substantial amount of starch, a carbohydrate that provides dietary energy. Cereals are seasonal, either warm or cold season.
The warm season cereals are:
- Maize (corn)
- finger millet
- foxtail millet
- Kodo millet
- Japanese millet
- pearl millet
- proso millet
The cool-season cereals are:
Of these, food is usually made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley and millets. ‘Whole grains’ include whole-wheat flour, bulgur (cracked wheat), oatmeal, whole cornmeal and brown rice.
“One of the reasons that grains have become such a central part of the human diet is that they have a long shelf-life. Unlike meat, dairy, and fresh produce, grains pack a whole lot of food energy (calories) into a small, lightweight package that can be stored indefinitely without refrigeration or other preservation,” says Monica Reinagel, a renowned Nutrition Diva. “The primary nutritional advantage of whole grains is that the fiber from the bran slows down the speed at which the starches in the endosperm are converted into blood sugar,” she adds.
Once harvested, dry grains are far more durable than other staple foods including starchy fruits like bananas & brinjals and tubers like sweet potatoes & cassava. Such innate durability has made grains well suited to industrial agriculture, since they can be mechanically harvested, transported across the globe, stored for long periods in environment controlled silos, milled for flour or pressed for oil.
Health Benefits of Grains
People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including fiber, B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate) and minerals (iron, magnesium and selenium). Each has its own clearly demarcated function, as elucidated below.
Dietary fiber is generally the natural outer skin of whole grains, and, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for healthy bowel function and helps reduce constipation. B vitamins help the body release energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates. Iron is used to carry oxygen in the blood. Magnesium is a mineral used in building bones and releasing energy from muscles. Selenium is important for a healthy immune system.
High-fiber foods such as whole grains help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. Select whole grains to constitute at least half your daily meals; this may help maintain your weight. Integrate whole grains with other constituents into your healthy eating plan by adding a whole wheat toast to breakfast, a sandwich on whole-wheat bread at lunch or whole-wheat pasta with dinner. Apart from the basic benefits of grains, there is more to gain. They help you to maintain optimal health, a direct consequence of the phytochemicals contained – some of which are still waiting for certifiable identification.
100 to 300 gm of grains is recommended each day, depending on how many calories you need. About one-half of these should be whole grains. “Get a whole grain head start with oatmeal or whole grain cereal. Eat 100 percent whole-wheat bread or bagels instead of white bread or bagels. Use whole grains in mixed dishes such as barley in vegetable soup or stews, bulgur in casseroles or brown rice in stir fries,” USDA advocates. Add the unusual but highly effective flaxseed grain for additional benefits. Try adding oatmeal as well. You can also experiment a bit, by changing it up. For instance, you can try making your sandwich on 100 percent whole-wheat or oatmeal bread. Try new varieties of snacks on popcorn or whole grain crackers.
What is Whole Grain? Why is it Important?
Whole Grains: A whole grain is a cereal grain that contains the nutrient-rich germ, the starchy endosperm and the fibrous bran. This is in contrast to refined grains, which retain only the endosperm.
Whole grains comprise grains such as wheat, rice, oats, corn, barley, quinoa, rye, sorghum, popcorn, spelt, etc. You could already be into whole grains without knowing so. When munching popcorn, or feeding your toddler Toasty-O’s, or relishing a plate of warm oatmeal, you’re likely taken up by its delicious taste rather than the simple fact that these foodstuffs are whole grains. This definition can be confusing at times.
Breads, cereals, pasta, and other foods are labeled whole grain, but they’re made with mashed whole grain, i.e., flour. Once you’ve ground a kernel of wheat or rice into powder, it’s no longer whole in the sense of a single palpable unit. Some theorists term unbroken grain such as whole oats, brown rice, bulgur wheat and quinoa ‘Intact Grain’. Intact grains are digested and absorbed more slowly than milled grains, which is a significant plus.
Antioxidants, minerals and vitamins: By now, we all know that vegetables, along with fruits include disease-fighting phytochemicals as well as antioxidants, but very few people know that whole grains could often be a better source of most of these major nutrients. Furthermore, whole grains contain important antioxidants that are not present in fruits and vegetables, apart from B vitamins, magnesium, iron, vitamin E and fiber.
Health Benefits of Whole Grains
Medical evidence has proved that whole grains cut down the risks of cardiac disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and obesity. Few foods offer such a diverse set of benefits. People who take whole grains on a regular basis have a lower threat of obesity, when admeasured by their individual body mass indices as well as waist-to-hip proportions. They also show lower levels of cholesterol.
Due to the health giving nature of phytochemicals and antioxidants, those who eat three servings of whole grains daily tend to show reduced hazards of heart disease by 25-36 percent, stroke 37 percent, Type II diabetes 21-27 percent, cancers of the digestive system 21-43 percent, and cancers that are hormone-related by 10-40 percent.
Health Benefits of Flaxseed
Flaxseeds have a warm, delicious nutty flavor that can complement and set off many foods like smoothies, roasted vegetables and baked goods. In size, flaxseeds are slightly bigger than sesame seeds and range in color from reddish brown to dark orange. Available in three forms, whole, crushed, and oil, flaxseeds are considered a super food because they are high in omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber and lignins, all of which have salutary health effects. It is also accepted now that eating two to four tablespoons of ground flaxseed per day leads to reductions in total and low density lipoprotein LDL (bad) cholesterol, especially for people afflicted with dyslipidemia and high cholesterol levels.
Lignins are a group of plant chemicals called polyphenols, which have antioxidant components. These antioxidants play a large part in its cardiovascular health benefits (lowering total and LDL cholesterol). Soluble fiber also is capable of reducing LDL cholesterol. Flaxseeds contain high levels of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is an essential fatty acid because it cannot be synthesized in the body and must be obtained from the diet.
High intakes of ALA are associated with lower risk of coronary heart disease. Doctors recommend that men consume at least 1.6 grams/day and women 1.1 grams/day of ALA. Two tablespoons of ground flaxseed contains about 3 grams of ALA! Flaxseed oil has concentrated ALA but does not contain the lignins or soluble fiber of the seeds; it provides omega-3 fatty acids, but is not associated with lowering cholesterol. Since the nutrients in flaxseeds are more easily absorbed when the seeds are ground rather than whole, it’s best to eat fully ground flaxseeds to maximize health benefits.
Health Benefits of Oatmeal
Health benefits of oatmeal are generally known to most people, but in a sketchy fashion. What needs be remembered is that oatmeal:
- Contains insoluble fibers which stay in the stomach longer and helps you feel full longer, thus preventing overeating, helping you in maintaining proper weight and shape, circumventing health problems related to being round and overweight. Just a half cup of oatmeal a day is enough to reap the many health benefits
- Fiber adds bulk, increases the feeling of fullness and prevents constipation.
- The soluble fiber in oatmeal reduces LDL cholesterol by 10-15 percent, particularly when consumed as part of a low-fat diet. It also reduces the danger of colon cancer.
- The water soluble properties of oatmeal help control diabetes.
- One cup of oatmeal contains about 150 calories, 4 gm of fiber (half soluble, half insoluble), plus 6 gm of protein. Apart from fiber, oatmeal provides thiamin, magnesium, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and iron.
Polysaccharides are carbohydrate polymers consisting of thousands of monosaccharide units, all of which contain glucose. Plants store glucose as polysaccharide starch. Cereal grains (wheat, rice, corn, oats, barley) as well as tubers such as potatoes are rich in starch.
Since starchy foods are our main source of carbohydrate, they play an important role in a healthy diet. It must be reiterated that starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, cereals, rice and pasta should make up about a third of the food you eat. Whenever you can, choose wholegrain varieties, or eat potatoes with their skins on for more fiber. Starchy foods also contain fiber, calcium, iron and vitamin B.
Starchy foods and fiber: Wholegrain categories of starchy foods and potatoes – particularly when eaten with their skins on – are good sources of fiber. Fiber tends to prevent you from eating too much. Hence, wholegrain starchy foods and potatoes eaten with their skins make up a pretty good choice if you are on a diet and trying to shed weight.
Fibers are seen only in plant borne foods, and are of two families:
- Insoluble fiber. This kind of fiber can’t be digested by the body, so it transits through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, pulling and pushing other food and treated products along as they move through the GI tract easily. Whole-wheat pasta, wholegrain bread as well as breakfast cereals are good sources of this kind of fiber, as is brown rice.
- Soluble fiber. This type of fiber cannot be digested in full and could well help cut down the quantity of cholesterol circulating in your blood. Some good sources are oats and pulses.
Tips on Starch-rich Foods
- Whenever you select wholegrain varieties, you automatically augment the quantity of fiber you are planning to eat.
- Porridge is just right as a warming winter breakfast.
- Whole oats coupled with sliced fruit and yoghurt, not cream, make an ideal summer breakfast.
- Always select wholegrain cereals or throw some in to augment your favorite cereal.
- Focus on eating the rice or pasta and not so much the sauce.
- Try different kinds of breads, like seeded, whole-meal and granary; cut the bread into thick slices.
- Try brown rice for a rather tasty and inviting rice salad, apart from being a dish by itself.
- For lunch, try a jacket potato; make sure to eat its skin for additional fiber.
- If you’re on sausages with mash, eat more mash, more vegetables and clamp down on the number of würstchen you eat .
Types of Starchy Foods:
Potatoes: Starchy food can be found in good measure in Potatoes, which are also a great fount of energy, B vitamins, potassium and fiber. You get most of your vitamin C from potatoes; this is because, although there is only about 11–16 mg of vitamin C per 100 gm of potatoes, you generally help yourself to them liberally. They’re very cost effective and can definitely be a healthful menu option.
Potatoes are a healthy meal when boiled, roasted, baked (jacket potatoes) or mashed with only a little bit of fat and without too much salt added. French fries or other types of chips cooked in fat and served along with salt do not make for healthy food and is the least desirable option. The potato is a known root vegetable and it is mostly eaten as the starchy food section of a meal. To cook potatoes, use polyunsaturated spreads; otherwise switch to totally unsaturated oils like olive/ sunflower oil, rather than butter or lard.
Leave potato skins on when possible, to retain most of the fiber and vitamins. For instance, eat the skin when having a boiled or jacketed potato. It’s easy; try it once and you’ll find that next time, it just slips through. As a rule, only use enough water to cover the top of the potatoes if you’re boiling them, and only boil them for the correct length of time. Always use fresh potatoes, not ones that are raw and green or are sprouting.
Rice and Grains
Rice and grains are a great choice in starchy food. All of them give you energy, have little fat and provide great value for money spent. There are a number of types to select from:
- Bulgur wheat.
- All kinds of rice, such as quick-cook, long grain, brown, basmati, short grain, parboiled and wild.
Apart from carbohydrates, rice− as well as grains− contains:
- Protein, which the body requires to grow while also repairing itself.
- Fiber, which helps the body discard or excrete waste products.
- B vitamins, which assist in releasing the energy stored in the food eaten, and aid the body in tuning itself to work properly.
- Rice and grains, like bulgur wheat as well as couscous can be had both hot and cold and also in salads.
- There are a few safety measures that you must take if storing or reheating once-cooked rice or grains against food poisoning bugs that are known to survive cooking. Chances of food poisoning are present, even if negligible.
- If cooked rice or grains are left at room temperature (>20°C) for more than four hours, poisonous spores can form. The bacteria thus generated multiply rapidly and may produce toxins which can cause nausea and diarrhea. Reheating food does not kill off toxins. Always serve rice or grains soon after they’re cooked.
- Dump rice and grains left unrefrigerated overnight.
- Put cooked rice and grains in the refrigerator and eat within 48 hours. Reheat rice and grains only once. Discard any remainders.
- Follow the “use by” date and instructions on the label for storage of any cold rice or grain salads that you buy.
- Bread –especially wholemeal, brown, seeded varieties and granary− is a healthy choice to eat as part of a balanced diet.
- Wholegrain, wholemeal and brown breads give us energy and contain B vitamins, vitamin E, fiber and a wide range of minerals. White bread also contains a range of vitamins and minerals, but it has less fiber than wholegrain, wholemeal or brown breads. Always prefer brown bread to white.
- Some people avoid bread because they think they’re allergic to wheat, or because they think bread is fattening. If it does cause an allergic reaction, tough luck; leave it out of your diet. Avoiding any type of food in totality might be bad for health, since you could forfeit a full range of nutrients needed to stay healthy.
- Bread can be stored at room temperature. Follow the “best before” date to make sure you eat it fresh. It can also be stored in the side trays in your fridge.
- Pasta is a great healthy choice as the base of your meal. Its dough is a mix of durum wheat with water, contains vitamin B as well as iron and a minor quantity of sodium. Go for the whole wheat /wholegrain varieties as a preference over ordinary pasta since they hold more fiber. Moreover, wholegrain foods are digest slowly, making us feel a full stomach longer. Moreover, it is easy to cook.
- Store dried pasta in a cupboard; it has a typically long shelf life; fresh pasta, which has a shorter lifespan, will need refrigerating. As always, check the food packaging for “best before” or “use by” dates and further storage instructions.
- Cereal products are made from grains. Wholegrain cereals are a good choice as they contribute their mite to our daily needs of iron, protein, vitamins as well as fiber. They are programmed to release energy slowly and gradually, through the entire day.
- Wheat, oats, barley, rye and rice are commonly available cereals that can be eaten as whole-grains. This means cereal products consisting of oats and oatmeal, like porridge, and whole-wheat products are healthy breakfast options.
- Barley, corn, quinoa, couscous and tapioca are also healthful cereal products.
- Many cereal products are refined, with minimal wholegrain content. They may have high quanta of salt/sugar. When buying cereals, always check the stamped food labels and compare their individual nutrition levels. Stay in the medium range.
- Once again, check the food packaging for “best before” or “use by” dates and for storage instructions.
How Many Grain Foods Are Needed Daily?
What Counts as an Ounce Equivalent of Grains?
|Amount that counts as 1 ounce equivalent of grains||Common portions and ounce equivalents|
|Bagels||WG*: whole wheatRG*: plain, egg||1 “mini” bagel||1 large bagel = 4 ounce equivalents|
|Biscuits||(baking powder/ buttermilk—RG*)||1 small (2″ diameter)||1 large (3″ diameter) = 2 ounce equivalents|
|Breads||WG*: 100% Whole wheatRG*: white, wheat, French, sourdough||1 regular slice1 small slice French4 snack-size slices rye bread||2 regular slices = 2 ounce equivalents|
|Bulgur||cracked wheat (WG*)||½ cup cooked|
|Cornbread||(RG*)||1 small piece (2 ½” x 1 ¼” x 1 ¼”)||1 medium piece (2 ½” x 2 ½” x 1 ¼”) = 2 ounce equivalents|
|Crackers||WG*: 100% whole wheat, rye||5 whole wheat crackers2 rye crispbreads|
|RG*: saltines, snack crackers||7 square or round crackers|
|English muffins||WG*: whole wheatRG*: plain, raisin||½ muffin||1 muffin = 2 ounce equivalents|
|Muffins||WG*: whole wheatRG*: bran, corn, plain||1 small (2 ½” diameter)||1 large (3 ½” diameter) = 3 ounce equivalents|
|Oatmeal||(WG)||½ cup cooked1 packet instant1 ounce (1/3 cup) dry (regular or quick)|
|Pancakes||WG*: Whole wheat, buckwheatRG*: buttermilk, plain||1 pancake (4 ½” diameter)2 small pancakes (3″ diameter)||3 pancakes (4 ½” diameter) = 3 ounce equivalents|
|Popcorn||(WG*)||3 cups, popped||1 mini microwave bag or 100-calorie bag, popped =2 ounce equivalents|
|Ready-to-eat breakfast cereal||WG*: toasted oat, whole wheat flakesRG*: corn flakes, puffed rice||1 cup flakes or rounds1 ¼ cup puffed|
|Rice||WG*: brown, wildRG*: enriched, white, polished||½ cup cooked1 ounce dry||1 cup cooked = 2 ounce equivalents|
|Pasta–spaghetti, macaroni, noodles||WG*: whole wheatRG*: enriched, durum||½ cup cooked1 ounce dry||1 cup cooked = 2 ounce equivalents|
|Tortillas||WG*: whole wheat, whole grain cornRG*: Flour, corn||1 small flour tortilla (6″ diameter)1 corn tortilla (6″ diameter)||1 large tortilla (12″ diameter) = 4 ounce equivalents|
In culinary terms, a vegetable is an edible plant or its part, intended for cooking or eating raw. The standard definition of vegetables is arbitrary, based both on culinary as well as historical or cultural tradition. There are other types of plant food like fruits, nuts and even grains. Vegetables are by and large eaten as cooked complementary savory or salty meals and quite often as salads. What is considered a meal to be cooked could be the basis of a salad in another part of the globe, which is why the present division is somewhat arbitrary, based perhaps on cultural dogma. Mushrooms are not plants, biologically speaking. But many people think of them as vegetables, while other people put them into a separate food group. Some cultures label potatoes as cereal products and club them with noodles and rice, whereas the western world calls them vegetables.
Many vegetables may be eaten raw, while others, like cassava have to be cooked to remove natural innate toxins and microbes to make them edible. Quite a few items of processed food in the market include vegetable ingredients; they are usually referred to as “vegetable derived” foodstuff, even if they may not provide the nutritional value of the basic vegetable used to make them.
Any vegetable or 100 percent vegetable juice counts as a member of a vegetable group. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, dried or dehydrated; they may be whole, cut-up, or mashed. Vegetables are categorized into five subgroups, on the basis of their nutrient content, color or properties. The most common subgroups are:
Types of Vegetables
|Dark green vegetables||Orange vegetables||Dry beans and peas||Other Vegetables|
|broccolicollard greensdark green-leafy lettuce
|acorn squashbutternut squashcarrots
|black beansblack-eyed peaschickpeas
lima beans (mature)
iceberg (head) lettuce
Select your vegetable choices from the subgroups of vegetables listed above. You need not eat vegetables listed in each subgroup every day. Balance your intake from all subgroups across a week to reach the quantity recommended as your intake every day as a whole. The amount of vegetables to be eaten is a function of your age, physical activity and gender. Recommended total daily amounts are shown in Chart 6. Recommended weekly amounts from each vegetable subgroup are shown in Chart 7.
|Children||2-3 years old4-8 years old||1 cup#1.5 cups|
|Girls||9-13 years old14-18 years old||2 cups2.5 cups|
|Boys||9-13 years old14-18 years old||2.5 cups3 cups|
|Women||19-30 years old31-50 years old>51 years old||2.5 cups2.5 cups2 cups|
|Men||19-30 years old31-50 years old>51 years old||3 cups3 cups2.5 cups|
* For 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, over and above normal daily activities.
The Importance of Eating Vegetables
Eating vegetables is important because of the health benefits they provide — Those who eat a larger share of vegetables and fruits in a planned comprehensive healthy diet tend to be less prone to the menace of certain chronic diseases. Eating vegetables supply nutrients essential for good health as well as safeguarding your body.
|Dark Green Vegetables||Orange Vegetables||Dry Beans and Peas||Starchy Vegetables||Other Vegetables|
|AMOUNT PER WEEK|
|Children||2-3 years old4-8 years old||1 cup1.5 cups||0.5 cup1 cup||0.5 cup1 cup||1.5 cups2.5 cups||4 cups4.5 cups|
|Girls||9-13 years old14-18 years old||2 cups3 cups||1.5 cups2 cups||2.5 cups3 cups||2.5 cups3 cups||5.5 cups6.5 cups|
|Boys||9-13 years old14-18 years old||3 cups3 cups||2 cups2 cups||3 cups3 cups||3 cups6 cups||6.5 cups7 cups|
|Women||19-30 years old31-50 years old>51 years old||3 cups3 cups2 cups||2 cups2 cups1.5 cups||3 cups3 cups2.5 cups||3 cups3 cups2.5 cups||6.5 cups6.5 cups5.5 cups|
|Men||19-30 years old31-50 years old>51 years old||3 cups3 cups3 cups||2 cups2 cups2 cups||3 cups3 cups3 cups||6 cups6 cups3 cups||7 cups7 cups6.5 cups|
Health benefits: Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of a diet charted for overall good health may reduce risks for the following:
- Stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Certain cancers, like mouth, stomach, rectum and colon.
- Coronary heart disease.
- Developing kidney stones while also helping to diminish bone loss.
Eating foods like vegetables that are low in calories per cup may help lowering calorie intake. They help in avoiding heart disease, cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Most vegetables are intrinsically low in fat and calories and do not have cholesterol. Sauces or tasteful seasoning may well add fat, some calories, or LDL cholesterol.
- Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
- Potassium rich diets help to sustain healthy values of blood pressure. Potassium is found in sweet potatoes, white beans, white potatoes, tomato products like paste, ketchup and juice, soybeans, lima beans, beet greens, split peas, winter squash, lentils, spinach and kidney beans.
In your healthful diet, dietary fiber from vegetables aids in reducing LDL cholesterol levels, thereby lowering the risk of cardiac disease. Fiber is central for healthy bowel function, by reducing constipation as well as diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods like vegetables generate a feeling of a full stomach using far less energy.
Folate (folic acid) aids the body in forming red blood cells. Pregnant women, especially those in the first three months of pregnancy should ensure proper intake of folate, which includes folic acid from supplements and fortified foods. This reduces all types of risks for both the mother-to-be and the fetus.
Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy, while protecting them against infection, while Vitamin E helps to protect vitamin A and necessary fatty acids from oxidation. Vitamin C aids in healing cuts, shallow wounds and keeps your teeth as well as gums healthy and also assists in the complete absorption of iron. Options such as broccoli, tomatoes, garlic and spinach provide additional benefits, adding to their overall potency.
Health Benefits of Garlic
A fairly pungent member from the lily genus, garlic not only flavors your favorite dishes, it also reduces the danger of your falling prey to heart disease. Studies show that garlic:
- Can reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension.
- Consuming about 0.5 to one clove of garlic daily may decrease total cholesterol.
- Garlic lowers triglycerides, albeit modestly.
- Garlic might help prevent blood clots forming in your arteries, thereby reducing the hazard of a heart attack.
- Garlic consumption is also associated with reduced threats of certain types of cancer.
Garlic generates these healthful effects through its phytonutrients, which are plant chemicals containing protective and disease-thwarting compounds. These same compounds are potent antioxidants which scavenge destructive free radicals that infest the body.
Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are fruits, botanically. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes were vegetables in 1893. They are full of lycopene, which is a red color and phytonutrient also found in other red fruits like watermelon, pink guava, papaya and pink grapefruit. Besides making tomatoes red, lycopene protects the tomato plant from disproportionate light damage. Lycopene is also today’s most powerful antioxidant.
High ingestion of lycopene could protect against cancer and heart disease, as it is a strong antioxidant which eliminates destructive free radicals within the body, apart from catalyzing production of your body’s own antioxidant enzymes. Lycopene helps prevent prostate cancer in males. It also reduces damage due to atherosclerosis and the peril of a heart attack. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that “eating one-half to one cup of tomatoes and/or tomato sauce a week may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.”
- Tomatoes can be many other colors besides red, including yellow, orange, green and purple.
- Although they look quite different from the standard red tomatoes in the supermarket, people often say their taste is far superior.
- Tomato sauce and ketchup have higher lycopene contents than raw tomatoes.
- Lycopene must be eaten with 3-5 grams of fat to be absorbed in the GI tract.
In botany, a fruit is a part of a flowering plant that derives from specific tissues of the flower, one or more ovaries, and in some cases accessory tissues. This definition includes certain edible structures that are not commonly called “fruits”, such as bean pods, corn kernels, wheat grains, tomatoes, cucurbits (squash, pumpkin, and cucumber), peas, allspice, chilies, eggplant and sweet pepper. In colloquial language, “fruit” normally means the fleshy and seedy structures of a plant that are sweet or sour and edible raw, such as apples, oranges, strawberries, bananas, grapes and lemons.
Fruits are the means by which these flowering plants distribute seeds. Many of them that bear edible fruits in particular, have moved along with the mass migration of humans as well as animals in an intertwined relationship leading to seed scattering and nutrition; today, humans and many animals have become dependent on fruits as a source of food. Fruits account for a substantial fraction of the world’s agricultural output, and some (such as the plantain, apple and the pomegranate) have cultural, religious and symbolic meanings. In some ways, the British populace, mainly their military and civil forces that looked after their vast empire are credited with the migration of fruits. The Mayflower carried many types of seeds across the Atlantic and hybrids soon appeared on what was then Native American soil.
The best reasons for eating fruit are:
- Fruit is an ‘Upper’; as a rejuvenator, it tends to improve your mood, making you feel better.
- Fruit is an absolutely natural food and the mainstay of the non-carnivorous animal kingdom as well as that of most birds.
- Most fruits consist mainly of water, which is why it is most suited to humans, whose bodies are almost 70 percent water.
- Fruit is a brain fuel and revitalizes memories.
- Fruit has healing effects that are close to magical.
- Fruits have plenty of fibers, which are excellent for digestion and fecal excretion.
- Fruit doesn’t have to be slaughtered prior to cooking and eating; it is an ethical food.
- Fruit is 100 percent LDL Cholesterol free.
- The human diet can consist of a lot of fruit as a major constituent of every meal, apart from eating it by itself any time of the day. Try and have five pieces of fruit a day.
The Importance of Eating Fruit
Health Benefits of Fruits
- Reduce the hazard of cardiac disease, including a heart attack as well as a stroke.
- Provide protection against some categories of cancer.
- Provide generous amounts of fiber, diminishing the menace of corpulence, apart from Type II diabetes.
- Eating a fruit- rich diet provides potassium, which may reduce blood pressure, the menace of developing stones in your kidney, while helping to reduce bone loss.
- Eating fruits that have negligible calories per gm than most other foods will help in cutting down calorie intake.
- Fruits are by nature, low in fat, salt, sodium as well as calories, while none of them have cholesterol.
- Fruits are a reservoir of very many indispensable nutrients that are usually under-eaten, including potassium, vitamin C and dietary fiber, besides folate (folic acid).
- Potassium-rich diets help maintain a sound blood pressure. Fruits that contain potassium include bananas, dried peaches prunes or prune juice, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, apricots and oranges (orange juice).
Fruits provide dietary fiber which helps lower LDL cholesterol levels thus lowering the hazard of cardiac disease. Fiber helps proper bowel movement, reducing constipation as well as diverticulosis. The fiber in fruits aid in providing the feeling of a full stomach, with less calories ingested. Remember that it is the whole or sliced fruits that provide dietary fiber; there is little or no fiber in fruit juices.
A strawberry is not an actual berry, but a banana is. In fact, the banana is a herb.
Apples float in water because they are 25% air.
Dark green vegetables include more vitamin C than light green color vegetables.
Bilberries are chock full of Vitamin A and are eaten to help improve night vision.
Mangoes are the no 1 fruit in the world.
Kiwis contains twice as much Vitamin C as oranges.
Eating more fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk miscarriage by almost half.
Watermelon contains 92 percent water, cabbage 90 and carrots 87 percent.
Jackfruit is the world’s largest fruit followed by the Coco de Mer palm fruit
Jackfruit is rich in potassium, calcium, and iron, and more nutritious than current starchy staples.
Avocados are the world’s most nutritious fruit.
Babaco, a torpedo shaped fruit, is also named as champagne fruit since it has fizzy flesh.
Eating an apple is a more reliable method of staying awake than consuming a cup of coffee.
Currant juice can be used to soothe sore throats and colds.
The jambul fruit leaves and bark are used for controlling blood pressure and gingivitis.
Lychees are delicious fleshy fruits but its seeds are poisonous and should not be eaten.
A cucumber is a fruit not a vegetable.
Strawberries and cashews are the only fruits that have their seeds on the outside.
Dry fruits contain more calories than fresh fruits per gram, as the drying process shrinks it.
In the U.S., the apples sold at stores can be up to a year old.
Grapes explode when you put them in the microwave.
Apples, peaches and raspberries are all members of the rose family.
Coffee beans aren’t beans. They are fruit pits.
Drinking grapefruit while taking medication can cause instant overdose and death.
Square Watermelons are grown by Japanese farmers for easier stacking and storage.
The Fruit Salad Tree sprouts 3 to 7 different fruits on the same tree.
The Concord grape is red in color.
Apricots are native to China.
The apple came from Afghanistan.
- Folate aids the body in forming red blood corpuscles. Pregnant women should eat foods that provide adequate folate to supplement prescribed folic acid. This decreases the grave risk of fetal damage.
- Vitamin C, found in all fruits, helps grow and restore body tissues, besides helping cuts and superficial wounds to heal while keeping your teeth and gums sound and healthy.
Fruits in Your Diet
Partaking of fruit is, without doubt key to our general health and soundness. Fruit is a healthy food, as we know, but eating fruit should general follow some guidelines for optimum benefit for our health. While you may put it into your mouth whenever you feel like, try and learn the best way of eating it and your body will reward you with minimum digestive problems apart from heaps of energy.
Integrating fruit into your diet in the best manner gives your digestive system far more potent benefits via vitamin intake as well as enhanced digestion. We’ve seen that most fruits can be considered as a great font of fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium, etc. Their nutrients aid in preventing disease, reducing rates of cardiac problems, hypertension and strokes. Eating fruit aimlessly with zero nutritional information could well be wasteful.
The primary rule regarding eating fruit is: “Fruit should be eaten alone or with other fruit on an empty stomach.”
There is a reason to this rule. As and when you consume fruit, the digestive system works swiftly and your body uses various enzymes to help digest it. The sugars in the fruit have to be absorbed by the body and this needs time. When only fruits are consumed, your GI tract processes all nutrients, fibers and sugars in that fruit. This method gives you the best output from the fruit consumed. If you have a fruit just before a meal, you will not do justice to that meal. If eaten after dessert, particularly after a heavy meal, it’s held up in the belly for too long, alongside other foods; it will then decay and agitate in the stomach. This contributes to indigestion and heartburn, two types of digestive discomfort. You are creating health problems for yourself, stemming from the GI tract.
Application of this one rule is easy. We usually eat three large meals per day; space out these fruit intakes in between. Glance at your clock if you have to. Try to eat it an hour in advance of a meal when possible, or two hours post your meal. If your meal is heavy, like burgers or fried chicken with chips, let that meal digest for three-four hours and then add the fruit to what’s in your stomach. After a light salad as your lunch, wait for an hour and a half.
The ideal time for a bunch of fruit is either the first thing early morning when the stomach is empty, or mid-morning as a snack. Try and eat more fruit at any one time, a fruit salad, smoothie or an apple. Three-four such servings are a daily requirement (2 – 2.5 cups). If you still feel hungry after this fruit serving, check out your breakfast and adjust your meal plans. You should usually manage one-two hours with ease. If not, get yourself checked for worms!
Do not eat fruit around bed time as the sugar in the fruit will likely keep you awake when you want to sleep. The same advice holds good for dried fruit. Its fine to drink coconut milk along with a fruit in small measures only, and that too, sporadically.
If you eat your fruit as advised, you will maximize the nutrients that particular fruit – Mother Nature’s gift – offers your wellbeing and fitness. You will not suffer digestive problems, but feel strong and energetic, foster shedding weight, look great and feel great because you are treating your body right, absorbing all of the good things needed to display good health and your body is responding as it should.
Using the definition of fruit as “Any sweet, edible part of a plant that resembles fruit, even if it does not develop from a floral ovary; also used in a technically imprecise sense for some sweet or sweetish vegetables, some of which may resemble a true fruit or are used in cookery as if they were a fruit, for example rhubarb,” the number of fruits run into the thousands, some of which most of us would never have heard of, leave alone seen or eaten.
Categories of Some Popular Fruits
|Oranges – Pineapples – Sour Apples – Sour Plums – Lemons – Grapefruits – Sour Peaches – Limes – Tangerines – Sour Grapes – Tomatoes|
|Apricots – Blueberries – Huckleberries – Strawberries – Nectarines – Raspberries - Blackberries – Gooseberries -Mangos – Elderberries – Olives – Fresh Figs – Sweet Apples – Cherries- Sweet Peaches – Sweet Plums – Persimmons|
|Dates – Sweet Grapes – Pears – Prunes – Raisins – Dried Figs-Mangos-Bananas-Peaches-Plums-Sapodilla|
|Watermelons – Cantaloupes – Honey Dew – Galia|
|Bananas – Peanuts – Pumpkins – Winter Squashes|
|Cucumber – Sweet Pepper – Zucchini – Egg Plant – Yellow Squash|
|Protein containing Fruit|
|Olives – Avocados|
|Blackcurrant, Redcurrant, Gooseberry, Tomato, Eggplant, Guava, Pomegranate, Kiwifruit, Cranberry, Blueberry, Strawberry|
How Much Fruit to Eat Per Day? And Which Type?
Fruits have indispensable fiber, vitamins, starch and minerals working overtime to safeguard you from a clutch of chronic diseases while maintaining your digestive strength. So how many fruits do you need each day for best health? The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now offer guidelines in cups as measures. In general, one cup of fruit or 100 percent fruit juice, or half a cup of dried fruit can be considered as 1 cup from the Fruit Group. Specific amounts equivalent to one cup of fruit (in some cases half a cup) towards your daily recommended intake are listed by CDC.
|Girls and Women|
|9 to 18||1.5 cups|
|19 through 30||2 cups|
|30 and over||1.5 cups|
|Boys and Men|
|9 to 13||1.5 cups|
|18 and over||2 cups|
If you’re active for more than 30 minutes each day, you may need to eat more fruits and vegetables than indicated here and in charts 6 & 7, since you’ll be using up more energy. CDC has a fruits and vegetables calculator providing suitable recommendations based on your needs in respect of physical activity.
As stated earlier, when buying fruits and vegetables, pick yourself a rainbow. “Choosing a rainbow of colors helps to guarantee that you get various types of nutrients, since the various nutrients are what impart color to the fruits and veggies,” explains Susan Kraus, MS, RD, a registered dietitian. She provides a colorful example: “Eating green broccoli and grapes, yellow squash and pineapple, orange carrots and cantaloupe, red apples and strawberries, purple plums and eggplant, black or dark blue grapes and blueberries will get you the widest range of nutrients plus both soluble and insoluble fiber for better digestive health.”
She also offers some interesting tips:
- Eat fiber-filled fruit with breakfast.
- Make your own yoghurt toppers. Top low-fat or fat-free yoghurt with fresh berries and low-fat or fat-free granola for breakfast.
- Dish up the dried fruit. Pack some dried fruit to eat on the run, perhaps mixed with a handful of seeds or nuts. Remember that 1/4 cup of dried fruit equals 1/2 cup of fresh fruit.
- In a pinch, frozen is fine.
