Monday, July 07, 2008

DANGEROUS FAD! Water and workouts to become compulsory for some Australian toddlers

What a picnic for lawyers the first time a toddler gets seriously hurt as a result of this nonsense! It looks like the kids are to be given lots of water one way or another but THAT IS DANGEROUS EVEN IN ADULTS -- to the point of death. And quite small amounts of water given to children can lead to water intoxication, resulting in brain damage. See also here, where it speaks of an "epidemic" of water intoxication among U.S. children. Blasted know-nothing faddists!

Children as young as three will undergo compulsory exercise regimes of up to two hours every day in preschools. The New South Wales Government's anti-obesity program also phases out junkfood with kids now drinking watered down juices and low-fat milk and parents receiving a list of recommended foods for their children's lunchboxes. Star jumps, action-singing songs as well as catching, jumping and running are just some of the exercises included in the roll call of daily activities.

The Munch 'n' Move blueprint aims to bring down the rocketing rates of childhood obesity [Utter rubbish! Obesity peaked in the late 1990s] in NSW with one in five preschoolers now either overweight or obese.

Nearly 1000 preschools will implement the new healthy lifestyles policy within the next 18 months, with childhood teachers in 14 centres receiving their initial training this week. "We do music and movement every day but this program also encourages us to do more structured exercise outside where we are teaching children the finer points in jumping, running, hopping, galloping and fundamental movement skills," said educator Vicky Smith from Five Dock preschool, which is implementing the program.

NSW Health's Centre for Health Advancement director Liz Develin said once the preschools were completed the program would be rolled out in long-day care centres. She said that while some parents might question the need to force active three-year-olds into exercise, Ms Develin said recent research showed 89 per cent of children aged four to five spend more than two hours watching a screen every day. "A lot of three to five-year-olds have started these bad habits early," Ms Develin said. [PROVE that it's a bad habit!] "If children are well equipped in fundamental movement skills they are more likely to participate in physical activity and sport later - they'll have the basic skills of how to run, throw and jump rather than just running around erratically."

Early childhood teachers will receive a 188-page manual outlining the details of the new exercise and food program, which includes giving children water rather than fruit poppers and cordials so that kids don't develop a sweet tooth. It also recommends limiting giving juice to once a day and to the 100 per cent variety, which is then diluted by water by at least half, and suggests reduced-fat milk for children over two.

NSW Health Minister Reba Meagher said the program was devised to combat the growing number of overweight preschoolers as well as educate parents. "There is clear evidence that the number of people who are overweight or obese is increasing," she said. "By the time NSW children reach kindergarten nearly 18 per cent of them are either overweight or obese."


Pesky finding: In mice, "youth" drug prolongs vigor but not life

Large doses of a red wine ingredient can ward off many of the negative effects of aging in mice who start taking it at midlife, according to a new report. But those benefits, from the chemical known as resveratrol, come without necessarily prolonging the rodents' lives -- the hoped-for result it achieved in simpler animals, scientists say.

The new findings, by David Sinclair at Harvard Medical School and more than two dozen colleagues, appear online July 3 in the research journal Cell Metabolism.

The scientists found cardiovascular benefits, greater motor co-ordination, reduced cataracts, and better bone density in mice taking resveratrol. The results show evidence that the substance mimics the documented beneficial effects of eating sparingly, the researchers said -- many tissues show very similar gene activity either way.

"The quality of life of these mice at the end of their days is much better," said Rafael de Cabo of the U.S. National Institute on Aging, one of the researchers. Resveratrol may "extend productive, independent life, rather than just extending life span."

"I was most surprised by how broad the effects were," added Sinclair. "Usually, you focus on slowing down or ameliorating one disease at a time. In this case, resveratrol influences a whole series of seemingly unrelated diseases associated with aging." Sinclair said he expects some of the effect seen in the mice would have even greater impact if they hold in humans. That's because, unlike people, mice usually don't die as a result of heart disease or suffer from weakening bones.

Earlier studies found that reducing calorie intake by 30 percent to 50 percent, or eating only every other day, can delay the onset of age-related diseases, improve stress resistance, and slow down functional decline. Although dietary restriction has beneficial effects in humans, such a diet is unlikely to be widely adopted and would pose a significant risk to the frail, critically ill or elderly, the researchers said.

Therefore, scientists hope to find compounds that provide the benefits without cutting calories. One contender has been substances like resveratrol that activate a gene known as SIRT1. It and equivalent proteins have been linked to long life in many studies in yeast to mammals, although its role in prolonging life remains a matter of considerable controversy.

Studies have found resveratrol can extend the lives of yeast, worms, flies, and fish, and improves the health and survival of obese mice on a high-calorie diet. In the new research, investigators placed one-yearold mice on a standard control diet or every-other-day feeding with or without resveratrol.

The resveratrol-fed mice did not live longer in general, although mice on a high-fat diet plus resveratrol did avoid the shortened life span that tends to come with such a fatty meal plan, Sinclair said. Resveratrol treatment is already being tested in clinical trials for type 2 diabetes, the researchers noted, and more potent molecules with effects similar to resveratrol are also under development. The new findings in middle-aged mice suggest that treatments with such drugs might benefit people who start taking them in their late thirties or forties, the scientists said.


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