Posted by: michellerenee88 | April 1, 2010

The Role Schools Play

Increased personal accountability, the development of new prevention programs, government involvement—all must work together to defeat childhood obesity.  What else?  Schools.  Schools have a major role in preventing childhood obesity.  By working with private and public sector organizations, schools can have take a serious part in reshaping social and physical environments and providing children with knowledge about how to adopt healthy lifestyles.  “Make a Difference at Your School” published by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains why schools are so important in this cause:

• More than 95% of young people are enrolled in schools.

 • Students have the opportunity to eat a large portion of their daily food intake and to be physically active at school.

• Schools are an ideal setting for teaching young people how to adopt and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.

• Research shows that well-designed, well-implemented school programs can effectively promote physical activity and healthy eating.

 • Emerging research documents the connections between physical activity,

good nutrition, physical education and nutrition programs, and academic performance.

By reviewing scientific evidence and gathering primary research, CDC and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have identified 10 strategies to help schools prevent obesity by promoting physical activity and eating healthy. 

10 KEY STRATEGIES  
Build a Strong Foundation
Strategies 1-4
Take Action
Strategies 5-10
1. Address physical activity and nutrition through a Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP).2. Designate a school health coordinator and maintain an active school health council.3. Assess the school’s health policies and programs and develop a plan for improvements.

4. Strengthen the school’s nutrition and physical activity policies.

5. Implement a high-quality health promotion program for school staff.6. Implement a high-quality course of study in health education.7. Implement a high-quality course of study in physical education.

8. Increase opportunities for students to engage in physical activity.

9. Implement a quality school meals program.

10. Ensure that students have appealing, healthy choices in foods and beverages offered outside of the school meals program.

 

Public and private school districts across the nation are implementing these 10 key strategies.  Is your child’s school district committed to defeating childhood obesity?

Posted by: michellerenee88 | April 1, 2010

Rise. Dine. Shine.

We have all learned  that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  But why?

A recent longitudinal study published on WebMD show teenagers who eat breakfast regularly have a healthier diet and are more physically active throughout their adolescence than those who skip breakfast.  Interestingly, in the long term, breakfast-eaters gain less weight in adult years and have a lower BMI than breakfast-skippers.

Researcher Dianne Neumark-Sztainer teaches, “Although adolescents may think that skipping breakfast seems like a good way to save on calories, findings suggest the opposite. Eating a healthy breakfast may help adolescents avoid overeating later in the day and disrupt unhealthy eating patterns, such as not eating early in the day and eating a lot late in the evening.”

Breakfast is important in maintaining a constant metabolism.  When you skip meals, your metabolism drops.  Researchers have found that those who skip breakfast have a five-percent lower metabolism than those who eat breakfast.  Routine eating and digesting keeps your metabolism constant.

When I roll out of bed at 7:30 to make in to class by 8, I often forgo breakfast.  But as a public health major, I have been taught that this in a “no-no”; thus, I have made some efforts to eat breakfast more often.  If breakfast is convenient and fast, I will eat it.  I have learned to place bananas and oranges on the kitchen counter before I go to bed.  That way I am able to grab them on my way out the door and eat them during my first lecture.  Cereal bars can also be a healthy grab-and-go.  Parents can encourage their busy teens to eat breakfast simply by keeping the pantry stashed with quick and easy breakfast options.

Posted by: michellerenee88 | April 1, 2010

Motivating Kids to be Physically Active

My youngest sister, Rachel, is four, and her favorite place is Hafer Park.  Hafer provides her walking trails to explore, ducks to chase, swings to fly, slides to go fast, and monkey bars to master.  When you take children to the park they naturally become physically active.  But as they get older, their school work becomes more demanding and television, computers, and video games can become more appealing.  These may make it more difficult for kids to get enough daily activity.  Other barriers to physical activity may be long, cold winters or living in an unsafe environment.  Regardless, parents can still help their children develop a love of activity. 

When children are active, their bodies work properly.  This is because physical activity builds strong muscles and bones, provides weight control, decreases one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases, and promotes better sleep and a better outlook on life.  Kidshealth.org provides parents with tips to motivate their children to engage in physical activity.  Their three keys are:

  1.  Choosing the right activities for a child’s age: If you don’t, the child may be bored or frustrated.
  2. Giving kids plenty of opportunity to be active: Kids need parents to make activity easy by providing equipment and taking them to playgrounds and other active spots.
  3. Keeping the focus on fun: Kids won’t do something they don’t enjoy.

From terrible twos to their high school graduation, your child needs at least 60 minutes of physical activity on most days.  You don’t need to count minutes or stress over strenuous plans.  Simply find this time by allowing your kids to participate in organized sports, sending them to the backyard to release some energy, taking a family outing to the park, or having a private dance party in your living room.  You can be a good role model and better your own health by engaging in activities with them.  The possibilities are endless—just get movin’!

Posted by: michellerenee88 | April 1, 2010

Let’s Get Together

When speaking of dinnertime, Miriam Weinstein , said “It’s not about being fancy or fashionable.  It’s about family.”

Experts agree that sharing meals helps create strong family relationships and decrease tension between siblings and parents.  But there are many more researched benefits!  Kids who eat  more meals a home make better grades, develop a stronger ability to resist negative peer pressure, and are less likely smoke, drink, or use drugs.  Lastly, mealtime at home also promotes better eating habits and results in less obesity.