Proteins are made up of large biological molecules (macromolecules) which are vital nourishing elements for the human body. They form a major building block of body tissue, and can also serve as a source of fuel. As fuel, proteins, like carbohydrates, contain 4 cal per gram, unlike lipids, which contain 9 cal per gram. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within the human body, like catalyzing metabolic reactions, responding to various stimuli, replicating DNA and carrying molecules from any location to a different site.
From a nutritional perspective, the principal aspect and salient characteristic of protein is how its amino acid is composed. Proteins comprise a single or multiple lengthy chains of amino acid residues. They differ from each other mainly in their string of amino acids, a genetically dictated characteristic usually resulting in the molding of the protein into an explicit 3-D structure that decides its activity. Proteins are thus polymer chains of amino acids bonded by peptides. During digestion, these proteins are fractured in the gut to small polypeptide chains by stomach acids.
Amino acids help to sustain cell growth as well as restoration. They take more time to digest vis-a-vis carbohydrates, helping your stomach to feel fuller for a longer period and on less calories—this is a plus point for those trying to shed weight. Some sources of protein contain amino acids that are more or less structurally complete, requiring no further synthesis.
There are a total of nine indispensable amino acids that humans must extract from their food to preclude malnutrition caused by protein-energy deficiency; likewise, there are over a dozen amino acids required by the human body to prevent catabolic distress. The vital amino acids are required in defined ratios. Animal sources of protein include dairy products, meats, fish and eggs. Unfortunately, these sources have high saturated fat and LDL cholesterol content. Vegetarian sources include pulses, legumes, whole grains, soy, nuts, beans and quinoa. Vegetarians and vegans get enough essential amino acids by eating a variety of plant proteins. Highly physically active people like athletes need a much higher level of protein to sustain optimum physical performance.
Non-vegetarian protein intake: Protein intake from the animal world should be from lean options. As the rule goes, with protein, go lean.
- Lean Beef: Lean meats are meats containing less than three gm of fat per oz.
- The leanest in beef cuts are round steaks/roasts (top round, round tip, bottom round, round eye), top sirloin, chuck shoulder, top loin as well as arm roasts.
- Look for beef with USDA “Select” or “Choice” grading rather than “Prime,” which usually has more fat.
- Lean Pork: The leanest in pork choices are ham, tenderloin, center loin and pork loin.
- Ground Beef: Go for extra lean ground beef. Read the label on the can; it should specify 90 percent lean at the very least. You might locate 93 or 95 percent lean ground beef.
- Look for poultry with USDA Select grading of A and B.
- While many grocery stores carry both ground chicken and ground turkey, they may contain as much fat as ground beef because they often include dark meat and skin. For lower fat, choose ground breast meat or look for low-fat ground chicken or turkey.
- When ordering lean meat in restaurants make sure that it has been prepared with either dry or moist heat methods; poached, steamed, grilled, baked or broiled are preferred.
- Chicken: Buy skinless portions of chicken, or skin them prior to cooking.
- Choose lean meat up to 3 times per week rather than daily.
- To reduce saturated fat and calorie intake, avoid meat that has been battered and fried, slathered in butter, or blanketed in creamy sauces.
- Experiment with leaner cuts of meat in your favorite recipes to replace higher fat choices
- Use lean meat to flavor meals rather than as the main focus.
- Be mindful of portion size for all meats – a 2-3 oz serving of lean meat is approximately the size of a deck of cards.
- To reduce the amount of meat in a recipe, replace half with beans, mushrooms, vegetables, or whole soy products.
- Choose animal products that are labeled “organic,” “hormone-free,” “antibiotic-free,” “free-range,” “grass-fed,” and / or “wild” whenever possible.
- Buy local – local meat is often available at farmer’s markets and family-owned grocery stores where you can ask questions and find out how the animals were raised.
- Consider organic, free-range, and grass-fed lean meat products because the animals are raised in more natural conditions and may be more nutritious than meat from conventionally raised animals.
- Boneless Poultry: Skinned chicken breasts along with cutlets of turkey give you the leanest in poultry.
- Lean Lamb: The leanest lamb choices are chops, leg roast and tenderloin shank.
- Sandwiches: Use lean turkey, ham, low-fat luncheon meats or roast beef, for sandwiches in place of fatty luncheon meats like bologna and salami.
How to Keep Your Meats Lean
- Snip off all fat that is visible from non-vegetarian stuff prior to cooking.
- Broil, roast, poach, grill or go for boiling meat, fish or poultry, rather than frying.
- Drain away fat that oozes out during cooking.
- Limit your breading on non-vegetarian stuff, since breading will add fat & calories.
- Breading also makes the food absorb more than normal fat while frying.
- Cook foods sans high fat gravies and sauces.
Vary Protein Options
- Eat more fish as main meals, i.e., lunch and dinner. Go for omega-3 rich fish like salmon, herring and trout.
- Fillet of Salmon, Salmon steak, Salmon loaf.
- Baked or grilled trout.
Proteins: Vegetarian (Vegan Safe)
Opt for either peas or dry beans as the main dish of your meal more often. Some alternatives are:
- Split pea, minestrone, white bean soups or lentils.
- Chili with kidney or pinto beans.
- Stir- fried tofu.
- Baked beans.
- Kidney beans or Garbanzo on a salad.
- Vegetarian or garden burgers.
- Black bean enchiladas.
- Rice and beans.
- Hummus layered on soft pita bread.
Use nuts as snacks, in main dishes or on salads. The nuts should replace non-vegetarian food, not supplement them. Try the following ideas:
- Use pine nuts in your pesto sauce to replace pasta.
- Add slivered (finely sliced along the grain) almonds to steamed vegetables.
- Add toasted peanuts or cashew nuts to a vegetable stir fry instead of meat.
- Use walnuts or pecans on a green salad in place of cheese or meat.
Legumes like peas provide a lot of vegan protein. One cup holds 7.9 grams—equivalent to a cup of milk. Women need around 46 grams of protein a day; men require about 56. If you dislike green peas on the side, blend them into a pesto for pasta.
As seen, most grains do contain small amounts of protein, but quinoa—actually a seed—has more than 8 gm per cup, while including all the nine vital amino acids the body requires for growth as well as restoration. It’s versatility is amazing: it may be added to a soup or a vegetarian chili in winter, served with jaggery along with fruit as a nice and hot cereal for breakfast, or tossed with a vinaigrette and vegetables to create an invigorating summer salad.
“Nuts are high in polyphenol antioxidants which by binding to lipoproteins would inhibit oxidative processes that lead to atherosclerosis in vivo. In human supplementation studies nuts have been shown to improve the lipid profile, increase endothelial function and reduce inflammation, all without causing weight gain.” Joe A. Vinson and Yuxing Cai, Nutrition Experts
All nuts provide healthy fats as well as protein, and, prima facie, are an excellent plant-based supplement. But they are very high in calories. For example cashews, pistachios and almonds have 160 calories and 5 or 6 gm of protein per ounce. Eat them raw or dry roasted. Among dry fruits, walnuts are reputedly the best, as research shows they may boost your health in a number of ways at very easy-to-achieve doses. They are a nearly perfect package of protein, healthy fats, fiber, plant sterols, antioxidants, and many vitamins and minerals.
Further, one-quarter cup of walnuts provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommended value of plant-based omega-3 fats, along with high amounts of copper, manganese, biotin and molybdenum. Some exciting research about walnuts includes:
- Cancer-Fighting Properties: Walnuts help reduce not only the risk of prostate cancer, but breast cancer as well.
- Cardiac Health: Walnuts contain the amino acid l-arginine, which offers multiple vascular benefits to people with heart disease, or those who have increased risk for heart disease due to multiple cardiac risk factors.
- Walnuts also contain the plant-based omega-3 fat ALA (Refer Benefits of Flaxseeds).
- Rare and Powerful Antioxidants-Walnut polyphenols had the best efficacy among the nuts tested & also the highest lipoprotein-bound antioxidant activity (Refer Para 1 Nuts).
- Weight Control. Eating walnuts is associated with increased satiety after just three days.
- Improved Reproductive Health in Men.
- Check on Diabetes.
If three nuts were to be chosen for a diet, they would be raw macadamia, pecans and walnuts, as they provide the highest amount of healthy fat and other benefits, while being on the lower end of the scale in terms of carbohydrates and protein.
Comparison of Tree Nuts
|Tree Nut||Fat (gm per oz)||Protein (gm per oz)||Carbohydrates (gm per oz)|
Bean is a common name for large plant seeds used for human food of the family Leguminosae. Currently, there are about 40,000 bean varieties, although only a fraction are mass-produced for regular consumption. Beans are a summer crop, maturing in 55–60 days from planting. As the bean pods mature, they turn yellow and dry up, and the beans inside change from green to their mature color.
Dry beans come from both Old World varieties of broad beans (fava beans) and New World varieties (kidney, black, cranberry, pinto, navy/haricot). Beans have something else that meat lacks, phytochemicals, compounds found only in plants. Beans are high in antioxidants, which is good for the human system.
Some kinds of raw beans, especially red and kidney beans, contain a harmful toxin that must be removed by cooking. A recommended method is to boil the beans for at least ten minutes; undercooked beans may be more toxic than raw beans.
More than just a meat substitute, beans are so nutritious that the latest dietary guidelines recommend we triple our current intake from 1 to 3 cups per week. Many people consider beans and peas as vegetarian alternatives for meat. However, they are considered part of the Vegetable Group because they are excellent sources of dietary fiber and nutrients such as folate and potassium.
Beans are comparable to meat when it comes to calories, but they really shine in terms of fiber and water content, two ingredients that make you feel fuller, faster. Adding beans to your diet helps cut calories without feeling deprived. These foods are excellent sources of plant protein, and also provide other nutrients such as iron and zinc, similar to meats, poultry, and fish in their contribution of these nutrients.
Two cups of kidney beans, for example, contain about 26 grams. Therefore, they are also considered part of the Protein Foods Group.
Our diets tend to be seriously skimpy when it comes to fiber (the average American consumes just 15 grams daily), to the detriment of both our hearts and our waistlines. One cup of cooked beans (or two-thirds of a can) provides about 12 grams of fiber − nearly half the recommended daily dose of 21 to 25 grams per day for adult women (30 to 38 grams for adult men). Meat, on the other hand, contains no fiber at all.
This difference in fiber content means that meat is digested fairly quickly, whereas beans are digested slowly, keeping you satisfied longer. Plus, beans are low in sugar, which prevents insulin in the bloodstream from spiking and causing hunger. When you substitute beans for meat in your diet, you get the added bonus of a decrease in saturated fat.
In a recent study, bean eaters weighed, on average, 7 pounds less and had slimmer waists than their bean-avoiding counterparts — yet they consumed 200 calories more per day if they were adults and an incredible 335 calories more if they were teenagers.
Baked beans is a dish containing beans, sometimes baked but, despite the name, usually stewed, in a sauce. Most commercial canned baked beans are made from haricot beans, also known as navy beans, in a sauce. In Ireland and the UK, a tomato and sugar sauce is most commonly used, and they are commonly eaten on toast or as part of a full English breakfast.
American Boston baked beans use a sauce prepared with molasses and salt pork, the popularity of which has led to the city being nicknamed “Beantown”. Beans in a tomato and brown sugar, sugar or corn syrup sauce are a widely available type throughout the U.S. Canada’s Quebec-style beans often use maple syrup. This style is also popular in states adjacent to Canada’s Eastern provinces.
Canned baked beans are used as a convenience food. They may be eaten hot or cold straight from the can as they are fully cooked. Baked beans are also sometimes served with chips, waffles, or the like. The dish of baked beans is commonly described as having a savory-sweet flavor and a brownish or reddish tinted white bean once baked, stewed, canned or otherwise cooked.
In the UK, Ireland, Australia, Hong Kong, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore the term baked beans usually refers to tinned beans in a tomato sauce. Today, baked beans are a staple convenience food in the UK, often eaten as part of the modern full English breakfast and particularly on toast (called simply ‘beans on toast’).
Baked beans are a staple side dish for various types of barbecue. They are easily handled, and can be served hot or cold, directly from the can, making them handy for outdoor eating. The tomato based, sweet sauce also complements many types of barbecue. The already done beans may also be baked in a casserole dish topped with slices of raw bacon, which is baked until the bacon is done. Spicy seasonings are often used to make the sauce more tangy.
Green beans are often called string beans because years ago a fibrous string ran along the seam of the bean. The string was noticeable when you snapped off the ends. The snapping noise is the reason for its other nickname.
Also called garbanzo beans, these legumes can be tossed into salads, fried and salted as a crispy snack, or pureed into a hummus. They contain 7.3 gm of protein in just half a cup, and are also high in fiber and low in calories.
2. Tempeh and tofu
Foods made from soybeans are some of the highest vegetarian sources of protein: tofu and Tempeh, for example, contain about 15 and 20 gm per half cup, respectively.
Get your servings of soy straight from the soybean, still in the pod. Boiled edamame, which contains 8.4 grams of protein per half cup, can be served hot or cold and sprinkled with salt. Try it as a snack, an appetizer before dinner, or added to salads or pastas (minus the shell).
You can find hemp in some cereals and trail mixes, or you can buy hemp seeds (10 grams of protein in 3 tablespoons) and add them to smoothies, pestos, or baked goods. Hemp milk is a dairy-free way to add protein to your diet, and it’s lower in calories than skimmed milk.
5. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are an easy way to add protein (4.7 gm per oz) and fiber to almost any recipe: Chia seeds can be sprinkled over salads, stirred into yoghurt or oatmeal, blended into smoothies, or whipped into a gelatinous texture when soaked in a liquid, forming a rich and creamy pudding-like treat.
A meat substitute popular with vegetarians, seitan is made from wheat gluten, seasoned with salt and savory flavors and loaded with protein—36 gm per half cup, more than either tofu or tempeh. It looks like duck meat, tastes like chicken, and can be used in any poultry recipe.
How Much Proteins to Eat Per Day?
Milk And Other Dairy Products
All fluid milk products and many foods made from milk are considered part of this food group. The governing factor is the presence of calcium. Foods constituted of milk that retains its calcium content thus form part of the group. So does Calcium-laced soymilk. Foods constituted of milk that does not have calcium, like cream, cheese and butter are excluded.
Natural milk is a fluid extracted mainly from the bovine family. Milk, whether buffalo, cow, goat or camel, is a popular fluidic drink in itself, the variety being geography-dependent. It forms an important part of tea and coffee, though there are plenty of people who like their tea green or with a slice of lemon and their coffee black. There are many subgroups in milk, like fat-free (skim), low fat (1%), reduced fat (2%) and whole milk. Other varieties of milk most commonly found include flavored milks like chocolate and strawberry, apart from milk-shakes like mango, sapodilla, nutty, etc. Yoghurt is also part of this group.
- Include milk or calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage) as a beverage at meals. Choose fat-free or low-fat milk.
- If you usually drink whole milk, switch gradually to fat-free milk, to lower saturated fat and calories. Try reduced fat (2%), then low-fat (1%), and finally fat-free (skim).
- If you drink cappuccinos or lattes — ask for them with fat-free (skim) milk.
- Add fat-free or low-fat milk instead of water to oatmeal and hot cereals.
- Use fat-free or low-fat milk when making condensed cream soups (such as cream of tomato).
- Have fat-free or low-fat yoghurt as a snack.
- Make a dip for fruits or vegetables from yoghurt.
- Make fruit-yoghurt smoothies in the blender.
- For dessert, make chocolate or butterscotch pudding with fat-free or low-fat milk.
- Top cut-up fruit with flavored yoghurt for a quick dessert.
- Top casseroles, soups, stews, or vegetables with shredded reduced-fat or low-fat cheese.
- Top a baked potato with fat-free or low-fat yoghurt.
Milk tends to go sour very quickly, particularly in hot weather. It should always be pasteurized, which may not always be possible in the rural hinterlands of less developed countries. From your side, take all suggested precautions:
- Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk or any products made from unpasteurized milk.
Some people choose not to consume milk products for a variety of reasons:
- If you avoid milk because of lactose intolerance, the most reliable way to get the health benefits of dairy products is to choose lactose-free alternatives within the Dairy Group, such as cheese, yoghurt, lactose-free milk, or calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage) or to consume the enzyme lactase before consuming milk.
- Calcium choices for those who do not consume dairy products include: Calcium fortified juices, cereals, breads, rice milk, or almond milk.
- Canned fish (sardines, salmon with bones) soybeans and other soy products (tofu made with calcium sulfate, soy yoghurt, tempeh), some other beans, and some leafy greens (collard and turnip greens, kale, etc.). The amount of calcium that can be absorbed from these foods varies.
|Children||2-3 years old||2 cups||Women||19-30 years old||3 cups|
|4-8 years old||2 ½ cups||31-50 years old||3 cups|
|Girls||9-13 years old||3 cups||51+ years old||3 cups|
|14-18 years old||3 cups||Men||19-30 years old||3 cups|
|Boys||9-13 years old||3 cups||31-50 years old||3 cups|
|14-18 years old||3 cups||51+ years old||3 cups|
Scientific definition of oil: An oil is any neutral, nonpolar chemical substance that is a viscous liquid at ambient temperatures and is both hydrophobic (immiscible with water) and
lipophilic (miscible with other oils).
Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature, like the vegetable oils used in cooking. Oils come from many different plants and from fish. Although oils are not a food group, they provide essential nutrients, which is why they are included in USDA food patterns. Oils have a high carbon and hydrogen content and are usually flammable and slippery.
Fat is not something to avoid. It’s vital for normal growth and development. Dietary fat provides energy, protects our organs, maintains cell membranes, and helps the body absorb and process nutrients and helps burn body fat. The catch: Most of the fat that you eat should come from unsaturated sources, monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA).
All fats and oils are a mixture of saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids. Fats that are solid at room temperature (e.g., butter) contain more saturated fats and/or trans fats than oils. Oils contain more MUFA and PUFA fats. Saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol tend to raise ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, increasing the risk of heart disease. In some high-solid-fat foods such as cheese and whole milk, the fat remains invisible. To help lower risk of heart disease, you must cut back on oils containing saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.
Several edible vegetable and animal oils, and also fats, are used for various purposes in cooking and food preparation. In particular, many foods are fried in oil much hotter than boiling water. Oils are also used for flavoring and for modifying the texture of foods. Cooking oils are derived either from animal fat, as butter, lard and other types, or plant oils from the olive, maize, sunflower, peanut and many other species.
The Importance of Oils in a Healthy Diet
In the USDA Guidance System, three to five daily servings of oils are illustrated as part of a healthy diet. The case is the same with many institutions, like Mayo Clinic. “Although oils make up a small segment of the pyramid, they play a key role,” says Katherine Gartner from the clinic. “Oils provide basic nutrients to help maintain body functions. Which oils you choose for your diet can make a big difference to your health,” she adds.
At 9 gm per calorie, oils are the most efficient energy nutrient you can consume. Oils help:
- Store and provide energy, while building healthy cell membranes.
- The nervous system in sending messages to the brain, which itself is 60 percent fat.
- Your intestines absorb vitamins A, D, E and K, and store them in your body fat.
- In regulating hormones, lubricating skin and cushioning organs.
- Add taste and texture to the food you consume.
- Maintain healthy skin and other tissues.
- Creating essential fatty acids – Dietary fats that are essential for growth development and cell functions, but cannot be made by our body’s processes.
- Forming steroid hormones needed to regulate many bodily processes.
Your body already has all the saturated oils and trans fat oils it needs. It needs only unsaturated oils like vegetable, olive, peanut, canola, soybean, sunflower, safflower, corn and fish oils. Saturated oils, which are unhealthy, include shortening, margarine, coconut oil, palm oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, animal fats, and as just stated, butter.
Some oils are used mainly as flavorings, such as walnut oil and sesame oil. A number of foods are naturally high in oils, like nuts, olives, some fish and avocados. Foods that are mainly oil include mayonnaise, certain salad dressings, and soft margarine with no trans fats. Check the Nutrition Facts label while shopping to find margarines with Zero grams (0 gm) of trans fat.
Most oils are high in MUFA or PUFA fats, and low in saturated fats. Oils from plant sources (vegetable and nut oils) do not contain any cholesterol. In fact, no plant foods contain cholesterol. That said, a few plant oils, however, including coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil, are high in saturated fats and for nutritional purposes should be considered to be solid fats. A noteworthy aspect is that the latter do not produce oil from fruits till they become trees.
The standard American diet reportedly contains too much saturated oil and not enough unsaturated oil. Plants and fish oils, which contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, are the unsaturated oils missing from many American diets. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are the only two out of 20 fatty acids your body can’t produce by itself. Of these two essential fatty acids, omega-3 has been successful in treating several health conditions.
Dr. Edward L. Schneider, Professor of Gerontology at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and Professor of Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC writes that omega-3 in the form of fish oil helps treat depression, prevents heart disease or stroke, retards memory loss or Alzheimer’s and increases longevity.
Foods containing omega-3 include flaxseed, walnuts, salmon, sardines, soybeans, halibut, shrimp, tofu and scallops. Eat one to two servings of fatty fish a week, or take 1 gram daily of fish oil supplement. The fish oil will keep the heart and brain healthy and happy. If you are counting calories, stick to three servings of oils a day to stay within your limit. As always, get your doctor’s approval before using omega-3 fatty acids as alternative treatment .
Some oils are used mainly as flavorings, such as walnut oil and sesame oil.
Most oils are high in MUFA or PUFA fats, and low in saturated fats. Oils from plant sources (vegetable and nut oils) do not contain any cholesterol. In fact, no plant foods contain cholesterol. That said, a few plant oils, however, including coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil, are high in saturated fats and for nutritional purposes should be considered to be solid fats. A noteworthy aspect is that the latter do not produce oil from fruits till they become trees.
Our ancestors depended on their legs to walk to wherever they wanted to go, use their arms and hands to break and cut pieces of wood and light a fire and so on. They may not have realized it, but they were carrying out physical activity. Their physical activity through the day would tire them and they would need food to sustain themselves. This was a ceaseless cycle and as they kept growing, greater physical activity demanded increased needs for sustenance. After a certain age, physical activity would reduce and so would needs. The benefits of physical activity were a healthy life, good bowel movement and sound sleep.
Circumstances have changed over millennia; the types of physical activity have changed but the balancing of personal physical activity vis-à-vis has the same fulcrum and the same two arms, those of demand and those of necessity. A human being, right from childhood, has to be active, for the same reasons and more. The notion of physical activity remains unchanged; any movement of his muscles was some kind of activity.
Physical Activity for Children
Physical activity in infants and young children is, of course, necessary for healthy growth and development. Children younger than six should be physically active in ways appropriate for their age and stage of development. Physical activity guidelines for children younger than 6 that are specific to the early care and education setting are slightly different.
Children below six start exercising from their moment of birth, first by screaming or wailing. Before you know it, they have started to crawl and then, one fine day, walk. For their age, they are doing enough physical activity. By the time they reach three, they walk, run, crawl, play, jump around for perhaps one minute at a time, but then they are doing it over 10-14 hours, reaching between 40-60 minutes a day.
Between the ages of three and six, they should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day, a task easily exceeded.
This may sound like a lot, but is not a cause for alarm! Your child may already be meeting, if not overshooting the activity norms for Americans. And, you’ll quickly find the easy and fun ways that your child enjoys and which meet recommendations. Encourage your kid to take part in age-related physical activity that is good fun and has options that aren’t boring.
Some physical activity is better-suited for children and some for older children crossing, say, twelve years of age. For example, children don’t usually need formal muscle-strengthening programs, such as lifting weights. Younger children usually strengthen their muscles when they do gymnastics, play on a jungle gym or climb trees. As children grow older and become adolescents, they may start structured weight programs. They may already be doing these types of programs, on a limited scale, along with their football or basketball team practice.
1. Aerobic Activity
What is aerobic activity? Aerobic activity or “cardio” is defined as any physical activity that gets you breathing harder and your heart beating faster; in effect, exercise that requires increased pumping of oxygenated blood by the heart to deliver oxygen to working muscles. It stimulates the heart and respiration rate to increase in a manner sustainable for the active exercise session. General examples are pushing a lawn mower, dancing and cycling to the store – all such types of activity count, as long as you do them at a moderate or vigorous intensity for at least 10 minutes at a stretch. Intensity is a measure of how hard your body is working during aerobic activity. Moderate levels for a 45-year old male show heart rates of 110-130, whereas intense levels show heart rates of 140-160.
Aerobic activity should make up most of your child’s 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. This can include either moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or vigorous-intensity activity, such as running. Be sure to include vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on at least 3 days per week. Cycling on a baby’s tricycle is a good starting point, moving to a push-scooter with handles as the pace picks up. Moderate- and vigorous-intensity exercises for children may be explained as follows:
- On a 0 to 10 scale, where idling is a 0 and peak level of activity is a 10, moderate-intensity activity is a 5 or 6. At that age, his/her heart normally beats at close to 80-85 per minute. When your kid does moderate-intensity activity, his/her heart will beat faster than normal and he/she will breathe harder than normal, up to 120 beats per minute. Vigorous-intensity activity is a level 7 or 8. When your kid does vigorous-intensity activity, he/she will breathe much harder than normal and his/her heart will beat much faster than normal, touching 140 beats per minute.
- Think about the activity your child is doing and compare it to the average child sitting in class. What amount of intensity would the average child use? Nil! So, when your kid walks to school with friends each morning, she/he probably doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity. But while she/he is at school, when she/he runs, or chases others playing tag during a recess, she/he is probably doing vigorous-intensity activity.
2. Muscle Strengthening
Include muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups, at least 3 days per week as part of your child’s 60 or more minutes. Limit each session to six minutes, doing three exercises for two minutes each. Do this three times a day on weekends, but not nearing meal times. The exercises are simple; sit-ups, pushups, pull ups, basic calisthenics, etc.
3. Bone Strengthening
Include bone strengthening activities, such as jumping rope, playing hopscotch or just hopping around on one leg, running, jumping off three steps, etc., at least 3 days per week as part of your child’s 60 or more minutes.
How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
For every second that you live, your body expends a certain amount of energy to sustain the activities going on in tour body with and without your knowledge. For instance, to pump blood throughout the body, the heart normally beats at 64-72 times per minute. This rate is more than sufficient, and the heart’s energy requirement can be calculated. But there are numerous other organs also working, like your lungs which take in air, filter it and oxygenate your blood which goes to your brain and all parts of the body. Your liver, lungs, stomach and other organs are also at work. If you stop at the minimum, you are a prime candidate for diseases like cardiac malfunction, various cancers, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, etc.
There are numerous health benefits to be gained by being active, including reducing the risk of the diseases just mentioned. Being active can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Regular activity also makes you feel good and improves your mental health. You too need to do two types of physical activity each week to improve your health–aerobic and muscle-strengthening.
- Two hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, back, hips, abdomen, chest, arms and shoulders). Alternatively,
- 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (running/ jogging) every week AND muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups. This video explains all.
- 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week and
- Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
- An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and
- Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
After 18, the level of activity can be stepped up. Between 18-40, adults should increase their activity to:
- 5 hours (300 minutes) each week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and
- Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
More time equals more health benefits. If you exceed 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity, you stand to gain even more health benefits.
Measuring Exercise Intensity
To maximize benefits from exercise, the intensity must normally be at a moderate or vigorous level. For weight loss, you have to move to the more intense levels to burn maximum calories. As always, prudence demands balance. Overdoing exercises increase your chances of strain, injury and burnout. If you’re doing exercise and physical activity ab initio, start light and slowly build up to moderate and then vigorous intensity.
Exercise intensity also is reflected in your breathing and heart rate, whether you’re sweating, and how tired your muscles feel. You can gauge exercise intensity by how you feel.
- Moderate intensity: Moderate activity seems rather hard. Some clues are:
- Your breathing quickens, but you’re not out of breath.
- You develop a light sweat after about 10 minutes of activity.
- You can carry on a conversation, but you can’t sing.
- Vigorous exercise intensity: Vigorous activity seems challenging. Some clues are:
- Your breathing is deep and rapid.
- You develop a sweat after a few minutes of activity.
- You can’t say more than a few words without pausing for breath.
This short and interesting video elaborates aerobic activities and the distinctions.
Gauging intensity using your heart rate:
Subtract own age from 220, e.g., if you’re 45, subtract 45 from 220 to obtain your maximum heart rate, which is 175. This number is the maximum rate your heart should ever beat per minute during exercise. Now, calculate moderate and rigorous exercise intensity.
- Moderate exercise intensity: 50 to 70 percent of 175 (88-124).
- Vigorous exercise intensity: 70 to 85 percent of 175 (125-150).
|Approximate calories used by a 154 pound man|
|Moderate physical activities:||In 1 hour||In 30 minutes|
|Light gardening/yard work||330||165|
|Golf (walking and carrying clubs)||330||165|
|Bicycling (less than 10 miles per hour)||290||145|
|Walking (3 ½ miles per hour)||280||140|
|Weight training (general light workout)||220||110|
|Vigorous physical activities:||In 1 hour||In 30 minutes|
|Running/jogging (5 miles per hour)||590||295|
|Bicycling (more than 10 miles per hour)||590||295|
|Swimming (slow freestyle laps)||510||255|
|Walking (4 ½ miles per hour)||460||230|
|Heavy yard work (chopping wood)||440||220|
|Weight lifting (vigorous effort)||440||220|
How Much Food Should You Eat?
We have already defined what a calorie is in terms of energy content and seen how it is used in the matter of food. The number of calories that you should eat per day depends on several factors, like age, size, gender, height, lifestyle, general physical condition, job, leisure time activities, genetics, body size, body composition, what medications you may be on, etc. Serena Williams needs far more calories vis-a-vis a Julia Roberts. ‘How much’ is relative to your daily calorie needs – consume more each day than you burn and you will put on weight; consume less and you will lose weight. The former half of the earlier statement is a given; the latter half is not really another given. It is a very slow to show process, if just left to time and visible results need acceleration via physical exercise.
There are some other factors which may affect the amount you can eat, e.g., if your food has a lot of fiber, you can usually consume more calories than if you tuck away food with very low fiber content. The most recent calorie-related discovery is that the longer you masticate your food, the more the calories your body retains.
Recommended Calorie Intake Per Day
The recommended daily intake of calories varies globally. According to the NHS, “the average male adult needs approximately 2,500 calories per day to keep his weight constant, while the average adult female needs 2,000.” US authorities suggest 2,700 calories per day for men and 2,200 for women across a far greater and varied cross section of females in the country.
The NHS take a practical viewpoint that you cannot carry a calculator and chart with you to count exact numbers of calories. Instead, it advises people, exactly as CDC does, that they should concentrate on:
- Eating a healthy and well balanced diet.
- Being physically active.
- Roughly balancing calories consumed with calories burnt off each day across a week.
- Eating your five portions of fruit and vegetable per day as detailed in the 5-A-Day Plan. Apparently, this also extends longevity, as reported by Swedish researchers in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2013 edition .
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the average person’s minimum calorie requirement per day globally is approximately 1,800 calories. This figure is not met in sub-Saharan and part of coastal Africa and many other countries.
Over the past two decades, sugar is being added to an increasing number of victuals we consume, which have crept in insidiously and are deleterious to health. Regrettably, food labels in the USA and the EU omit details on how much sugar has been added. It is therefore, not possible for consumers to establish how much sugar has been added to foods & beverages.
How much food you should consume also depends on your aim: to maintain body weight, shed or put on weight, e.g., step up one level in boxing categories or prepare for some upcoming sports event. That said, any focus on the amount of food intake is tightly coupled with calorie intake.
The Importance of Meal Timing
In a research carried out by specialists from Tel Aviv University in 2013, it was found that a large breakfast – one containing approximately 700 calories – helped bring one’s weight down and keep it down, ideal for losing weight and reducing your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol. The American Diabetes Association says that if you are not too keen on traditional breakfast, you can switch to soup, a sandwich or even a slice of pizza. It recommends some creative ideas for the most important meal of the day like the Breakfast Shake: 1 cup fat- free milk or plain non fat yoghurt blended with 1/2 cup fruit, 1 tsp. wheat germ; add 1 tsp. nuts or nut butter, ice and whirl. A Case Study on the Israeli experiment follows.
Case Study: A Big Breakfast Is Healthier Than a Big Dinner
Researchers have found that eating a big breakfast of 700 calories promotes weight loss and reduces risks for diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol. The recently published study in the health magazine Obesity comes from Tel Aviv University, where Prof. Daniela Jakubowicz and colleagues studied the impact of different caloric intake at varying times of day. What they found is that the time of day we eat has a significant impact on how our bodies process food.
To study how this timing affects our bodies, the team put 93 obese women into two different groups:
- “Big breakfast group” – consumed 700 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch and 200 at dinner
- “Big dinner group” – consumed 200 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch and 700 at dinner.
The women’s diets consisted of moderate fats and carbohydrates, totaling 1,400 calories, and they followed the diets for 12 weeks. The 700-calorie meals, whether eaten for breakfast or dinner, contained the exact same foods, and included a dessert item such as a piece of chocolate cake or a cookie.
- The women in the big breakfast group lost, on average, 17.8 pounds and 3 inches from their waist.
- The women in the big dinner group, on the other hand, only lost 7.3 pounds and 1.4 inches from their waist.
Additionally, the women from the big breakfast group had larger decreases in insulin, glucose and triglyceride levels than the women from the big dinner group. The researchers note that one of the most important findings is that the women from the big breakfast group did not experience high blood glucose level spikes that normally occur after a meal.
Although the big dinner group was eating a sensible diet and losing weight, the researchers actually found that their triglycerides – a type of fat found in the body – increased, putting them at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
Victoria Taylor from the British Heart Foundation notes that the study from the University of Tel Aviv stresses how important the timing of our meals is for our health. Though she does say that this is a small, short-term study and therefore further research is needed to check long-term results and effects for men, she suggests eating in the morning to promote weight loss.
She adds: “Wholegrain toast or breakfast cereals with low-fat milk will make that mid-morning snack less tempting. If you’re going for a cooked breakfast, try poached eggs instead of fried and make sure you grill any bacon or sausages.” A 2012 study shows that eating egg proteins for breakfast may help you feel fuller for longer.
The Daily Requirement of Calories
|Daily Calorie Requirement: Male Vs Female|
|Sedentary Level||Low Active Level||Active Level||AGE||Sedentary Level||Low Active Level||Active Level|
Another method of calculating the number of calories you need is the Harris Benedict Equation. This method estimates what your BMR (basal metabolic rate) and daily requirements are. Your BMR total is multiplied by another number which represents your level of physical activity. The resulting number is your recommended daily calorie intake in order to keep your body weight where it is. There are a number of BMR calculators on the web. Once you find out how many calories are required to retain your weight, the number of calories to be eaten to change your weight is easily calculated.
You can do it yourself if you are so inclined. Do make sure to apply the factor representing your level of physical activity to the first result.
