Health Notes
December, 2007 - Issue #38
Toy Safety and Gift Giving
When shopping for toys for children this holiday season, don't forget to consider safety issues, too. There are concerns such as the risk of choking on small parts, strangulation from toys with long strings or cords, and falls from riding toys like wagons and skateboards. Of course, lead-based paint and magnets are hazardous when ingested. If you're unsure of the toy's quality, it's better to err on the side of caution.

The Toy Manufacturers of America voluntary product standard establishes safety requirements and tests but not all manufacturers belong to that organization. Furthermore, some of the tens of thousands of toys that are imported every year have failed some of our most basic safety standards. Check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission website at They have consumer's guides for selecting suitable toys by age.

Toys that promote physical activity such as jump ropes, bicycles, roller skates, and sports gear are all recommended, especially in the face of the obesity epidemic.

Additionally, there's a general tendency to think that educational toys are somehow better than more "traditional" toys. However, "true toys" like blocks and dolls are encouraged because they allow for the creativity and imagination that many of today's "toys" don't permit due to their proscriptive nature. Think about the DVD-based board games which are the hot sellers and how they are simply entertainment that tests a player's knowledge of trivia and ability to watch movies. This is in contrast to the strategy of games that were most popular a generation ago, like checkers, chess, jacks, hopscotch and backgammon.

Also, playing together with your child might help build your relationship with her in fantastic ways.
Resource: Paul Horowitz MD, FAAP of Discovery Pediatrics, Inc.

Choosing Foods with Darker Colors may Lead to Better Health
Deeply-shaded foods, particularly those that are blue or purple (think blueberries, eggplant and grapes), may stem off high blood pressure, says a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES). The study found that individuals who regularly consume blue and purple fruits and veggies are less likely to be obese, as well.

The result is believed to be associated with the compounds, called anthocyanins, that give naturally-purple food its color.

Chiropractors: What Do They Know?
Alternative medicine schools provide academic programs resulting in doctor of chiropractor degrees involve in-depth curriculums comprised of a minimum of 4,200 hours. A number of chiropractic colleges may offer full and part-time studies, which may be completed within four to seven years. Students desiring doctor of chiropractor degrees will quickly learn that curriculums are course-intensive, including philosophy and science of chiropractic, spinal anatomy, biomechanics, static palpation, clinical neurology, physiotherapy, biochemistry, radiology, diagnosis and chiropractic technique. In most programs offering chiropractor degrees, students will gain hands-on training in clinical, laboratory and class instruction.
Resource: CarolAnn Bailey-Lloyd, freelance writer and web consultant for

Breastfeeding Linked to Healthier Hearts, Less Obesity
In a recently-published large U.S. study, researchers compared middle-aged adults who received breast milk as babies. The pool was found to be 55 percent more likely to have high levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). This cholesterol is often referred to as the "good" kind that can prevent cardiovascular disease. In addition, the pool also had a lower BMI (body mass index) on average, than their non-breastfed counterparts.
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