Cool Digital Tool Shows What Nutrients YOUR Body Needs

animated-woman-with-oj-for-blog.jpgAttention Tweenage Breakfast Dodgers!

Now you have even more incentive to sip some OJ, grab a banana, and snarf some raisin bran or whole wheat toast before school…

A study in the March issue of Pediatrics suggests that adolescents who eat breakfast regularly “tend to weigh less, exercise more and eat more healthy foods than those who skip the meal.”

If that sounds like a ‘duh’ proposition, consider researchers tracked eating patterns, weight and other lifestyle choices of more than 2,000 adolescents across five years (no small potatoes!) and found teens who ate breakfast every day had a significantly lower body mass index (BMI media study here), maintained healthier eating habits and were more physically active. (dear daughter, are you listening? Let’s set that alarm clock a wee bit earlier, eh?)

The RWJF summary stops short of implying a ‘causal link’ for increased appetite control, but since hunger causes people to ‘binge eat’ if they’ve “gone without,” this makes sense to me. (proof positive: yesterday I was so busy that my ‘lunch hour’ hit four-thirty and I was so famished, I devoured a deli sandwich and ordered another tuna ‘to go’!)

Face it. Age 14 & 41 daily values are NOT remotely the same!

One size does NOT fit all, as there’s a huge leap in kids’ and adults’ activity levels and nutrient needs. We’ve written a lot about label lingo and nutrition calculators including this one from Nutrition Data News that offers a fun, easy way to customize calculations of YOUR daily intake needs. Use the media. Use the technology. Find out exactly what your body needs, and apply it!

Admittedly, a lot of these kids’ health and behavioral studies seem so obvious they produce an eye roll of ‘puhlleeeeze’ frustration…spending money to quantify/qualify what seems like a ‘given’. (violence/video game desensitization? sexual objectification/behavioral cues? sedentary media time+fast food=obesity? gee, ya think?) Argh.

As a new nonprofit unfamiliar with the politics of the ‘grants and foundation’ arena sometimes I want to shout, “let’s stop studying it and DO something about it!” I tend to want to hopscotch over the bureaucratic process in search of untainted corporate funding to get the show on the road and create change. (yes, I know, that can be oxymoronic too; this is why I remain a pauper beholden to none 😉

apple-tape.jpgStill, this body mass index (BMI) study DOES reinforce the notion that lifestyle choices and habits start early on, and even though kids get caught up on the hamster wheel of life in “zoom mode” sometimes, it’s all the more important to depart from the “one size fits all” approach to government’s box top labels of an “average 2000 cal/day.”

Cool tools like this make life so much easier!

The “average” recommended daily value labels can’t hold a candle to this digital calculator that enables you to specifically plug in ages/stages based on height, weight, gender, activity level etc. to come up with nutrient percentages/DV by generalized age/lifestyle, right?

In fact, there’s a whole blog, chock full of these conveniences at Gina Trapani’s excellent “Lifehacker” which enlightens and informs with easy tech tricks and tips on “getting things done!” (For those who aren’t drinking the Web 2.0 Kool-Aid as often as I am, Lifehacker is a ‘must bookmark’ for your ‘Google Reader’)

Anyway, my point is this…The technology and media magic is out there…Free… customizable, and easy to use.

With all the digital data flinging our way, it makes sense to me to cling to the custom tools that make healthy choices with improved accuracy…and make life that much easier…

Visual Credit: OJ/citrus gal: JellyBabys/U.K., Easy Steps for your Health
Apple/tape measure: Photographer: Viorikia,



  1. Also, just found this ADHD adolescent study worthy of a peek:

    All about heightened levels of fatty acids, etc, “…appears that ADHD kids metabolize the fats that they eat differently. (In another interesting finding, ADHD kids tended to consume more calories but were not more likely to be overweight. All that hyperactivity apparently burns calories!) Even though diet may not be the cause, it may still play a role in the cure.

    A diet that is higher than normal in omega-3 fats might help to compensate for the metabolic issue. Foods that are naturally high in omega-3 fats (salmon, mackerel, flax seed) may be a tough sell for the typical teenager. But products such as omega-3 fortified eggs, peanut butter, and cereal could help. (Here’s a list of foods high in omega-3 fats generated with our Nutrient Search Tool.)”

    From the same source: Nutrition Data (this time their blog)

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