How Much You Should Weigh For Your Age And Height
An exemplar body weight depends on several factors like age, height, gender, muscle-fat ratio, and bone density.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Some experts in health management swear by the Body Mass Index (BMI) method to determine if your weight is ideal. Others argue against using the BMI method, preferring the waist to hip ratio instead. They say that the BMI can be misleading, e.g., a muscleman like Hulk Hogan has a high BMI but almost no fat compared to a ‘Fatso Oliver Hardy’ whose BMI could well be lower. In general, the BMI may be considered a fair indicator for the ‘average human’.
Since there are so many variables in calculating BMI, the levels of being overweight and obese in a country like the USA, are far higher than those in other countries, e.g., France. A French individual will aim for a lesser ideal weight than an American if he just intended to compare himself with others. Again, there is no evidence that overweight person has a higher mortality risk when compared to people with normal weight. A recent study has stated the exact reverse, that overweight people have a lower all-cause mortality risk compared to those of normal weight.
Essentially, your BMI is a ratio of your weight to height. Your BMI in SI units: Your weight (Kg) divided by your height squared (m2).
The BMI Scale: People with a BMI that is:
- Less than 18.5 are underweight.
- Between 18.5 and 25 are ideal.
- Between 25 and 30 are overweight.
- Over 30 are obese.
Take two cases:
- SI (Metric) Units: BMI for a 70 Kg man who is 1.7 meters tall. BMI=70/1.72 or 70/2.89 =24.22, ideal.
- Imperial units: Your weight (pounds) times 703, divided by the square of your height in inches. Take a man weighing 200 pounds, height 6 ft 1 inch (73 inches). 732 = 5329 or 200 x 703 divided by 5329 = BMI 26.38, overweight.
The Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR)
The waist-hip ratio is that of the circumference of your waist to your hips. Measure the circumference of your waist just above the navel, and divide it by the circumference of your hip at its widest part. So, if a woman’s waist is 26 inches and hips 34, her WHR is 26/34 = 0.765. WHR is linked to the hazard of heart problems as follows.
- Less than 0.9 – low risk of heart problems.
- 0.9 to 0.99 – moderate risk.
- 1 or over – high risk.
- Less than 0.8 – low risk.
- 0.8 to 0.89 – moderate risk.
- 0.9 or over – high risk.
Experts argue that WHR is a far better indicator of ideal body weight and the perils of developing serious health conditions vis-a-vis BMI. Many studies have demonstrated that humans with apple-shaped bodies, having larger WHRs actually have higher health hazards compared to people with pear-shaped bodies, who have lower WHRs. The former have more fat on the waist, while the latter have fat around the hips.
Females with a WHR < 0.8 are usually healthier and more fertile than women who have higher WHRs. They are less prone to diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and most cancers. Similarly, men with a WHR < 0.9 are usually healthier and more fertile than men who have higher WHRs, and are less prone to serious health conditions or malaises. If WHR replaced BMI as a predictor of heart attack worldwide, many more people would feature as risks.
A third scale has been mooted by Dr Margaret Ashwell, ex-science director of the British Nutrition Foundation, and her team. They state that waist-to-height ratio is better at predicting future risk of cardiovascular health conditions and diabetes than BMI. She says, “Keep your waist circumference to less than half your height. Doing so can help increase life expectancy for every person in the world.” Measure your waist mid-way between the lower rib and the iliac crest (the top of the pelvic bone at the hip).
Calories in Alcohol and Desserts
|Alcohol is a major provider of unwanted calories:• Scotch Whisky (1 Pub Shot/35ml) = 78 cal.• Bacardi and Diet Coke (275ml) = 52 cal.
• Brandy (1 Pub Shot/35ml) = 72 cal.
• Gin (1 Pub Shot/35ml) = 72 cal.
• Jack Daniels (1 Pub Shot/35ml) = 78 cal.
• Vodka, 40% Volume (35 ml) = 78 cal.
• Baileys, Irish Cream (35ml) = 115 cal.
• Beer, Bitter, Canned, 330 ml = 106 cal.
• Beer, Guinness, Stout, 33 ml = 100 cal.
• Sherry, Sweet (1 Pub Shot/35ml) = 48 cal.
• Wine, White, Medium (125 ml) = 93 cal.
• Wine, Red, Medium (125 ml) = 85 cal.
• Champagne (125 ml) = 91 cal.
• Port (100 ml) = 158 cal
|Desserts provide a huge amount of calories:
There are a number of websites which will give you data on all food items gratis. The food calories list is a table of everyday foods listing their calorie content per average portion. The food calories list also gives the calorie content in 100 grams so it can be compared with any other products not listed here. The table can be useful if you want to exchange a food with similar calorie content when following a weight loss low calorie program.
For the overweight American, an 1,800 calorie diet should be fine, coupled with half an hour of moderate physical exercise per day. A sample would look like:
Track Your Body Weight Accurately
There’s no point going on a weight-reduction spree without keeping track of your progress in shedding weight. The ideal way of going about this process is by keeping track of weight lost and body fat lost concurrently. The first step is buying a decent body-scale.
Scales will provide diverse body weights at different times of the day, because your body weight changes throughout the day. Water, food, clothes, etc., have a say in your weight at any given time. You cannot keep track of these variations in your weight; focus on averages. Weigh yourself at least twice a day: when you wake up, at midday, if possible, and before you go to bed. Ideally speaking, you should weigh yourself naked. Average the weight measurement for the day, and then use these averages to get a weekly average.
Seeing how your weight fluctuates through the day, and a decline over time (if you are shedding weight), keeps you motivated. Women tend to retain water during their menstrual cycles, so that’s another thing that must be borne in mind. Muscle is denser than fat and takes up less space, so if you are adding muscle, your weight could increase, even though you’re cutting off fat and slimming down. It’s quite possible for your scale weight to remain the same.
Track Fat Loss Correctly
Knowing your body fat percentage can give you a better idea of how much fat you really need to lose and, even better, whether you’re making progress in your program, something your scale can’t tell you. Accurately tracking fat loss requires regularly body fat measurements with a reasonably low margin of error. While you have many options available to you— dual energy absorptiometry, ultrasound, water displacement, bioelectrical impedance scales and a number of others—they can cost a lot of money. If you can afford it, go ahead.
Certified personal trainer Mariana Abeid-McDougall explains, “For general health gains, usually a combination of body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and sum of 5 skin folds is the best assessment, as it provides information on both the amount and distribution of body fat in order to gain a better assessment of body weight, adiposity, and fat distribution.” She adds a caveat that goals ought to focus on health first and appearance second, otherwise the results could be hazardous. “Many individuals (especially women) who want to lose weight often times do not need to do so—they just want to do so to fit society’s current beauty norms. This results in both an unhealthy body image and, in severe cases, eating disorders in both men and women,” she adds.
Set practical goals. If aiming for the ideal healthy fat percentage, women should stay around 25-26 percent and men around 20. Patience is important. Bodies change dramatically as you age; the difference between a 30 – 40 year old pair will be radically different from the characteristics of a 40-50 year old pair. Progress cannot take place overnight, and the early stages show the lowest change. And stay away from the mirror.
Ideal Body Fat Percentage
The ideal body fat percentage is 18-24 percent for males and 25-31 for females. Women need the extra fat due to constitutional and physiological differences such as hormones, breasts, and sexual organs. In addition, women need a higher amount of body fat for ovulation. Males who have more than 25 percent fat and females more than 32 are considered obese.
One other factor regarding fat is that you cannot drop below certain levels without seriously jeopardizing your wellbeing. These levels, called Essential Fat Levels are two to five percent for males and 10-13 percent for females.
The quantity of food a person must consume is determined by two factors, the requirement of eating mandated nutrient intakes and the requirement to consume calories sufficient to offset energy expenditure, thereby maintaining a steady weight. People can eat the recommended nutrients by carefully selecting and balancing foods that have higher and/or lower-energy densities, yet eating fewer calories than needed for their daily energy expenditure. This way, an individual will find some calories left the charted daily calorie allocation. These calories can now be used freely, since nutrient requirement have been met.
These remaining calories are called discretionary calories, and calculated as the difference between total energy needed and the energy consumed to match the desired nutrient intake. They can be spent on foods like milk, meat, butter, cheese, sauce or syrup. These calories can be spent on sodas or alcohol or some more of the healthy foods on offer.
Discretionary Calories and Sedentary Lifestyle
Discretionary calories are available only if the quantity of calories consumed to meet advocated nutrient intake is lower than total daily calories spent. The extent of this difference, whether positive or negative, is a function of the how many nutrients the foods eaten contained and the total requirement of energy. The total energy requirement depends entirely on the physical activity undertaken.
Because of minimal activity lifestyles and food that are usually relatively high in solid fats and added sugars, most Americans tend to use up discretionary calories well before meeting
the quota allocated for nutrient intake. Drinking low-fat milk rather than skim milk wastes discretionary calories, as does eating a medium-fat hamburger instead of a lean cut of meat. A person can increase his or her discretionary calories by increasing physical activity—burning more calories increases total calorie needs, and increases the maximum amount of calories a person can consume daily and by consuming nutrient-dense foods relatively lower in energy density (i.e., a healthy diet).
Key Points: Discretionary Calories
- As just explained, the best method of increasing the number of discretionary calories is to increase physical activity. The more the physical activity, the more the discretionary calories that will be available.
- Make nutrient-dense selections from the basic food groups, especially of foods that are very good sources of vitamin E, potassium, calcium, and fiber.
- Obtain recommended nutrient intakes from the basic food groups and oils/trans-free soft margarines before consuming discretionary calories.
- Even if many discretionary calories are available, keeping saturated and trans fat intake very low is advisable to help reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Avoid alcohol. If you must imbibe, limit intake to one serving of alcohol per day for women and two for men—even if surplus discretionary calories are available.
Most diet plans in the 1600 calorie range and higher tend to reserve a small amount of discretionary calories, of the order of 10-12 percent per day. For an 1800 calorie diet plan, you can expect a built in reserve of 200 calories, allowing you that one luxury that reduces the tedium of dieting. Such a luxury will not be available in stricter diets, like the 1200 calorie plan.
|Age and sex||Not physically active*||Physically active**|
|Children 2-3 years old||1000 calories||165***||1000-1400 calories||165 to 170|
|Children 4-8 years old||1200-1400 calories||170***||1400-1800 calories||170 to 195|
|Girls 9-13 years old||1600 calories||130||1600-2200 calories||130 to 290|
|Boys 9-13 years old||1800 calories||195||1800-2600 calories||195 to 410|
|Girls 14-18 years old||1800 calories||195||2000-2400 calories||265 to 360|
|Boys 14-18 years old||2200 calories||290||2400-3200 calories||360 to 650|
|Females 19-30 years old||2000 calories||265||2000-2400 calories||265 to 360|
|Males 19-30 years old||2400 calories||360||2600-3000 calories||410 to 510|
|Females 31-50 years old||1800 calories||195||2000-2200 calories||265 to 290|
|Males 31-50 years old||2200 calories||290||2400-3000 calories||360 to 510|
|Females 51+ years old||1600 calories||130||1800-2200 calories||195 to 290|
|Males 51+ years old||2000 calories||265||2200-2800 calories||290 to 425|
What Are Added Sugars?
Added sugars or extrinsic sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared. Chemically speaking, they are the same as sugars that are naturally-occurring, and this term is now mostly used in nutrition and medicine to help identify foods characterized by added energy. Added sugars have no nutritional value but a lot of energy (calories), thus adding what are known as “empty calories”. Analysis has shown that added sugar is distinctively related to high calorie intake leading to putting on weight and even obesity.
This hazard was on the upswing in the last quarter of the 20th century, but is refreshingly showing a decline at the start of this millennium. This decline is reflected by the reduction in the intake of sweetened beverages, and attributed to government health awareness initiatives and other programs.
The names of added sugars on labels are legion, but may contain the words sugar and syrups, or chemical names ending in ‘oses’, like fructose, dextrose, etc. The main sources of added sugars for Americans are:
- regular soft drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks
- Sweet rolls, pastries, and donuts
- Fruit drinks
- Ice creams
What to Check on the Food Label
Check the label for the cholesterol, saturated fat, sodium and trans fat content of all packaged foods. All processed meats like sausages, frankfurters, hams, luncheon and deli meats add sodium. Check the quantity printed to limit intake of sodium. The same holds good for packaged poultry and pork which have a salted solution; look for the sodium added. Check the label for all facts and figures and statements like ‘self-basting’, telling you that salt has been added. Many types of processed meats have low fat versions available. The label can be used for comparison to select products with lower fat and saturated fat. Women likely to become pregnant, already pregnant women, nursing moms and toddlers must avoid eating certain varieties of fish; they should eat fish that have low levels of mercury.
What Is Obesity?
An obese human is one who has put on so much body fat that he/she could face serious detrimental effects on their wellbeing. If his body weight is 20 percent or higher than ideal, he is obese. A BMI of 30 or more renders you obese. The main causes of obesity are:
1. Consuming Excessive Calories
People are today eating far more than earlier, mainly in developed and developing nations. Public numerous and expensive awareness movements to encourage people to eat healthily have failed; we still overeat. In 1980 14 percent of the adult population of the USA was obese; by 2000 the figure reached 31 percent (The Obesity Society).
In the USA, the consumption of calories increased from 1,542 per day for women in 1971 to 1,877 per day in 2004 and 2,450 in 1971 & 2,618 in 2004 for men. Surprisingly, this jump in calories is due not to fat, but to carbohydrates (sugars). Increased intake of sweetened sodas has significantly raised the carbohydrate intake of young American adults across the last thirty years. Consumption of fast-foods has tripled over the same period.
2. A Sedentary Lifestyle
Automation, remote controls, televisions, computers, washing machines, dish washers, video games and a host of modern convenience gadgets have moved the majority of masses into an inactive lifestyle contrasting sharply with the active lifestyle of their progenitors. Four decades back, shopping meant walking to the high street to the grocers, bakers, appliance stores, banks, etc. As large supermarkets and shopping malls emerged, people stepped into their cars to buy their weekly provisions. In countries like the USA, the car has replaced the foot and people drive to their destination, even if a couple of hundred yards away.
The lesser your activities, the fewer the calories burnt. Calories apart, physical activity effects how your hormones work, which, in turn, effects how your body reacts to food. Physical activity keeps your insulin levels stable. Unstable levels of insulin are linked to gaining weight.
3. Not Sleeping Enough
If you don’t get your 40 winks, the danger of obesity doubles, according to research carried out at the University of Warwick. The hazard is applicable to adults and kids both. Production of Ghrelin, an appetite stimulating hormone increases, while production of Leptin, a hormone that restrains appetite, reduces.
4. Reduced Rates of Smoking
5. Obesity has Become Self-perpetuating
The longer you are overweight, the harder it is for you to shed weight. Researchers from the University of Michigan and the National Council of Science and Technology in Argentina state, “Obesity is in part a self-perpetuating disorder and the results further emphasize the importance of early intervention in childhood to try to prevent the condition whose effects can last a lifetime. We will now try to pinpoint the reasons why most adults find it exceedingly difficult to maintain meaningful weight loss from dieting and exercise alone.”
Most surveys across the USA and the UK reveal that a large number of people are either overweight or obese. They need to cut down on their daily intake of food. The simplest solution is to find out how much you need to eat based on data available and reduce your intake by twenty percent of the calorie count in the starchy food and desserts. If you need 2,300 calories, reduce your calorie count by 460 a day, the equivalent of skipping one glass of wine, dessert and a shot of Port or your two double whiskeys, a light dessert plus your Camembert or Brie. This will account for four lbs (1.8 Kg) per month, providing you maintain an active life style.
After marriage or the age of 30, adults gain between one and two pounds a year (0.3 to 0.8 Kg) on the average. The first aim should be to prevent this gain using some new strategies. The good news is that scientists have successfully developed an ingredient that can be added to foods to make people feel full and prevent weight gain. Note the wording-prevent weight gain and not induce loss of weight. Researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Glasgow found that the ingredient was effective at preventing weight gain among overweight human volunteers. The ingredient contains propionate, which stimulates the gut to release hormones that act on the brain to reduce hunger.
Propionate is produced naturally when dietary fiber is fermented by microbes in the gut, but the new ingredient, called inulin-propionate ester, provides much larger quantities of propionate than people can acquire with a normal diet. Humans do not put on weight as propionate induces a feeling of fullness in the stomach, curbing your appetite effectively. Lapsing to a sedentary lifestyle will nullify the healthful effect of propionate.
The problem lies in cases where people are overweight and continuing to add weight because they are eating and drinking 500 calories extra every day. Such people will have to cut down calorie intake by 730-750 calories per day, i.e., go on a diet and increase physical activity. Foods and drinks that are high in fat or sugar can contain lots of calories, and eating or drinking these often or in large amounts can make it easy to have more calories than you need.
Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat (red meat, poultry, seafood and the flesh of any other animal), and may also include abstention from by-products of animal slaughter. Vegetarianism can be adopted for different reasons. Many object to eating meat out of respect for sentient life. Other causes for vegetarianism are health-related, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic or economic. Some people, while not vegetarians, refuse to eat the flesh of certain animals due to cultural taboo, such as cats, dogs, or horses. Others support meat eating for scientific, nutritional, cultural and religious reasons.
Various ethical reasons have been suggested for choosing vegetarianism, usually based on the interests of non-human animals. Proponents of animal rights argue that if alternative means of survival exist, one ought to choose the option that does not cause unnecessary harm to animals. Most ethical vegetarians argue that the same reasons exist against killing animals to eat as against cannibalism. Interestingly, the number of people turning to vegetarianism is on the increase, though on a scaled fashion.
While animal products are the common sources of protein in the typical western diet, are burgers or steaks really needed to experience a healthy and nutritive vegetarian protein diet? One of the most vexing issues facing new vegetarians is the apprehension that they will not have enough protein in their diet. When animal products are removed from the diet, creativity with regards to food selection is necessary in order to consume healthy levels of protein.
Can’t do without hamburgers? Make a scrumptious veggie burger and have a go with a large side salad. Like pizza? Make it yourself with soy cheese and load up on the vegetables. Like chicken nuggets? Have soy nuggets instead. Stuff green peppers with a rice and veggie blend. Bake and enjoy. Like sweets? Baked apples drizzled in cinnamon and agave are superb.
There are a number of vegetarian diets, each with its own singularities:
- Ovo vegetarianism includes eggs but not dairy products.
- Lacto vegetarianism includes dairy products but not eggs.
- Ovo-lacto vegetarianism (or lacto-ovo vegetarianism) includes animal/dairy products such as eggs, milk, and honey.
- Veganism excludes all animal flesh and products, such as milk, honey, and eggs, as well as items refined or manufactured through any such product, such as bone-char refined white sugar or animal-tested baking soda.
- Raw veganism includes only fresh and uncooked fruit, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Vegetables can only be cooked up to a certain temperature.
- Sattvic or Yogic diet, a plant based diet which may also include dairy (not eggs) and honey, but excludes anything from the onion or leek family, red lentils, durian fruit, mushrooms, blue cheeses, fermented foods or sauces, alcoholic drinks and often also excludes coffee, black or green tea, chocolate, nutmeg or any other type of stimulant such as sharp spices or condiments.
- Buddhist vegetarianism. Different Buddhist traditions have differing teachings on diet, which may also vary for ordained monks and nuns compared to others. Many interpret the precept ‘not to kill’ to require abstinence from meat, but not all. In Taiwan, su vegetarianism excludes not only all animal products but also vegetables in the allium family (which have the characteristic aroma of onion and garlic): onion, garlic, scallions, leeks, chives, or shallots.
- Jain vegetarianism includes dairy but excludes eggs and honey, as well as root vegetables like onion, garlic, scallions, leeks, chives, or shallots.
Health Characteristics of a Vegetarian Diet
A well planned vegetarian diet has been proved to provide nutritional adequacy as well as health benefits and preventing disease through all stages of life. Multiple studies have demonstrated that ischemic heart disease mortality was 30 percent lower among vegetarian men and 20 percent lower among vegetarian women than in non-vegetarians. This is because vegetarian diets offer lower levels of animal protein, saturated fat and cholesterol, and higher levels of carbohydrates, magnesium, potassium, fiber, folate, and crucial antioxidants like vitamins C and E as well as phytochemicals. The distinction between genders is not explained.
Vegetarians tend to have lower BMI, lower levels of total and LDL cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower incidence of cardiac diseases, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, renal disease, metabolic failures, brain damage or dementias such as Alzheimer’s and other neuro disorders. They have fewer cases of cancers of the esophagus, lungs, colon and the liver. However, mortality rates from stomach cancer, cerebrovascular disease, colorectal cancer, prostate or breast cancer are the same for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Vegetarians went into depression at a lower rate and had better mood profiles. They were also less prone to osteoporosis, as they had greater bone mineral density and better bone formation.
Getting Adequate Nutrition As a Vegetarian or a Vegan
The more restrictive your diet, the more difficult it can be to get all the nutrients you need, since no single food can provide all the nutrients you need. With a little forethought, research and planning, you can ensure that your diet includes all that your body needs. Pay heed to these nutrients:
- Calcium: Calcium helps build and maintain strong teeth and bones, with milk and dairy foods very high in calcium. However, dark green vegetables, such as turnip and collard greens, kale and broccoli, are good plant sources when eaten in sufficient quantities. Calcium-enriched and fortified products, including juices, soy milk, soy yoghurt, cereals, and tofu, are other options.
- Iodine: Iodine is a component in thyroid hormones, which help regulate metabolism, growth and function of key organs. Vegans are at risk here of iodine deficiency and goiter. Adding just 1/4 teaspoon of iodized salt provides a significant amount of iodine.
- Iron: Iron (the non- industrial metal) is a crucial component of red blood cells. Dried beans and peas, lentils, enriched cereals, whole-grain products, dark leafy green vegetables and dried fruit are good sources of iron. But it is not easy to extract iron from vegetables, the intake of which doubles for vegetarians. Foods rich in vitamin C, such as strawberries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, cabbage and broccoli can act like catalysts.
- Omega-3: Omega-3 fatty acids are important for heart health. Diets without fish and eggs are generally low in active forms of omega-3 fatty acids. Canola oil, soy oil, walnuts, ground flaxseed and soybeans, soy, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, kiwifruit, hempseed, algae, chia seed, flaxseed, echium seed and leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, cabbage and purslane are good sources of essential fatty acids. Purslane contains more Omega 3 than any other known leafy green. Olives (and olive oil) are another important plant source of unsaturated fatty acids.
- Protein: Proteins help maintain healthy skin, bones, muscles and organs. Eggs and dairy products are excellent sources of protein. Complete proteins are found primarily in animal products and contain all of the 20 amino acids needed by the body. Incomplete proteins which are found mostly in fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts, contain some, but not all of the amino acids. Therefore, the amino acids missing from some foods must be eaten in other foods in order to enjoy a complete protein diet. You can get sufficient protein from plant-based foods like soy products and meat substitutes, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains, if you eat a lot of them throughout the day. Soy is a rich source of total and complete protein .
- Vitamins: Vitamin B-12 is necessary to produce red blood cells and prevent anemia and is found almost exclusively in animal products, so it can be difficult to get enough B-12 on a vegan diet. It is therefore important for vegans to consider vitamin supplements, vitamin-enriched cereals and fortified soy products.
- Vitamin D has an important role in bone health and prevents rickets. Vitamin D is found in milk and dairy products. Increase sun exposure as its rays shine ultraviolet B light on the skin, promoting vitamin D generation and look for a vitamin D supplement derived from plants.
- Zinc: Zinc is an essential component of many enzymes and plays a role in cell division and in formation of proteins. It is easily found in cheese, but difficult to absorb otherwise; plant sources of zinc include whole grains, soy products, legumes, nuts and wheat germ.
Nutritional Needs During Pregnancy And Breast Feeding
As a married woman, there comes a time when you want to become a mother. If you want a no-complications pregnancy and delivery, it’s a two way street. To optimize chances for a healthy pregnancy, a safe delivery and a healthy baby, you have to contribute your mite. You need to do some important things in preparation for conception.
Nutrition and Health Check Prior to Pregnancy
Visit your gynecologist: Get yourself thoroughly checked up. In your preconception checkup, your gynecologist will look through your individual and family medical history, your present health, and whether you are on any medications or supplements. This is essential as certain medications and supplements become unsafe for you or your fetus during pregnancy. You will have to switch before you conceive because they’re stored in your body’s fat and can linger there and need to fade away.
Your doctor will probably discuss the current ‘YOU’, i.e., your diet, weight, work schedule, exercise and detrimental habits you may have, like smoking and drinking and advise you accordingly. She’ll definitely prescribe folic acid for you. Intake of folic acid is crucial. Taking an adequate amount of folic acid (4-800 micrograms) a day for at least one month before you conceive and during your first trimester is essential. This amount varies with the structure of your body, i.e., height and BMI. It will cut your chances of having a baby with neural-tube defects such as spina bifida by 50 to 70 percent, apart from other birth defects.
Your days of binge drinking and smoking are over. Numerous studies the world over have shown that smoking or taking drugs can lead to miscarriage, premature birth, low-birth- weight babies or babies with congenital defects. Tobacco use can affect your fertility and lower your partner’s sperm count. Remember that traces of some drugs can stay within you even if there are no noticeable effects. Start now, before conception.
One drink a day is acceptable while you’re trying to conceive, but avoid binge drinking. Once pregnant, stop drinking altogether since no one is sure yet of potential harmful effects even small amounts of alcohol have on a developing baby. This is a test of will power-prove it. You can consult with counselors or join group programs to get rid of your bad habits.
You’re not ‘eating for two’ yet, but switch to nutritious food now so your body will be ready and fully stocked with the nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy. Try and eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables every day, as well as plenty of whole grains and foods that are high in calcium – like milk, calcium-fortified orange juice, and yoghurt. Eat a variety of protein sources, such as beans, nuts, seeds, soy products, poultry, and meats. Try and avoid caffeine, as excessive caffeine has been tenuously linked to a risk of miscarriage.
You may have an easier time conceiving if you’re at a healthy weight. Having a low or high body mass index (BMI) makes it harder for some women to become pregnant. Their pregnancy and delivery will carry risks as well. A high BMI could entail pregnancy or delivery complications; a low BMI means underweight babies.
Pay more attention to the fish you eat. While fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which are very important for your baby’s brain and eye development, protein, vitamin D, and other nutrients, it also contains mercury, which can be injurious. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that women of childbearing age not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish, and eat no more than 6 ounces (one serving) of solid white canned tuna per week. Once pregnant, eat up to 12 oz (two servings) a week of fish that are not high in mercury. Good choices include herring, farm-raised rainbow trout, salmon, and sardines.
Start and stick to a fitness plan now, and you’ll be rewarded with a healthy body that’s fit for pregnancy. If you haven’t been exercising, ease into an exercise routine. Start with something tame, like walking 10 to 20 minutes a day. Add more activity into your daily routine by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking your car a few blocks away from work. A healthy exercise program includes 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise, such as walking or cycling and weight training, on most days of the week. Try yoga. The gentle stretches can improve muscle tone and flexibility and help you to feel relaxed. Joining a class means you’ll meet other mums-to-be too! Once pregnant, avoid jogging, though it is not really harmful for the first four months. Walking for half an hour every day is fine.
Avoid infections when trying to get pregnant, especially those that could harm your baby-to-be. Desist from foods like unpasteurized soft cheeses and other dairy products, raw and under cooked poultry/fish and cold deli meats. These foods can harbor dangerous bacteria that cause listeriosis, a food-borne illness that can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth. You should also avoid unpasteurized juices because they can contain bacteria such as salmonella or E. coli.
Wash your hands frequently when preparing meals, and set your fridge between 35 and 40° degrees F (2 – 4° C) and your freezer is at or below 0° F (-18° C) to keep cold foods from going bad.
Hazards of use of recreational drugs during pregnancy:
|Alcohol||Fetal alcohol syndromeFetal alcohol spectrum disorder||Not established|
|Tobacco||Wide range of behavioral, neurological, and physical difficulties Twice the risk of premature rupture of membranes, placental abruption and placenta previa 30% higher odds of premature birth||Nil|
|Cocaine||Premature birth, birth defects and attention deficit disorder||Nil|
|Methamphetamine||Premature birth and congenital abnormalitiesSmall deficits in infant neurobehavioral function and growth restrictionLong-term effects in brain development||Nil|
|Cannabis||Growth restriction and lower birth weightAbnormal responses or behaviors in the newborn period||Nil|
Nutrition for Pregnant Women
Pregnant women need to eat a nutritious diet to keep themselves and the developing baby healthy. The need for some nutrients like folic acid, iron and iodine increases during pregnancy, and folic acid and iodine supplements are recommended before and after conception. A varied diet that includes the right amount of healthy foods from the five food groups generally provides our bodies with enough of each vitamin and mineral each day. However, pregnant women may need supplements of particular vitamins or minerals. Consult your doctor before taking supplements.
Weight gain during pregnancy: Steady weight gain during pregnancy is normal and important for the health of the mother and baby. However, it is also important not to gain too much weight. As a pregnant woman, a good approach would be to eat to satisfy your appetite and continue to monitor your weight. For women who are at a healthy weight, it is advised that you gain between 11.5 and 16 kg (25-35 lb). Underweight women may need to gain more weight, between 12.5 and 18 kg (27-40 lb). Overweight women should not start dieting or try to shed weight. It is, however, recommended for women who are overweight to gain less weight during pregnancy, between 6.5 and 11.5 kg (15-25 lb). Obese women should gain 4.5-9 kg (10-20 lb).
To maintain appropriate weight gain during pregnancy, it is important to choose healthy foods from the five food groups, and limit discretionary foods and drinks high in saturated fat, added sugars and added salt, such as cakes, biscuits and sugary drinks.
Healthy Eating: It is important to choose a wide variety of healthy foods to make sure that the nutritional needs of both mother and baby are met. You can eat well during pregnancy by:
- Enjoying a variety of fruits and vegetables of different types and colors.
- Increasing your intake of grain and cereal foods a day. Choose mostly wholegrain and high fiber options.
- Choosing foods that are high in iron, such as lean red meat or tofu. Iron-rich foods are important for pregnant women.
- Making a habit of drinking milk, and eating hard cheese, fromage frais and yoghurt, or calcium-enriched alternatives. Reduced-fat varieties are best.
- Drinking plenty of water (fluid needs are about 750 to 1,000 ml extra per day).
Foods and drinks that are high in saturated fat, added sugar and salt are not a necessary part of a healthy diet and should be limited.
Focus On Essential Nutrients: Folic Acid and Iodine
Good sources of folic acid: Fortified cereals are great sources of folic acid. Leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and dried beans and peas are good sources of naturally occurring folate.
|Food||Serving size||Folic acid content|
|Cereal||3/4 cup (15 to 60 g) ready-to-eat cereal||100 to 700 mcg — choose a cereal that’s 100 percent fortified|
|Spinach||1/2 cup (95 g) boiled spinach||115 mcg|
|Beans||1/2 cup (88 g) boiled Great Northern beans||90 mcg|
|Asparagus||4 boiled spears (60 g)||89 mcg|
|Oranges||1 orange (150 g)||52 mcg|
|Peanuts||1 ounce (28 g) dry roasted||41 mcg|
Iodine is an important mineral needed for the production of thyroid hormone, which is important for growth and development. Inadequate iodine intake during pregnancy increases the risk of mental impairment and cretinism in the newborn baby. Foods that are good sources of iodine include seafood and seaweed (including nori and kelp), eggs, meat and dairy products. Check the salt to see that it is iodized salt, which includes iodine. Avoid all other salts.
Calcium: You and your baby need calcium for strong bones and teeth. Calcium also helps your circulatory, muscular and nervous systems run normally. You need 1,000 milligrams a day; pregnant teenagers need 1,300 milligrams a day and good sources are dairy products, the best absorbed sources of calcium. Non-dairy sources include Sesame seeds, broccoli and kale. Many fruit juices and breakfast cereals fortified with calcium are also available.
|Food||Serving size||Calcium content|
|Cereal||1 cup (20 to 60 g) calcium-fortified ready-to-eat cereal||3 to 1,000 mg|
|Milk||1 cup (237 ml) skim milk||300 mg|
|Yogurt||6 oz. (170 g) low-fat fruit yogurt||235 mg|
|Cheese||1 oz. (28 g) part-skim mozzarella cheese||222 mg|
|Salmon||3 oz. (85 g) canned pink salmon with bones||181 mg|
|Spinach||1/2 cup (95 g) boiled spinach||145 mg|
|Juice||1 cup (237 mL) calcium-fortified orange juice||348 mg|
Vitamin D: Vitamin D also helps build your baby’s bones and teeth. You need 600 international units (IU) a day and good sources are fatty fish, such as salmon, a great source of vitamin D. Other options include fortified milk and orange juice.
|Food||Serving size||Vitamin D content|
|Fish||3 oz. (85 g) cooked sockeye salmon||447 IU|
|Juice||8 oz. (237 mL) calcium- and vitamin D-fortified orange juice||100 IU|
|Milk||1 cup (237 mL) skim milk||115 IU|
|Eggs||1 large hard-boiled egg (50 g)||44 IU|
Protein is crucial for your baby’s growth, especially during the second and third trimesters. You need 71 grams a day and good sources are lean meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Other options include dried beans and peas, tofu, dairy products, and peanut butter.
|Food||Serving size||Protein content|
|Cottage cheese||1 cup (226 g) low-fat, 1% milk cottage cheese||28 g|
|Poultry||3 oz. (86 g) boneless, skinless grilled chicken breast||26 g|
|Fish||3 oz. (85 g) canned pink salmon with bones||16.8 g|
|Lentils||1/2 cup (99 g) boiled lentils||8.9 g|
|Milk||1 cup (237 ml) skim milk||8.3 g|
|Peanut butter||2 T (32 g) smooth, vitamin- and mineral-fortified peanut butter||8.2 g|
|Eggs||1 large hard-boiled egg (50 g)||6.3 g|
Iron: Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen to your tissues. During pregnancy your blood volume expands to accommodate changes in your body and help your baby make his or her entire blood supply — doubling your need for iron. If you don’t get enough iron, you might become fatigued and more prone to infections. The risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight also might be higher. You need 27 milligrams a day and good sources are lean red meat, poultry and fish. Other options include iron-fortified breakfast cereals, beans and vegetables.
|Food||Serving size||Iron content|
|Cereal||3/4 cup (15 to 60 g) 100 percent iron-fortified quick oats||29.7 mg|
|Beans||1/2 cup (88.5 g) boiled kidney beans||2.9 mg|
|Spinach||1/2 cup (95 g) boiled spinach||1.9 mg|
|Meat||3 oz. (85 g) roasted lean beef tenderloin||2.6 mg|
|Poultry||3 oz. (85 g) roasted dark turkey||0.9 mg|
Prenatal vitamins typically contain iron. In some cases, your health care provider might recommend a separate iron supplement. The iron from animal products, such as meat, is most easily absorbed. To enhance the absorption of iron from plant sources and supplements, pair them with a food or drink high in vitamin C — such as orange juice, strawberries or tomato juice. If you take iron supplements with orange juice, avoid the calcium-fortified variety. Although calcium is essential during pregnancy, it can cause a decrease in iron absorption.
