June 2006


Beware of food labels I am writing in regard to misinformation in "Eating right on the run: A recipe for keeping kids healthy—and happy—on the go" by Tracy Binius (May 2006).

Binius writes, "Since federal law began requiring processed food manufacturers to list trans fats on their nutrition labels, companies have quickly removed the additive from products such as crackers, cakes and cookies."

This statement is not entirely correct. Although many cookie, cracker and cereal boxes now proudly bear the label "0 grams trans fats!" if you read the list of ingredients, you’ll find partially hydrogenated oils (the most common trans fats) may still be one of the main ingredients.

How can manufacturers can get away with this labeling? By playing a numbers game. They will round down some amount less than zero grams and call it "zero."

Why are food makers playing with our health and trust? Since partially hydrogenated oils act as preservatives, increasing the shelf life of processed foods, it is in their best monetary interest to keep using them.

Read food labels carefully!

Thank you for an otherwise interesting and educational article.

CINDY FEY Wilmette

Great money advice I read Susan Beacham’s May 2006 Healthy Finances column. I agree completely with "to change our children’s behavior, we need to change our behavior." How true that is.

I believe your suggestion is a great way for even adults who need to prioritize their own spending. It is never too late to change our behavior.

I am an advisor for a credit union in Chicago and I am excited to start presenting a seminar to our members about credit cards and credit reports. Every day I have people asking me about their credit report and how to understand it. So many want to know how to change things or to rebuild their credit.

It has been a goal of mine to get out into the community and reach younger people of high school and college age. I would love to see more education about money at this age in hopes of decreasing the amount of people who are later trying to rebuild credit.

Thanks again for such a great article!



All mixed up I was reading the May 2006 issue of Chicago Parent. I don’t think the things on the front cover mix. Maybe next time you could try something better like just fruits or just veggies.



‘Grand’ humor Thank you for presenting such a well-written and meaningful article in "Take my advice" (April 2006). Author Phyllis Nutkis successfully blended life experience and communication theory to give grandparents useful insights and practical tips. I have already applied these with my children, parents of my 4- and 2-year-old grandkids, to better manage the issue of being interfering or endearing.

I want to share another personal tip. As a new grandma, I found humor, mine and my kids’, to be a positive approach to this dilemma. So much humor resulted that my book, Grandparenting Tales From the Crib: When Your Children Become Parents (due out in 2006), was born. I found that bringing laughter into our relationship strengthened bonds as we adjusted to changing roles.



This nanny is complex I am writing in regards to the article "How to find great childcare" (May 2006) by Paige Hobey.

The information on nannies, babysitters and au pairs is not only inaccurate but belittling to professionals in this career fields.

It is a shame that a book and article would not only state false information regarding the differences between nannies and babysitters and the proper usage of au pairs, but create superiority of the parent vs. these women (and often men) who are quite successful at their chosen careers.

Please be aware that the article is in circulation throughout the nanny community (consisting also of parents, agencies and referral sites) and the overall reaction is hurtful to the writer and companies involved in this publication.

HILARY M. GIBBONS Portland, Ore.


TV channel for babies BabyFirstTV, the first channel specifically designed for babies, was recently launched on DirectTV.

It is a new low in the media and marketing industries’ efforts to lure babies to screens. Claims that their programming is "developmentally appropriate" for infants as young as 6 months are bogus. No one knows what developmentally appropriate screen media is for children that young. What is known is that placing babies in front of screens takes them away from activities that really do promote healthy development.

Parents deserve honest information about the pros and cons of introducing babies to screen media. Instead, what they are getting is marketing hype.

There is no evidence that television is beneficial to babies and growing evidence that it may be harmful. Even as parents are saturated with false and deceptive advertising that touts the benefits of screen media for infants and toddlers, only 6 percent know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time at all for children under age 2.

Parents have the right to raise infants and toddlers without being undermined by commercial interests.

DR. SUSAN LINN Associate Director, Media Center Judge Baker Children’s Center Harvard University Co-founder Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood

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