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As parents, when it comes to teaching our children healthy eating habits, it’s important to look at our own eating habits first. The old adage, “Do as I say not as I do,” doesn’t quite add up when we’re teaching our children what to eat. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition backs this up. The lead researcher, Sharon Hoerr, MSU professor of food science and human nutrition, stated that restricting certain foods from children, and then eating those same foods in front of the children, can lead to unhealthy eating habits.

“Mothers should stop forcing or restricting their kids’ eating. They’d be better off providing a healthy food environment, adopting balanced eating habits themselves, and covertly controlling their children’s diet quality by not bringing less healthy foods into the house.”

To help encourage healthy eating habits, take your children grocery shopping and ask them to help you find healthy foods. Plant a vegetable garden with them if you can. Let them help you cook healthy meals as a way to connect them to the foods they eat. Talk about what nutrients are found in the foods and how those nutrients help our body’s function well. Plant these seeds early in the hopes that they will develop strong roots as your children grow up to make choices on their own.

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In a landmark decision last month the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency moved to finally ban the use of endosulfan in America, prompting health advocacy groups like the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) to applaud what they hope is the first step toward a global phase-out of the highly toxic chlorinated pesticide.

Banned already in more than 60 countries worldwide, endosulfan is used widely on vegetable crops and cotton and has been linked to birth defects and delayed sexual development in children, as well as an increased risk of developing autism. Although not considered a carcinogen, research shows that endosulfan may also contribute to certain types of cancer, in particular breast cancer.

Even though it was re-registered for use in the U.S. under the Bush administration in 2002, PANNA and others have been pushing to remove endosulfan from the market because of documented evidence of health damage to farm workers as well as people and wildlife living near exposed soil and water. The EPA is now working with the sole manufacturer of endosulfan in the U.S. to establish a timeframe that would allow farmers to come up with effective alternatives to endosulfan use.

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