If you were to look for a diet supplementary pill in isolation, it should have the following:
- 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid.
- 400 IU of vitamin D.
- 200 to 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium.
- 70 mg of vitamin C.
- 3 mg of thiamine.
- 2 mg of riboflavin.
- 20 mg of niacin.
- 6 mcg of vitamin B12.
- 10 mg of vitamin E.
- 15 mg of zinc.
- 17 mg of iron.
- 150 micrograms of iodine
No Need to Eat For Two When Pregnant
During pregnancy, both you and your growing baby need extra nutrients, so eating healthy foods from the five food groups is important. Your body becomes more efficient when you’re pregnant, and makes even better use of the energy you get from your food. During the first trimester, a woman’s energy intake should remain about the same as it was prior to the pregnancy, which means that extra food is not required.
During the second and third trimester, your energy needs of pregnant women will increase. It is recommended that you increase your intake of grain foods by 15 percent per day and lean meats and alternatives by 25 percent per day. You could try a wholegrain sandwich with fillings such as roast beef, hard-boiled egg, tinned fish, hummus, a small bowl of pasta with meat or bean sauce or a small bowl of stir-fried rice with tofu. Options are a slice of wholemeal toast with a small can of baked beans; a toasted pitta bread with two tablespoons of reduced-fat hummus; a slice of malt loaf or fruit scone with butter or spread one slice of cheese on toast.
Your appetite is your best guide of how much food you need to eat. You may find your appetite fluctuates throughout your pregnancy. In the first few weeks your appetite may fall away dramatically and you may not feel like eating proper meals, especially if you have nausea or sickness. During the middle part of your pregnancy your appetite may be the same as before you were pregnant or slightly increased. Towards the end of your pregnancy your appetite will probably increase. If you suffer from heartburn or a full feeling after eating you may find it helpful to have small, frequent meals. The best rule to remember is to eat when you are hungry. Have a good balance of foods every day and you will gain weight steadily as your baby grows.
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
There are some foods that you must avoid during pregnancy, because they could be unsafe for your baby:
- Cheese with a white, mouldy rind, such as brie and camembert, and blue-veined cheeses such as roquefort. All these could contain listeria, a bacteria that could harm your baby.
- Pate, and raw or under cooked meat and eggs. All are possible sources of bacteria that can harm your unborn baby. When cooking meat and eggs, make sure they are cooked properly.
- Raw seafood, such as oysters and sushi.
- Shark, swordfish or marlin. These fish contain unsafe levels of naturally occurring mercury. Tuna contains some mercury too, so it’s best you don’t eat more than four medium-sized cans, or two fresh tuna steaks per week.
- Don’t eat liver and liver products (such as pate or liver sausage), because they may contain large amounts of the retinol form of vitamin A. Too much of this could be harmful to your developing baby.
- Give alcohol a miss, if only for your baby.
Trimester-wise Pregnancy Meal Plans
A list of 12 meal plans has been prepared to help you have a healthy pregnancy. There are four planners for each trimester, giving you lots of choice. Each planner features a variety of delicious dishes and handy tips that are just right for you at your stage of pregnancy. You can get a fair idea of what is required of you.
Diet for a Healthy Breast Feeding Mother
As a mother, breast feeding is a normal stage in your reproductive life, where all your diet needs to be is healthy, balanced, and adequate. Breast feeding usually gives you a big appetite. The best diet for a breast feeding mother is a healthy diet as described all along, with a small rider. You do need extra calories and the quantity depends on your constitution, how much body fat you have and how active you are. If you were in good shape before pregnancy, you should eat about 200 calories more than what you ate during pregnancy and these calories, as always, should come from nutritious foods.
You would have probably gained 11.5 and 16 kg (25-35 lb) during the term and lost about 6-7 kg during delivery and the immediate post-partum days. The extra weight you retain is partly consumed in creating milk. You will usually lose 0.5-1 kg per week (1 to 2 pounds) which is a good rate, counterbalanced partly by your increased calorie intake. You should start moderate exercise about six weeks after delivery and get your figure to perhaps a couple of kg heavier than where it was. These extra kg will disappear naturally as you continue breast feeding. If you want and get your hourglass figure back at the earliest, you will join the cohorts of those mothers who do not breast feed their babies beyond a month or so.
|Eat two to three servings of protein each day. A serving is equal to 3 to 4 oz of meat, fish or poultry. Your best sources are:||A good daily intake of calcium for breast-feeding mothers is 1,300 mg per day. One cup of milk or yogurt contains 300 milligrams of calcium. Your attending doctor will advise you best, looking at you regularly.||If you are 18 or younger, you should get 10 mg of iron per day. 19 year olds or older need 9 mg. Your limitation on mercury tainted fish stays.||You need slightly more vitamin C than during pregnancy. If you are 18 or younger, you need 115 mg of vitamin C per day. If over 19, you need 120 mg per day.|
|Lean meat||Milk||Lean meat||Citrus fruits|
|Eggs||Calcium-fortified orange juice||Dried beans||Potato|
|Cheese||Calcium-fortified tofu||Dried fruit||Bell pepper|
|Milk and yogurt||Tomato|
- Vitamins and Minerals: Breast-feeding mothers need to take some sort of daily multivitamin that contains 100 percent of the recommended dietary allowance. You can continue with your prenatal vitamin or mineral supplement, but reduce iron by half. Ensure that it contains 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D, since breastfed babies get vitamin D from breast milk. However, if you didn’t take a vitamin D supplement in pregnancy and are breastfeeding, your baby may need to have daily vitamin D drops from when he’s a month old.
- Liquids: While breast-feeding you should have a glass of water each time you nurse your baby. That should bring your total water intake to 8 cups of water each day. In addition to water, other good liquids are juice, milk, broths, herbal teas and soups. Exercise and high temperatures will increase your need for liquids. Therefore, drink even more water if you are active or it is hot. Limit caffeinated foods and beverages, such as coffee and tea to two cups a day.
- Vegetarian mothers: If you are a vegetarian mother, you need to include vitamin B12 in your diet in some way. Many vegetarians use a supplement for their vitamin B12 intake. Research has shown that milk produced by vegetarian women has lower levels of environmental contaminants than that of other women. These substances are stored principally in the fatty tissues of the body, and vegetarian diets tend to contain less fats than diets with more animal products. Check with your doctor first.
- Weaning your baby: It’s best to give your baby nothing but breast milk for the first six months of her life. After that, you can start to give her different foods, as well as breast milk, gradually reducing her dependency on your milk. In another 4-6 months, she’ll be getting all the nutrients she needs from food. So this is when you can stop breastfeeding altogether. This is called weaning your baby from your breast. You can phase out breastfeeding before your baby is a year old, but you’ll need to give her formula milk instead. You can combine breast milk and formula as you ease your baby through the transition.
- Others: It is difficult to overfeed your baby with breast milk as they stop sucking when full. The linked video gives some tips. Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking. Alcohol passes through your breast milk to your baby. Drinking more than 125 ml a day while you are breastfeeding may reduce your milk supply, and even affect your baby’s development.
Safe Practices for Formula Feeding
Baby formula is available in three forms: ready-to-feed, concentrated liquid and powder. Ready-to-feed is used “as is.” Concentrated liquid and powder must be mixed with water according to instructions on the label. Ready-to-feed and concentrated liquid baby formulas are commercially sterile; powdered formulas are not. When your baby starts eating solid foods, neither breastfeeding nor infant formula should be discontinued during the first year of life.
Since many types of formula are available in the market, so get advice. First, ask your Doctor for a recommendation and discuss it. Read and follow the instructions on the label. Infants have a higher rate of many foodborne illnesses than adults. It takes less bacteria (germs) to make an infant, with a low immunity system, sick than it does for an adult.
Making Powdered Formula
- Wash your hands with water and soap.
- Measure the amount of water needed to mix formula properly.
- If using tap water, heat water to 65°C/149°F for at least one minute.
- Otherwise, use sterile bottled water. Not all bottled water is sterile. It will be stated the label.
- Let water cool; you do not want to scald your baby. Also, formula can clump together if added to hot water.
- Measure and mix powder with water. Always follow measurement instructions on formula label.
- Make sure the milk is cool. Burns are very painful and stressful for your baby.
- Transfer mixed formula to a clean, sanitized bottle.
- You are ready to feed your infant!
- Discard any formula left at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
Note 1: Do NOT store leftover formula from a feeding—always discard formula left in the bottle after two hours.
2. Wash baby bottles with hot soapy water and rinse with hot water or wash baby bottles in a dishwasher. Bottles and nipples can also be boiled to sterilize them before use. Bottles should always be clean before you reuse them.
Nutrition for the Preschool Years
Ages 2 through 5, or the early childhood years, are your baby’s preschool years. Preschoolers grow quickly—both physically and cognitively. Your short chubby toddler who could barely talk quickly becomes a taller, leaner child who talks seventeen to the dozen. During early childhood, development is integrated, with social, biological and psychological changes occurring in this period being interrelated.
- Physical changes: In these years, a child becomes stronger and starts to look longer and leaner. As the child’s trunk and limbs grow longer, the abdominal muscles form, tightening the appearance of the stomach. Even at this early stage of life, boys tend to have more muscle mass than girls.
- Cognitive development: At this stage, children become able to think and reason. They learn their letters, numbers and colors. Development of the brain and nervous system is dramatic. Most of a child’s neurons, or cells that make up nerves, form prenatally. Other cells nourish and insulate the neurons develop very rapidly, starting during infancy and continuing through these years, increasing the efficiency of your child’s neurons rapidly.Encourage safe exploration and offer a variety of things to play with, read, create, and build, ensuring that basic measures are in place to minimize risks. Children who are curious enough to explore learn to master new skills and solve problems. It is crucial at this juncture to instill a sense of security, laying the foundation for learning, social skills, adaptability, and emotional development. Your child is more likely to feel safe and secure if you are dependable, consistent and responsive and will respond by showing strong attachment to you.
- Motor skills: Motor skills are physical abilities. Gross motor skills, like running, jumping, skipping, hopping, throwing, balancing, turning, dressing /undressing themselves and dancing require large bodily movements. Fine motor skills, like tying shoelaces, writing, drawing and holding a pencil correctly call for small body movements.
- Emotional and social development: In this period, children slowly learn how to manage their feelings. Provide peer contact. Playing with other children gives your child opportunities to practice and develop important social, emotional, and language skills. Be patient during this phase of behavioral and emotional struggles of your child who is confused by external inputs from new associations. Guide your child by modeling and teaching proper behavior. Encourage your child to think about the feelings of other people to develop empathy. Help your child build self-esteem using positive strokes. He will display these characteristics:
- Seek out same-sex friends
- Prefer children over adults
- Enjoy performing for others
- Whisper and has secrets
- Respond to blame and praise
- Can be bossy
- Becomes competitive
- Enjoy helping at home, with tasks such as watering plants, picking up toys.
- Language: By age 2, most children can say at least 50 words. By 5, a child may know 3-400 hundred words and carry on conversations or tell stories. Read to your child at every age, exposing your child to the sounds and rhythm of language. Help your child talk with others. Listening to and talking with other children and adults helps a child to understand and use language.
- Kindergarten: Most children start kindergarten at 4½-5 years. If your child is normal, can interact with other children, follow directions, recite the alphabet and the numbers 0 to 20, recognize errors in their order, write his/her first and last name with uppercase and lowercase letters, etc., he/she is ready for Kindergarten.
Parents definitely have only the best plans in mind when feeding their children. But today’s lifestyles are so busy that they don’t find enough time for buying groceries, planning a meal or cooking it. They are probably unaware of what healthy food is, its ingredients and how to cook them. They might rely on pre-cooked off the shelf foods as the datum for meals. For children, this is a learning curve and they tend to be choosy. Small wonder that our children aren’t eating the foods that are best for them.
Younger children tend to shy away from many foods. Children could be finicky about how their food tastes, its temperature and consistency. Getting kids to down their vegetables could really test your patience. Most kids love tasty foods that tend to be high calorie; these foods are inexpensive, freely available and most convenient to devour- ‘junk foods’.
You must demonstrate to your kids what healthy eating means, and eat at fixed mealtimes. If at all possible, take your kids along when shopping for food and preparing it. Children tend to accept healthy foods if offered regularly. Lead them to vegetables through fruits. Keep fresh fruit readily available and or place crunchy vegetables in your fridge. Recurring exposure to fresh crunchy vegetables may encourage your kids to try these new foods, particularly if they have been with you when you bought them. Ensure that you eat some new food and say you relish it a couple of times. As your child realizes you were eating something new and giving it a thumbs-up rating, she will relax and learn that eating something that is new and if it can happen to her mother, it’s obviously part of everyday life.
You could try a different approach to increase vegetables intake. Add the vegetables to familiar food. Add cooked or pureed vegetables to pasta sauce, boosting nutrition while decreasing overall calorie count. Add cooked vegetables to soups, stews, meat loaves and casseroles, increasing nutrition and overall flavor.
Proper snacking is okay for growing children, so add well-chosen snacks to keep up with nutritional needs. If snacking turns into sugary or salt laden empty-calorie foods, change to fruits, nuts, yogurt, vegetables or a low-fat pudding.
Beware of the “just one bite” syndrome. This approach may work with more open and compliant children; on the other hand, it may worsen the frame of mind of those who have an intense fear of new foods and textural sensitivities. With no pressure to eat or try new foods, children usually relax and start exploring more. When you see these signs of innate curiously in foods, gently encourage your child to try a tiny bit of everything you have on your plate. Be prepared to take “no” for an answer and back off immediately if the food is refused. Pressuring, bribing and threatening your child to try a new food will rebound on you.
Some other methods are listed below:
- Remain calm. Even if you’re worried about a finicky eater, try to at least fake a carefree front. Make the dinner table one of your family’s happiest places.
- Don’t allow snacks closer than two hours before dinner. A hungrier kid is more willing to try something new.
- Don’t insist that they eat an entire serving.
- A huge list of foods for kids and other related innovations are listed here.
- Spin off proven favorites. Any time you have success with one item, replicate it somewhere else, e.g., turn pumpkin spice muffins into carrot spice muffins.
Healthy Snack Foods for Preschoolers
|Banana and yogurt||banana||low fat yogurt|
|Whole grain pita pocket with ricotta cheese and apple slices||apple slices||whole grain pita pocket||low fat ricotta cheese|
|Trail mix||dried fruit||cereal||nuts|
|Frozen yogurt on two graham crackers and add sliced banana||sliced banana||graham crackers||low fat frozen yogurt|
|Low fat vanilla yogurt with crunchy granola and blueberries.||blueberries||crunchy granola||low fat vanilla yogurt|
|Snack kebabs of low fat cheese and grapes on pretzel sticks.||grapes||low fat cheese|
|Waffle cone with cut-up fruit and low fat vanilla yogurt||cut-up fruit||waffle cone||low fat vanilla yogurt||Waffle cone with cut-up fruit and low fat vanilla yogurt|
|Flour tortilla with a slice of turkey or ham, low fat cheese and lettuce.||lettuce||flour tortilla||low fat cheese||turkey or ham|
|Dried cranberries and chopped walnuts in instant oatmeal.||dried cranberries||instant oatmeal||chopped walnuts|
Healthy foods to serve as mix and match: Mix and match to easily make a snack made up of at least two food groups.
Feeding Your Preschooler – Age 4 to 5 Years
Nutrition during preschool years is important for kids’ growth and learning and to provide energy for high activity levels. Your preschooler is now able to feed him/herself and can try a wide variety of foods. Always offer different choices for your child to eat. Offer new textures, colors, and tastes. Make food appealing and fun for your child. Your child should be eating from each of the FIVE food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, and meat.
What You Shouldn’t Feed Your Preschooler
- Be careful with foods that may cause choking:
- Slippery foods such as whole grapes; large pieces of meats, poultry, and hot dogs; candy and cough drops.
- Small, hard foods such as nuts, seeds, popcorn, chips, pretzels, raw carrots, and raisins, dry flake cereal, raw celery, whole olives, cherries with pits, raw peas, raw peeled apple and pear slices, cherry tomatoes, hot dogs and whole kernel corn.
- Sticky foods such as peanut butter and marshmallows.
Cut up foods into small pieces and watch your child while he or she is eating. Moreover, your child may have some food allergies, the most common being milk, eggs, peanuts and other nuts, soybeans, wheat, fish, and shellfish. Many children grow out of food allergies. If you think your child might have a food allergy, talk with your doctor to be sure.
How to Cope With Feeding a Fussy Eater
Fussy eating is a normal phase in your toddler’s development. It will get better with time. The first thing to remember is that you should not get anxious about mealtimes. Leave him/her be, your toddler will take in just enough calories for his own needs. Just ensure that your toddler’s diet is healthy, as it should be. And try not to fret too much about what your toddler eats at a single meal, or in a single day. Instead, think about what your toddler eats over a week. Moreover, if he feels hungry, he will let you know.
Many toddlers experience a fear of new foods, which makes them reluctant to try what looks like new foods to them. Most children experience this phobia around the age of two. Rest assured that it’s a phase that will pass. Your child needs time to understand that those strange foods on his plate are safe and good fun to eat. Watching you and others eating those foods will give him confidence. You should see to it that your toddler plays a lot and gets plenty of exercise. That will increase his appetite for food.
Make Mealtime a Family Time
Family meals allow your preschooler to focus on his food and give you a chance to display good eating behavior. Start eating meals together as a family when your kids are young. This way, it becomes a habit to get together over a meal. Focus on the meal and each other. Turn off the television and ban phone calls or texts for that period. Talk about fun and happy things. Try to make meals a stress-free time. Encourage your child to try foods. But, don’t lecture or force your child to eat. Let your difficult toddler see the fun and laughter at the table.
Involve your child in conversation. Ask questions not related to food, but to games and exercise. Have your child help you get ready to eat. Depending on age, your child may be able to help by turning off the TV and removing books and other irrelevant items away. He can later hand out napkins. Make him comfortable and ask if there is anything special he would like for say, dinner the next day. Offer new foods one at a time, and remember that children may need to try a new food 10-17 times before they accept it! Also, offer new foods at the start of meals when your child is more hungry. Give small portions. Toddlers can be overwhelmed by big platefuls and lose their appetite. If your toddler finishes his small portion, praise him and offer him more.
Offer finger foods as often as possible. Allow your toddler to touch his food, play with it if he wants to, and make a mess at mealtimes. Toddlers enjoy having the control of feeding themselves with finger foods. Work out a daily routine of meals and two or three snacks around your child’s daytime sleep pattern. Toddlers thrive on routine and knowing what to expect. Limit mealtimes to 30 minutes and wait for the next snack or meal and offer some nutritious foods then. Most toddlers eat whatever they are going to eat within the first 30 minutes.
Make food simple, plain, and recognizable. Enlist the support of your entire family and ask them to lay off your difficult toddler about his phobia but encourage him by example. Tell your elder child or husband to gasp when they see a dish that the picky kid is eyeing a dish disdainfully and go, “Oooh, my favorite. Thanks mom-hey please pass the bowl.” This video may help.
Food Safety Tips For Young Children
Out of every six Americans, one is sickened by food poisoning each year. What is not revealed is that out of these Americans who fall prey to food poisoning, less than five percent are first generation immigrants, particularly Asians and that less than 10 percent are second generation immigrants’ children. That simply shows that such immigrants have a higher immunity level.
Anyone can get food poisoning, but babies, toddlers and even preschoolers are at especially high risk and once they become infected, recovery can take time and give the sick children a hard time getting well. Infants and young children are most prone to food poisoning because their immune systems aren’t strong enough to fight foodborne infections. According to the CDC, very young children experience a higher rate of hospitalization due to foodborne infection than that of children over age 3. The solution is simple− handle and prepare food when feeding young children safely.
When feeding young children, always avoid:
- Unpasteurized milk or any unpasteurized dairy products
- Raw or partially cooked eggs or foods containing raw eggs
- Raw or undercooked meat, poultry, fish or shellfish
- Unpasteurized juices
- Raw sprouts
Start solids at 4 to 6 months. Up until then, your baby’s digestive system can’t handle anything besides breast milk or formula. But don’t wait too much to start, or your baby may get addicted to her liquid diet and lose interest in learning how to chew and swallow solid foods. Avoid cereals in the bottle; your baby doesn’t need the extra calories that it adds to formula − unless your pediatrician advises it.
- Always start with rice cereal; it’s unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction, but there’s no reason you can’t begin with other foods like pureed meat or applesauce.
- Offer veggies before fruit. If you want to, offer fruit first. There’s no evidence that babies won’t like veggies if they’ve already had fruit.
- Shy away from meat. Research shows that babies who eat meat earlier have a higher intake of zinc and iron, two nutrients important for growth. Start with pureed chicken.
- Serve bland food. Babies should learn to enjoy plain fruits and veggies, but running mildly spicy ravioli through the baby food mill is okay too.
Never feed a baby food out of the jar because this method causes self-induced poisoning. Mild and safe bacteria from your baby’s spoon go into the jar, grow in the jar to poisonous strength and your baby is poisoned. Always decant baby food from the jar into a separate feeding dish and spoon feed from the clean dish.
Throw away all uneaten food from the dish. Cap and refrigerate (to 4°C/40°F or lower) open jars of baby food that you haven’t tainted with your child’s saliva. You can save opened strained fruits for two to three days, strained meats for one day and vegetable and meat combinations for two days.
Handling Child’s Foods During A Power Outage
During power outages, foods that are kept in the refrigerator or freezer can begin to spoil. If the food has begun to thaw but still has ice crystals (food temperature is at 4°C/40°F or below) than you can still refreeze it. In a long outage, foods may begin to spoil. Your nose and taste buds may not help you detect bad food and if there is a baby in the house, start discarding that food. The chart below is a handy aid.
Holiday Diet – Have Fun During the Holidays
Keep the focus on fun, not food. Most holidays are associated with certain foods. Christmas at your house might not be the same without your aunt’s mixed bean casserole, but that doesn’t mean food has to be the main focus. Instead, enjoy the rituals a holiday brings, whether it’s caroling or tree trimming.
Modify your meal times to match with your relatives’. Do your in-laws’ meal schedules fly in the face of yours? Let’s say they are late risers and have breakfast at 10:30. Then they skip lunch and start Christmas ‘dinner’ at 5 pm. To keep yourself going, have an early-morning snack (such as a piece of whole-grain toast) before your relatives rise and shine. Their late breakfast then becomes your ‘real’ breakfast, plus some of your lunch. Enjoy the late meal in moderation and have a small snack around 8 pm.
Indulge in only the most special holiday treats. Skip the cookies at Christmas, but do sample treats that are homemade and special to your family, such as your wife’s special. Just don’t completely deprive yourself on festive days – your willpower will eventually snap, and you’ll end up overeating.
Stay physically active during the holidays. You will gain less weight over the years. A study conducted by the U.S. government found adults gained, on average, more than a pound of body weight during the winter holidays – and that they could not shed that weight the following year. People who reported the most physical activity through the holiday season showed the least weight gain. Some even managed to lose weight.
Stock the freezer with healthy meals. You’re going to be overly busy during the holidays, and you want to spend time shopping, decorating, or seeing friends and family, which leaves less time to cook healthy meals. Cooking those meals well ahead of time and stow them in the freezer. You’ll be thankful later when you suddenly find time.
If you and your kids are going out for a holiday party, then:
- Feed your children – and yourself – a light meal or snack before going to a holiday party. It’s harder to avoid overeating when you’re overly hungry.
- Set a good example for children by eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with meals or as snacks.
- Offer to bring a healthy, low-calorie dish to holiday parties so you’ll know that at least one healthy item will be available.
- Teach your children to eat smaller portions of food, especially at a buffet, where they may want to try everything. Help them choose the items they want to try the most, and eat a small portion of each.
- Sodas and other sweet drinks contain a lot of calories and many contain caffeine. For a healthier version of “soda” mix 100% fruit juice with club soda or seltzer.
Stay Safe While Preparing the Holiday Meals
The holiday season will be here before you know it, which means fancy foods and feasts, the mob of friends and family and shopping for all the food. Turkeys, hams, homemade salads and fruity desserts are all waiting to be whipped up and consumed. What you can least afford is food poisoning. It’s not only your kids that need safeguarding- it’s also you and the mob.
Practice safe food-handling habits every day and also during the holidays ensures a healthier celebration. The Institute of Food Technologists suggests:
- When purchasing your holiday meal at the store, pick up your frozen turkey or ham last before checking out and driving home. As soon as you get home, put it in the freezer.
- To thaw, never leave a frozen turkey on the counter, which leads to higher bacterial growth. Instead, place the covered turkey in a shallow pan on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator, or if time is limited, place the plastic-wrapped turkey in a pan of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the bird thaws.
- Never place the meat directly on the counter to avoid cross contamination. Clean and sanitize the counter, cutting boards and your hands while handling raw foods. Keep clean dishes and utensils on hand and do not reuse plates that were used for raw meats.
- Use a separate thermometer to check the meat temperature, versus the pop-up thermometer included with the product. Thermometers are inexpensive and easy to use. When the temperature reaches a minimum of 74° C/165° F, the turkey should be done – or 63°C/145° F for beef veal and lamb, or 71° C/ 160° F for pork and ground meat. Make sure you sanitize and clean the end of the thermometer between uses.
- Before serving, keep hot foods in the oven (set at 93°C/200° F to 121°C/ 250° F) or cold foods in the refrigerator until serving time to keep them at a safe temperature for a longer period of time.
- Refrigerate leftovers immediately after the meal is finished. Any food sitting out at room temperature for more than two hours should be discarded. Separate leftovers into smaller containers, which allow the food to cool down more quickly and lessen the chance for bacteria to multiply.
If you have got so far, do you still think you’re leading a healthy lifestyle, apart from the occasional step across the line? Actually, very few adults actually meet the criteria for a healthy lifestyle according to an American study. Less than 10 percent of males made it to the tape and females scored slightly better than men.
Remember is that you and only you can change or make a difference in your physical and mental health and well-being. Take control of your life, and be mindful of small behavior changes that can make your lifestyle healthier.
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- Whole Grains 101 | The Whole Grains Council
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- Vegetable – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Health Benefits of Garlic
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- Fruit – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- 10 Reasons To Eat Fruit
- The Major Rule for Eating Fruit
- List of culinary fruits – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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- 9 Ways to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables – Healthy Eating Center – Everyday Health
- Nutrition for Everyone: Fruits and Vegetables | DNPAO | CDC
- Health Benefits of Cranberries
- Health Benefits of Blueberries
- Health Benefits of Citrus Fruit
- Protein (nutrient) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Protein – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- 7 Benefits of Eating Walnuts | Walnut’s Nutrition
- Nuts, especially walnuts, have both antioxidant quantity and efficacy and exhibit significant potential health benefits – California Walnuts
- Chickpeas – Best Vegan and Vegetarian Protein Sources – Health.com
- UMIM: Healing Foods Pyramid | University of Michigan Health System
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- Bean – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Beans: Protein-Rich Superfoods
- Baked beans – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Food Facts & Trivia: Beans, Green
- Why Oils Are Important in Healthy Diet | LIVESTRONG.COM
- Oil – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Physical Activity for Everyone: Guidelines: Children | DNPAO | CDC
- Physical Activity: Why should I be more active?
- Physical Activity for Everyone: Guidelines: Adults | DNPAO | CDC
- Exercise intensity: How to measure it – Mayo Clinic
- Physical Activity for Everyone: Videos | DNPAO | CDC
- Exercise intensity: How to measure it – Mayo Clinic
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- How Do I Accurately Track My Weight and Fat Loss?
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- Stay Safe While Preparing the Holiday Meals – IFT.org
- Feeding Your Preschooler – Ages 4 to 5 Years
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- How to cope with feeding a fussy toddler – BabyCentre
- How to handle food safely during a power outage.
- Frozen Food and Power Outages: When to Save and When to Throw Out | FoodSafety.gov
- Food Safety for Families
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): History, Benefits, Coverage, Laws, Special Rules, Definitions, Health Conditions, Enforcement and more.
- History of FMLA
- Job Benefits and Protection
- Same Sex FMLA
- Can an employer provide more generous leave policies?
- State Family Medical Leave and Parental Leave Laws
- Special Rules Applicable to Employees of Eligible Employee
- Leave Type Definitions
- Medical Leave for Employee with Serious Health Condition (All Employees) / Chronic Conditions
- Intermittent leave or reduced work schedule
- Advance Notice and Medical Certification
- Unlawful Acts by Employers
- What are the penalties for an employer who violates the FLA?
- State Family Medical Leave and Parental Leave Laws
History of FMLA
The Family and Medical Leave Act, an important piece of social and employment legislation, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Enriched by subsequent legislations and amendments like the National Defense Authorization Act (2008) signed by President George Bush which expanded the original law to include the qualifying exigency leave and the military caregiver leave for families with members in the military service and airline crew. (www.wagehour.dol.gov FMLA Military). New FMLA regulations issued by the Department of Labor (2009/2011) provide new guidelines for the improved legal compliance by employers (http://topics.hrhero.com/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla/). The FMLA has benefitted more than 100 million employees in the last 20 years of its existence to reconcile the demands of work and sustaining healthy and vibrant family life (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA 37).
Moreover, its implementation is managed by the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division and is supplemented by state laws and enriched and modified by Industry inputs from business and education.
Recent findings show that the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act needs to be refined, enriched and. expanded to realize the full benefits of this legislation.
- Findings on this bill show that there is a need to improve the capacity of family members to perform caregiving tasks with the help of adequate resources and infrastructures including wage replacement for unpaid leave, adequate safeguards against sex discrimination and support in the event of employer violations.
These issues and concerns are addressed in the proposed House Bill 3712 which seeks to empower more employees with paid leaves for caregiving. Researches show that many qualified employees incur financial difficulties during leaves or cannot afford to avail of FMLA. Additional findings show that there is an increasing number of working parents today. The imperatives to strengthen families with better rearing of children and care-giving for seriously ill members, to evolve policies that support family and employment need to be formulated, and to eliminate discriminatory practices rooted in sex and gender are pressing concerns in the country today (www.cornell.edu/uscode/text/29/chapter-28/).
Employees might take a full leave
The main benefit of the FMLA is a maximum leave (“taking time off) without pay for 12 weeks without diminution in employment status or compensation or benefits (ie health insurance, retirement, or life insurance) (http://hr.commerce.gov/Employees/Leave/DEV01_005926).
Will I get paid while I’m on FMLA leave?
Since, FMLA leaves are not paid, those on leave do not receive compensation for their work as regular employees but may use their sick and vacation and other paid leaves (and other forms of LWOP) deductible from the allowable 12 weeks FMLA depending on the company policy and the agreed arrangement between the employee applicant and the company.
In summary, the FMLA guarantees and protects the employee’s conditions and terms of employment, his/her status and position and compensation (www.wagehour.dolgov fact sheet #28; http://hr.commerce.gov/Employees/Leave/DEV01_005926;
http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA7; www.hrweb.mit.edu/fmla/what-fmla/ ; http://www.ehow.com/about_6531217_history-fmla-act.html; http://www.bu.edu/hr/policies/federal-and-state-laws/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla/;http://www.bu.edu/hr/policies/federal-and-state-laws/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla/).
What are an employee’s return-to-work rights under the FLA?
FMLA, basically, grants employees time to care for family members (including children, parents, spouse, or, in certain instances, next of kin) who are seriously ill, newborn babies, adopted children, veterans or wounded military family member, or the deployment of a member of the family into the military service, or personal illness of the employee-FMLA qualified applicant (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA1; www.dol.gov/whd/fmla military; www.hrweb.mit.edu/fmla/what-fmla/ ; http://www.bu.edu/hr/policies/federal-and-state-laws/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla/).
Same Sex FMLA
- Clearly, in states recognizing same sex marriage, spouse may take a leave to care for his/her partner or for a child for whom they provide a home or financial support or a parent (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA 4/17/20/23; www.dol.gov/whd/fmla ).
- Domestic and Civil union partners are not covered by FMLA for leave for spouses unless their state of residence allows this expansion of FMLA (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA20).
- The Department of Labor proposes that legally married same-sex couples might qualify for FMLA regardless of their state of residence (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA20).
- An employee of same-sex parents may take leave to take care of the parent regardless of biological or legal recognition (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA 23; www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/).
Can an employer provide more generous leave policies?
The FMLA, like all other legislations worldwide, provide the minimum possible benefits. Health insurance, retirement, and life insurance are normally retained by employers for employees under FMLA. Nothing should prevent more states or generous and magnanimous employers from augmenting existing provisions of the federal law which might benefit, enhance the morale. and/or inspire the work performance their employees. Moreover, human resource offices/employment contracts/ collective bargaining agreements of establishments institutions help in the maximum generous application of the FMLA and related legislation (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA59).
State Family Medical Leave and Parental Leave Laws
State laws provide support and enrich the existing FMLA legislation. The decrease of the requirements for number of employees of establishments has been adopted by many states: ie. 25 employees for Oregon, including organ donation, and the District of Columbia, 30 or more public employees for Rhode Island, parental leave only 10 for Vermont and 21 or more for Minnesota including organ donation), family and medical leave (Vermont 15 employees), the District of Columbia, 20 employees.
The definition of family has been expanded by some states which applies to the original FMLA:
- the inclusion of domestic partner (California, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island)
- Civil union partner (Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, Rhode Island)
- Parent-in-law (Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin)
- Domestic Partner’s child (California, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island for state employees)
- grandparent (Hawaii, Oregon), Step-parent (New jersey), grandparent-in-law (Hawaii)
- grandchild (Oregon)
- step and adopted relations (Maryland)
- relatives by blood, legal custody, marriage, loco parentis, members of one’s household (District of Columbia)
Other states have expanded FMLA to include:
- organ donations (Connecticut, Maine, Maryland)
- death of service member (Maine)
- non serious injury and the illness of a child (Oregon)
- children’s school activities (California, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont), medical visits (Massachusetts, Vermont)
- problems of domestic violence, including sex-related violations (Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois)
Some educational institutions have supplemented existing FMLA provisions by allowing the application of this law to include all members of a qualified employee’s household and the accrued leave to cover for the sickness of the employee and accidents. (http://www.bu.edu/hr/policies/federal-and-state-laws/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla/).
