New report calls on government to ban food advertising to children and youth

Today the Heart and Stroke Foundation released a new report on the harms of advertising food to kids, and calling on the government to restrict such advertising, as is already happening in the province of Quebec.  I’m all for this – food ads are a likely reason why screen time is so strongly associated with excess weight gain in kids, as I’ve outlined previously. The Heart and Stroke report points out that in addition to…

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Unsolicited screen time advice for parents of young children

Over the holidays the topic of children’s screen time came up in a variety of conversations.  It was often the topic of discussion amongst members of our extended family, but it also keeps popping up in the news and in online think pieces.  It’s a bit strange to see how screen time has gone from a relatively small research topic 5-10 years ago to a massive cause of parental angst.  As a researcher and blogger…

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Where to begin with the Tablet-Holding Stationary Bike For Toddlers?

This afternoon friend and colleague Dr Jamie Burr helpfully pointed out a new Fisher-Price exercise bike aimed at toddlers, called a Think & Learn Smart Cycle.  Here’s the description, via WHOTV. Toymaker Fisher-Price announced it Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The bike is designed for kids between ages three and six-years-old and it’s comes with a free learning app. The idea is that kids will learn as they peddle the bike and…

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Why you should avoid the gym in January (and do this instead)

“Good resolutions are useless attempts to interfere with scientific laws. Their origin is pure vanity. Their result is absolutely nil.” -Lord Henry in The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Losing weight is the number one resolution people make each year. Getting more exercise or becoming “fit” is usually not far behind in popularity. According to data collected by Facebook, check-ins to facilities with “gym” or “fitness” in the name surge by 50% in…

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5 Easy Ways to Prevent Your Family from Overeating During Christmas Dinner

It’s that time of the year again; people are scouring the malls for those last minute presents, holiday music is everywhere, kids are writing letters to Santa, and those who drew the short straw (or are masochists) are preparing to host their families for a big Christmas dinner. I don’t know what it is about large family gatherings, whether its Thanksgiving or Christmas, but over-consumption seems to be part of the tradition. If you are…

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Too busy to exercise? I smell BS.

 “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe When it comes to the number on the bathroom scale or the size of one’s beltline, willpower is but one of many factors involved. However, willpower and proactivity are massive contributors to the consistent performance of healthy behaviours. Fortunately, as we have stated here many times before: as it pertains to your health, what you…

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Everyone deserves a pressure cooker

A few years ago I read a blog post by Stephen Guyenet on Whole Health Source (a great site, by the way), claiming that people often told him that his post on pressure cooker changed their lives.  I was intrigued.  I did not grow up in a pressure cooker household. My grandmother had a stove-top pressure cooker explode, which scared my mother away from them permanently (stove-top pressure cookers are legitimately terrifying, and I have…

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The Chariot jogging/cycling/skiing stroller is what every parent needs to stay active

A couple years ago my wife gave birth to our first baby.  It’s been a steep learning curve.  As expected, getting any physical activity has been tough at times. However, the single most helpful tool we’ve had has been our Chariot jogging stroller (disclosure: this fawning review is completely unsolicited).  It can be used as a jogging stroller, a bike trailer, and the wheels can even be swapped out for skis if you want to…

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People who eat exotic foods are leaner and healthier

When it comes to food, I’ll try anything at least once. As I documented before, I’ve dined on tarantula, frog, crickets, snake, raw clams, red ants, and durian fruit – and that was just on a single trip through Asia! When back on home turf, I enjoy oysters, sashimi, tripe soup, beef and salmon tartare, foie gras, and other acquired tastes. For the record, I wasn’t always this adventurous with food; as a kid, I consumed…

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What are sedentary behaviour questionnaires actually measuring?

I’ve been involved in a couple projects recently focusing on the quality of sedentary behaviour questionnaires.  What has surprised me is that even though we have a ton of questionnaires that measure sedentary behaviour, we don’t know a ton about their quality. With any data collection tool, you ideally want it to accomplish 2 things: It should measure what you think it measures (e.g. it is valid) It should give consistent results (e.g. it is…

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