Parents

Top 5 Reasons to Stop Using Anti-Bacterial Soap: Part 2 of 2

Anti-Bacterial

1. Antibacterial soaps are no more effective than conventional soap and water.  42 years of FDA research has produced no evidence that triclosan provides any health benefits as compared to old-fashioned soap.

“I suspect there are a lot of consumers who assume that by using an antibacterial soap product, they are protecting themselves from illness, protecting their families,” Sandra Kweder, deputy director of the FDA’s drug center.  “But we don’t have any evidence that that is really the case over simple soap and water.”

2. Antibacterial soaps have the potential to create antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  Heavy use of antibiotics can cause bacterial resistance, which results from a small subset of a bacteria population with a random mutation that allows it to survive exposure to the chemical.

3. The soaps could act as endocrine disruptors.  In rats, frogs and other animals, triclosan appears to interfere with the body’s regulation of thyroid hormone.  If this is the case in humans, too, there are worries that it could lead to problems such as infertility, artificially-advanced early puberty, obesity and cancer.

4. The soaps might lead to other health problems, too. There’s evidence that children with prolonged exposure to triclosan have a higher chance of developing allergies, including peanut allergies and hay fever. Scientists speculate that this could be a result of reduced exposure to bacteria, which could be necessary for proper immune system functioning and development.

5. Antibacterial soaps are bad for the environment. When we use a lot of triclosan in soap, a lot of triclosan gets flushed down Small quantities of the chemical can persist after treatment at sewage plants, and as a result, USGS surveys have frequently detected it in streams and other bodies of water. Once in the environment, triclosan can disrupt algae’s ability to perform photosynthesis.

What Should You Do?

If you’re planning on giving up antibacterial soap—like Johnson & Johnson, Kaiser Permanente and several other companies have recently done—you have a couple options.

One is a non-antibiotic hand sanitizer, like Purell, which don’t contain any triclosan and simply kill both bacteria and viruses with good old-fashioned alcohol. Because the effectiveness of hand-washing depends on how long you wash for, a quick squirt of sanitizer might be more effective when time is limited.

Outside of hospitals though, the time-tested advice: wash your hands with conventional soap and water is probably the way to go.  That’s because while alcohol from hand sanitizer kills bacteria, it doesn’t actually remove dirt or anything else you may have touched. But a simple hand wash should do the trick. The water doesn’t need to be hot, and you’re best off scrubbing for about 30 seconds to get properly clean.

Our Top 5 Snacks for After-School

Healthy Snacks

After-school healthy snacks are always tricky.  You’re starving, but you don’t want to break the bank and you know you have dinner in a few hours.  Here are VarCity’s top 5 picks for healthy snacks to help you feel full in that 3pm between lunch and dinner area.

Yogurt

Low-fat yogurt is an excellent source of calcium. To add taste and nutritional value, whip up a yogurt parfait with berries and granola or make a homemade fruity yogurt pop that beats sugary store-bought frozen treats any day.

Cheese

The protein in this healthy snack keeps energy levels high until dinnertime. We like to stick salt-free pretzel sticks into cubes of low-fat cheese to make "satellite snacks," but you can also make cheese more interesting by putting it on your favorite whole wheat cracker or making kabobs with your favorite fruit.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet spuds are some of the most nutritious vegetables around: They're packed with vitamin A and are good sources of B6, C, and folate. These simple, delicious chips are great alternatives to the greasy, store-bought variety.

Hummus

Made from pureed chickpeas, hummus is an excellent dip for after-school.  It has an appealing nutty flavor, is thick enough not to be messy, and contains folate, vitamin B6, and iron.  Serve hummus with cut-up vegetables or salt-free crackers for dipping, or use it to make a pita bread sandwich.

Whole-Grain Waffles

For a fun alternative to peanut butter and jelly, try waffles for a boost of whole grains and fiber.  These cool new protein-packed waffles topped with a small dollop of cream cheese and a fruit jelly are a refreshing change for snacktime.

That Feeling When Your Parents Won’t Buy You Fitness Classes

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We know getting your parents to part with their hard-earned dollars is no easy task, so we put together the top 5 reasons you can use to get those workout funds from mom and dad.

1.  Statistically speaking, teens don’t outgrow being unfit.  Healthy teens develop healthy habits that guide them throughout life.

2.  Regular teen exercise and academic performance are highly connected.  

3.   Physical education requirements in schools have little to no impact  on teen health.

4.  82% of teens don’t get the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services’ recommended 60-minutes of daily physical activity.

5.  70% of kids in the U.S. quit organized sports by the age of 13.

And if the above reasons aren’t enough to convince your parents, we’ll even throw in a 50% off coupon for your first class!  Enter “FALLFIT” at checkout!