Special provisions also cover employees of educational institutions and schools focused on reduced leave and/or intermittent leave occurring at a critical period of the academic year (www.wagehour.dol.gov Fact Sheet #28).
How long must an employee work for an employer to qualify for FLA leave?
- Employees may apply if their employers have 50 or more employees within the 20 work weeks during the current year and manage a business located on sites within a 75 mile radius.
- Public agencies, public and private elementary and secondary school grant FMLA regardless of the number of employees (www.wagehour.dol.gov Fact Sheet #28).
- The employee must have worked in this establishment for at least 12 months for at least 1250 hours during the last year.
- The applicant must take the leave to care for a family member (parents, children, spouse, or next of kin) who is seriously ill (family leave) or for personal illness (medical leave) (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA3; www.hrweb.mit.edu/fmla/what-fmla/ ).
- Qualifying exigency leaves given to qualified employees to care for a wounded member of the military establishment is 15 days or 26 weeks in the case of serious illness (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA 5; www.wagehour.dol.gov Fact Sheet #28).
Special Rules Applicable to Airline Flight Crew Employees
Airline crew who has worked for 504 (or 60%) of total minimum guaranteed work time in the last 12 months can avail of the FMLA (www.wagehour.dol.gov Fact Sheet #28/28J; http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html).
Leave Type Definitions
- Pregnancy, Physically Giving Birth, and Care of Well Newborn Child (Female Employee)
- Care of Well Newborn Child Born to Spouse (Male Employee)
- Adoption or Foster Care Placement of Child (All Employees)
- Personal Leave to Care for a Family Member with a Serious Health Condition (All Employees)
There are three types of leaves covered by the 1993 FMLA and subsequent legislations: a family leave (taken by a qualified employee including those who have family members in the military service to care for a newborn or newly-adopted child or a child, spouse, or parent who is seriously ill), a medical leave (taken by a qualified employee for treatment or to recuperate from serious illness) and a qualified exigency leave (taken by a qualified employee to care for a wounded member of the military establishment). Both parents can take a leave at the same time or take a leave at overlapping periods within the year or consecutively within one year after the birth or adoption of the child (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA 16;
(http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA6; http://topics.hrhero.com/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla : http://www.ehow.com/about_6531217_history-fmla-act.html; http://www.bu.edu/hr/policies/federal-and-state-laws/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla/;http://www.bu.edu/hr/policies/federal-and-state-laws/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla/; http://www.bu.edu/hr/policies/federal-and-state-laws/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla/ http://www.bu.edu/hr/policies/federal-and-state-laws/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla/).
Medical Leave for Employee with Serious Health Condition (All Employees) / Chronic Conditions
- Multiple Treatments (Non-Chronic Conditions)
- Leave for treatment of substance abuse
Serious illness includes injury, disability, or a physical and mental condition for at least three days that may result in confinement in a health care facility or continuous treatment by a health care provider. Treatment of medical conditions may take on the form of chronic conditions (which require two visits annually to a healthcare professional, with the illness that causes incapacity at t certain periods), multiple treatments (which require a series of periodic medical interventions by a medical professional before recovery over a period of time), or permanent-long-term condition which is supervised by a health care provider to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment(s) (www.hrweb.mit.edu/fmla/what-fmla/; http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA 22; http://www.bu.edu/hr/policies/federal-and-state-laws/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla/:http://www.usg.edu/hr/benefits/fmla_terms_and_definitions; http://www.usg.edu/hr/benefits/fmla_terms_and_definitions ).
Intermittent leave or reduced work schedule
Does an employee have to use all 12 weeks of leave at once? /
Qualified employees may take leaves in blocks of time as is needed by the applicant. This might take the form of a full 12 weeks leave, half days for a series of weeks(intermittent leave), and/or reduced work hours as long as it creates no negative effect on the establishment and/or as agreed upon between the employee and employer.
Holidays and no work days are not included in the computation of FMLA time. Companies might offer temporary or alternative positions to employees under FMLA using intermittent leave or reduced time to maintain productivity and efficiency with a commitment to restore the position to the employee at the end of the FMLA (http://hr.commerce.gov/Employees/Leave/DEV01_005926; http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA 22); http://www.usg.edu/hr/benefits/fmla_terms_and_definitions;
Advance Notice and Medical Certification
- Employee Notice
- Employee failure to provide notice
- Change in Circumstances
- Intent to Return to Work
- When FMLA Ends
The FLMA applicant is required to serve notice to avail of the FMLA 30 days before the start of the leave or the start of his/her treatment so that the routine of the establishment is not affected. In the case, of an emergency, the employee must inform the employer as soon as possible ((http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.htmlQA 46/47).
This notice takes the form of a letter requesting for the leave and stating the reasons why the application of the leave under the FMLA is being made by the employee. (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA47; www.dol.gov/whd/fmla ; http://www.bu.edu/hr/policies/federal-and-state-laws/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla/; http://www.bu.edu/hr/policies/federal-and-state-laws/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla/ ).
On the other hand, employers may request for a medical certification from a health provider documenting the reason(s) for the request of the leave. The forms for certification are available through the Department of Labor and require information defining the seriousness of the illness, the treatment required and its duration, and the lack of capability of the patient to perform work tasks to rationalize the need for granting a leave. Some employers request the employee under FMLA to submit regular reports (usually monthly) of their health condition and/or a report on the completion of their treatment showing that they are ready to return to work. (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.htmlQA33; www.dol.gov/whd/fmla ; www.hrweb.mit.edu/fmla/what-fmla/ ).
Unlawful Acts by Employers
- How do I handle complaints against employers?
- Sue employer FMLA
- Can an employer be liable in a civil action brought by an employee for FLA violations?
- Filing a complaint with the Federal Government.
Employers are required to familiarize new employees and post for the information of the employees the text of the FMLA in their establishments. They are also mandated to grant the leave within its provisions which focus on the retention upon return of the employee his/her status, job, and benefits, where provided by law (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA7/9).
Employer violations include lost wages and/or benefits and reinstatement problems. Other problems might arise when an employer obstructs an application of a qualified employee or discriminate against and among employees in applying the provisions of the FMLA (http://www.bu.edu/hr/policies/federal-and-state-laws/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla/; http://topics.hrhero.com/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla ).
What are the penalties for an employer who violates the FLA?
Legal suits can be filed against employer violators within two years after the end of the leave (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA 57).
Possible consequences for employer violators of the FMLA might be reinstatement of the employee, financial restitution for the financial losses of the employee, and/or the payment of litigation fees and expenses among others (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA 57).
Violations of the implementation of the FMLA may be brought to court within two years after the end of the FMLA unless the Department of Labor files a lawsuit in your behalf. The enforcement and implementation of the FMLA is supervise and managed by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/history-of-the-fmla.html QA 7/9.)
State Family Medical Leave and Parental Leave Laws
Family Medical Leave Provisions
Private employers with 50 or more employees and all public sector employers.
Employees who have worked for an employer for at least 12 months, and who have 1250 hours of service during the 12 months prior to the leave.
Up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave plus 4 months of maternity disability may be combined for a total of 28 weeks per year.
The California Paid Family Leave insurance program provides up to 6 weeks of paid leave to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, or registered domestic partner, or to bond with a new child. The benefit amount is approximately 55% of an employee’s weekly wage, from a minimum of $50 to a maximum of $1067. The program is funded through employee-paid payroll taxes and is administered through the state’s disability program.
Child, spouse, parent, domestic partner, child of domestic partner, or stepparent.
Up to 40 hours per year, but no more than 8 hours per month, to participate in children’s educational activities.
All employers with 75 or more employees, except private or parochial elementary or secondary schools. Employees who have 1000 hours service with an employer during the 12-month period before the leave.
Up to 16 weeks in 2 years for the birth or adoption of a child, placement of child for foster care, to care for a family member with a serious medical condition, for the serious medical condition of the employee, or to serve as an organ or bone marrow donor.
Child, spouse, parent, civil union partner, parent-in-law, or stepparent.
Any public or private employer. Employees who have at least 1000 hours of service with an employer during the 12-month period prior to leave.
Up to 16 weeks of family leave, plus 16 weeks of medical leave for employee’s own serious health condition during a 2 year period. Leave must be shared by family members working for the same employer.
All relatives by blood, legal custody, or marriage, and anyone with whom an employee lives and has a committed relationship.
Up to 24 hours per year to participate in children’s educational activities.
Private employers with 100 or more employees. Excludes public employees. Employees who have worked for 6 consecutive months.
Up to 4 weeks per year. Permits intermittent leave for birth, adoption placement, and to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Does not apply to employee’s own health condition or placement of a foster child. Does not require spouses to share leave.
Child, spouse, parent, in-laws, grandparents, grandparents-in-law, stepparent, or reciprocal beneficiary.
All employers. Employees who have worked for an employer for 6 consecutive months and whose weekly hours during that time averaged at least one-half of a full-time equivalent position.
Up to 8 hours per school year, but no more than 4 hours on any day to attend a child’s school activities, and only when no other type of employee leave is available.
Up to 16 hours per year at the employer’s discretion to participate in children’s educational activities. Allows an employee to use any types of accrued leave to participate in his or her children’s educational activities.
Private employers with 15 or more employees; all state employers, and local governments with 25 or more employees
Up to 10 weeks in 2 years for the birth of a child or adoption of a child age 16 or younger. Includes leave to be an organ donor. Does not require spouses to share leave.
Child, spouse, parent, sibling who lives with employee, civil union partner, child of civil union partner, or non-dependent adult child.
Employers with 50 or more employees.
Up to 24 hours per year leave to participate in children’s educational activities or accompany a child, spouse, or elderly relative to routine medical appointments, under the Small Necessities Leave Act.
Up to 24 hours per year leave to participate in children’s educational activities or accompany a child, spouse, or elderly relative to routine medical appointments, under the Small Necessities Leave Act.
All employers with 21 or more employees. An employee who has worked for an employer for at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the request, and whose average number of hours per week equal one-half of a full-time equivalent position.
All employers with at least 1 employee for school activities leave only.
Up to 6 weeks for the birth or adoption of a child. Does not require spouses to share leave.
Permits employees to use personal sick leave benefits to care for an ill or injured child on the same terms as for the employee’s own use.
Up to 10 working days when a person’s parent, child, grandparents, siblings, or spouse who is a member of the United States armed forces, has been injured or killed while in active service.
Up to 40 hours to undergo a medical procedure to donate bone marrow or to donate an organ or partial organ.
Child, spouse, parent, grandparent, or sibling.
Up to 16 hours per year to participate in children’s educational activities.
Makes it unlawful to terminate an employee for attending school conferences or for receiving notification of a child’s emergency at work.
All employers with 50 or more employees. Employees who have worked for an employer for 12 months and who have at least 1000 hours of service during those 12 months.
Employees who have worked 20 calendar weeks or who have earned at least 1000 times the state minimum wage during the 52 weeks prior to leave.
Unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks in 24 months, not to exceed more than 6 weeks in 12 months, to care for a child anytime during the first year after that child’s birth or adoption, or to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent or domestic partner. Does not provide leave for the employee’s own serious health condition. Intermittent leave is limited to 42 days in 12 months. Does not require spouses to share leave.
Paid leave provides up to ⅔ of wages up to $524/week for 6 weeks. Provides that any Paid Family Leave runs concurrently with FMLA or NJFLA and that other types of available leave must be used before taking paid family leave. Provides that leave may be paid, unpaid, or a combination of both.
Child, spouse, parent, in-laws, or domestic partner.
All employers and any employee who is a parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis of a school-aged child.
Up to 4 hours per year to participate in children’s educational activities.
All employers with 25 or more employees. Employees who have worked at least 25 hours per week in the past 180 days.
Up to 12 weeks per year. An additional 12 weeks per year is available to care for the employee’s ill or injured child who does not have a serious health condition but who requires home care. Prohibits two family members working for the same employer from taking concurrent family leave except under certain conditions. Allows an employee to substitute any available paid vacation or sick leave.
Child, spouse, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or parent-in-law, or a person with whom the employee has or had an in loco parentis relationship.
(unpaid) Private employers with 50 or more employees, all state government employers, and local governments with 30 or more employees. Covers full time employees who have been employed for 12 consecutive months and who work an average of 30 or more hours per week.
(paid) All private sector employers and public sector employers who opt into the program.
(unpaid) Up to 13 weeks in 2 years for the birth or adoption of a child age 16 or younger, or to care for a parent, child, spouse or in-law with a serious medical condition.
(paid) The Rhode Island Temporary Caregiver Insurance Program provides 4 weeks of paid leave for the birth, adoption or fostering of a new child or to care for a family member with a serious health condition; and up to 30 weeks of paid leave for a worker’s own disability. The program is funded by employee payroll taxes and administered through the state’s temporary disability program. It provides a minimum benefit of $72 and maximum of $752 per week, based on earnings.
(unpaid) Child, spouse, parent, employee’s spouse’s parent.
(paid) Child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, spouse, domestic partner
(unpaid) Up to 10 hours per year to participate in children’s educational activities.
All employers with 10 or more employees for leaves associated with a new child or adoption. All employers with 15 or more employees for leaves related to a family member’s or employee’s own serious medical condition.
Up to 12 weeks in 12 months for parental or family leave. Allows the employee to substitute available sick, vacation, or other paid leave, not to exceed 6 weeks. Does not require spouses to share leave.
Provides an additional 24 hours in 12 months to attend to the routine or emergency medical needs of a child, spouse, parent, or parent-in-law or to participate in children’s educational activities. Limits this leave to no more than 4 hours in any 30-day period.
Child, spouse, parent, parent-in-law.
Provides an additional 24 hours in 12 months to attend to the routine or emergency medical needs of a child, spouse, parent, or parent-in-law or to participate in children’s educational activities. Limits this leave to no more than 4 hours in any 30-day period.
All employers. An employee who has been employed for at least 680 hours during his or her qualifying year.
Washington Family Leave Act provides up to a total of twelve weeks of leave during any 12 month period for the birth of a child, the placement of a child for adoption or foster care, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the job.
Washington Family Care Act allows workers with available paid sick leave or other paid time off to use that leave to care for a sick child with a routine illness; a spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law, or grandparent with a serious or emergency health condition; and an adult child with a disability.
Note: The Washington Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act, passed in 2007, and which established a paid family leave insurance program was never implemented and has been indefinitely postponed by subsequent legislation.
Child, spouse, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, or state registered domestic partner.
Employers who employ at least 50 individuals on a permanent basis, including any state government entity. An employee who has been employed by the same employer for more than 52 consecutive weeks and who has at least 1,000 hours of service during that time.
Up to 6 weeks of leave for the birth or adoption of a child; up to 2 weeks of leave care of a child, spouse, parent, domestic partner or parent of a domestic partner with a serious health condition; and up to 2 weeks of leave for the employee’s own serious health condition. Does not require spouses to share leave. Allows an employee to substitute employer-provided paid or unpaid leave for portions of family or medical leave.
- e-CFR; Code of Federal Regulations
- Text – H.R.3712 – 113th Congress (2013-2014): Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act of 2013 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
- 29 U.S. Code Chapter 28 – FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE | LII / Legal Information Institute
- Final Regulations State of Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act
- Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- U.S. Department of Labor – Find It By Topic – Leave Benefits -FMLA
- Family and Medical Leave Act – Wage and Hour Division (WHD) – U.S. Department of Labor
- HR at MIT | Family & Medical Leave Act | What is FMLA?
- Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- FMLA Eligibility and Entitlements
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Family and Medical Leave Act : FMLA | HR Topics for human resources
- History of the FMLA
- The History Behind FMLA
- History of the FMLA Act
- Human Resources » Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Family and Medical Leave Act – OHRM
- Family and Medical Leave Act : FMLA | HR Topics for human resources
- Human Resources – University System of Georgia
- Washington State Family Leave Act Q&A
- New proposal would make same-sex partners eligible under Family and Medical Leave Act – The Washington Post
- State Family and Medical Leave Laws
- eCFR — Code of Federal Regulations
Toy Recalls Database 2014 – 1974
Toy Safety Guidelines: Threats, Advice & Regulations
- Toy Safety Guidelines: Threats, Advice & Regulations
- Electrocution Threat
- Toy Choking Hazard
- Seeking Advice on Toy Safety
- Toy Related Deaths
- Educating Adults & Children
- Proper Cleaning of Toys, Avoid Disease, Flu’s, and Cold’s in Children
- Lead in Toys
- Toy Regulations
- Toy Safety/Testing Standards
- Do Your Homework
2014 Toy Recalls
|November 10, 2014||Hello Kitty Birthday Lollipop Whistles Recalled|
|October 28, 2014||Halloween Projector Flashlight Recalled|
|October 15, 2014||Toy Toaster Sets Recalled|
|October 4, 2014||Little Tikes Expands Recall of Toy Workshop and Tool Sets Due to Choking Hazard|
|April 11, 2014||Whalen Recalls Stainless Steel Tool Chests|
|March 27, 2014||Minga Fair Trade Imports Recalls Wooden Flipping Acrobat Toys|
|March 26, 2014||Wal Mart Recalls Dolls|
|March 19, 2014||Ganz Recalls Grumpy Cat Stuffed Animal Toys|
|March 19, 2014||Vera Bradley Recalls Bear Ring Rattles and Bunny Toys|
|February 27, 2014||Cork Block Stacking Toys Recalled by A Harvest Company|
|February 21, 2014||Infantino Recalls Teething Toys|
|January 28, 2014||Horizon Hobby Recalls Remote Controlled Model Helicopters|
|January 22, 2014||Baby Rattles Recalled by Midwest-CBK|
2013 Toy Recalls
2012 Toy Recalls
2011 Toy Recalls
2010 Toy Recalls
2009 Toy Recalls
2008 Toy Recalls
2007 Toy Recalls
2006 Toy Recalls
2005 Toy Recalls
2004 Toy Recalls
2003 Toy Recalls
2002 Toy Recalls
2001 Toy Recalls
2000 Toy Recalls
1999 Toy Recalls
1998 Toy Recalls
1997 Toy Recalls
1996 Toy Recalls
1995 Toy Recalls
1994 Toy Recalls
1993 Toy Recalls
1992 Toy Recalls
1991 Toy Recalls
1990 Toy Recalls
1989 Toy Recalls
1988 Toy Recalls
1987 Toy Recalls
|December 2, 1987||Probe VI Riding Toy Repair by Hedstrom|
|December 2, 1987||“Probe VI” Battery-Powered Riding Toy Repair by Hedstrom|
|November 25, 1987||Painted Wooden Puzzles Recall by Little Headworks|
|October 15, 1987||“Wonder” Spring Ride-On Horses Recalled By CBS|
|September 24, 1987||Cheerios With “Powerball” Premium Sales Recalled by General Mills|
|September 11, 1987||Windmill Rattle Recalled by Artsana of America|
|September 10, 1987||Stuffed Animal Mobiles Recalled by Calderon|
|September 3, 1987||Stuffed Plush Teddy Bear Banned by C.M. Paula Co.|
|May 20, 1987||Rattles & Pull Toys Recalled by Pay ‘N Save|
|March 25, 1987||Toy Train & Music Box Recalled by Enesco Imports|
|February 26, 1987||Animal Voices Musical Toys Recalled By Toys R Us|
|February 3, 1987||Ambi Mini Racer Recalled by Toy Importers|
1986 Toy Recalls
1984 Toy Recalls
|October 10, 1984||Crib Toy Safety Alert issued by Fisher-Price|
|October 8, 1984||Toy Airplanes Recalled by T.G. & Y|
|September 25, 1984||Squeeze Toys Recalled by Cutoy|
|May 2, 1984||Musical Computer Toys Recalled by Tiger|
|April 12, 1984||Cupie Dolls #6342 Recalled by 5th Avenue Dolls|
|March 19, 1984||Squeeze Toys Recalled by Danara International|
|March 6, 1984||Stuffed Animal Toys Recalled by Enesco|
|February 3, 1984||Smurf Musical Crib Train Toys Recalled by Durham|
|January 26, 1984||Helicopters Recalled by Blue Box|
1983 Toy Recalls
|November 18, 1983||Toy Trains Recalled by Janex|
|July 13, 1983||Crib Toys Recalled by Durham Industries|
|April 13, 1983||Stuffed Chicks And Ducklings Recalled by New Angles|
|April 13, 1983||Stuffed Baby Chicks Recalled by New Angles/Wallace Oaks & Hickory Valley|
1982 Toy Recalls
|December 16, 1982||Squeeze Toys Recalled by Crib Mates & Baby World|
|November 10, 1982||Squeeze Toys Recalled by Electra-Plastics|
|November 3, 1982||Playmobil Toys Recalled by McDonald’s|
|September 2, 1982||Squeeze Toys Recalled by Danara|
|July 27, 1982||Rattles Recalled by Montgomery Schoolhouse & Schowanek|
|May 24, 1982||Squeeze Toys Recalled by Reliance|
1981 Toy Recalls
|February 27, 1981||Stuffed Teddy Bear Toys Recalled by Far East International|
1980 Toy Recalls
|December 30, 1980||“Squeeze Me Bear” Toy Animals Recalled by Atlanta Novelty|
|October 31, 1980||“Pot Belly” Toy Animals Recalled by Daekor|
|October 3, 1980||Two “Bristle Block” Components Discarded/Replaced by Playskool|
|August 21, 1980||Toy Mobiles Recalled by Albert E. Price|
|August 7, 1980||Crib Decorations Recalled by Rainbow Artisans|
|May 23, 1980||Gym Sets Recalled by Creative Playthings|
|May 14, 1980||Crib Exercisers Recalled by Play Spaces|
|March 10, 1980||Children’s Outdoor Water Toy Corrected by Wham-O|
|February 11, 1980||Trolley-Ride Toys Repaired by Davis-Grabowski|
1979 Toy Recalls
|November 29, 1979||Infant’s exercising Toy Recalled by F.A.O. Schwarz|
|November 21, 1979||Stuffed Toy Mobiles Recalled by R. Dakin|
|November 9, 1979||Toy Telephone Sets Recalled by Montgomery Ward|
|October 26, 1979||Blow-Gun Toys Recalled by Western|
|October 3, 1979||Giggle Stick Toys Recalled by CBS Toys|
|October 1, 1979||Toy Telephones Recalled by Durham|
|August 9, 1979||Toy Cork Rifles Recalled by F.J. Strauss|
|June 29, 1979||Plastic Ring Caps For Toy Guns Recalled by Acme Specialties|
|February 5, 1979||Toy Cork Gun Recalled by Eagle Family Discount Stores|
|January 11, 1979||Battlestar Galactica space toys Replaced by Mattel|
1978 Toy Recalls
|December 11, 1978||Riviton Sets Recalled by Parker Brothers|
|August 25, 1978||Stuffed Toys Recalled by Knickerbocker|
|April 13, 1978||Water Wiggle Toy Recalled by Wham-O|
1977 Toy Recalls
|December 8, 1977||Wooden Toy Alphabet Blocks Recalled by M.W. Kasch|
|November 29, 1977||Toy Golf Clubs Recalled by H-G Toys|
|September 2, 1977||Lead-Containing Paint Ban|
|April 15, 1977||Electric Train Transformers Recalled by Boyd Models|
|April 11, 1977||Road Racing Sets & Power Pack Toy Transformers Recalled by Strombecker|
|March 4, 1977||Electric Toy Train Transformers Recalled by Reeves|
|March 1, 1977||Electric Rock Polishers Recalled by RAPCO|
|January 14, 1977||Toy Phonograph Recalled by Electronic Creations|
1976 Toy Recalls
|December 7, 1976||Toy Balloon Recalled by Imperial|
1974 Toy Recalls
|February 25, 1974||Toy Chest Warning by Jackson Furniture|
Labels and age limitations
This should not be avoided or taken lightly in any manner. There are age limitations and warnings signs on toys, before you buy them-pay close attention to what is written on those labels. It is mandatory that these labels exist. A Safety standard for ALL manufactured Toys is always implemented before toys get to a retail store. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is a place ALL toys are submitted to before they can move onto the retail level and into the consumer’s hands and homes. Be sure not to bypass the small print.
Required Cautionary Label Statement
|Required Cautionary Statement||Number|
CHOKING HAZARD – Small Parts. Not for children under 3 years.
CHOKING HAZARD – Children under 8 yrs. can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Adult supervision required. Keep uninflated balloons from children. Discard broken balloons at once.
CHOKING HAZARD – This toy is a small ball. Not for children under 3 yrs
CHOKING HAZARD – This toy contains a small ball. Not for children under 3 yrs.
CHOKING HAZARD – This toy is a marble. Not for children under 3 yrs.
CHOKING HAZARD – This toy contains a marble. Not for children under 3 yrs.
CHOKING HAZARD – This product contains (a) small magnet (s).
Seek immediate medical attention if magnet (s) are swallowed or inhaled.
Not for children under the age of 3.
- Before buying the new toy intricately inspect it at the store or online.
- Research the toy if you are in fact concerned about chemicals within the toys material.
- Try and choose reputable and well-known brands when choosing toys for your children.
- Keep a close eye on warning & safety labels, also pay attention to age limitations.
- Never let children who do not meet the correct age for the particular toy have the toy object in their possession, the age limitation is obviously there for a reason. Do not be the exception as toys are a threat to our children.
- Read all directions & precautions.
- Inspect toys each time before children play with them in order to ensure they are still safe.
- Have attention to detail and keep an eye out for broken wires, sharp pointing out pieces, small broken pieces, etc. (anything that looks strange-immediately remove it from the child’s possession).
- Be sure to monitor all children at all times as they are playing.
With toys that plug into walls, there is always that extra worry of electrocution and shock from being improperly pulled out of the outlet, sticking fingers inside of the outlet, or other misuse of plugs. Keep all corded and battery-operated devices away from water or wet surfaces at all costs! It is common sense to the adult that water combined with an electrical device will lead to electrocution, but a child does not know this, so treat this this life saving knowledge as if it is not commonly known. Every caretaker needs to directly supervise any children who are in fact playing with electronic toys.
Children figure out odd ways to play with toys, which can in fact become dangerous, just be aware. Supervisors and coaches in sports exist for reasons, as there are always going to be some injuries when play exists among children. Toys can be dangerous, but it should definitely not be because of the fact that its manufacturers are negligent. In fact, negligence should be the last reason as to why toys are dangerous.
Something like a football or a soccer ball too can be dangerous, so it is important to teach kids how to use the toys and equipment the right way the first time, keep reiterating safety, and eventually they will learn by trial and error. Another thing to keep in mind is that buying second hand electrical toys should be a huge no-no! Second- hand items, especially ones that are not in mint condition, increases the likelihood of hazards such as electrocution. Sure it is nice seeing your child completely ecstatic about this exciting new but used toy, it is still better to buy your children new toys. If you absolutely have to buy them electrical toy items that are second – hand (not recommended), make sure there is no electrical currents being exposed and be sure to monitor them and the toy at all times.
Keep small toys hidden & high from children under the age limitation – CPSIA- Consumer Product Safety Commission-Rules & Regulations.
Legos is a great example! These building blocks are notorious for getting into the hands of tiny children; from simply overlooking one little hidden piece on the ground-something horrific could happen. Every person who is supervising children must look very carefully at every single object in the room, because one minute a head is turned, the next moment a child is uncontrollably choking. Make sure areas are very clean around young children that are present in order to avoid toy related choking hazards.
“Injuries to children caused by batteries have been documented in the medical literature and by poison control centers for decades. Of particular concern is the ingestion of button batteries, * especially those ≥20 mm in diameter (coin size), which can lodge in the esophagus, leading to serious complications or death (3–5).”
Make sure that you prepare your child’s toy beforehand if it does need batteries in order to start; make sure that the latch is tight, and explain to children that they need to keep the battery area closed or the toy will not work and can become dangerous.
Communication and honesty is key when explaining this imperative information to children. A lot of instances have happened when children lodge very small round batteries into their throat by accident and they end up choking to death because of this. Parent’s need to make sure to lock up batteries and they need to store batteries in high spaces that kids can not have easy access to. In an article blog regarding Mother’s and their experiences, they have a discussion about how a childdied during the holidays by lodging a button battery into his throat.
Surprise! Imagine that it is your child’s birthday party- friends and family are over and so are all of the neighborhood kids. Presents, a cake, plus candles, and don’t forget the balloons! Pop! That is the surprise! The most common cause of toy death is usually because of good old’ rubber balloons. As we know, children like to try and blow up balloons and us adults usually always try to teach children to blow them up.
This seemingly innocent step in the teaching process of blowing the balloon up, then requires the child to put the balloon in their mouth, and now there is no telling what will happen next-a fatality in fact could ensue, actually in fact is has before.
Children do dumb things, simply for not knowing any better, and they sometimes chew on or put balloons in their mouth – this then leads to them choking on the balloon and even dying as a result. Parents’ beware and stop giving your young children balloons to play with! If for some reason you must allow your child to play with balloons, at least do not let your children play with balloons unsupervised, as children as old as eight could become an unfortunate statistic added to the list of toy deaths (refer to article http://www.parenting.com/article/avoiding-toy-hazards).
Make sure balloons are off limits for your little ones! Absolutely no exceptions! Also, explaining the hazards to children who meet the age limitation is usually a great idea! Be the educator, the teacher, and save a life! According to nationwidechildren.org “Latex balloons are a leading cause of choking deaths to children who are 8 years of age or younger.”
Choking Hazard Lawsuits
Of course it’s had to have happened- suing over choking. Yes it has been done and there are more cases to come every single year. Parents have sued in the court of law over their children choking on toys According to yourlawyer.com some toy manufacturers breach safety laws and put children at risk for more hazards. See http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/dangerous-toys-injuries-lawsuit for more information.
Seeking Advice on Toy Safety
If you have any kind of concern about the safety and or use of toys, first do your research, second do not hesitate to ask the manufacturer, the pediatrician, or a doctor for more professional advice. The Internet will always provide you with a myriad of information, but it is up to you, the individual, to determine and to use your best judgment when it comes to factual knowledge about safety of toy hazards.
A nurse hotline is also available 24 hours a day. Simply Google nurse hotlines in your area and you will find that they are readily available looking to help you with any medical questions that you may have. It is always better to be safe than not.
Toy Related Deaths
There have been many toy related deaths that are directly related to the hazards that toys cause.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), choking rates are highest for babies under one year old. The majority of kids’ choking injuries are caused by food” (http://www.med.umich.edu/).
Of course anything as simple as food can even be dangerous for our children and it can be a mysterious, yet random, and dangerous event; it can catch anyone off guard. “Vacations should be a time for fun. Unfortunately this was not the case for one New York family. "J.T." died after choking on a hot dog while on vacation. In response to this preventable death, New York State enacted legislation to help parents, caregivers and providers recognize common choking hazards for children and prevention tips. The choking prevention legislation is known as " J.T.’s Law" (health.ny.gov, 3.)
Do not Let Children Select Toys without Verifying Safety
Never for one-second let the child be the leader! All adults need to take active leadership when it comes to buying safe toys and they also need to follow instructions, warnings, and age limitation guidelines that come with the toys.
Adults must then educate their children about the new toy that they will be playing with. The supervisor and or adult/leader need to take initiative and keep a vigilant eye on ALL children.
Educating Adults & Children
Parents NEED to educate children about the dangers of toys. Teach kids with books that you can easily check out at your local library and simply explain to them the dangers of what could happen if they improperly play with their ‘new’ or existing toys.
If you are in fact good at theatrics, perhaps you can show them in a light skit by demonstrating different hazardous scenarios that could result in injury or death from misusage of toys. Use a concerned voice and pay very close attention to your voice diction in order for the child to take the speech seriously.
Education is power and knowledge will save lives at some point or another. It is always good to provide children with enough adequate literature and direct communication that clearly and concisely explains the dangers of everyday objects that they come into contact with on a day-to-day basis.
Proper Cleaning of Toys, Avoid Disease, Flu’s, and Cold’s in Children
Not only are toys dangerous, but also dirty! Think of daycares and how many children that come into contact with the toys. It is a perfect environment for breeding illness and passing it along.
Keep your child and yourself away from dirty toys; make sure to thoroughly wash the toys with antibacterial soap when needed. Having filthy toys is a toy hazard and it’s a sure way to affect a healthy immune system. So always be sure to not only check and inspect the toys before play, but to also make sure that the toys are actually clean and expunged of harmful bacteria.
Lead in Toys
First and foremost, every parent should always pay special attention to recalls.
Led poisoning, especially in children starts silent, then it becomes deadly with an affect on brain development and growth. It is the type of disease that creeps up on you. Keep an eye and ear out for recalls; it will save a child, perhaps your child. There is plenty of controversy about the topic of lead in toys and the hazards- some people are solely concerned about lead, while the opposition side brushes it off saying-it is not a real concern to children.
“Lead-paint toys are not the biggest risk-Old paint on the wall and small playthings such as rubber balls pose a much greater threat than recalled products, experts say. You may handle your toy for a few moments a day, but if you’re in a home going through remodeling, you generate dust throughout your whole house," … "So you’re exposed everywhere you go, not just when you’re playing." –(LA TIMES).
Toys are required to meet certain regulations and criteria in order to move forth within the distribution process. Legally an owner can’tjust make something and expect to sell it. The regulations are very specific and a lot of paperwork is involved.
This alone should put parents at a milder ease when it comes to the toys that are being put on consumer shelves. Manufacturers are monitored and tracked, which makes it easier to communicate to the manufacturer if in fact any safety and or regulation is breached.
Toys are getting safer and safer considering that the CPSIA has tremendously stepped up their efforts.
The 20 year old toy safety legislation was revised and enhanced by the new Directive 2009/48/EC which entered into application in July 2011. This new directive contains safety requirements that are among the strictest in the world. It sets out very strict safety rules, for example with regard to hygiene or toys contained in food, and very strict obligations for economic operators, for example with regard to traceability (ispsc.org).
Refer to http://icpsc.org/EU_Toy_Safety.html for more information.
Toy Safety/Testing Standards
According to CPSC.gov at http://www.cpsc.gov/en/regulations-laws–standards/statutes/the-consumer-product-safety-improvement-act/ ALL distributors have to pass a safety test, their item is then tested out in a laboratory that is CPSC accredited, a certificate is then given to the owner of the product, and then they are provided with a tracking number.
The CPSC is set to make their testing for children’s toys more rigorous. It is going to be harder to get approved. Products now have to pass strict guidelines and things have been noticeably different after the major China Mattel recall incident happened. Since the news outbreak of this story, the CPSC has started to tighten their ship in a high attempt to avoid a bad reputation.
Toy creators must put their two feet forward and just simply make sure they comply with all of the written literature regarding toy safety. Companies like Conformance Limited actually help people with all of the legal forms when it comes to filing for a product certificate. “Conformance Limited specialize in CE marking and product safety consultancy and have helped over 4000 manufacturers and importers to meet their legal obligations.”(http://www.craft-seller.com/article/product-safety-information).
