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Editor's e-Note
Good nutrition is important to overall well-being, including behavioral health. Busy families and/or those with picky eaters are often challenged with making the right choices and planning meals everyone will enjoy. Fortunately, there is now a range of web-based tools available to support families in making nutrition easier, more accessible, and even fun. This month’s E-News Exclusive reports on new web-based resources for healthy nutrition.

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— Marianne Mallon, editor
e-News Exclusive
Web-Based Tools Make Healthy Eating Fun for Families
By Susan A. Knight

We’re all familiar with the idealized image of a happy family sitting at the dinner table, leisurely enjoying a healthy home-cooked meal, while everyone takes a moment to share about their day. The reality, however, often looks entirely different. From tight schedules to picky eaters, the challenges around meal planning, and more broadly around healthy eating in general, are as unique and varied as the families they affect.

Fortunately, a wide range of web-based resources is available to support families with meal planning and making healthy food choices. Many of these tools are designed to be engaging and accessible to children in particular, emphasizing how healthy eating can be fun and enjoyable. Common characteristics include a mix of interactive features, age-appropriate games, animation, and audio, all of which serves to enrich and support the learning experience in a fun way.

Beyond the Fun Factor
Beyond the fun factor provided by all of the games and activities, these online tools are also useful for the wealth of nutrition information they make readily available to busy parents and families. The content within these online activity sites is typically provided and/or vetted by dietitians, nutritionists, and other health care professionals. A fun interface with lots of animation and colorful cartoon figures allows for the delivery of content that is evidence based and reliable. As a result, users come away more knowledgeable and better equipped to make healthy choices.

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Other News
Hurricane Harvey Survivors Facing Long-Term Mental and Physical Recovery
The New York Times reports that people who lived through Hurricane Harvey will face long-term mental and physical consequences.

Study Shows Protecting Immigrant Mothers Improves Children’s Mental Health
According to The Washington Post, a study published by the journal Science finds that when U.S.-born children whose parents are undocumented immigrants know their moms won’t be deported, they are significantly less worried and stressed.

Research Shows No Significant Adverse Effects of Xanax and Zoloft on Pregnant Women
NPR reports on a study that has shown no significant adverse effects on women who take Xanax and Zoloft during pregnancy, reassuring news for women in need of medication for psychiatric disorders during pregnancy.
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Tech & Tools
An App a Day Keeps the Doctor Away, and Could Reduce Subthreshold PTSD

The severity of symptoms can be reduced for individuals with emerging PTSD through the use of smartphone apps, according to a new study published in the August edition of the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking by researchers at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) in Bethesda, Maryland.

About 10% to 20% of U.S. service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are believed to have PTSD, associated with impaired physical and mental health as well as overall functional status. Subthreshold PTSD, defined by an insufficient number of symptoms or severity to meet the full criteria of PTSD, is even more common than PTSD. Subthreshold PTSD also has a 25% progression rate to the full disorder, which underscores the importance of early intervention.

Considering prior studies have shown it may be more beneficial to address subthreshold PTSD with lower-intensity treatment, researchers at USU’s Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, in collaboration with the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, sought to test the feasibility and effectiveness of using not-so-intense smartphone apps to help reduce subthreshold PTSD symptoms.

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