Get Your Kids To Move!

By Jacob Gerdes, Arizona State Nutrition Communications Student

Children are growing up in a time where they are given more and more opportunity to play with different technological outlets. Certainly, it’s important for children to understand how to use technology as they are growing up, but, they need to balance this with physical activity. A recent study (April 5, 2016) conducted by Tufts University shows that only about 15% of children within the study participated in the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day and 8% achieve the recommended 30 minutes of school-based physical activity.  These numbers are incredibly low and paired with a diet of calorie-dense foods; our society has created the perfect recipe for overweight children.

happy jumping child in summer

Healthy diet and exercise are both crucial elements for children to maintain a healthy weight, but toady we will look into the childhood obesity crisis as well as opportunities where we can increase the amount of exercise children receive, and the many different ways this can happen.


The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated childhood obesity is now considered a global health crisis that affects developing counties. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States has managed to reduce the percentage of obese children, within the age range of 2 to 5, from 13.9% to 8.4%. However, compared with the age range of 2 to 19 years of age, 17.9 % are still considered obese. Nearly 1/5 of our entire youth population is at risk for weight-related health issues.


Obese youth have a higher likelihood of continuing on to become obese adults. The U.S. Government’s Let’s Move foundation list the possible health risks along with one other overlooked weight-related issue including:


  • Heart Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Asthma
  • Social Discrimination


While the first 4 possible results should not be overlooked, social discrimination is often not considered. Let’s Move notes obese children suffer from social discrimination; which negatively affects their academics and hinders their social functioning. It also may be carried into adulthood. This past November, a study published in the Journal of Internal Obesity set out to measure the perceived exercise capability of children and discovered that obese children are less likely to feel capable of exercise. The issue of childhood obesity has many different effects but there is a way to combat this growing issue.


Get Your Children Moving!


I spent a majority of my childhood in a rural part of Virginia in a time when the technology for leisure was still limited. For fun, we would explore the forest and play outside till the sunlight no longer guided our way. These days, children have many more options that will keep them inside and sedentary. After hearing about all the issues related to childhood obesity, we must figure out a way to get children to move more. The prevention of obesity ultimately lies in the idea that we need children to expend more energy then they consume, and exercise is a great way to balance energy consumption versus energy expenditure. The options for accomplishing this are endless and can even give the whole family an opportunity to exercise a little more.


The following list can help you with ways to keep your children active.


  1. Find a sport that your child enjoys playing.
  2. Encourage them to join a competitive team. Competitive sports can introduce your children to useful skills like adaptability, teamwork, decision-making, and the concept of continuously practicing to become more advanced at a trade. Youth sports can range from highly competitive to less intense recreational leagues; both being great options.
  3. Participate in sports as a family. Sports are a great way to increase a child’s social skills while getting them to exercise. If your child finds that competitive sports are not quite for them, there are plenty of other options that may be more appropriate.
  4. Go on family hikes. You can spend time with your child by traveling to state parks and hiking different trails.
  5. Join various outdoor groups. There are plenty of outdoor groups that can teach your children other helpful skills such as wilderness survival techniques.
  6. Be creative with activities. Walking the dog, riding a bike, playing at a park with friends, and using their imagination to pretend they are their favorite super heroes are classic ways as well.


There are many different ways to get your children to move. You can make them as expensive or as cheap as you want, but either way, consistently having your children exercise is highly important to maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.



1. Hubbard K, et al.. Few children get 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity daily. Tufts University Health Sciences Campus. Published April 5, 2016. ScienceDaily. Accessed April 21, 2016. URL:

2. Lorenzetti L. Child Obesity Is Now A Global Crisis. Fortune Magazine Website. Published January 25, 2016. Accessed April 21, 2016. URL:


3. CDC. Childhood Obesity Facts. Center for Disease Control and Prevention             Website. Last updated June 19, 2015. Accessed April 21, 2016. URL:

4. Let’s Move!. Health Problems and Childhood Obesity. Let’s Move Website. Accessed April 21, 2016. URL:

5. Taylor MJ, et al.. Measuring perceived exercise capability and investigating its relationship with childhood obesity: a feasibility study. International Journal of Obesity. Published November 3, 2015. Accessed April 21, 2016. URL:


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The Discovery of the Vitamin Folate

By Michael Russell, Arizona State University Nutrition Communication Student

The vitamin folate or folic acid as it is also known was one of the most significant discoveries of the modern era.  Folate is one of the most basic building blocks in both humans and animals and serves as the catalyst for many biochemical reactions in the body.  Folate’s health effects have the ability to play a role in multiple areas including pregnancy, stroke, cancer, and heart disease.  Further research has been done and this post will dive deeper into the discovery of folate and its effects on the human body.