Parent’s, distributors, and manufacturers have plenty of resources available. Now everyone needs to keep in mind that adults need to be the main resource in a child’s life; this ends with- the fact that safety needs to be included and communicated with all parties.
W.A.T.C.H. stands for World Against Toys Causing Harm. This Organization is a non- profit organization basically researching and warning the public about toy safety in a nutshell. The information that this company provides, aides caretakers and parents to make better and more informed decisions regarding toy safety. (http://toysafety.org/).
Some toys that were labeled most dangerous in 2014 were:
- Air Storm Firetek Bow, it was number one on the list, it’s hazardous warning: eye injury.
- Radio Flyer came in second as children can fall and get a head or body injury while riding the toy.
- Catapencil came in third, as it is a pencil and a sling shot all- in- one, it is notorious for stabbing children when the pencil is sharpened.
- Fourth place was Rock & Stack Pull Toy, which has been accused of causing possible strangulation among children. The toy is marketed to children who are 18 months +, a string is attached to the toy so the child can pull it, what a brilliant idea…Not!
Do Your Homework
Always make sure to keep up to date about recalls and noteworthy news regarding toys and the latest updates. Children are our future and it is up to the adults to supervise them in the utmost responsible way. Another major key factor to preventing choking on toys from occurring is to learn CPR and to get the proper certification.
Earthquakes Data Magnitude 5.0 and Over 2005 – 2014
Last updated: Dec 15, 2014
Largest / Most Devastating Earthquakes 2005 – 2013
- North Korea (nuclear detonation) / 12 February 2013
- Sumatra Earthquake / 30 September 2009
- Samoa Earthquake / 29 September 2009
- West Java Earthquake / 2 September 2009
- Honduras Earthquake / 28 May 2009
- North Korea (nuclear detonation) / 25 May 2009
- L’Aquila Earthquake / 6 April 2009
- Tonga Earthquake / 19 March 2009
- Sweden Earthquake / 16 December 2008
- Los Angeles Earthquake / 29 July 2008
- Sichuan Earthquake / 12 May 2008
- Illinois Earthquake / 18 April 2008
- Lincolnshire Earthquake / 27 February 2008
- Sumatra Earthquake / 12 September 2007
- Peru Earthquake / 15 August 2007
- Solomon Island Earthquake / 1 April 2007
- Kuril Islands / 15 November 2006
- Hawaii Earthquake / 15 October 2006
- North Korea (nuclear detonation) 9 October 2006
- Java Earthquake / 26 May 2006
- Tonga Earthquake / 3 May 2006
North Korea (nuclear detonation) / 12 February 2013
This 2013 nuclear detonation conducted underground by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (or North Korea) with the power of 9 kilotons of TNT and a yield of 5.4 – 40 kilotons maximum from the estimates done by different nuclear research centers and nuclear monitoring bodies worldwide is the largest of a series of three within the decade.
This nuclear explosion originated underground in Kilju County, a major nuclear test site of North Korea, generated intense negative international criticism and Japan’s call to convene the United Nations Security Council to impose appropriate sanctions against North Korea. This detonation is significant as the first after the succession of Kim Jong-won as the head of the government of North Korea. Nuclear monitoring bodies, on the other hand, did not detect radioactivity from this blast which raised doubts whether it was, in fact, nuclear in character.
Seismic activity of 4.9-5.1 in magnitude with a depth of one kilometer was detected in the area of the blast by the United States and China and reports of buildings cracking and swaying in North Korea itself filtered through channels to the West. Both governments of Japan and South Korea given their close proximity to North Korea convene meetings among their security and military agencies in the aftermath of the detonation to increase their countries’ readiness to cope with this nuclear based aggression by a highly militarized neighbor. These actions were initiated by the heads of state after CTBTO’s confirmation that this blast was of the same genre as North Korea’s previous test detonations in 2006 and 2009. (www.wikipedia.org)
Sumatra Earthquake / 30 September 2009
|Depth||81 km (50.3 miles) set by location program|
|Region||SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA|
|Distances||60 km (35 miles) WNW of Padang, Sumatra, Indonesia225 km (140 miles) SW of Pekanbaru, Sumatra, Indonesia
475 km (295 miles) SSW of KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia
975 km (600 miles) NW of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 4.2 km (2.6 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST=405, Nph=405, Dmin=534.3 km, Rmss=0.92 sec, Gp= 18°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=A|
An earthquake of 7.6 magnitude and a depth of 80 kms followed by a second the next day 6.6 in magnitude occurred in the island of Sumatra in Indonesia and devastated the island leaving 250,000 families (or 1,250,000 people) homeless.
This island within the Ring of Fire, the area that stretches from the west side of North and South America to its east flank in East Asia and Southeast Asia is one of the centers of intense volcanic and earthquake activity in the world. Aftershocks higher than magnitude 5 followed the two earthquakes which were felt in and affected Jakarta in the adjoining island of Java, Malaysia, and Singapore. The devastation was extensive and relief work was difficult because countless people in dense population areas like Padang were trapped in the collapsed buildings and needed to be rescued from the rubble.
The speed of relief work was hampered by the destruction of roads, highways, and bridges and the absence of communications, power and basic utilities. The chaos and confusion of relief and rescue were hampered by the lack of coordination among local government entities. Numerous countries, international organizations, the United Nation humanitarian organizations, the Red Cross, and charitable institutions like Oxfam, World Vision, IFRG, and Muslim Charity contributed substantially to relief and rescue initiatives which came in the form of money, food, clothing, hardware, shelter, and medical supplies and equipment. (www.wikipedia.org; www.earthquake-report.com )
Samoa Earthquake / 29 September 2009
|Depth||18 km (11.2 miles) set by location program|
|Region||SAMOA ISLANDS REGION|
|Distances||190 km (120 miles) ENE of Hihifo, Tonga190 km (120 miles) S of APIA, Samoa
710 km (440 miles) NNE of NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga
2700 km (1680 miles) NNE of Auckland, New Zealand
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 5.2 km (3.2 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST=403, Nph=403, Dmin=>999 km, Rmss=0.97 sec, Gp= 22°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=V|
The September 29 earthquake at American Samoa is the largest in 2009 at 8.1 in the Richter scale. This submarine earthquake was followed by tsunami which recorded a rise of 3 inches of sea levels and 14 metres (46 feet) of waves lashing and destroying coastal villages despite the evacuation that followed the tsunami alert. 46 aftershocks were recorded averaging 5+ in magnitude.
There were 189 casualties and hundreds were injured in this disaster. Destruction was extensive in Pago-Pago with the rise of flood waters which overturned vehicles and damaged ports, business establishments, infrastructures, and utilities such as electrical, water, and transport systems.
This earthquake affected Tonga, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, and New Zealand. American Samoa is within the Ring of Fire that lines the Pacific Ocean Rim that includes the West Coast of the United States, the Hawaiian Islands, Mexico, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Columbia, Chile, Peru, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Korea and China.
These areas are the world’s center of intense and major volcanic and earthquake activity. President Obama declared this dependency a major disaster area which set into motion massive relief and rescue operations from the mainland through the leadership of Federal Emergency Management Agency to facilitate the restoration of order and normalcy in people’s lives, the airlifting of food, medical, and emergency supplies, and the repair of damaged infrastructures, public buildings and facilities, and communication, electrical and other utilities. International relief for reconstruction and disaster mitigation were also initiated by New Zealand, England, the European Union, and international humanitarian organizations. This earthquake experience underscore the difference in the crisis management practices of developed nations vis-à-vis poor nations where rescue and relief operations are significantly delayed and hampered by lack of coordination and professionalism. (www.mceer.buffalo.edu; www.wikipedia.org)
West Java Earthquake / 2 September 2009
|Depth||48.1 km (29.9 miles)|
|Distances||95 km (60 miles) SSW of Bandung, Java, Indonesia110 km (65 miles) SSE of Sukabumi, Java, Indonesia
120 km (75 miles) WSW of Tasikmalaya, Java, Indonesia
190 km (120 miles) SSE of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 5.6 km (3.5 miles); depth +/- 10.6 km (6.6 miles)|
|Parameters||NST=293, Nph=293, Dmin=357.4 km, Rmss=0.96 sec, Gp= 29°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=A|
The earthquake in West Java near Bandung on 2 September 2009 was 7.0 in magnitude and the strongest in Indonesia since the Pangandaran earthquake of 2006.
Seventy-nine people were killed, 1250 were injured, and approximately 210,000 were left homeless.
The earthquake was strongly felt in Jakarta and was followed by an aftershock 4.9 in magnitude. Five days later an offshore 6.2 earthquake occurred near Yogyakarta which is related to the September 2 main shock. The damage of this earthquake is extensive with the partial or total devastation of 18,300 offices and homes. This figure was later revised to 87.000 which included mosques and prayer halls.
The destruction wrought by this earthquake destroyed structures in Bandung and Tasikmalaya which are cities proximate to its epicenter. The tremors were felt in Jakarta which is 200kms from the epicenter and resulted in the evacuation of office buildings and other highly populated edifices. Landslides adversely affected many villages and destroyed homes. In valleys of the region, casualties were high because landslide covered homes completely and chances of human survival were minimal. The government deployed rescue and medical teams to the stricken areas aided by volunteers from the nearby universities composed of students and professionals. Casualties could have been minimized if buildings were better constructed with the use of steel and pillars. The destruction of roads, highways, bridges, and other public infrastructures made rescue and relief difficult and slow. The transport of food and medical supplies and rescue and relief was hampered by limited financial resources provided by the local government of West Java and the national government. (www.wikipedia.org)
Honduras Earthquake / 28 May 2009
|Depth||10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program|
|Distances||125 km (75 miles) NNE of La Ceiba, Honduras220 km (135 miles) N of Juticalpa, Honduras
310 km (195 miles) NNE of TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras
1185 km (730 miles) SSW of Miami, Florida
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 3.6 km (2.2 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST=377, Nph=377, Dmin=317 km, Rmss=1.1 sec, Gp= 29°,M-type=centroid moment magnitude (Mw), Version=R|
The 30-seconds Honduras earthquake on May 2, 2009 was 7.3 in magnitude with a depth of 10kms and aftershocks with an average magnitude of 4.8.
This off-shore earthquake was felt in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Cuba, Panama, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and Costa Rica.
There were seven casualties and left 40 persons injured. It damaged levees, ports, and destroyed five buildings and left 80 damages. Tsunami alerts were raised to warn coastal towns and villages of the possible need for evacuation. Thirty-five buildings were destroyed or 80 were damaged in Izabal, Guatemala and 5 were destroyed and 25 damaged in Belize. The Ulua Bridge was partially damaged in El Progreso, Honduras. In Honduras, damaged structures included hotels, churches, public buildings, schools, factories, bridges, a hospital and an airport.
The epicenter of the earthquake was Roatan, one of the islands of Honduras, a favorite scuba-diving destination. According to eyewitness accounts, the earthquake startled people near the epicenter and many fled to higher ground for fear of a tsunami onslaught while others fled to the streets away from tall buildings. Power went out in many resorts in the area of the epic center and people witnessed the crashing of appliances and household objects as a result of the strong tremors. In one narrative, a woman saw water spilling out of the pool as the ground shook. The early morning quake left Honduras dark with the loss of power and people scampered to the streets seeking for safely. Calm was restored and panic subsided with the return of power in many of the tourist haunts near the epic center of the earthquake. (www.cnn.com; www.wikipedia.org)
North Korea (nuclear detonation) / 25 May 2009
|Depth||0 km (~0 mile) set by location program|
|Distances||70 km (45 miles) NNW of Kimchaek, North Korea95 km (60 miles) SW of Chongjin, North Korea
185 km (115 miles) SSW of Yanji, Jilin, China
375 km (235 miles) NE of PYONGYANG, North Korea
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 3.8 km (2.4 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST= 75, Nph= 75, Dmin=371.4 km, Rmss=0.57 sec, Gp= 72°,M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=A|
On May 25, 2009, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea detonated an underground nuclear device with 2.35 kilotons of TNT. The estimated yield of this explosion, according to the data provided by different monitoring stations worldwide is 2.4-20 kilotons. The tremors generated by this explosion are between 4.7-5.3 in magnitude. North Korea informed the United States and China one hour before the detonation rationalized by its attempts to strengthen its defense and nuclear deterrence. This detonation was universally condemned and the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1874 tightening military and economic sanctions against North Korea. The tremors from this blast were felt in Yanbian Prefecture in China adjacent to its border with North Korea resulting in the evacuation of students from schools.
Tests of surface-to-air missiles were also conducted by North Korea on the same day as the 2009 detonation which lasted until May 29. These series of aggressive moves by North Korea started a call for another series of six-party talks on regional security measures by Japan, China, South Korea, the United States, and Russia which started in the 1980s until a framework was approved in 1994 designed towards limiting the nuclear activities of Pyongyang in exchange for economic aid and support.
The result of this renewed nuclear threat from North Korea after the 2006 detonation was resonated in significant drop in the stock markets of East Asia and Southeast Asia. Analysts claim that this nuclear sabre-rattling from North Korea is a consequence of its desire to establish the legacy of Kim-Jong-Il as a leader who fulfilled the dream of North Korea to become a nuclear power. (www.wikipedia.org)
L’Aquila Earthquake / 6 April 2009
|Depth||8.8 km (5.5 miles) set by location program|
|Distances||75 km (45 miles) W of Pescara, Italy85 km (55 miles) NE of ROME, Italy
115 km (75 miles) SE of Perugia, Italy
145 km (90 miles) S of Ancona, Italy
|Location Uncertainty||Error estimate not available|
|Parameters||NST=321, Nph=321, Dmin=6 km, Rmss=0 sec, Gp= 14°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=A|
The 2009 L’Aquila earthquake at the magnitude of 5.8-5.9 and depth of 9.46 kms was one of the most devastating with the damage costing $16 billion, 308 casualties, 40,000 homeless and more than 1500 injured persons. Among the victims were residents of different nationalities in Italy. This deadly near-the –surface earthquake, the strongest that hit Italy since 1980, was felt all over Italy radiating from its epicenter, L’Aquila, the capital of Abruzzo.
This medieval city suffered the damage of its historic structures churches which also destroyed many adjacent villages within the two days of aftershocks after the main earthquake. Casualties mounted because of poor substandard building construction in many areas. Accounts record the appearance of luminous lights in the skies at night before and after the main earthquake. Media also report predictions of the prospective occurrence of this earthquake at least one month prior to this disaster: A laboratory technician G.Guilliani noted an increase in radon emissions and appeared publicly on television with a warning-observation over the possibility of the occurrence of an earthquake. His report was dismissed as an alarmist hoax.
The BBC reports an account of the sensational trial of six reputable Italian academics and scientists and a former government official for multiple manslaughter as a result of the devastation of the L’Aquila earthquake. These professionals were accused of “negligence and imprudence” and for providing an “approximate, generic, and ineffective assessment of the seismic activity” and for giving “incomplete, imprecise, and contradictory information” on the prospective disaster which claimed so many lives and loss of property. The court sentenced these individuals to 6 years of imprisonment. (www.bbc.com; www.wikipedia.org)
Tonga Earthquake / 19 March 2009
|Depth||34 km (21.1 miles) set by location program|
|Distances||220 km (135 miles) SSE of NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga490 km (305 miles) S of Neiafu, Tonga
495 km (305 miles) ESE of Ndoi Island, Fiji
1845 km (1140 miles) NE of Auckland, New Zealand
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 5.5 km (3.4 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST=323, Nph=323, Dmin=760.8 km, Rmss=0.96 sec, Gp= 14°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=A|
The 2009 Tonga earthquake of March 19 had a moment magnitude of 7.6 occurring off the coast of Tonga with a depth of 34 kilometers or 21 miles from its hypocenter. A series of aftershocks followed with average magnitudes ranging from 5.0-5.4. Tzunami warnings were issued and later lifted. An undersea volcanic eruption took place in the vicinity four days before this earthquake although no relationship can be established between these two natural events by geologists.
This intense activity of volcanoes and the moving tectonic plates typifies the behavior of geological features in this area of the Pacific Ocean rim, the site of the largest and deadliest volcanic eruptions and earthquakes in the world, which encompasses East Asia, Island Southeast Asia, the Pacific Island including Hawaii, South and Central America, North America including Alaska and Russia in Asia.
In 2004, a massive tsunami onslaught devastated kilometers of coastline in 14 countries in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and killed nearly a quarter of a million people. Referred to as a “double whammy” earthquake by an article published by BBC, this 2009 Tonga earthquake of 8.1 magnitude followed immediately by second 8.0 tremor. The tsunami of four waves more than five meters in height struck the coast and killed 192 people. Unique to this event is the fact that the main shock occurred outside of the boundaries of the shifting tectonic plates nearly 100 kilometers away from the nearest tectonic plate. This event is the largest of its genre in 100 years of earthquake monitoring. This unusual phenomenon of a plate snapping in its middle while being dragged down by another moving plate is not an everyday phenomenon in geology. (www.bbc.com; www.wikipedia.org)
Sweden Earthquake / 16 December 2008
|Depth||10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program|
|Distances||30 km (20 miles) E of Malmo, Sweden60 km (35 miles) ESE of COPENHAGEN, Denmark
180 km (110 miles) NNE of Rostock, Germany
505 km (315 miles) SW of STOCKHOLM, Sweden
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 5.7 km (3.5 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST= 44, Nph= 44, Dmin=110.1 km, Rmss=1.09 sec, Gp= 58°,M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=V|
The Sweden 2008 earthquake on December 16 was 4.2-4.3 in magnitude on the Richter scale whose epicenter was five kilometers west of Sjobo which is 60 kilometers east of Malmo. Its tremors affected Poland and Denmark and were felt in Copenhagen as well. Also known as the Skane earthquake, this tremor occurred in an area where there is a low possibility of earthquake occurrence since the 14th century.
This early morning quake caused havoc on an unsuspecting population that has little experience with tremors. The last recorded earthquake in Sweden occurred in Koster Islands 1904 with a magnitude of 6.0. Hence, it has been more than 100 years since the last earthquake in the country. The most proximate earthquake in the region happened in 2004 when a 5.3 quake happened in Russia.
Accounts from the local English newspaper are rich in narratives of the earthquake and its impact on a country of low-population density. Hysteria and phone calls kept government agencies and emergency entities busy with reports of 20 second long quake and its loud roar woke up many people and knocked off household things and appliances. University of Uppsala reported a strong earthquake between 4.5-5.0 on the Richter scale strongly felt in the southern part of the country. Swedish seismic sources also estimated the depth of the earthquake to be 18 kms underground in the vicinity of Malmo’s airport. Ground shaking and buildings swaying were reported various degrees in the affected areas including Copenhagen. Damage was minimal which was, at worst, the cracking of the walls of some structures. (www.wikipedia.org;www.thelocal.com )
Los Angeles Earthquake / 29 July 2008
|Depth||14.7 km (9.1 miles)|
|Region||GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA|
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 0.2 km (0.1 miles); depth +/- 0.3 km (0.2 miles)|
|Parameters||Nph=181, Dmin=9 km, Rmss=0.33 sec, Gp= 18°,M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=S|
The 2008 Los Angeles Earthquake on July 29, the strongest since 1994 occurred with a magnitude of 5.5 with its epicenter in Chino Hills 28 miles (0r 45 kms) southeast of Los Angeles.
The population of the city was caught by the tremor in the middle of a working day so the downtown areas had to be evacuated to avoid casualties. In fact, there are no fatalities in this earthquake, but some structures were damaged and numerous amusement parks (Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Knotts Beery Farm etc.) were evacuated and closed.
The minimal damage to structures is easily explained by the vulnerability of the state and its neighbors to tremors given the presence of faults including San Andreas. The earthquake was caused by oblique slip faulting generated by the Yorba Linda with a depth or hypocenter of 14.6 km trend. Given this, the efficient building of earthquake –resistant structures is closely supervised to avert disaster and loss of life. This earthquake had 100 aftershocks and a foreshock. Commotions occurred after the main shock with power outages, displaced commodities in groceries and shopping centers. Experiences of this earthquake are captured by New York Times.
These ranges from a general feeling of dizziness for many, the cracking of some buildings and structures, the interruption of transport services, breaks in the water system, the mass gathering of evacuees in the business districts, etc. The response was immediately undertaken by engineers and other professionals to ensure safety and security with the inspection of buildings, public infrastructures, homes, utilities and other services. (www.nytimes.com; www.wikipedia.org)
Sichuan Earthquake / 12 May 2008
|Depth||19 km (11.8 miles) set by location program|
|Region||EASTERN SICHUAN, CHINA|
|Distances||80 km (50 miles) WNW of Chengdu, Sichuan, China145 km (90 miles) WSW of Mianyang, Sichuan, China
350 km (215 miles) WNW of Chongqing, Chongqing, China
1545 km (960 miles) SW of BEIJING, Beijing, China
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 5 km (3.1 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST=357, Nph=357, Dmin=592.1 km, Rmss=1.38 sec, Gp= 14°,M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=R|
The May 12, 2008 Sichuan earthquake is one of most devastating earthquakes in this century with a magnitude of 7.9-8 on the Richter scale and casualties at 69,195, 18,392 missing persons, and five million were left homeless in the wake of the disaster. It was strongly felt in Beijing and Shanghai 1500-1800 kilometers away from the epicenter in Wenchuan County.
The tremor lasted for 80 seconds running to about 30 kms with a depth of 10 kilometers from its hypocenter. The damage caused by this surface earthquake was extensive which was felt in Macao, Hongkong, Vietnam, Mongolia, Taiwan, Bangla Desh, Nepal, and Pakistan within 3-8 minutes after the occurrence of the main shock.
The epicenter of this earthquake is the area of the Tibetan Plateau. Deaths in this earthquake were caused by the absence of structures of earthquake-resistant quality which buried many victims in rubble. Public work structures like bridges, highways, water systems were severely damages, schools collapsed burying students, and rivers were blocked by landslides. Rescue and relief initiated by international agencies, country donors, and the Chinese government were extremely difficult because of the extent of the damage caused by the earthquake. Sichuan (or Wenchuan) province is not easily accessible after the damage earthquake wrought and immediate relief and rescue were badly needed to minimize the loss of lives. One of the worse areas of damage is livelihood and agriculture which will need time to normalize given the fact that Sichuan is a poverty-stricken area with a huge population which is geographically and topographically vulnerable to disasters like earthquakes. (www.wikipedia.org)
Illinois Earthquake / 18 April 2008
|Depth||11.6 km (7.2 miles) set by location program|
|Location Uncertainty||Error estimate not available|
|Parameters||NST=185, Nph=185, Dmin=36.4 km, Rmss=0 sec, Gp= 22°,M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=Q|
The Illinois Earthquake of April 18, 2008 was the largest in the Midwest region for the last few decades.
This earthquake originated from the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone adjacent to the New Madrid Seismic Zone and had a magnitude of 5.4 and a Missouri, Atlanta, Michigan, Ontario, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Destruction from the earthquake varied from the closure of viaduct in Missouri, the evacuation of university dormitories and a mine, falling bricks, power outages, the collapse of several chimneys and church steeples, and the shaking of houses and skyscrapers in Indianapolis and the Chicago Loop. Twenty-six aftershocks were recorded ranging from 1-4.6 in magnitude. There were two casualties from this tremor. Interestingly, TV and News stations covered the earthquake as it struck and documented its aftershocks as well. Fox News reports on eyewitness accounts of experiences with this tremor range from the ground shaking 5-20 seconds, to being roused from sleep, to the shaking of houses and the displacing of household objects, the creaking of beds and ceiling panels, and a possible earthquake-related highway damage on Edens Expressway in Chicago that disrupted travel. Like the Los Angeles earthquake, experts estimate that a tremor originating from the adjoining New Madrid Seismic zone might be more disastrous than one originating from Wabash Valley given the fact the region’s violent experiences with earthquakes originating from this zone in the early 18th century of 5.0 magnitude. This prospective tremor could damage buildings, destroy houses; disrupt public utilities and public works infrastructures, and communications systems. (www.foxnews.com; www.wikipedia.org)
Lincolnshire Earthquake / 27 February 2008
|Depth||10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program|
|Region||ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM|
|Distances||40 km (25 miles) S of Kingston upon Hull, England, UK75 km (45 miles) NE of Nottingham, England, UK
80 km (50 miles) E of Sheffield, England, UK
210 km (130 miles) N of LONDON, United Kingdom
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 6.8 km (4.2 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST= 50, Nph= 50, Dmin=291.4 km, Rmss=1.02 sec, Gp= 54°,M-type=body magnitude (Mb), Version=7|
On 27 February 2008, a 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit Lincolnshire 2.5 miles (or 4 kilometers) north of Market Rasen near Grimsby in England, an area which faces the continent. It was a sudden rupture along a strike-slip fault 18.6 kilometers (or 12 miles) beneath Lincolnshire and lasted for 10-30 seconds.
The interplate earthquake at Lincolnshire is typical of North European earthquakes which are not proximate to the boundaries of the world’s tectonic plate system. This is the largest tremor experienced by the British Isles since 1984.
The 1984 earthquake registered 5.4 on the Richter scale. This tremor was felt all throughout the British Isles and the continent, in France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. There are no deaths reported in this earthquake, but BBC reports that it was the strongest tremor in the region in the last twenty-five years. In contrast to Asian disasters of the same genre, the earthquake in Lincolnshire is relatively small in magnitude. But, it remains large by United Kingdom standards. This tremor resulted in power outages, the structural damage to homes, buildings, and public structures and the collapse of chimneys and church steeples. Nine aftershocks were recorded with an average magnitude of 2.8. BBC documents first-hand experiences related to this earthquake which ranged from injuries suffered from collapsing structures, complaints of the terrifying roar emanating from under the ground as the tremor starts described as a “ramble and a bang” or a “sudden assault by a team of burglars by an eyewitness, the widespread panic and frantic calls that clogged the communications networks, etc. (www.bbc.com; www.wikipedia.org)
Sumatra Earthquake / 12 September 2007
The earthquake of September 12, 2007 at 8.5 in magnitude on the Richter scale with an epicenter located north of Pagai off the coast in the island of Sumatra in Indonesia is one of the most devastating during this decade.
It occurred in rupture of an overactive fault in the vicinity of Mentawi Archipelago at the depth of 30 kilometers ( or nineteen miles) from its hypocenter. This offshore earthquake significantly affected other islands in Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia.This earthquake, in fact, is a series of earthquakes that followed the 8.5 tremor with earthquake 2 bearing a magnitude of 7.9, and earthquake 3 at 7.0 magnitude. Aftershocks occurred the next two days with magnitudes ranging from 6.4-6.7. The tremors lasted for several minutes and buildings swayed in Jakarta 600 kilometers. Although there we no casualties, tremors were severe in the high-rises in the cities of the region. Tsunami alerts were sent out to countries in the Indian Ocean area. Tsunamis rose in varying levels in coastal areas along the Indian Ocean. Earthquake-report documents the death of 25 people and 161 injured in this earthquake with 56,425 buildings and structures were damaged and destroyed, roads and highways became impassable and communications and power outages occurred in many areas in the region including the Indian Ocean and the Inland Sea of Indonesia. Sinkholes were found in some areas in Malaysia and seiche in Thailand. A Japanese Daichi satellite with a PALSAR sensor focused on this earthquake records the emergence of a submerged coral reef, the creation of six islands, and expanded existing islands. (www.earthquake-report,com; www.wikipedia.org)
Peru Earthquake / 15 August 2007
|Depth||39 km (24.2 miles) set by location program|
|Region||NEAR THE COAST OF CENTRAL PERU|
|Distances||50 km (30 miles) W of Chincha Alta, Peru110 km (70 miles) NW of Ica, Peru
150 km (95 miles) SSE of LIMA, Peru
210 km (130 miles) SW of Huancayo, Peru
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 5.2 km (3.2 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST=275, Nph=275, Dmin=155 km, Rmss=0.84 sec, Gp= 29°,M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=9|
The Peru Earthquake of August 15, 2007 at a magnitude of 8.0 on the Richter scale was a devastating event which brought extensive damage to the country. This disaster left 519 persons dead, 1,366 injured, and destroyed and damaged property.
This midnight earthquake occurred 150 kilometers south of the capital, Lima and lasted for three minutes.
Peru, itself, has a long history with earthquakes of large devastating magnitudes. Caused by a thrusting fault at the interface between two plates proximate to the boundary of the Nazca and the South American tectonic plates, this earthquake was accompanied by a tsunami 16 feet in height. Tzunami alerts were issued in the region of the east Pacific segment of the Ring of Fire including Hawaii. The tremors lasted for nearly three minutes which wrecked havoc on structures and a sleeping population near its epicenter. A dozen aftershocks followed the main shock at an average magnitude of 5.0-5.9. Areas in Peru severely affected by the earthquake were the cities of Pisco, Ica, Chincha Alta, and San Vicente de Canete. In these colonial centers, buildings collapsed and others were severely damaged. These include hospitals, prisons, colonial churches and cathedrals, and homes. Rescue and relief operations were chaotic and made difficult by the lack of coordination among units of local government and international relief agencies and country donors. The Peruvian earthquake dramatizes the problems that beset disaster relief, rescue, and restoration operations undertaken in poor countries in contrast to the systematic processes of disaster intervention and mitigation that happen in developed nations where speed and organized operations are vital to the saving of lives and property. (www.wikipedia.org; www.nytimes.com)
Solomon Island Earthquake / 1 April 2007
|Depth||10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program|
|Distances||45 km (25 miles) SSE of Gizo, New Georgia Islands, Solomon Isl.205 km (125 miles) SSE of Chirovanga, Choiseul, Solomon Islands
340 km (215 miles) WNW of HONIARA, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
2145 km (1330 miles) NNE of BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 8.8 km (5.5 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST=156, Nph=156, Dmin=343 km, Rmss=1.19 sec, Gp= 32°,M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=8|
The deadly earthquake at Solomon Islands located at the northeast of Australia on April 2, 2007 at 8.1 magnitude on the Richter scale registered by the USGS with a depth of only six miles or 10 kilometers below its seafloor into its hypocenter.
This tremor was followed by a series of aftershocks that averaged 6.2 in magnitude and a tsunami that left 52 persons dead and thousands homeless.
Larger waves lashing half a mile inland hit and destroyed coastal villages which included homes and public service facilities including hospitals. This earthquake that affected Papua New Guinea severely was the result of movement along the Solomon arc and the Pacific plate which is the site of high seismic activity in the Pacific Ring of Fire. Reports of the outbreak of diarrhea, malaria, and other diseases among the survivors. Island-building resulted out of the tsunami onslaught which raised an island to three meters and some coral reefs out of the ocean waters. Feedback from fishermen shows that this phenomenon destroyed some fishing grounds in the area. International aid poured into Solomon Island in the aftermath of the earthquake-tsunami with significant financial contributions from Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Papua New Guinea and the United States, rice stocks and emergency supplies from France, field hospitals and camps for displaced persons from the United Nations agencies, medical teams from Australia and Canada, a light plane from Papua New Guinea etc. The UNICEF and the Red Cross focused a campaign for contributions earmarked for this disaster. (www.nationalgeographic.com; www.wikipedia.org)
Kuril Islands / 15 November 2006
|Depth||30.3 km (18.8 miles)|
|Distances||445 km (275 miles) ENE of Kuril’sk, Kuril Islands505 km (310 miles) SSW of Severo-Kuril’sk, Kuril Islands, Russia
1650 km (1030 miles) NE of TOKYO, Japan
7185 km (4460 miles) NE of MOSCOW, Russia
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 4.8 km (3.0 miles); depth +/- 12.2 km (7.6 miles)|
|Parameters||Nst=253, Nph=253, Dmin=813.9 km, Rmss=1.03 sec, Gp= 43°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=S|
|Source||USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)|
The Kuril Islands earthquake on November 15, 2006 had a magnitude of 8.3 on the Richter scale and a depth of 30.3 kilometers to its hypocenter. This tremor that affected Russia and Japan generated a tsunami with a large wave following small ones at the height of 15 meters.
Another tsunami crossed the northern Pacific and reached Hawaii and damaged the harbor of Crescent City in California. This is the largest since 1915 when an earthquake of an 8.0 magnitude hit the islands. Evacuation of the coastal towns of Honshu and Hokkaido were undertaken and tsunami alerts were raised in Alaska, Hawaii, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California. California experienced strong currents which destroyed docks and boats and coastal areas bringing the destruction to an estimated cost of $ 9M. In Japan, tsunami hit the coastal areas of Kagoshima, Okinawa, Miyakejima, and Tohoku. Another earthquake hit central Kuriles in 2007 during winter. Scientists who visited these uninhabited theorize that studying geological evidence points to the fact that the 2006 earthquake was stronger than the one that followed it. The tsunami alerts received by California from the Alaska station were cancelled a few hours before the tsunami hit Crescent City followed by a second surge two hours later. The tsunami damage inflicted upon Crescent City is very instructive for all stakeholders and professionals and media support and the public at-large in disaster containment and management. It was informative in terms of appreciating the vulnerability of coastal town to earthquakes and tsunami surges. (www.wikipedia.org)
Hawaii Earthquake / 15 October 2006
|Depth||29 km (18.0 miles) set by location program|
|Region||HAWAII REGION, HAWAII|
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 3.9 km (2.4 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||Nst=288, Nph=288, Dmin=24.5 km, Rmss=1.05 sec, Gp= 22°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=S|
|Source||U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawaii, USA|
The Hawaii Earthquake of October 25, 2006 occurred offshore of the island of Kona near the airport with a magnitude of 8.0 and aftershocks with an average magnitude of 6.1. it had a depth of 29 kilometers or 18 miles from its hypocenter.
No tsunami warning was raised and no lives were lost in this disaster. However, the tremor was felt in the other islands and damaged homes, structures, roads and bridges in Maui, Oahu, and Hawaii and caused landslides and blackouts. On the ground reports from USA Today show the extent of the damage and destruction wrought by the calamity. Governor Linda Lingle declared a state of calamity and the mayor of Oahu confirmed that no serious injuries happened as a result of the tremor. With the cooperation of other state officials and senators, these two officials conducted an investigation of the extent of the disaster and the magnitude of the power failure that hit the islands in varying degrees and paralyzed operations and communications and other facilities. Many visitors were stranded in the airports of the islands with the minimum of facilities available, a source of negative criticism for many. In fact, all in-bound flights from the mainland and other places were suspended because of the non-operation of technical facilities. Inland travel was difficult because of the destruction of roads, highways, and bridges caused by the tremors and obstructive landslides. The Federal Emergency Management Agency immediately conducted a comprehensive inspection of the damage of all affected areas to determine the most appropriate emergency response. (www.usatoday.com; www.wikipedia.org)
North Korea (nuclear detonation) 9 October 2006
|Depth||0 km (~0 mile) set by location program|
|Distances||65 km (40 miles) N of Kimchaek, North Korea90 km (55 miles) SW of Chongjin, North Korea
185 km (115 miles) S of Yanji, Jilin, China
380 km (235 miles) NE of PYONGYANG, North Korea
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 10 km (6.2 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||Nst= 19, Nph= 19, Dmin=373.6 km, Rmss=0.97 sec, Gp= 83°,M-type=body magnitude (Mb), Version=9|
|Source||USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)|
On October 9, 2006, North Korea detonated a test-type nuclear device of .5 kilotons of TNT in Kiljn County. It was the first country to announce a detonation six days before the event.
