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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Parenting

Inspiring teen who raised RM16mil for cancer charity dies

Posted: 16 May 2014 12:30 AM PDT

A British teenage cancer sufferer who raised more than £3 million (RM16.2mil) for charity after his fund-raising campaign went viral on social media has died at age 19.

Stephen Sutton died in his sleep on the morning of May 14, his mother Jane said on Facebook. The 19-year-old, who was first diagnosed with bowel cancer four years ago, raised the money for the Teenage Cancer Trust charity and won the support of numerous celebrities and politicians.

"My heart is bursting with pride but breaking with pain for my courageous, selfless, inspirational son who passed away peacefully in his sleep," Jane wrote to her son's 900,000 followers on his Stephen's Story Facebook page.

Sutton originally set a £10,000 fund-raising target after being told his cancer was terminal in 2012. However he received over 100,000 public donations and raised his target to £1 million after a final "goodbye" message he posted on Facebook went viral.

"It's a final thumbs up from me," Sutton wrote alongside what he thought was a last picture of himself in a hospital bed. "I've done well to blag things as well as I have up till now, but unfortunately I think this is just one hurdle too far."

Sutton uploaded what he thought was his last photo (above) to Facebook on April 22 after a health scare. His health then stabilised to get discharged from hospital, but it took a turn for the worse weeks later. (Below) Sutton posed for a photo with David Cameron when the British PM visited him in hospital on May 2.

News of Sutton's plight quickly spread, and celebrities including Simon Cowell, Ricky Gervais, David Tennant, Russell Brand and Stephen Fry publicly supported Sutton's cause.

British PM David Cameron wrote on Twitter: "I am deeply saddened to hear that Stephen Sutton has died. His spirit, bravery and fundraising for cancer research were all an inspiration."

Sutton was discharged from hospital at the beginning of May after his health improved, but his family said on May 13 that his condition had deteriorated and he was struggling to breathe.

Sutton's final status update on Facebook; two days later he passed away in his sleep. 

Speaking about the money he had raised, he once told the BBC: "I don't actually do what I do for recognition. I love nice comments but I do what I do because I find the best way to help myself is to help others. I'm proud of the feeling I get just by raising all this money," he added. – Reuters

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, People, People, Britain, Stephen Sutton, Stephen's Story, cancer, charity, fundraising, dies, death, obituary, obit, tribute, viral, social media

Encourage outdoor play

Posted: 15 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT

The South East Asian Nutrition Surveys (Seanuts) found that sedentary lifestyle is a worrying trend resulting in overnutrition and vitamin D deficiency.

ECONOMIC prosperity has enabled Malaysians to feed their children more, but it does not always result in healthier children.

"Food is now available everywhere, 24 hours a day, especially in densely populated regions. At the same time, the population is becoming less active, especially in large cities where children are often not allowed to play outside due to parental safety concerns," says Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's head of Nutritional Sciences Programme and Principal Investigator of Seanuts Malaysia Prof Dr Poh Bee Koon.

Dr Poh was partipating in a discussion organised by Dutch Lady on the health status of Malaysian children based on the findings of Seanuts, a nutritional study done on 16,744 children aged six months to 12 years in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

In Malaysia, the survey was done from May 2010 to October 2011 in six regions across the country, namely the Northern, Central, Southern and East Coast areas of Peninsular Malaysia, as well as Sabah and Sarawak.

According to Seanuts' findings, one in five children is overweight or obese, and one in 20 children underweight in South East Asia.

"Children in urban areas, especially boys, are also more likely to be obese than those in rural areas. More children are exceeding the 75 percentile in their Body Mass Index (BMI) figures," added consultant paediatrician Dr Yong Junina Fadzil who was also at the discussion.

All the panelists concurred that inactivity is one of the leading contributors to overweight children.