Folate’s discovery starts with an extraordinary woman named Lucy Wills in the year 1931.  Willis was born in London, England in the year 1898.  She studied medicine at the London School of Medicine, which would later be known as the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine.  After graduating with double honors, she went to work in the field of chemical pathology in 1928.  It was here that she applied and was approved for a grant from Tata Trust to do further research in the disease of macrocytic anemia in Bombay, India.  Macrocytic anemia is a disease that is seen in pregnant woman and Bombay, India was hit hard by it, specifically women who worked in textile factories.  Wills soon realized that the poorer population was most affected by the disease due to their diets, or the lack of proteins and fruits and vegetables.  This led Wills to experiment on albino rats to see how changing the diet of the rats might stave off macrocytic anemia.  It was clear that the diets of rats and poorer population was lacking vitamin B so she introduced brewer yeast or a yeast extract known as marmite to the rat’s diets and discovered that it prevented the disease from starting.


In 1938 Wills took the knowledge she gained from her time in Bombay and attempted to cure patients who suffered from tropical macrocytic anemia.  It was here that she discovered that not only does the yeast extract, marmite, cure macrocytic anemia but also injections of crude liver oil.  She came upon this discovery through trial and error.  She attempted to feed her patients a purified liver extract and saw that the results failed to bring on the prevention of the macrocytic anemia.  Wills kept detailed notes of all her pregnant patients with macrocytic anemia and tropical macrocytic anemia well after she treated them, these books are now property of the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine where she taught until she retired in 1947, soon after World War II.


In 1941 a trio scientist; Mitchell, Snell and Williams gave the yeast extract, marmite, the name folic acid.  Folic acid is derived from the Latin word folium or leaf.  The reason this is important is that the trio of scientist realized that they could isolate folic acid from a leaf of spinach.


Then in 1943 folic acid is then synthesized into its crystalline form by Bob Stokstad in Pearl River, New York.  Stokstad made his discovery while doing research at the Lederele Laboratories which proved that the crystalline form of folic acid was composed of a pteridine ring, paraminobenzoic acid and glutamic acid and was called a pteroylglutamic acid.  His discovery led to the knowledge that natural folates differ from synthesized folate three different ways:

(1) an additional glutamate resides,

(2) there is a reduction to di- or tetra-hydroforms,

and (3) additional single carbon units attach to the nitrogen atom (N5 or N10).


This was significant because folic acid was now used to represent a fully oxidized compound that was not found in nature and folate was used to represent naturally occurring folates and folic acids that have a similar vitamin activity.


After the discovery that folate could be synthesized the research really began to take off.  Centers for folate research began to grew in London, Israel, South Africa and Montreal.  It was in Montreal where Louis Lowenstien, Bernard Cooper, and Michael Whitehead forged ahead on the maternal nutrition and the abnormalities of vitamin B12 and folate.  This research lead to Montreal becoming one of the top centers for folate research.  At the Haddassah Medical School in Jerusalem, Moshe Rachmilewitz, Nathan Grosowica and Gabriel Izak saw the significance red cell folate and its link to folate deficiency in Burmese pregnant women.


As research into folate and folic acid continued it was shown that overexposure of folate therapy led the growth of tumors. In 1948, G.H. Hitchings and G.B. Elion began to do research at the laboratories of Nobel Laureates into folate antagonists or anti-folates.  This was significant because aminopterin was discovered by Sydney Farber which led to several anti-cancer agents being developed that could inhibit normal metabolic reactions.


We know today that folate and folic acid are used to treat folate deficiencies and anemia.  It can also help the bowels with the absorption of nutrients that pass through that may otherwise be ignored.  Folic acid specifically can be a benefit for those that suffer from ulcerative colitis, liver disease, alcoholism, and kidney dialysis.  It is taken by pregnant woman to help prevent birth defects such as spina bifida and miscarriages.  Its benefits have been used for symptoms of colon cancer, cervical cancer, heart disease and stroke.  It has been used for memory loss which is why it has been linked to research into Alzheimer’s disease.  Some people use it directly on their gums to prevent gum disease.


It is truly amazing how in a yeast extract could change the medical world so radically.  From the discovery of a vitamin B deficiency in poor, pregnant textile workers to the synthesizing of the spinach leaf we were given a truly remarkable vitamin.  This powerhouse vitamin is not only naturally occurring in vegetables such as broccoli, lettuce and okra but is also added to cold cereals, pasta, and cookies.