Although, radioactive traces were detected, the blast was smaller than estimated with a yield of approximately .48 kilotons.
This detonation was the product of North Korea’s attempts to establish itself as a nuclear power since the 1980s which was negatively received worldwide. In 1994, the United States and North Korea agreed on the framework for cooperation to prevent, limit, and thwart North Korea’s military ambitions. This framework included commitments on the part of the United States to provide technical support for the construction of non-military nuclear facilities in North Korea for development purposes and sustained support in providing food for North Korea’s starving population. North Korea, however, resumed the conduct of a series of nuclear tests in 2002 which culminated in the detonation of 2006 and accompanied by missile launches. The international condemnation of North Korea was massive as a result of this detonation. The threat of a nuclear war brought six stakeholder nations to the negotiating table: the United States, Russia, China, South Korea, and Japan vis-à-vis North Korea commenced negotiations on December 18, 2006 for the blast that had a magnitude equivalent to a 3.58 earthquake. This explosion which was recorded worldwide and monitored by the nuclear test-ban agency, CTBTO, was felt in China including Hongkong and saw the phenomenon of plummeting of stock market trading in Asia. Economic sanctions embodied in UNSC Resolution 1718 imposed on North Korea resulted out of this 2006 detonation. (www.wikpedia.org)
Java Earthquake / 26 May 2006
|Depth||10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program|
|Distances||20 km (10 miles) SSE of Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia110 km (70 miles) S of Semarang, Java, Indonesia
150 km (95 miles) SE of Pekalongan, Java, Indonesia
455 km (285 miles) ESE of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 7.5 km (4.7 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||Nst=130, Nph=130, Dmin=220.2 km, Rmss=1.4 sec, Gp= 43°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=9|
|Source||USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)|
The earthquake in the island of Java on May 27, 2006 had a magnitude of 6.3 resulting from a strike-slip fault near the Opak fault near Yogyakarta.
This earthquake has a shallow depth of ten kilometers or 6.2 miles which resulted in 6234 deaths and the destruction of 60000 homes.
This tremor was preceded by the eruption of Mt. Merapi in the region by a few days. This intense activity of the earth’s plates in the region is easily rationalized by the Ring of Fire of volcanoes and moving tectonic plates surrounding the Pacific Rim that includes the North and South America, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. Aftershocks occurred of lesser magnitude and tsunami alerts were raised but none resulted out of this earthquake. The extent of the damage to Java brought massive help and support from international agencies, country donors, and other relief organizations. The Indonesian president sent the military to aid in the rescue and relief operation despite the fact that government was severely criticized for its slow response to the crisis. Substantial financial support were sent by Japan, the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, the Kingdom of Jordan, the European Union, Canada, Australia, China, India, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy and Norway. The Mormons, Oxfam, the Red Cross, the Jesuit Relief, Muslim Charities, and other ngos sent materials for reconstruction including medical supplies and equipment. Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan sent medical teams and the United States sent a military contingent for rescue and relief operations. The destruction of public works, buildings, and utilities was massive, but a significant dimension to this disaster is the damage it wrought on many Hindu-Buddhist historical monuments in the island which are UNESCO cultural heritage sites. (www.wikipedia.org)
Tonga Earthquake / 3 May 2006
|Depth||55 km (34.2 miles) set by location program|
|Distances||160 km (100 miles) NE of NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga165 km (100 miles) S of Neiafu, Tonga
460 km (285 miles) S of Hihifo, Tonga
2145 km (1330 miles) NNE of Auckland, New Zealand
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 5.3 km (3.3 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||Nst=209, Nph=209, Dmin=732.7 km, Rmss=0.81 sec, Gp= 22°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=Q|
|Source||USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)|
The Tonga early morning earthquake on May 4, 2006 was an underwater tremor with a magnitude of 7.9 -8.0 on the Richter scale followed by a series of small aftershocks.
Tsunami alerts were raised from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand for this tremor which originated in this island 2145 kilometers northeast of Auckland, New Zealand and Hawaii. The tsunami warnings were later lifted The damage was limited to cracks later found in churches of the island. No lives were lost and only a few injuries were reported. The strong earthquake upset goods in groceries and supermarkets, power outages occurred, cracks appeared in a wharf, sank a vessel laden with copra, another wharf was damaged, telephone lines broke and water pipes burst.
This earthquake confirms the intense activity of volcanoes and the earth’s tectonic plates surrounding the rim of the Pacific Ocean which stretches from the North and South America, the Pacific region, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. This arc is the origin of the world’s deadliest and largest volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Eyewitness accounts of the Tonga Earthquake were documented by BBC reports and Ron Vea of the Tonga Radio Station. These first-person narratives show that the inhabitants of the island group were jolted out of their slumber by the magnitude of the tremors, roaring and crackling sound, and the strong shaking of buildings and structures. Those who lived near the epicenter of the earthquake experienced more intense ground shaking that lasted for a minute. This 2006 earthquake is the largest experienced by the islanders in several decades. (www.wikipedia.org; www.bbc.org )
- acceleration is the change of speed of the ground vibration focused on a geographical location measured in 100 units of gravity equal to 980 cm/s2 .
- accelerogram is the data derived from an accelerograph showing changes in ground vibration based on seconds and minutes.
- Accelerograph is laboratory tested equipment that stores messages and information from the instrument that measures the changes of the speed in ground vibration of a geographical point.
- accelerometer is an instrument used to measure the changes in velocity of vibration and its impact on the ground and structures within a geographical location.
- acceptable risk is the maximum level of capacity for tolerance of human activities or livelihood factors resulting out of a disaster that guides the design and configuration of structures or the pursuit of human activities and livelihood interventions to contain and/or mitigate calamity.
- active fault See fault, active
- aftershock are vibrations or tremors of lesser magnitude that occur in a series after the ground shaking of the largest magnitude has occurred in a given area.
- Alluvium is mixture of scattered soil elements, stones and gravel brought to a low-lying area usually a delta by the movement of water systems downstream.
- amplification (seismic) is the comparative heightening of surface ground motion of certain portions of soil and soft ground elements in relation to movement in well-compacted features of nature.
- amplitude (wave) is the documentation of out-of-normal movement of a force moving in a looping fashion.
- aseismic is an area where there is no documented occurrence of ground shaking of any magnitude.
- Asthenosphere a an area that lies below the earth’s lithosphere of unconfirmed composition observed to obstruct the movement of looping energy or disturbances from its origins below the planet’s surface to the ground.
- Attenuation is the lessening of the force and the expansion of the looping movement of energy as its encounters obstructions in its passage through the different types of materials from its origin inside the earth to the surface.
- b value is the data derived on the strengths and number of occurrence of major tremors worldwide.
- basement is the layer below the earth’s soil and ground composed of hardened material derived from volcanic activity and/or formations produced by in the earth as it evolved in geological time which are found near the border of the shifting plates of the planet.
- basin and range structure is the configuration of an area made of hardened material on the earth’s surface that is characterized by a series of elevated and low topographies where faults lie. Any ground shaking in these areas are attributed to the movement in the faults and bear the name of this topographical feature.
- bedrock refers to hardened compacted materials that are usually vertically visible or found beneath the soil and other loose solid materials on the ground.
- body wave are vibrations of p and s types moving in a loop from its source inside the earth towards the ground level of the earth’s surface.
- body-wave magnitude See magnitude, body wave.
- brittle behavior is a dissipation of energy during critical stress resulting from a break in a fault or, as is generally believed, by the rough movement of a dislocated fault.
- caldera is bowl-like feature of a volcanic structure which holds the different exit points of its molten material and other residue.
- capable fault See fault, capable .
- compressional wave See P wave.
- core is the central part of the earth, beginning at a depth of about 2900 km, probably consisting of iron-nickel alloy; it is divisible into an outer core that may be liquid and an inner core about 1300 km in radius that may be solid.
- creep (fault) is discernible motion proximate to a fault that does not result in a major tremor or ground-shaking.
- critical facilities are infrastructures whose importance in calamities cannot be underestimated and are essential for disaster mitigation and management. These include nuclear power plants or large dams, major communication, utilities, and transportation systems, involuntary or high occupancy buildings such as prisons or schools, and emergency-response services such as hospitals, police, and fire stations.
- crust (of the earth) is the ground layer of the earth composed of loose material of various kinds and solid natural features ranging between 35-45 kilometers from the surface. Tremors coming from inside the earth travel through the crust with a velocity of 3-7.5 kilometers per second.
- debris flow is the descent of an assortment of earth materials larger than the size of sand following the course of gravity.
- Density is the size of the space measured by a specified unit occupied by an object.
- design acceleration is the estimated maximum possible speed of tremors at a site used to guide the design of earthquake-resistant structures.
- design earthquake is the estimate of the largest magnitude of a tremor that might occur in a certain location used to guide the design of earthquake-resistant structures.
- dilatancy (rock) is the expansion of space occupied by a hardened natural feature caused by disturbance or tension.
- Dip is the direction of the thrust of a fault or similar solid and angular geologic features relative to the horizon.
- dip-slip fault See fault, dip-slip .
- displacement is a spatial geological adjustment of the location of a natural feature like a fault before and after the occurrence of a tremor.
- ductile deformation occurs when solid natural features lose the contours of their original form by flowing instead of disintegrating at the highest point of tension.
- duration (earthquake) is length in seconds of a tremor within a specific location that among others displays its strength, origin, and depth.
- earthquake is the surge and vibration on the earth’s surface within a certain location caused by the collision or shifting of segments of underground hardened natural formations called faults .
- earthquake hazard is a possible negative and/or destructive effect that tremors of large magnitudes can generate.
- earthquake hazard reduction describes the process of limiting or containing or mitigating the negative effects of tremors of large magnitudes on life, property, infrastructures. and resources.
- earthquake loss is the reported and documented destructive and ill-effects of tremors of large magnitudes on life, property, infrastructures, and resources.
- earthquake risk is the total estimate of the possible damage that tremors of large magnitudes can inflict on life, property, livelihood, infrastructures, and resources within a chronological-geographical location in relation to the movement of natural phenomenon measured against a set of values.
- earthquake source is the point of origin under the surface of the planet from where the earthquake releases its energy.
- elastic deformation is temporary shift in the contours of a natural feature which reverts to the original upon the elimination of the change agent.
- elastic rebound happens when tension created by the shifting of the planet’s plates changes to energy that generates a tremor of large magnitude on the earth’s surface..
- epicenter is the geographical location on the surface of the planet’s crust where the surge, explosion, and vibration of a tremor of a large magnitude takes place. .
- exceedance probability describes the possible occurrence of an event in a particular chronological context that supersedes an original scientific estimate of the effect on life, property, livelihood, resources, and infrastructures of a tremor of a large magnitude,
- exposure (earthquake) is a scientifically configured estimate of the negative effects on life, property, livelihood, resources, and infrastructures categorized in segments of a tremor or tremors of large magnitude within a specific geographical location.
- fault is a spatial configuration of a certain length and breadth that lies in between shifting fragments of solid natural formations in the earth’s crust and collide and move against each other.
- fault, active is a spatial configuration of a certain length and breadth that lies in between shifting fragments of solid natural formations in the earth’s crust that create tremors of magnitude when these collide or move against each other.
- fault, capable is a spatial configuration that is constant site of collisions and movements which generate tremors of magnitude on the earth’s surface.
- fault, dip-slip is a spatial configuration between two shifting fragments of the earth’s crust where the collisions and movement occur at its downward edge.
- fault, left-lateral is a strike-slip fault where the resulting movement shifts the fragment of the earth’s crust to its left on the same plane.
- fault, normal is a movement when the shifting fragment of the earth’s crust moves underneath the fragment originally located under it.
- fault, oblique-slip is a spatial configuration that combines the movements of the shifting fragments in the strike slip and the slip-dip paradigms
- fault, right-lateral is a strike-slip fault where the resulting movement shifts the fragment of the earth’s crust to its right on the same plane.
- fault segment is a vaguely discernible portion of the gap between two shifting fragments of the earth’s with clear demarcations that are observed to break separately.
- fault, strike-slip is created by the partition of a fragment of the earth’s crust into two segments lying on the same plane configured diagonally.
- fault, thrust or overthrust is a dip-slip fault that occurs when segment of the fragment of the earth’s crust shifts vertically creating two planes that could stretch through long distances.
- fault, transform is strike-slip fault that is located at the terminal point of actively shifting fragments of the earth’s crust.
- fault plane is a flat surface of the shifting fragments of the earth’s crust where the likelihood of breaks and cracks happen.
- fault-plane solution records of the features of tremor waves travelling from their source under the earth documented by several stations which provide information on the size, height, and changes in contours of the fault.
- fault scarp is a step-like geological feature that physically illustrates the changes in land contours produced by the movements in the shifting fragments of the earth’s crust.
- fault trace is the conjuncture where the gap(s) between the shifting fragments under the earth meets the surface which is used to indicate the position of the gap(s).
- fire or conflagration is the most conventional and expected destructive effect of tremors of large magnitude.
- first motion is the traceable movement of the P-wave on the surface of the earth captured by a seismometer and provides information on the features of the tremor, its size, and its origin below the surface of the crust.
- floating earthquake is the recorded magnitude of tremors whose occurrence cannot be rationalized and explained by the existing land forms in the area which indicate such movements may take place anywhere and at any time in the area.
- focal depth is the hypocenter or focus or the location of the origin of ground shaking on the surface underneath the earth’s crust.
- focus or hypocenter is located below the surface of the earth where ground-shaking and vibrations originate.
- Foreshocks are vibrations of lower and differing magnitudes that come before the ground-shaking of the highest magnitude within the same geographical location.
- free field is the ground motion measurement that have no bearing on the presence of built structures.
- Frequency is the measure of the occurrence of a completed activity or movement of a single genre within a specific time frame.
- fundamental period is the duration of ground-shaking on the earth’s surface which indicates the maximum strength, endurance, and resilience of built structures.
- geodesy is the discipline focused on the contours, mass, and volume of natural formations on this planet.
- geodimeter is a laboratory-tested equipment that indicates the size of the gaps between locations on the ground level of the planet.
- geologic hazard is a landform or natural phenomenon that might generate negative effects on humans and built forms.
- geomorphology is the discipline that focuses on the formation, changes, and features of geological features.
- geotechnical is the deployment of laboratory-tested methodologies and processes from the exact sciences and engineering to expand and utilize earth-based knowledge for practical and scientific applications.
- gouge is the sedimentation of solid earth material located in the gaps between shifting fragments of the earth’s crust.
- graben is an elongated fragment of solid material from the planet’s crust found adjacent or underneath solid landforms on the earth’s surface that indicate the existence of shifting fragments of the crust underneath.
- gravity anomaly is a character of the force that results in the even location of semi-solid and solid objects on the earth’s surface.
- ground motion and ground response describe the features and character of the movement or earth-shaking discernible on the earth’s surface resulting from the energy produced by the shifting fragments of the planet’s crust.
- group velocity is the speed on which a series of looping units of energy moves from its point of origin.
- Hertz (Hz) is a measure of occurrences with reference to the number of completed activities within a certain unit of time.
- Holocene is the period in the formation of the physical features of the planet 10,000 ago.
- Horst is is an elongated fragment of solid material from the planet’s crust raised higher than adjacent solid landforms at the earth’s surface that indicate the existence of shifting fragments of the crust underneath.
- hot spot lies at the opening of a volcano 100 to 200 km in diameter and provides vents for the expulsion of magma and other residues.
- hypocenter is located below the surface of the planet where the gaps of the shifting fragments of the crust are situated that generate the tremors of different magnitudes that are felt on the surface.
- intensity (earthquake) is measure of the strength of the tremors and the impact of vibrations on ground level as these affect lives and property
- interplate earthquake is ground-shaking that originates in the gaps between two shifting fragments of the earth’s crust..
- intraplate earthquake is a ground-shaking that originates inside a shifting fragment of the earth’s crust.
- isoseismal is a cartographic legend indicating the locations where ground-shaking of the same strength occurred for a particular tremor of magnitude.
- Isostasy is the interaction between layers of the earth’s of varying density and mobility from solid to semi-liquid where solid segments have denser under layers. Adjustments on the solid surface and/or water content informs the stability of these layers.
- landslide is the loosening and the descent of earth materials, along a vertically-oriented surface that provides no significant obstruction caused by ground shaking.
- lateral spreads are the loosening and the descent of earth materials, along a vertically-oriented surface that provides no significant obstruction caused by tremors producing a change of density and the liquefaction of the materials on the highest layer.
- left-lateral fault See fault, left-lateral.
- lineament is a natural landform that reveals the existence underneath of a land form of a different topographic taxon.
- liquefaction is the result of tremors when the water content of loose earth materials generate a momentary fluid movement for this mass of solids.
- lithosphere is the layer of the earth nearest to the surface or ground level above the shifting fragments of the crust and the upper mantle.
- longitudinal wave See P wave.
- loss estimation and loss reduction are quantitative calculations of the cost of the negative and destructive effects resulting out of tremors of large magnitude.
- Love wave is the motion of energy generated by tremors across the surface of the earth opposite the direction of the motion of energy as it travels to the surface from its hypocenter underneath the earth.
- magnetic anomaly is the character of the force acting upon the planet that facilitates the almost-even location of objects on the earth’s surface.
- magnitude (earthquake) is a measure of the strength of ground-shaking on the surface of the planet as documented by a seismograph with reference to the point where the tremor starts on the surface.
- magnitude, body-wave [m b ] is the measure of the strength of ground-shaking using the documented path of the P waves.
- magnitude, local [M L] is the numerical quantification of the strength of a ground tremor first calculated by Charles Richter who based this on the size and speed of energy-bearing waves recorded by seismographs.
- magnitude, moment [M] is the strength of a tremor based on the initial burst of energy at ground level.
- magnitude, surface-wave [M S] is the strength of a tremor based on the looping motion of energy at ground level as detected and recorded by instruments.
- mantle (of the earth) is the layer of the earth between ground level and the shifting fragments below the surface and the center of the planet.
- maximum credible earthquake is the estimation of the strongest possible tremor that might or could occur within a certain geological location.
- microzonation is the systematic arrangement of sites plotting possible strengths of tremors and their projected negative and their disastrous impact.
- Mohorovicic (moho) discontinuity lies at the point of convergence of the crust and mantle where a significant shift occurs in the speed of the movement of waves toward the earth’s surface.
- moment (earthquake) is a quantitative configuration of the initial burst of a tremor based on the strength of the vibration giving indications of the character of its origins underneath ground level and the magnitude of displacement that occurred as the fragments of the crust shifted and collided.
- natural frequency is the occurrence of a number of completed activities within a time frame which determines the regular motion of a system after the first vibration.
- normal fault See fault, normal .
- oblique-slip fault See fault, oblique-slip.
- outcrop is the location of a solid geological feature where it becomes visible at ground level.
- overburden is a clump of loose elements of earth and non-configured solids located on top of a solid geological feature.
- P wave is a loop-like configuration of energy moving at the highest speed from the direction of its source underneath the earth’s surface to ground level where its impact precedes all other forms of energy.
- paleoseismology is the discipline that focuses on tremors and ground-shaking that occurred during this geological period.
- period (wave) is the chronological frame which records the single completed movement of the loop-shaped energy from beginning to completion.
- Phase is a segment in the movement of a process calculated and determined by a constant and documented angular measure.
- physiographic describes the features and the location of geological structures on the the planet’s surface.
- plastic See ductile .
- plate (tectonic) is a constantly shifting fragment of solid geological features found underneath the earth’s surface whose movement generates tremors and ground-shaking.
- plate tectonics is the body of geological knowledge that rationalizes the energy produced by the constant shifting of the large solid geological fragments underneath the surface of the planet as the source of disturbances on the surface such as tremors, ground-shaking, volcanic eruptions. etc.
- Rayleigh wave is an surface vibration moving at an ellipsis following the path of the energy as it moves upward from its point of origin to ground level.
- recurrence interval is the computed chronological estimate of the period in between occurrences of natural processes within a physical location.
- reflection (seismic wave) describes the impact of the movement of energy that restores layers of natural objects different elastic properties to their original configuration.
- refraction (seismic wave) describes the impact of the movement of energy that changes the physical attributes of an object with different elastic properties.
- resonance affirms that at the point when the vibrations approximate the natural frequency of the human body, the width of the energy wave expands.
- response spectrum is the highest possible feedback derived from the exposure to ground-shaking by a series of simple harmonic oscillators of different natural frequencies.
- return period See recurrence interval.
- right-lateral fault See fault, right-lateral.
- rigidity is the sharp-edged physical configuration that results out of the force and weight of sheer stress on a natural form. See shear modulus
- risk (seismic) See earthquake risk.
- risk evaluation, risk reduction, and risk management are areas of concern that need to be effectively managed to mitigate and minimize the negative effects of disasters in general on human existence, resources, and infrastructures.
- rock avalanche is the rapid descent on an inclined surface of disintegrated fragments of solid geological materials.
- rock fall describes the rapid descent of fragments of solid geological materials influenced by the magnetic pull of the earth.
- rupture velocity is the rate of movement of the energy as it moves along the crack located between two shifting fragments of the crust from its point of origin.
- S wave is the looping behavior of energy as it moves in the opposite the direction from the tremor’s point of origin underneath ground level.
- sand boil is the residue of liquid and particles expelled from the surface of the earth produced by liquefaction of the upper portions of the crust during tremors.
- Scarp is a sharp incline on the earth’s surface which is the product of the shifting of fragments of the earth’s crust and/or any natural phenomenon. See fault scarp.
- seiche is the visible vibration or movement of a water system that has no exit to the sea resulting out of tremors or other processes or elements.
- seismic hazard See earthquake hazard.
- seismic hazard analysis is a scientifically configured numerical process designed to determine the degree of exposure of a geographical area to the negative and destructive effects of tremors.
- seismic moment See moment (earthquake) .
- seismic risk See earthquake risk .
- seismic wave is the curl-like movement of energy produced by the vibrations produced by the collision and/or shifting of fragments of the crust.
- seismic zonation is a spatial configuration of sections of the planet indicating the possible occurrence of tremors and their estimated negative and destructive effects.
- seismic zone is a site or location with unchanging pattern for scientifically managing the impact of tremors and vibrations of significant magnitudes.
- Seismograph is is an equipment that documents the movement of energy and its characteristics generated by the constant shifting of large fragments of the earth’s crust.
- seismology is the discipline or body of knowledge that focuses on tremors and their characteristics and the energy that is generated by the constant shifting of large fragments of the earth’s crust.
- seismometer is the apparatus that captures the energy that results out of tremors and changes this into electricity.
- seismotectonic zone or province is a location on the surface of the planet with shared or homogenous natural features and processes including tremors.
- shear modulus is the quantification of the proportion of shear stress to shear strain of a material during simple shear.
- shear wave See S wave .
- site is a location on the planet which is the focus of an assessment of the estimated and documented impact of tremors.
- slip (fault) is alteration of the contour or position of portions of the shifting fragments of the earth’s crust below the surface.
- slip rate is the computed mean speed of the alteration of the contour or position of portions of the shifting fragments of the earth’s surface.
- snow avalanche is a fast descent of frozen particles along a slope towards the surface of the earth.
- soil is the upper portion of the surface of the planet above the layer of solid hardened geological features composed of soft materials that sustains plant life.
- soil profile is the configuration of layers of loose organic materials sustaining plant life on top of their original source.
- stick-slip is a downward snap movement of solid geological materials bound together by the contact of rough surfaces.
- strain (elastic) is the degree of alteration in physical attributes and characteristics of an object and/or natural or geological feature.
- stress (elastic) is the application of energy on a the surface of a confined physical space.
- stress drop is the disparity of the measurable strength of the energy generated by the shifting fragments of the earth’s crust during the pre-tremor and the post-tremor periods.
- Strike is the reference point located in the upper section where the gap between shifting fragments of the crust meets a flat plane.
- strike-slip fault See fault, strike-slip.
- strong motion (ground) is the significant magnitude or size of ground-shaking caused by tremors or detonations that generates concern for closer examination in terms of the possible occurrence of negative and destructive effects.
- structural features are visible and perceptible geological features resulting out of the impact of forces and energy after the formation period of these solid natural features.
- subduction happens when a shifting fragment of the earth’s surface relocates itself underneath another shifting solid fragment.
- surface faulting (surface fault rupture) is the movement of the land or undersea surface of the planet resulting from the shifting of the fragments of the earth’s crust.
- surface waves are curl-like movements of energy that move from its origin across the surface of the planet. (Love and Rayleigh waves ).
- swarm (earthquake) is the occurrence of a number of tremors of relatively insignificant magnitudes within a certain location and time frame.
- tectonic earthquake is a ground-shaking produced by the shifting and/or collision of moving fragments of the earth’s crust below ground level.
- tectonic province is an area with homogeneous geographical and natural forms and processes.
- Tectonics is a discipline or body of knowledge that focuses on the composition and metamorphoses of the layer of the planet immediately below its surface.
- thrust fault See fault, thrust .
- transform fault See fault, transform .
- travel-time or time-distance curve is a quantitative configuration of the record documented by stations of the path of the energy generated by tremors computed using the variables of time and distances.
- tsunami is a moving wall of displaced water that is generated by the impact of tremors and volcanic activity on a large body of water.
- velocity (seismic) is the quantification of the speed of energy generated by tremors originating from the planet’s crust moving from its point of origin as it passes through solid material.
- velocity structure is a qualitative configuration articulating variations of the different speeds of the energy generated by tremors.
- viscoelasticity occurs on materials that contort based on the element of time when based from seconds to hours, the material possesses elastic solid properties and a viscous plastic over long periods of long-term natural evolution.
- volcanic earthquakes is a tremor that is generated by the natural processes that occur in volcanoes.
- water table is the layer of ground water nearest to the surface.
- waveform (seismic) is a record of the shifts in position resulting from the looping movement of tremors in the context of time.
- wavelength is the quantitative computation of distance between two high points and low points of the loop-like energy movement that is generated by tremors.
- wavelet is a energy beat occurring in the size of 1½ or 2 cycles.
Bates, Robert L., and Julia A. Jackson, eds., American Geological Institute. Dictionary of Geological Terms , 3d ed. New York: Doubleday, 1984.
Bolt, Bruce A., University of California, Berkeley. Earthquakes. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1988.
Shah, Haresh, “Glossary of Terms for Probabilistic Seismic-Risk and Hazard Analysis.” Earthquake Spectra (Earthquake Engineering Research Institute) 1, no. 1 (November 1984): 3340.
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences . Smith, David. G., ed-in-chief. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc./Cambridge University Press, 1981.
Ziony, J.I., ed. Evaluating Earthquake Hazards in the Los Angeles RegionAn Earth-Science Perspective . U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1360, 1985.
Foodborne Illness: Symptoms, Causes, Most Common Causes, Types of Food Poisoning, Preventing Illness, Foodborne Illness Surveillance
- Foodborne Illness
- Symptoms of Foodborne Illnesses
- General Tips to Avoid Foodborne Illnesses
- Causes of Foodborne Illnesses
- The most common cause of food poisoning
- Escherichia coli
- Botulism (Clostridium Botulinum)
- Clostridium perfringens
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Q Fever
- Vibrio Infections
- Preventing Illness Caused by Seafood
- Higher Risk Consumers
- Prevention of Food-Borne Illnesses
- Foodborne Illness Surveillance
- Prevention and Control
A foodborne illness (fbi) is any sickness caused by the food you eat. Common symptoms of fbi include nausea, diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and chills. More frequently termed as ‘food poisoning’ it is also called foodborne infection. Whichever the term, foodborne illness is a universal, expensive and totally preventable public health malaise. Though the human body is endowed with remarkable resilience, which increases with each generation as they are progressively equipped with an increased immunity quotient in their genes at birth, almost every person falls prey to it at least once in his/her lifetime. Many cases are simple infections which disappear on their own overnight.
Some agencies or doctors say that foodborne illnesses are infections or irritations of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract caused by food or beverages that contain harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses, or chemicals. ]Long term statistics show that foodborne diseases can prove to be extremely expensive. Officials in health management estimate that every year, the cost of preventing and curing all foodborne diseases in the USA touches between US$5 to 6 billion as defrayment of direct medical costs coupled with lost productivity as workers are rendered hors de combat. There are more than 250 foodborne diseases that have been charted, analyzed and for which remedies have been suggested.
Each year, fbi causes
- about 76 million (1 in 6 Americans) cases of illnesses
- 325,000 hospitalizations
- 5,000 deaths in the U.S.,
though America’s food supply is amongst the safest in the world, rated 21st after leaders Denmark and Australia.
By and large, the patient falls sick on eating or drinking polluted foods or beverages. The number of disease-causing microbes, or pathogens (germs, microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, parasites) that can infect foods are vast and variegated, so the foodborne infections are equally vast and variegated. Apart from pathogens, the other causes of fbi are toxic chemicals, or other poisonous substances that are present in the food or beverage consumed.
Foodborne Illnesses in Developed and Non-developed Countries
Developed countries tend to report the highest rates of food poisoning, which is rather strange, considering that their food supply, both internal and imported, is so stringently checked. On the other end of the scale lie the less developed countries, where cases of food poisoning are rather high, but lower than expected. This is because of a much larger base of immunity genes passed from generation to generation in the latter case. While this is, prima facie, a pejorative statement, it is actually beneficial to those countries as they have other serious problems to cope with. As matters stand, these countries are aided by a volunteer medical workforce from the UN as their own resources are virtually non-existent and the UN force is already stretched widely. They could do without food poisoning.
A well documented case is the Delhi Belly. Though pathogens affect almost every single person who arrives in Delhi from Australia, New Zealand and Scotland and about half those who come from the USA, the percentage of visitors from England affected is less than 10 percent. Evidently the British, who ran the British Raj in India, took back a fair amount of immunity when India became independent in 1947. Almost all visitors to India from these countries are warned about food, water and the noisome pollution levels prevalent in India. The Delhi Belly gained notoriety because visiting Cricket teams from Cricket playing advanced countries would have quite a few players on the sick list for the first few days.
An interesting related fact is that richer nations that have better infrastructure and awareness, i.e., have more supplies, spend more on research and have better food logistics systems finally spend less per head on food. On the average, OECD households spend about 20% of their income on food, while the most insecure countries in Sub-Saharan Africa spend more than 50% (sometimes up to 70%). The richer countries also have a calorie surplus. On the average, Americans have access to 3,700 calories a day−well above the recommended 2,300. The poorest, such as Haiti and Burundi, on the average, have 100 calories less than minimum−though for the very poorest, it’s much worse than that. The Democratic Republic of Congo has a grim per-person food supply of 1,605 calories, or 43% below requirement.
Irritations of the GI tract
Irritations of the GI tract is a fair explanation. The number of bacteria present on or in your body is quite large, but not enough to overcome the human’s immunity systems. Virtually every meal that has lain dormant for hour or so above 4.°4 C (40° F) before you eat it also has a fair amount of bacteria, but not enough to beat the body. It is, however, recommended that any food items exposed to temperatures above 4.°4 C for more than two hours should be discarded. Such mismanagement is appalling, considering that globally, over 840 million people starve every single day. A new-born baby feeds on breast milk, which is naturally anti-bacterial. Toddlers drink safe milk, processed by the mother or guardian. As you grow, your resistance to food poisoning increases, up to a ripe old age when regression sets in. The single most powerful reagents in your body are the acids in your stomach, which kill most pathogens. This acid is strong for human flesh with pH ranging from 1 to 4, but is controlled to a level which does not damage the walls of the stomach. The dead bacteria are excreted as feces. Food is generally pushed through the stomach for further processing. If all pathogens present are not exterminated, infection is likely to set in, causing food poisoning.
The GI tract is part of the digestive system, which includes other components, like the digestive organs and their accessories. The whole GI tract is about nine meters (30’) long. It is responsible for releasing hormones that regulate the digestive process, including the acids in the stomach, i.e., gastrin, secretin, cholecystokinin, and ghrelin. It consists of two sections, the upper and lower tracts. The two are separated by the base of the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. The duodenum, along with the esophagus and stomach form the upper GI tract. The lower GI tract includes most of the small intestine and all of the large intestine. The stomach passes processed food to the 6 meter (20’) long small intestine, which empties its contents into the large intestine, the end of which is the anus.
The major function of the upper GI tract is to absorb the products of digestion, like lipids, vitamins, carbohydrates and proteins into the bloodstream. Any acid exiting the stomach is neutralized by an alkaline fluid produced by the duodenum. The lower GI tract consists of the intestines, the cecum, colon, rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the lower GI, specifically the large intestine, is to absorb water. The time taken for food to move through the GI tract varies, depending on a number of factors. On the average, it takes 45-50 minutes after a meal for 50 percent of the stomach contents to move into the lower intestine. Total emptying takes an hour longer. Next, 50 percent of the small intestine takes 1 to 2 hours to move into the colon. Exit through the colon takes from 12 to 48 hours, varying from person to person.
The GI tract is also a prominent part of the immune system. The surface area of the digestive tract is estimated to be equal to the surface area of a football field (5,000 sq m/50,000 sq ft.). With such a large exposure, the immune system works overtime to prevent pathogens from entering our blood and lymph (ibid).
Symptoms of Foodborne Illnesses
Symptoms of foodborne illnesses generally start within 2 – 6 hours of ingesting the food. This time may be longer or shorter, depending on the cause of the food poisoning. In fact, the incubation period may even extend to a week. Symptoms of food poisoning include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Diarrhea (stool may be bloody)
- Fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weakness and unusual fatigue
If you decide to go to your doctor and narrate your symptoms, he, in all probability, will look for signs of food poisoning, particularly pain in the stomach and signs of dehydration. This latter malady is insidious and rehydration is critical. Apart from dehydration, both urine and stool tests will be done to identify which germ is causing your malaise. He would be pleased if you could provide him a sample of the food eaten. If tests do not reveal the stomach bug, he might ask you to undergo a sigmoidoscopy, where a mini-camera mounted on a thin pipe is inserted into your anus and your insides checked.
We’ve all had those horrible bouts of sickness and diarrhea and recovered in a couple of days. We think we’re well informed through experience, but there are many things we are absolutely unaware of.