"Children these days are less exposed to physical activities even when it comes to play time. Kids prefer digital devices and other electronics to running around on a field or playing catch in the park," said Dr Yong, adding that families in Kuala Lumpur find it hard to engage in outdoor activities due to work commitments.

One of the effects of our children not playing outside is a deficiency in Vitamin D. Seanuts findings reveal Vitamin D deficiency in half of Malaysian children in urban and rural areas, particularly urban girls.

"In Malaysia where we have so much of sunlight that helps our body to naturally absorb vitamin D, it is amazing that many children studied suffered from a Vitamin D deficiency," said Dr Poh, adding that 15-20 minutes a day of sunlight is enough to meet our daily vitamin D requirement.

Dr Yong pointed out that Vitamin D is an essential nutrient needed for healthy bones and to control the amount of calcium in the blood.

"Children need Vitamin D for bone growth and development as it helps to absorb calcium. Most people get little Vitamin D in their diet; only a few natural foods such as oily fish and eggs contain significant amounts of the vitamin.

"Sunshine is the main source of Vitamin D; however, it can only be made in our skin by exposure to sunlight," she said.

Institute of Teachers Education Deputy Director Dr Mehander Singh said it is worrying that our children are leading sedentary lifestyles with less outdoor activities.

He encouraged parents and teachers to promote and encourage a more active lifestyle among children because apart from improving overall health and fitness, it'd also reduce the risk of chronic illness caused by being overweight and obese.

"In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.

"As parents, we should encourage and guide our kids by showing them good examples. Encourage your children's participation in after school sporting activities to achieve continuous and long-lasting health right into their adulthood," said Dr Mehander.

Also present at the discussion was father-of-two Johnny Lak who wanted to know how to monitor his children's weight.

Creating a chart and measuring a child's growth spurt is a good method to monitor your child's progression, suggested Dr Yong.

"You can weigh and measure your children from time to time and monitor their growth. If there is a significant spike in their weight over a short period of time, take that as a warning sign.

Feeding children balanced meals is crucial in their growing years, but she also said there is nothing wrong in offering children food they enjoy.

"The most important thing is to offer your kids variation that is balanced and according to their recommended nutrient intake. This way, they are unlikely to suffer from malnutrition or over nutrition," advised Dr Yong.

Fighting the flab

Posted: 15 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Adiwayu Ansar Zainuddin is more watchful as to her children's diet and is all for encouraging a love for physical activity -- she does not want them to grow up battling weight issues like she is still doing so now.

Serve less fried food, or not at all, at home

Make healthy living a family project.

THE easiest way to determine whether your family member is overweight is by calculating his Body Mass Index (BMI), which combines height and weight measurements to estimate a person's body fat. It's easiest to use an online BMI calculator to get your reading. Take note that BMI calculations aren't used to estimate body fat in babies and young toddlers – for children under two, doctors usually refer to weight-for-length charts to compare a baby's weight with his length.

– Assess your family's diet and physical activity habits.

Check out sites like www.supertracker.usda.gov, which has a food and physical activity tracker to help you do this assessment.

Customise a new food plan with the site's Food-A-Pedia, a tool which lets you look up nutrition information for over 8,000 consumables and compare them side-by-side.

– Add up your child's total minutes of physical activity on an average day.

Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes or more of moderate or vigorous intensity aerobic physical exercise each day. Instead of dragging your children to the gym, make exercise fun.

Start your children on physical activities such as a game of tag and gradually move on to more strenuous sports. Take note of the type of activities that your children enjoy.

– Minimise take-outs and fast food.

Eat home-cooked meals at home as a family as frequently as possible.

Introduce more fruits and vegetables into the family's daily diet.

– Refrain from stocking the fridge with sweetened beverages and junk food.

Read food labels to understand how much artificial sweeteners, flavourings and preservatives are in packaged and processed food.

– Put away the gadgets.

Limit gadget time to less than two hours per day. Spend more time on outdoor activities.

> Source: www.acefitness.org

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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