  1. 5 Foods That Prevent Cervical Cancer – How To Prevent Cervical Cancer With Foods | Lady Care Health. (2016). com. Retrieved 9 April 2016, from


  1. Hoffbrand, A. & Weir, D. (2001). The History of Folic Acid. The British Journal of

Haematology, 113(3), 579-589.  Retrieved January 31, 2016, from


  1. Thomson, D. (1947). The Folic Acid Story. Canadian Medical Association Journal,

56(4), 432-435. Retrieved January 31, 2016 from


  1. Crider, K.S., Bailey, L.B., & Berry, R.J. (2011). Folic Acid Food Fortification-Its History,

Effects, Concerns, and Future Concerns.  National Center for Biotechnology Information, 3(3), 370-384. Retrieved January 31, 2016, from


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Get Your Hot Healthy On With Chilies

By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau

Arizona can claim to be one of the best places to breed hybrid chili plants. Rumor has it that one of our Arizona Chili farmers (see video) produces the chili seed that has made New Mexico chili farmers famous for their hatch chilies.

A perennial, the chili plant is mostly known to be native to the Central American region. The chili plant bears flowers that ultimately develop into the hot fruit pods of variable size, shape, color, and pungency that people around the world love to eat. Based on the type, a pepper’s heat level ranges from mild, fleshy (Mexican bell peppers) to fiery, tiny, Nag Jalokiya chili peppers of the Indian subcontinent.


And speaking of hot, the hotness of chili is measured in “Scoville heat units” (SHU). On the SHU scale, a sweet bell pepper scores 0, a jalapeño pepper around 2,500-4,000 units, and a Mexican habañeros may have 200,000 to 500,000 units.

Even if you can handle only the sweet bell pepper SHU score of zero, you’ll still reap the health benefits of this pepper. So what are they? According to the Nutrition and You website, you’ll find a variety of health benefits from eating peppers. Their list follows.

Red Hot Health Benefits of the Chili Pepper

  • Chili pepper contains an impressive list of plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.
  • Chilies contain health benefiting an alkaloid compound in them, capsaicin, which gives them strong spicy pungent character. Early laboratory studies on experimental mammals suggest that capsaicin has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. It also found to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in obese individuals.
  • Fresh chili peppers, red and green, are rich source of vitamin-C. 100 g fresh chilies provide about 143.7 µg or about 240% of RDA. Vitamin C is a potent water-soluble antioxidant. It is required for the collagen synthesis inside the human body. Collagen is one of the main structural protein required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps protect from scurvy, develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity), and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
  • They are also good in other antioxidants such as vitamin-A, and flavonoids like ß-carotene, a-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin, and cryptoxanthin. These antioxidant substances in capsicum help protect the body from injurious effects of free radicals generated during stress, diseases conditions.
  • Chilies carry a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • Chilies are also good in B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that human body requires them from external sources to replenish.
  • Chili peppers have amazingly high levels of vitamins and minerals. Just 100 g provides (in % of recommended daily allowance):
  1. 240% of vitamin-C (Ascorbic acid),
  2. 39% of vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine),
  3. 32% of vitamin A,
  4. 13% of iron,
  5. 14% of copper,
  6. 7% of potassium,
  7. but no cholesterol.

Our family has had a long tradition of cooking with fresh peppers whether to make a hot chili sauce or simply to add to our favorite recipes. The Murphree family is so in love with peppers, we roast fresh ones on the grill whenever we grill steaks.

For a variety of recipes that include chili peppers, go to Fill Your Plate and select chili peppers.

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Avocado Pasta Recipe

By Mariely Lopez, a Nutrition Communication Undergraduate at Arizona State University


As a college student you are often times not fully equipped with state of the art kitchen appliances and sometimes it can make it difficult to put something together. I often find myself searching the web for quick easy recipes that don’t require a blender or a food processor, or any other “state of the art” kitchen appliance. So, just the other day I Googled “pastas” and this recipe came up, but it instructed me to use a food processor.


I thought to myself ‘an avocado pasta sounds delicious but 1) I don’t have a food processor and 2) I don’t have all of the ingredients it is asking me for’. So I decided to “improve” and here is what I came up with.




  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 peeled avocados
  • Garlic slat (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (from a lemon)
  • Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 1 tomato
  • ½ cup of corn kernels




In a large pot of boiling water, add the 12 ounces of spaghetti and let them cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. As the spaghetti is cooking take the two peeled avocados and place them in a large bowl. Take a fork and begin to smash them. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and continue mix/smash the avocados until it becomes an avocado sauce like substance.