We know that a stomach upset, the mildest form of foodborne disease, is caused by germs. One effect is abdominal cramps, the sudden feeling of tightness in the gut, which may or may not be accompanied by pain. Such a cramp is generally eased by going to the toilet. It is rarely a standalone malaise, often preceded by dehydrating loose, watery motions, generally four to five times a day, and accompanied by nausea and a feeling of being unwell.
If you get prominent abdominal pulsations not accompanied by any of the symptoms mentioned, but by a deep boring pain in the lower back or flank, it is essential you get to your doctor immediately. You could have an abdominal aortic aneurysm playing up. The aorta is the large artery that exits the heart and delivers blood to the body. The portion of the aorta that is located in the abdomen is referred to as the abdominal aorta. The abdominal aorta extends from the diaphragm to the mid-abdomen where it splits into the iliac arteries that supply the legs with blood. A section of the abdominal aorta has possibly weakened and is starting to balloon. You need immediate treatment.
Usually, aortic aneurysms are found in older people and are associated with hypertension or high blood pressure. It is hereditary, so you probably know of other cases in your family. Moreover, it is exacerbated by smoking.
Dehydration is yet another concern, because you’re losing fluids in the loo, more when vomiting, and sweating if you have a fever. Symptoms invariably include headache, dizziness, infrequent micturition, dry mouth, dark stools and weakness. Small children and babies are at a higher risk of dehydration since they don’t need to lose much fluid to upset their body fluid balance. Be principally wary of dehydration in the under-ones, particularly kids under six months and kids small for their age or who were premature. Pregnant women and older, frail people are at increased risk of dehydration too. Old folks are quite likely to be under medication, using diuretics (water tablets) to control their blood pressure, and dehydration will obviously affect their body fluid balance. Remember, fluid intake is critical to avoid getting dehydrated. Drink water, drink more water and drink then some more!
In babies and infants, signs to look out for include:
- Sunken eyes
- Dry mouth, tongue or lips
- Fewer wet nappies
- Lethargy or unusual irritability
Cold hands or feet, rapid breathing, pale or mottled skin or drowsiness can be signs of severe dehydration in children – seek medical help urgently.
General Tips to Avoid Foodborne Illnesses
If travelling anywhere outside Western Europe, the USA or Australia/New Zealand:
- Wash your hands before you eat anything. This is a rule applicable no matter where you stay.
- Where food and drink is concerned, boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it!
- Avoid ice in drinks – it’s made from the local water.
- Take a travel kettle to boil drinking water or ask your chemist about water sterilising tablets.
- Avoid food containing raw or partly cooked eggs.
- Avoid shellfish, especially if it’s raw.
Causes of Foodborne Illnesses
Foodborne illnesses are caused by Bacteria, Mycotoxins, Parasites and Natural toxins. More than 250 different diseases can cause fbi.
Bacteria : Bacteria and viruses are the most common cause of food poisoning. The symptoms and severity of food poisoning vary, depending on which bacteria or virus has contaminated the food. Some of the bacteria and viruses that cause the most illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States are:
- E. coli
- Clostridium Botulinum
- Clostridium perfringens.
- Norovirus (Norwalk Virus)
- Mycotoxins: Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by microfungi that are capable of causing disease and death in humans and other animals. The number of medically important fungi is quite low; those responsible for human and veterinary diseases include aflatoxin, citrinin, aspergillosis, ergot akaloids, fumonisins, ochratoxin A, patulin, trichothecenes, and zearalenone. Fungi on animal hosts produce diseases of the family called mycoses, while dietary, respiratory, dermal, and other exposures to toxic fungal metabolites produce the diseases collectively called mycotoxicoses. Mycoses range from the irritating, e.g., athlete’s foot to the life-threatening, e.g., invasive aspergillosis. Mycotoxicoses, or “poisoning by natural means” is caused by exposure to pesticides or heavy metal residues.
- Parasites: Parasites are creatures that derive their feed and shelter from their hosts. Such organisms are transmitted by water, soil, or physical contact. Their sizes vary from tiny, mono-celled organisms to large easily visible worms. The most common foodborne parasites in the US are protozoa, roundworms, and tapeworms. The foodborne parasite that causes the most hospitalizations and deaths in this country is Toxoplasma gondii, which causes toxoplasmosis. Another parasite, the rare Cyclospora cayetanensis, causes Cyclosporiasis, while a third, Giardia intestinalis is responsible for Giardiasis.
- Natural toxins: Some cases of food poisoning can be linked to toxins. These could be either natural, like those in some types of mushrooms and pufferfish, or chemical toxins such as pesticides or melamine. While some molds are desirable in foods (such as blue cheese), other molds can produce toxins that cause illness.
The most common cause of food poisoning
The most common cause of food poisoning is eating stale food. For instance, on festive occasions in the less developed countries, large amounts of food are cooked well before they are to be served as the number of stoves available is insufficient to cook all dishes simultaneously. Ambient temperatures tend to be on the high side, around 75-90° F(24-32° C), which is a comfortable physical range for natives. Unfortunately, this range is also the most suitable for pathogens to breed and infect the stored food. Food poisoning can thus affect one person or a group of people who all ate the same contaminated food. It also occurs fairly often after picnics, when cooked food is taken along to the picnic site in standard vessels exposed to ambient conditions. The most common bacteria are Staphylococcus.
There are at least 40 species of Staphylococcus, many of which are nontoxic and are found in huge numbers on the skin and mucous membranes of humans and other organisms worldwide. The species found on human skin is called Staphylococcus epidermiditis; the other genera found in or on the human body number fifteen. Though harmless in nature, a preponderance of Staphylococcus can cause a wide variety of diseases in the GI tract of humans through either toxin production or penetration. A simple bath cleans up the varieties outside the body; Lack of personal hygiene sees Staphylococcal cells in unwanted abundance and, when added to those produced by bacteria growing in improperly stored food items, can overcome human tolerance limits and create toxins that cause food poisoning.
Sialadenitis, an inflammation of the salivary gland, is caused only by Staphylococci, leading to low grade fever and mild pain / swelling mainly after meals as the food pipe gets obstructed and narrows. Food pushing past causes the mild pain. The Parotid or Submandibular glands are also affected and the standard treatment is therapies such as warm water gargles, hydration, analgesics and sialogogues, which is a stimulant for salivary output. Persistent cases are treated with antibiotics.
When a person swallows bacteria that cause food poisoning, there is some delay before symptoms appear (incubation period). This is because some of these bacteria pass through the stomach and need time to gestate in the intestine. The incubation period depends on the type of bacteria, how many are swallowed and how strong it is. It could be hours, even days. The bacteria attack the cells lining the intestine and destroy these cells, overwhelming them by sheer numbers or by the toxins (poisons) they produce. Some bacteria produce toxins when they grow in food. Since the toxins are harmful by themselves, the bacteria don’t need to multiply in the intestine to create illness, so the symptoms become obvious very quickly. As the bacteria entered the body through its digestive system, that’s where the first symptoms will appear.
Bacteria grow in warm and moist conditions. Reproduction is amoebic, i.e., by dividing themselves, so one bacterium becomes two become four and so on. . . One bacterium could become several million in 8 hours and several billions in 12 hours. Think of food with a few bacteria left out of the fridge overnight at a temperature of 20° C (68° F). Millions of bacteria per mouthful next morning! That’s enough to make even Bactman ill. If you’d put that food in the fridge, it wouldn’t have killed any bacteria, but would have stopped them from multiplying. Always assume that bacteria are omnipresent. Since they are invisible and have no taste or smell, maintain good hygiene to stay safe.
Campylobacter is the most common known cause of food poisoning. It is found mostly in poultry, red meat, unpasteurized milk, untreated water or through contact with infected infants or pets. Although it doesn’t grow in food it spreads easily, so only a few bacteria in a piece of undercooked chicken could cause illness. Infection caused by campylobacter can be serious in people with weak immune systems. In the odd case, campylobacter can cause unrelated problems such as arthritis or neurological debility.
Salmonella is the second most common cause of food poisoning after campylobacter. A bacterial infection, it can be passed on to humans from domestic and wild animals, including poultry, pigs, cattle, and pets. But most often, it is caused by drinking unpasteurized milk or by eating undercooked poultry and poultry products like eggs. Food prepared on surfaces contaminated earlier by raw chicken or turkey can also pick up salmonella. It will survive if food is not cooked properly and multiply unless chilled. It is also possible that the illness stems from food contaminated by a food worker.
People with salmonella should take great care with personal hygiene because they infect others on contact. For instance, if a carrier doesn’t wash his/her hands properly after going to the toilet, he could have infectious salmonella on his hands. Contaminated air ducts can spread salmonella! Bacteria could escape from the intestine, enter the bloodstream and infect other organs. It could become a persistent infection in some people, who evince no symptoms, yet spread the disease to others.
Named after Kiyoshi Shiga, who first discovered it almost 120 years ago, Shigella is an anaerobic rod-shaped bacteria closely related to Salmonella. It is a type of bacteria that causes dysentery, an acute form of diarrhea. Shigella was accepted as a genus only in the 1950s and the disease they cause is called Shigellosis. These bacteria are grouped into 4 species: Shigelladysenteriae (Group A), Shigellaflexneri (Group B), Shigellaboydii (Group C), and Shigellasonnei (Group D). Each group has many sub-types called serotypes 1,2 and so on.
Surprisingly, different types of Shigella are found to be the cause of shigellosis on a geographic basis. Shigelladysenteriae serotype 1 causes deadly epidemics, and is usually found in the developing world; it is estimated that Shigellosis is responsible for close to 90 million cases of severe dysentery, resulting in at least 100,000 fatalities each year, mostly among children. Shigellaboydii is restricted to the Indian subcontinent; Shigellaflexneri and Shigellasonnei are prevalent in developing and developed countries respectively. Shigellaflexneri bacteria is the cause of the worldwide form of bacillary dysentery. The United States shows up Shigellasonnei (Group D) which runs a course of a week but rarely requires hospitalization. Treatment at home is adequate.
Shigellosis is endemic in less developed countries where sanitation is poor. Humans are mostly affected. No natural food products harbor Shigella bacteria, but a variety of foods may be contaminated. Shigellosis is spread by means of fecal-oral transmission. Other modes of transmission include ingestion of contaminated food or water, contact with a contaminated inanimate object, and certain modes of sexual contact. The common housefly can spread the disease by physically transporting infected feces.
Another unusual aspect of shigellosis is that the infectivity dosage is extremely low. As few as 10 Shigelladysenteriae bacilli can cause clinical disease; 100-200 bacilli are enough for Shigellasonnei or Shigellaflexneri infection. The reasons for such a response are not yet clear. Perhaps virulent Shigellae can withstand the pH of gastric juice since intestinal adherence favors colonization in vivo. Tests have shown that most Shigella bacilli survive acidic treatment at pH 2.5 for at least 2 hours.
Escherichia coli, or E.coli is the typification of a bacterium that lives in the GI tracts of humans and animals. There are many types of E. coli; most of them are harmless, but some can cause bloody diarrhea. Some strains of E. coli bacteria (such as O 157: H 7) may also cause severe anemia or kidney failure, which can lead to death.
Different strains of E. coli can cause urinary tract or other infections. You get an E. coli infection by coming into contact with the feces, or stool, of humans or animals, possibly when you drink water or eat food contaminated by such feces. E. coli can get into meat during processing. If the infected meat is not cooked to 71° C (160° F), the bacteria can survive and infect you when you eat the meat. This is how people in the US are infected with E. coli. Any food that has been in contact with raw meat can also become infected.
Other foods that can be infected with E. coli include:
- Raw milk or dairy products. Bacteria may transit from a cow’s udders to its milk. Pasteurization destroys bacteria.
- Raw fruits and vegetables, such as lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, or unpasteurized fruit juices that have come in contact with infected animal feces.
Human or animal feces infected with E. coli sometimes get into lakes, pools, and water supplies. You can become infected if accidentally swallow contaminated water while swimming in a lake, pool, or irrigation canal. The bacteria spreads from one person to another, generally when an infected person does not wash his or her hands well after a bowel movement. E. coli can spread from an infected person’s hands to other people or to objects.
The main symptoms of E. coli O 157: H 7 infections are:
- Bloody diarrhea.
- Stomach cramps.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Often, symptoms are not noticed by people. Children are more prone to have symptoms than adults. Symptoms typically start 3 / 4 days after you come in contact with the E. coli. Quite often, people recover in 5-7 days without knowing that E. coli was behind their problems.
When E. coli causes serious problems with the blood or kidneys, symptoms include:
Listeriosis, a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes is an important public health problem in the US as it can be fatal. It is the third leading cause of death from food poisoning. Listeria strikes viciously at pregnant women, newborn kids, older adults and those with immune systems weakened by cancer, cancer treatment, diabetes, kidney or liver problems and HIV/AIDS. Listeria is known to cause miscarriage and meningitis. Most people found to have Listeria infection require hospital care and about 1 in 5 people with the infection die. People without these risk factors can also be affected, but to a much lesser degree. The risk is negated by safe food preparation, consumption, and storage.
Listeria is challenging because:
- When someone eats food contaminated with Listeria, sickness or miscarriage may not occur until weeks later when it is difficult to identify which food was the source.
- Listeria can infect many foods we don’t usually cook, like deli meats, cheeses and sprouts.
- Some foods we might not suspect can be contaminated with Listeria and cause sickness and outbreaks, such as cantaloupe and celery.
- Listeria can even grow on refrigerated foods.
- Listeria can hide unnoticed in the equipment or appliances where food is prepared, including in factories and grocery stores.
Listeriosis was traced to fast foods like the Hot Dog and deli meats in 1990 and precautionary measures adopted. Infections reduced over that decade, but have not yet gone down in this millennium. Some foods where Listeria is known to hide include raw sprouts, raw (unpasteurized) milk, deli meats and hot dogs (cold, uncooked), soft cheeses and smoked seafood.
Botulism (Clostridium Botulinum)
Botulism is a rare but life-threatening bacterial illness. Clostridium Botulinum bacteria grows on food and produces toxins that, when ingested, cause paralysis. Such poisoning is extremely rare, but so dangerous that each case is considered a public health emergency. There is a 35 to 65 percent chance of death for patients who are not treated immediately and effectively with botulism antitoxin. Infant botulism is the most common form of botulism.
Symptoms of Botulism
Botulism neurotoxins block neurotransmissions, inhibiting motor control. The victim experiences paralysis from top to bottom; when paralysis reaches the chest, death occurs from inability to breathe unless the patient is ventilated. Symptoms usually appear 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. With treatment, illness lasts from 1 to 10 days.
Full recovery from botulism poisoning can take weeks to months. Some people never fully recover.
- Double vision
- Dry skin, mouth and throat
- Drooping eyelids
- Difficulty swallowing
- Slurred speech
- Muscle Weakness and Body Ache
- Lack of fever
If found early, botulism can be treated with an antitoxin that blocks circulation of the toxin in the bloodstream. This prevents the patient’s case from worsening, but recovery still takes several weeks.
Prevention of Botulism
Since botulism poisoning most commonly comes from foods improperly canned at home, the most important step in preventing botulism is to follow proper canning procedure. To prevent infant botulism, do not give even a small amount of honey to an infant, as honey is one source of infant botulism.
Clostridium perfringens is the third most common cause of food poisoning in the UK and the US though it can sometimes be ingested and cause no harm. It is always found in decaying vegetation, marine sediment and the GI tract of dead humans. Its action on corpses is known to mortuary workers as tissue gas, and can be halted only by embalming.
Clostridium perfringens usually causes diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, occasional nausea but it doesn’t cause vomiting or fever. Unlike other bacteria that cause fbi, clostridium perfringens isn’t fully destroyed by ordinary cooking. This is because it produces heat-resistant spores. Bacteria are killed at cooking temperatures, but the heat-resistant spores survive and may even be stimulated to germinate by the heat. If the food is not eaten immediately but allowed to cool, the bacteria produced when the spores germinate multiply rapidly. Unless the food is reheated so that it is piping hot (60o C to preferably 75o C), the bacteria will survive. After ingestion, if there are sufficient numbers present, the bacteria will produce toxins and the toxins will cause symptoms.
Norovirus comes from a bunch of diverse single-string RNA in the Caliciviridae family and are all taken to be derivatives of the Norwalk virus. It is the single most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the US. It causes twenty million illnesses each year, contributes to 70,000-75,000 hospitalizations and 700-800 deaths. Norovirus is also the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the US.
Norovirus is highly contagious. You can pick up norovirus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by simply touching contaminated surfaces. Your stomach or intestines or both get inflamed causing typical symptoms like stomach pain, nausea, and repeated bouts of diarrhea and vomiting (acute gastroenteritis). You have to watch out for dehydration; children who are dehydrated may cry with few or no tears and be unusually sleepy or fussy.
Anyone can be infected with norovirus. What’s more, you can have norovirus sickness many times in your life. This illness can be serious, especially for young children and older adults. The best way to avoid norovirus is to wash regularly and maintain good personal hygiene. There is no specific medicine to treat people with norovirus illness. Norovirus infection cannot be treated with antibiotics because it is a viral (not a bacterial) infection. If you have norovirus illness, all you can do is prevent dehydration.
Some other foodborne diseases are:
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. This is one of many types of hepatitis viruses that inflame and affect your liver’s functionality. You’re most likely to contract hepatitis A from contaminated food or water or from close contact with someone who’s infected. Mild cases require no treatment, and most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage. The best way to safeguard yourself against hepatitis A is by practicing good hygiene, including washing hands frequently. Vaccines are available for Hepatitis A. Interestingly, it is also a sexually transmitted disease, both heterosexual and homosexual.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A typically do not appear until you’ve had the virus for a few weeks, may include unusual ones like:
- Clay-colored bowel movements
- Dark urine
- Pain in your liver, on your right side beneath your lower ribs
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Low-grade fever with joint pain
Hepatitis B, another severe liver infection, is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Some people have hepatitis B for a period exceeding six months, i.e., the infection becomes chronic. Chronic hepatitis B is dangerous as it increases the risk of your developing liver failure, cancer of the liver or cirrhosis — where the liver is permanently scarred. That portion becomes deadweight.
Most adults with hepatitis B recover fully, even from severe conditions. Infants and children are more prone to chronic hepatitis B. A vaccine can prevent hepatitis B, but there’s no cure if you have it. If you’re infected, take precautions to prevent passing HBV to others. HBV is often transmitted by:
- Sexual contact. You may become infected if you have unprotected sex with an infected partner whose blood, saliva, semen or vaginal secretions enter your body.
- Sharing of needles. HBV is easily transmitted through needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood.
- Accidental needle pokes. Hepatitis B is a concern for health care workers and anyone else who comes in contact with human blood.
- Mother to child. HBV-afflicted pregnant women with can pass the virus to their babies during childbirth. However, the newborn can be vaccinated to avoid getting infected. Get yourself tested for hepatitis B if you are pregnant or wish to become pregnant.
Cholera, an infectious disease, causes severe diarrhea, dehydration and even death if untreated. It is mostly caused by ingesting food or water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae.
About 10 cases of cholera are reported each year in the US. Contaminated seafood has caused an outbreak of cholera in the US. Cholera outbreaks are a major health problem in other parts of the world, where 3 to 5 million people are affected, causing over 100,000 deaths every year. The disease is endemic in places with poor sanitation, crowding, war, and famine, including parts of Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Loss of skin elasticity (the ability to return to original position quickly if pinched)
- Dry mucous membranes, including the inside of the mouth, throat, nose, and eyelids
- Low blood pressure
- Muscle cramps
Typhoid is a severe illness associated with fever most often caused by the Salmonella typhi or paratyphi bacteria. These bacteria enter water or food through fecal contamination by a human carrier and then spread across the area.
Around 5,700 cases are reported annually in the US, usually in people who recently have traveled to endemic areas. Mexico, South America, India, Pakistan, and Egypt are the most common areas for US citizens to contract typhoid fever. Worldwide, typhoid affects more than 21 million people annually, with fatalities exceeding 200,000.
As stated earlier, Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by the microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. People can become infected with Cyclospora by consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite. People blessed with healthy immune systems recover without treatment. At times, when not treated, there may be a relapse. The standard prescription is Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX), sold under the trade names Bactrim, Septra, and Cotrim in the US. Prescribed anti-diarrheal medicine may help reduce diarrhea.
Giardiasis is a major diarrheal disease seen across the world. It is caused by an intestinal parasite, Giardia intestinalis. As may be expected, it is common in poorly sanitized parts of the world. In developing countries, the disease, if untreated, could lead to death. Water-borne and food-borne outbreaks are common. Antibiotic therapy is standard in treating Giardiasis.
Q fever was first recognized as a human disease in Australia in 1935 and in the United States in the early 1940’s. The ‘Q’ stands for ‘query’ and was used when the agent causing it was unknown. Human Q fever is now known to be the result of infection with the bacterium, Coxiella burnetii. Cattle, sheep, and goats are commonly infected and may transmit infection to humans when they give birth. Coxiella burnetii can survive for long periods of time in the environment, and may be spread by wind and dust. Illness among patients with recognized and reported Q fever may be severe with complications requiring hospitalization that may include endocarditis, encephalitis, pneumonia, hepatitis, and splenomegaly.
Vibrio vulnificus (V. vulnificus) and Vibrio parahaemolyticus (V. parahaemolyticus) are bacteria that occur naturally in warm coastal areas, such as the Gulf of Mexico. These bacteria are found in higher concentrations in the summer months when water gets warmer. People who consume tainted seafood are prone to vibrio infections.
- V. parahaemolyticus typically causes non-bloody diarrhea.
- In persons with liver disease, cancer, or another immune-compromising condition, V. vulnificus infects the bloodstream, causing a life-threatening illness. About half of V. vulnificus bloodstream infections are fatal, and death can occur within two days. In addition to transmission by raw shellfish and oysters, V. vulnificus can enter the body via a wound that is exposed to warm seawater.
Preventing Illness Caused by Seafood
The basics of food safety remain unchanged. Additional care should be taken when storing or eating seafood. Like other food, keep seafood cold at temperatures below 4.4° C (40° F) to help preclude pathogenic bacteria. Adequate cooking will destroy any pathogens that remain. Proper sanitation and hygiene are and have always been key factors in food safety. Try and avoid cross contamination, i.e., transferring harmful bacteria from one food to another, or to a food from cutting boards, utensils, or your hands. To avert cross contamination when storing or cooking seafood, keep raw seafood and their juices away from already cooked or ready–to–eat foods. As repeatedly stressed, it is crucial to wash your hands after touching raw food or non–food surfaces or other dirty objects, and after using the toilet.
Prevention is the best way to avoid all foodborne illness. In respect of seafood, consumers must:
- Wash hands, utensils, and cooking surfaces often.
- Cook seafood to a minimum of 63° C / 145°F for 15 seconds.
- Keep raw and cooked seafood separate to avoid cross–contamination.
- Store seafood in the fridge below 4.4° C /40°F or in the freezer below -18° C /0°F.
Higher Risk Consumers
Individuals who have an increased chance of getting a type of foodborne illness called listeriosis should shun certain types of seafood and other foods to reduce chances of getting listeriosis. They should avoid refrigerated types of smoked seafood such as salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, or mackerel. These items can be labeled as ‘nova–style,’ ‘lox,’ ‘kippered,’ ‘smoked, or ‘jerky’, and are found in the refrigerated section of grocery stores and delicatessens. You need not worry about getting listeriosis if these products are cooked in a dish such as a casserole or if they are canned or shelf–stable (do not require refrigeration).
Moreover, to reduce risks of illness from bacteria in food, the US Department of Agriculture advises that persons at risk do not eat the following foods:
- Raw fin fish and shellfish, including oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops.
- Raw or unpasteurized milk or cheese.
- Soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue–veined, and Mexican–style cheese. (Hard cheeses, processed cheeses, cream cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt need not be avoided).
- Raw or lightly cooked egg or egg products including salad dressings, cookie or cake batter, sauces, and beverages such as egg nog. (Foods made from commercially pasteurized eggs are safe to eat).
- Raw meat or poultry.
- Raw sprouts (alfalfa, clover and radish).
- Unpasteurized or untreated fruit or vegetable juice (These juices will carry a warning label).
Prevention of Food-Borne Illnesses
You must know how to guard against fbi, particularly if there are children in the house. Set a good example for children in general and personal hygiene, with overall cleanliness, proper hand washing, careful preparation and proper storage of food. It boils down to the standard three basic facts when preparing or cooking food:
- Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Bacteria multiply exponentially in foods that are lukewarm or at room temperature.
- Cook foods of animal origin and wash vegetables and fruits that are eaten raw thoroughly. Bacteria are normally present in raw foods.
- General and Personal Hygiene:
- Bacteria and viruses can easily transit from our bodies to food and from one food to another.
- Wash hands frequently and encourage your children to do the same. Ensure you wash hands thoroughly after clearing your pet’s feces or visiting the toilet.
- Never put a spoon used to taste food back into food without washing it.
- Keep raw foods and cooked foods separate.
- Wash knives, cutting boards, and other utensils used for preparing one food before reusing for another.
- If you notice unsatisfactory food handling at markets or restaurants, bring it to the manager’s attention as well as that of the public.
- Check ‘Sell by’ and ‘Best before’ dates to avoid buying outdated items.
- Don’t buy damaged cans or packages.
- Make sure frozen foods are frozen solid, with no ice or water marks indicating the product has thawed and since been refrozen.
- Check that foods from the refrigerator case are cold when purchased.
- Inspect eggs and reject any that are dirty, cracked, or unrefrigerated; check freshness dates on the carton.
- Bag meats separately from fresh produce.
- Avoid unpasteurized or raw juices and milk, as well as cheese made from unpasteurized or raw milk (ibid).
- Store foods at correct temperatures. Storage at improper temperatures is the most common cause of outbreaks of food-borne illness.
- Refrigerate or freeze foods as soon as you unpack them. Wrap raw meat, poultry, and fish so they don’t come into contact with other foods, especially foods that are eaten raw.
- Keep refrigerated produce in the crisper.
- Keep other fruits and vegetables at cool room temperature.
- Protect potatoes from light (a paper shopping bag works well) to guard against the formation of toxic (solanine) compounds, which are indicated by a green color. Discard potatoes that have turned green and sprouted.
- Store and use cans and packages in date order.
- Store grains and cereals in cupboards or in opaque containers; their vitamin content deteriorates on exposure to light. Similarly, store oils away from light to prevent them from turning rancid.
- Wash hands for at least 10 to 20 seconds with soap and warm water before preparing foods, and wash again periodically as necessary.
- If children are helping, tell them to wash long enough.
- If you wear rubber gloves, wash your hands with the gloves on.
- Follow the safe-handling labels on prepackaged raw meat and poultry.
- Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator or under running cold water, not on the countertop or in a bowl of water at room temperature.
- Use separate cutting boards for preparing raw meats and raw produce.
- After using a cutting board or a knife for raw meat, fish, or poultry, wash it with soap and hot water. Rinse the cutting board with a mild bleach solution (¼ cup of bleach to a gallon of water) before reusing it for any food. Wash plastic cutting boards in the dishwasher, if you have one.
- Cook meat to the recommended temperature; use a thermometer if you have difficulty judging when meat is done. Beef and lamb can be eaten rare to medium, provided the internal temperature has reached 63° C/145° F, which will kill most bacteria (ibid).
Foodborne Illness Surveillance
The key to recognizing fbi lies in routine surveillance, where surveillance is the regular collection, summarization and analysis of fbi data. The purpose of fbi surveillance is to interrupt the transmission of disease to susceptible persons by:
- Seeking notification of illness through timely reporting.
- Identifying outbreaks and investigating outbreaks.
- Interpreting investigative data and disseminating findings.
Information to Be Collected
Two main categories of information should be collected as part of an fbi surveillance system: Descriptive Information and Investigational Findings.
1. Descriptive Information.
First, information is needed regarding the time(s), place(s), and person(s) connected with a particular complaint. Collecting this descriptive information will enable one to decide whether a complaint is valid. For example, when notified of a potential foodborne illness, one should gather the following information in a standard format:
- WHO became ill and what are the characteristics of this person(s) (age, sex, vocation)?
- WHEN did the person(s) become ill?
- WHAT foods, beverages, or meals are suspect?
- WHERE did the ill person(s) eat or purchase these foods and when did they consume them?
2. Investigational Findings
Based on the information from above, a foodborne illness investigation may be initiated. A second category of information will be collected as an investigation proceeds. These investigational findings are a crucial component of a foodborne illness surveillance system because such findings enable public health officials to more clearly understand the causes of foodborne illness (ibid). Findings may include the answers to some or all of the following questions:
- What specific food item(s) or ingredient(s) was linked to the illness?
- What type of contaminant (bacterium, virus, parasite, toxin or chemical) caused the illness?
- What were the factors leading to the contamination, survival, or growth of a particular contaminant in an implicated food item? (Was the item improperly cooked or stored? Did an infected food handler prepare the food?)
The data collected from these studies provides the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and State agencies a solid foundation for developing a national retail food program model that can be used by federal, state, local, and tribal agencies to:
- Identify implemented food safety program performance.
- Assess strengths and deficiencies in the design and structure of program services.
- Launch programs and intervention strategies to reduce the occurrence of fbi risk factors.
- Create a mechanism that justifies program resources and allocates them to program areas that will provide the most significant public health benefits.
Foodborne Disease Outbreak Tracking and Reporting
The initial step to prevent an outbreak of fbi and enhance our comprehension of its impact on human health are tracking and immediate reporting of the foods and settings where outbreaks occur.
Determining the food sources responsible for fbi may seem straightforward, but its far more complex than expected. This happens because it is generally close to impossible to figure out which food made which individual sick, or to determine if it was food that caused the illness. People rarely know what made them ill, making a difficult task impossible. When a group of people become ill together in an fbi outbreak, investigation could sometimes figure out which food was responsible, providing a link between the fbi and a food. Such information is hard to gather outside of an outbreak.
CDC maintains a log to collect, collate and report data periodically on the occurrence and causes of fbi outbreaks in the US, providing valuable insights into the causative agents and foods that cause fbi and the settings of the occurrence. The Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System collects data on fbi outbreaks, providing important information on how the disease spreads, which foods caused an illness and how to prevent recurrence.
State, local and territorial public health departments are tasked with identifying and investigating outbreaks and reporting outbreaks to CDC. Data is then collated:
- Date and location of the fbi outbreak.
- Number of people who became ill and their symptoms.
- Food implicated in the outbreak.
- Setting where the food was prepared and eaten.
- Pathogen that caused the outbreak.
The surveillance team analyzes the data then makes it available online via the Food Outbreak Online Database (FOOD) to one and all, including consumer advocacy groups, public health workers, the medical community, food industry, media, and the public.
Emerging Foodborne Diseases
The face of foodborne diseases is changing grossly as new pathogens emerge and older pathogens are seen to associate with new foods, thus increasing in prevalence. Apart from acute gastroenteritis, many emerging fbi may cause chronic disability. For instance, Listeriosis can cause miscarriages or meningitis. Toxoplasmosis is now identified as a cause of congenital malformation, and E coli O 157: H 7 infection is a leading cause of acute kidney failure in children in the US. Salmonellosis can cause invasive diseases or arthritis, and, in the advanced world Salmonella serotype Enteritidis (SE) has become the predominant strain. Investigations reveal that its emergence is largely related to consumption of poultry or eggs. The common campylobacteriosis can trigger Guillain-Barré syndrome, leading to flaccid paralysis in the US.
These changes in the emergence of fbi are due to globalization and variations in human demographics and behavior, technology and industry, and international travel and commerce; microbial adaptation; economic development and land use; and the breakdown of public health measures with increasing populace.
Demographic changes in industrialized nations has increased the ratio of the population at risk of severe foodborne infections. In the US, HIV has increased the segment of immunocompromised population, exacerbated with advancing age due to higher longevity or underlying chronic disease. Cases of salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, and listeriosis were higher among HIV-infected persons than those not infected with HIV. Salmonella and possibly Campylobacter infections are likely to become severe or persistent in this population. Extraintestinal disease caused by Salmonella is predicted to become more likely in HIV-infected persons than in the population at large. Advanced medical technology has extended the life span of persons with chronic diseases, unfortunately increasing the number of people already prone to severe fbi.
Changes in the pattern of food consumption have shown up unrecognized microbial foodborne hazards. For instance, fresh fruit and vegetable consumption has nearly doubled in the last 50 years. Since fresh produce can be contaminated during growth, harvest, and distribution, their surfaces could well be contaminated by animal feces. Pathogens on the skins of produce like melons can contaminate the insides during cutting and multiply if the fruit is not refrigerated. In the US, we have seen a series of fbi outbreaks in foods such as sliced cantaloupe, green onions, freshly squeezed orange juice, lettuce, raspberries and frozen strawberries, among many others.
Food eaten away from home has increased due to our changed life styles. Fast-food restaurants have become primary sites for meals in today’s fast-paced society. Outbreaks outside the home account for almost 80 percent of reported outbreaks in the US. Such food venues may also contribute to fbi through unwelcome practices such as the pooling of eggs, holding of hazardous foods at temperatures above 40° F, incomplete cooking of meals like hamburgers, and cross-contamination of cooked foods. Moreover, behavioral changes leading to fbi are furthered by reduced opportunities for food safety instruction both at school and at home.
The current trend towards wider geographic distribution of food products from huge centralized food processors carries an inherent risk. When such food products are contaminated at a low level, illnesses may appear dispersed rather than part of an outbreak.
International travel has surged dramatically. Travelers may contract fbi unknown in their nation of residence, thus complicating diagnosis and treatment when they fall ill after returning home. As the diversity of foods available has increased manifold, illnesses are now being associated with globally distributed foods, making it hard to pin down any one source.
To complicate matters, microbes have evolved to adapt to unfavorable environments, making them drug-resistant. Antimicrobial-resistant strains of Salmonella are becoming increasingly prominent. Salmonella serotype Typhimurium Definitive Type 104 (DT 104) emerged in the UK and became the second most common cause of human salmonellosis in England and Wales. Ninety percent of all DT 104 isolates were resistant to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, streptomycin, sulphonamides, and tetracycline!
Prevention and Control
Each link in the production, preparation, and delivery of food can be a hazard to health. The prevention of fbi depends on careful food production, handling of raw products, and preparation of finished foods (ibid). Technology may prevent many fbis. Just as the 20th century’s revolution in food sanitation and hygiene (including refrigeration, chlorination of drinking water, pasteurization of milk, and shellfish monitoring) was a consequence of applied technologies, industrial engineering is possibly the key to food safety in the 21st century. Current technologies that deserve evaluation are chlorination of drinking water sources for food animals; sanitary slaughter and processing of meat, poultry, and seafood; irradiation and other microbial reduction steps for raw agricultural commodities.