Are you concerned that your child’s school isn’t doing enough to keep the children active or offering healthy food choices? Well, now you can get involved and help initiate some changes. Everything has a catalyst or tipping point – who better than you to get things started? The Let’s Move coalition sponsored by Michelle Obama provides pointers and guides on how to contact your child’s school and organize a school health team.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Don’t let the rainy cold weather be an excuse to let your preschooler veg in front of the TV this winter. There are some great indoor activities ideas including this one: Create Your Own Indoor Obstacle Course. They offer lots of fun for several children at a time to work out some of that active energy!
If you really want to keep the kids busy for hours, have them set up a fake laser security system. Take bright colored string and tie it between objects in diagonal, vertical, and horizontal directions. The kids then try to move from one room to the next without touching the strings. Whoever gets to the end without being ‘zapped’ wins (for an extra challenge, use different colored strings and travel between the same colored strings, i.e., only step between the red strings and not the green strings).
Another fun outdoor activity that has been converted to play safely indoors is Red Light, Green Light. Have your child stand at least 20 feet away from you and yell out green light for them to go and red light for them to stop. Instead of having your child run in the house, they can skip, hop, or crawl towards you.
But I think my favorite of all is Copy Dancing. Your child creates the dance moves – and you copy them! Kids love to be the leaders and this is a good way to get both of you moving while having lots of fun. At the end, crank up the music and have a free dance moment. Get an older child to videotape and share with friends and family!
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Much has been written over the past several years about childhood obesity and how this epidemic seems to be affecting children at younger and younger ages. Whether or not you are personally concerned if your child is heading in the wrong direction, making the right nutrition and fitness decisions while your child is young will have an impact on their health as an adult. The children’s health and fitness website www.healthychildren.org recently posted an article on the importance of keeping your preschooler active. It mentions reducing the number of hours your child sits in the front of the TV everyday and to encourage a more active and less static lifestyle. While this isn't ground breaking news - it is important to understand the impact of letting your kids at an early age habitually sit in front of the TV playing video games all day is not healthy.
There are great ideas for helping your pre-schooler get enough active time, even for busy families. One fun idea is ‘I Can Spell My Name Hopscotch’ or everyone’s favorite – tag! Freeze tag is a good variation of this game because it helps develop children’s motor and listening skills. As winter approaches and day light savings time has reduced the amount of ‘outside’ time kids have before dinner, some safe indoor activities include hula hoop and ‘Balloon Badminton’. These ideas are sure to get you and your child working up a sweat in no time!
Monday, September 23, 2013
How tempting it is to have Cheeseburger Day in the same month as National Childhood Obesity Month? While it is ok to allow your children special occasion treats periodically (my 5 year old is on a 2 sweet per day limit when he asks for too much junk in one day), making sure your child also balances their diet with healthy fruits and vegetables is very important. Too often I think we as parents look back on our childhood, and our waistline, saying your kids won't be able to eat what they want when they want when they grow older and their metabolism slows down so let's just allow them to eat all the junk food they want now before it's too late. The difference between most of our upbringings compared to our children's is we had lots of play time outside. So many parents discuss how they were able to play outside until the street lights came on. Nowadays - parents can't let their kids sit on front steps without full supervision.
This is why it is so important to make sure your kids are getting enough physical activity everyday! When they come home, plan a few minutes between dinner and homework to sneak in a few turns of the jump rope or play a little catch or see who can keep the hola hoop going the longest. These are even fun activities you can participate with the kids while being in doors. While you may not squeeze the full 30 minutes of recommended active time at this particular moment, it will create a new habit of being active in your home instead of just plopping in front of the television or playing video games. If you participate with your child, imagine the added benefits your own body will receive!
Visit the National Institute of Health's We Can! website for more information on how to help keep your kids healthy and active.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Study by Public Health England backs concerns raised by doctors that lack of exercise leads to unhealthy lifestyles
Monday, September 2, 2013
School districts show positive trends
School districts nationwide are showing improvements in measures related to nutritional policies, physical education and tobacco policies, according to the 2012 School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS). SHPPS is the largest and most comprehensive survey to assess school health policies.
"Schools play a critical role in the health and well-being of our youth," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "Good news for students and parents – more students have access to healthy food, better physical fitness activities through initiatives such as ‘Let’s Move,’ and campuses that are completely tobacco free."
Key findings include:Nutrition:
- The percentage of school districts that allowed soft drink companies to advertise soft drinks on school grounds decreased from 46.6 percent in 2006 to 33.5 percent in 2012.
- Between 2006 and 2012, the percentage of districts that required schools to prohibit offering junk food in vending machines increased from 29.8 percent to 43.4 percent.
- Between 2006 and 2012, the percentage of districts with food procurement contracts that addressed nutritional standards for foods that can be purchased separately from the school breakfast or lunch increased from 55.1 percent to 73.5 percent.
- Between 2000 and 2012, the percentage of districts that made information available to families on the nutrition and caloric content of foods available to students increased from 35.3 percent to 52.7 percent.
Physical education/physical activity:
- The percentage of school districts that required elementary schools to teach physical education increased from 82.6 percent in 2000 to 93.6 percent in 2012.
- More than half of school districts (61.6 percent) had a formal agreement, such as a memorandum of agreement or understanding, between the school district and another public or private entity for shared use of school or community property. Among those districts, more than half had agreements with a local youth organization (e.g., the YMCA, Boys or Girls Clubs, or the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts) or a local parks or recreation department.
- The percentage of districts with policies that prohibited all tobacco use during any school-related activity increased from 46.7 percent in 2000 to 67.5 percent in 2012.
SHPPS is a national survey periodically conducted to assess school health policies and practices at the state, district, school, and classroom levels. SHPPS assesses the characteristics of eight components of school health: health education, physical education and activity, health services, mental health and social services, nutrition services, healthy and safe school environment, faculty and staff health promotion, and family and community involvement.
SHPPS was conducted at all levels in 1994, 2000, and 2006. The 2012 study collected data at the state and district levels only. The school- and classroom-level data from SHPPS will be collected in 2014 and released in 2015.
For more information, go to www.cdc.gov/shpps.