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Survey finds early childhood care and education providers creating healthier environments for kids in Minnesota

A University of Minnesota survey, in partnership with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, shows childcare providers in the state are making significant strides in fostering healthy environments compared to a similar 2010 survey. More providers are offering nutritious foods, limiting unhealthy snacks, and providing more options for physical activity.

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Popcorn for pets? Healthy treats your pet can enjoy

Photo Credit: bullcitydogs

It’s no secret there is an obesity epidemic in the human population. As humans are growing larger, their four-legged companions are following a similar path.

University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center Nutritionist, and associate professor, Julie Churchill, says that an estimated 54 percent of dogs and cats are overweight or obese.

It’s important to feed your pet a well-balanced diet, including healthy treats.

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Make a plan, but consider balance when it comes to Halloween candy

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One of the biggest candy days of the year is upon us, and parents and kids alike are trying to strike an accord on how much candy will be consumed in the coming days.

How much, really, is too much? And is there a magic formula families should follow to ensure the Halloween stash doesn’t lead to bigger problems later on?

According to pediatric dietician Laura Gearman, M.S., R.D., L.D., with the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, it’s a good idea to make a plan ahead of time and discuss it as a family but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to Halloween candy consumption.

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How to stay healthy while fasting

Photo: Rod Waddington/Flickr CC 2.0/

With the Muslim observance of Ramadan beginning this Saturday, Health Talk thought it’d be a great time to address best practices for staying safe and healthy during periods of fasting.

For health tips to follow during the next month’s sunup to sundown abstinence from food, Health Talk turned to Community-University Health Care Center medical director Roli Dwivedi, M.D. Not only does Dwivedi educate fellow health care professionals in care modifications for Ramadan, she also sees Ramadan-observing patients in clinic.

Here’s what Dwivedi had to say:

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Food safety tips for traveling

Headed to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup? Already thinking about the tantalizing smells of colorful and delicious new foods? For some people, food is the reason to travel. But while the mouthwatering smell of new and exotic treats may call out to travelers’ taste buds, their stomachs may not always be up for the adventure.

It’s a common misconception that food abroad isn’t as “safe” as food at home. While true for some things, more often than not eating food abroad can cause illness because no matter how healthy you are, you haven’t developed defenses against all bacteria — especially bacteria foreign to you. Something as seemingly harmless as a piece of melon can wreak havoc on a person’s system if not properly prepared.

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Expert Perspectives: Why Recent Diet Trends Should be Going Out of Style

Photo Courtesy Flickr User Jeanette Goodrich

Food and diet myths start when we are young: Swallowed watermelon seeds will grow the fruit in your stomach, if you eat too much of one food, your skin will change colors, and gum sticks around in your belly for up to seven years.

But it’s not just kids who get hung up on diet myths. Even adults are drawn in by seemingly healthy diets without understanding what they actually do to the body and overall health.

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