Best friends good for health

They offer real benefit in tough times

We all know that friendship is priceless. Now, the positive power of your child’s BFF can be measured by science.

A recent study of 5th and 6th graders, published in Developmental Psychology, reports that the presence of a best friend directly protects a child from the stresses of negative experiences, such as getting in trouble with a teacher or having an argument with a classmate.

The study found that children with best friends around had lower cortisol levels in their saliva versus those who faced stressful events alone.

In time, high cortisol levels can lead to immune suppression, decreased bone formation and other changes.

Best diet for obese kids?

Experts give edge to ‘reduced glycemic load’

After comparing three common diets for obese children, scientists say children are most likely to stick with the “reduced glycemic load” approach.

Unlike portion-control diets, this approach focuses less on calorie counting. It allows certain generous portions of “unrestricted” carbs, such as fruit, vegetables and 100-percent whole grains.

This less restrictive way of eating, says Shelley Kirk, PhD, RD, of Cincinnati Children’s, may make it easier for families to follow a healthy food plan for the long term. Study results appear in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Kirk recommends The Family G.I. Diet, by Rick Gallop, and other books in The G.I. Diet series as good resources for nutritional recipes.