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Hold the Salt!

Here’s an important story for parents as we get ready to enter the New Year. Are your kids getting too much SALT in their diet?  The fact is that childhood obesity is a growing problem in the US, and excess salt intake may have a lot to do with it.

CBS News writer Ryan Jaslow reports on a new study done in Australia—it found that reducing the amount of salt in kids’ diets may be a first step in preventing obesity. That’s because salty foods lead kids to reach for sugary drinks—a major contributor to childhood obesity.

The researchers tracked the eating and drinking habits of 4,200 Australian kids. They found that the kids who took in the most salt, also consumed the most sugary drinks.

For every one gram of salt per day, children took in 17 grams per day more of a sugary drink.  Children who drank more than one serving per day of a sugary drink were more likely to be obese.

While we know that salty foods can cause us to be thirsty, experts were quick to point out the study did not show cause and effect for salt’s role in obesity.

By the way, The American Heart Association recommends that people should take in no more than 1,500 milligrams milligrams of sodium each day.

However, a recent survey found most Americans average 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day, mostly from processed and restaurant foods.

And what are the biggest sodium culprits?  Breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup and sandwiches.

To learn more about a healthy level of salt intake, go to the Heart Association’s website at heart.org.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

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Possum Trot Inspiration

Here’s an inspiring holiday story from an unlikely place–the tiny Texas town of Possum Trot.

Over the last 16 years, 25 families in that working-class community have adopted 76 children in need

According to NBC’s Today Show, W.C. Martin, the pastor of the local Bennett Chapel Baptist church, helped organize his congregation to help foster children in need.

Pastor Martin says “It’s not a whole lot that we have to offer children right here in Possum Trot. But love, peace and joy and happiness – we can offer them that.’’

Pastor Martin and his wife Donna have adopted four children themselves.

Donna told NBC News “The challenge with the kids is (them not) really, really trusting the love that you have to give them unconditionally.”  She points out that many of the children came from homes in which they were abused or neglected.

The foster families in Possum Trot care for these children despite their own difficult financial circumstances.

After giving so much over the years, the families received a surprise Christmas gift. courtesy of Walmart.  The company donated enough food to reopen the local food bank and provided each of the 25 adoptive families a cart of fresh groceries and a $500 gift certificate.  They also bought Christmas presents for each of kids

Pastor Martin was also given a $15,000 gift card to Walmart.  He says “This is like a prayer being answered,’’ “That we have prayed so hard for God, for someone, to do something. We didn’t know when, we didn’t know where, but we knew he was going to do something.’’

To learn more about this story, go to TodayShow.com and enter “Possum Trot” in the search engine.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

 

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Concerned Grandma Asks About Grandson’s Development

Dear Dr. Bill,

My daughter has a 1-year-old boy who is starting to walk but hasn’t begun talking yet — no “Mama,” “Dada” or anything else. If he wants something, he just points and screeches very loudly!

I’ve also noticed that he often stares off in his own little world for a moment or two several times a day. He comes back eventually or you really work to get his attention otherwise. Is this normal behavior? Or could my grandson have some kind of problem — like autism? What do you think?

–Diana


Dear Diana,

I appreciate the fact that you are such an involved, observant grandmother. Your grandkids are fortunate.

Here are my thoughts on your 1-year-old grandson. First of all, the fact that he isn’t talking yet shouldn’t be a concern. Language development varies greatly from child to child.

Many children don’t begin saying “mama” or “dada” until well into their second year of life. Their level of verbal development at their first birthday does NOT predict how verbally skilled they will be by age two or three, or tell you anything about their overall level of intelligence.

On the other hand, I am concerned about the fact that your grandson seems to stare off into space several times each day, and that you have to work to regain his attention. This could be a sign of a hearing problem, a developmental delay, or even recurring minor seizures.

Given your description, I would suggest your daughter make an appointment with her family physician right away, and describe the behaviors she is observing at home. The physician should give your grandson a complete medical and developmental evaluation.

Thanks for writing, Diana. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click on the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

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