Drain the spaghetti once it has been cooked and add the avocado sauce to it and mix. Chop the tomato and add it to the pasta, along with the corn. Season with black pepper and salt to taste and serve!


Side Note: Smashing the avocados with a fork can take a bit longer than anticipated so, if you do have a food processor I would suggest using that instead, but if you’re a college student, like I am, it’s totally okay to use a fork! Treat it as an arm workout and believe me, you will wake up sore the next day!

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Celebrate Dairy Month with Your Arizona Dairy Farmers

By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau

We’ve earlier mentioned that June is National Dairy Month! It’s worth noting since diary, which includes cheese, milk, yogurt, butter and other dairy products, is an important part of Arizona’s agriculture legacy (see our dairy video in this article).

Begun as National Milk Month in 1937, National Diary Month started out as a way to promote drinking milk. This annual tradition that celebrates the contributions the dairy industry has made to the world serves as a great way to start the summer with nutrient-rich dairy foods. Plus, 97% of your fresh milk you buy in the dairy case comes from Arizona Dairies, so you’re buying local. From calcium to potassium, dairy products, like the ever-popular milk, contain nine essential nutrients which may help to better manage our weight, reduce our risk for high blood pressure, osteoporosis and certain cancers. Whether it’s protein to help build and repair the muscle tissue of active bodies or vitamin A to help maintain healthy skin, dairy products are a natural nutrient powerhouse. Those are just a few of the reasons that we can celebrate dairy not just in June, but all year long.

All 50 U.S. states have dairy farms. Dairy is one of Arizona’s highest grossing agriculture sectors. Arizona’s dairy industry currently brings in more than $800 million annually. For milk production, Arizona ranks number 12 in the nation.

In honor of National Dairy Month, we have a list of 16 interesting facts about dairy.

  1. According to the University of Arizona, Arizona has close to 100 dairy farms throughout the state and together these farms produce more than 1.5 million gallons of milk a day.
  2. Arizona has close to 190,000 dairy cows that provide us with the freshest milk, cheese and yogurt. Remember too, 97% of your milk in the grocery store is coming from our local Arizona Dairies.
  3. To make one gallon of ice cream you need 12 lbs. of whole milk.
  4. To make one pound of butter you need 21.2 lbs. of whole milk.
  5. To make one pound of cheese you need 10 lbs. of milk.
  6. Each day the average cow can produce enough milk to fill six one-gallon jugs, which is equal to around 55 lbs. of milk.
  7. The natural yellow color of butter comes mainly from the beta-carotene found in the grass cows eat.
  8. One dairy cow can produce around 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime. In order to make milk, cows need to drink a lot of water. Daily, cows drink up to 50 gallons of water. That is close to the amount of water needed to fill a bathtub.
  9. Though there are many types of cows there are two types of milk cows that are used “most” of the time for milk, Jerseys and Holsteins.
  10. Jerseys are the brown cows. They give less milk but more cream.
  11. Holsteins are the black and white cows. They give a lot of milk.
  12. Milk has 9 essential nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy:
  13. Calcium, which is useful in the building of strong teeth and bones.
  14. Niacin, which is important for maintaining a healthy metabolism.
  • Phosphorus, which aids in increasing energy and building strong bones.
  1. Potassium, to help maintain healthy blood pressure and muscles.
  2. Protein, which builds and repairs muscle tissue and increases energy.
  3. Riboflavin, helps to increase energy for exercising.
  • Vitamin A, to help maintain healthy skin and eyes.
  • Vitamin D, for helping to maintain strong bones.
  1. Vitamin B12, which aids in building red blood cells which strengthen lungs and muscles.
  2. According to the USDA, diets that provide 3 cups of milk (the recommended daily intake), or the equivalent of dairy products per day can improve bone mass.
  3. Milk/dairy products contain casein, which is a protein that can cleanse burning taste buds. Next time your mouth is burning after eating spicy foods, take a drink of milk to cool it off.
  4. The U.S. enjoys an average of 48 pints of ice cream per person, per year, more than any other country. Vanilla is the favorite flavor in the U.S.
  5. 99% of all U.S. households purchase milk. The average American consumes almost 25 gallons of milk a year … that’s 400 glasses!

Milk can remain fresh for up to 7-10 days after the expiration date when refrigerated at 35-40°F. Because of bacteria growth, every 5° (F) rise in temperature will shorten the shelf life by 50%. Drink a glass a day, you’ll be drinking fresh, healthy, local Arizona milk.




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