The Power of Family Meals website provides 5 tips to encouraging family meals.  They include:

1. Recognize the importance of mealtime. Get the family together and discuss the benefits of dining as a group. Talk about research that documents the power of sharing this time together.

 2. Identify obstacles to mealtime. Coordinating schedules can be tough, but it can be done. Despite late work hours, after-school activities, and long commutes, many families are still able to make dinnertime a priority.

3. Make a schedule. Set the expectation that family members will gather at specific times during the week for mealtime. These meeting times should be considered as important as soccer practice, hair appointments, club meetings, or other distractions.

4. Turn off the television. People who watch television while eating tend to tune out their natural hunger and satiety cues, which encourages overeating.

5. Serve a variety of foods for a variety of tastes. Avoid meal-time battles by creating menus with something for every member of the family.

 6. Make a commitment as a family. Get the whole clan together and promise each other: “We will share mealtime as a family.” Live up to that promise and watch your family grow closer and stronger.

As a grew up, family meals were definitely a strength to me.  My family of eight was involved in an assortment of activities and our schedules did not always encourage family meal time.  But my mom regularly planned nutritious dinners, and I certainly ate better when I was home to participate in the gathering.  Now I am young newlywed.  Similarly, when my husband and I eat dinner together, we eat healthier and nurture our relationship.  Although dinner is just another  part of the day, it can be the most meaningful family activity of the day.  Family meals help us grow closer and stronger.

Posted by: michellerenee88 | April 1, 2010

LiVe in Utah

To defeat childhood obesity in Utah,  Intermountain Healthcare has launched a multi-year public service campaign which encourages Utah adolescence, ages 11-15, to be more physically active and eat healthier.  The program also provides parents with resources to gain knowledge to help their pre-teens live healthy.  The “LiVe” campaign also includes advertising, school assemblies, new education for healthcare providers, and  a website

On the website, kids and parents can learn 8 healthy habits which encompass eating good food, being active, and supporting one another.  Interesting statistics and interact activities are also available on the website; these features make the website appealing and exciting for the target audience.  The following chart helps kids interpret how long they would have to jog to burn off the calories from consuming some of their some favorite foods:    

Food Item Calories     Activity Required to Burn the Calories
5 ounce Blueberry Muffin        500    Jog for 54 minutes
2 Large Pizza Slices 850    Jog for 1 hour and 32 minutes
1 Large Popcorn Tub 630       Jog for 1 hour and 8 minutes
Medium French Fries 390    Jog for 42 minutes
Small Bag of Potato Chips 240    Jog for 26 minutes
12 ounce Soda 140    Jog for 15 minutes
Cheeseburger 400    Jog for 43 minutes
Milkshake 540    Jog for 58 minutes
* Caloric burn based on 130lb person

 

The LiVe campaign is making a difference by encouraging community action, various companies and community organizations are involved.  By working together they are encouraging kids and parents to make healthier decisions.

Posted by: michellerenee88 | March 31, 2010

Retire Ronald McDonald?

He has marketing hamburgers for more than 50 years, is it time for him to go?  Corporate Accountability International says “Yes!”.  For 20 years, this organization  has been waging campaigns to challenge corporate companies.  Corporate Cccountability Int. is based out of Boston and headed by health care professionals and parents.  They’ve successfully attacked Joe Camel in the past.  Today, March 31, 2010, they will be hosting a retirement party for Ronald McDonald at a McDonald’s in downtown Chicago.  The group blames the clown for using marketing tools to specifically target children, and by doing so, they say, he is fueling childhood obesity.

Yes, Ronald McDonald is surely recognized by the far majority of kids in the US.  They associate him with ball pits, cheese burgers, and French fries.  But I believe Corporate Accountability International is placing too much blame on McDonald’s iconic clown.  Parents hold the responsibility to monitor what their children do and do not eat.  If  moms and dads take their children to McDonald’s too frequently, they are the ones fueling childhood obesity.   Ronald may increase a child’s desire for McDonald’s fatty foods, but ultimately, the parents are in control.

Posted by: michellerenee88 | March 31, 2010

Like Father Like Son

Parents are the most important role models in their children’s lives.  Kids watch and imitate adult behavior; thus, parents play a crucial role in shaping their children’s eating habits.  Mealsmatter.org  asks the parents the following questions:

▪Do you skip breakfast?

▪Do you drink sodas rather than mild with your meals?

▪Do you diet all the time and have fear of eating “bad” food?

▪Do you snack all day long?

▪Do you eat in front of the TV?

▪Do you eat whenever you are board or under stress?

▪Do you eat dessert at every meal?

If you answered “yes” to several of these questions, you are sending unhealthy messages about food to your children.  We have all been taught that actions speak louder than words.  The best way to teach your child how to eat healthy is to eat healthy yourself and plan nutritious meals for you and your children to enjoy together.

Posted by: michellerenee88 | March 31, 2010

The First Lady’s Contribution

On February 9, 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama formally announced her “Let’s Move” Initiative. Her goal: “We want to eliminate this problem of childhood obesity in a generation.”

In conjunction with Mrs. Obama’s program announcement, the President signed a Presidential Memorandum. The memorandum creates a 90-day plan to create a task-force to provide “optimal coordination” between non-profit agencies and private sector companies within government and other organization to address the childhood obesity epidemic.

At the press release signing of the memorandum, President Obama stated, “This has enormous promise in improving the health of our children and in giving support to parents to make the kind of healthy choices that are often very difficult in this kind of environment.”

Mrs. Obama recognizes this goal as being very ambitious, yet she also identifies childhood obesity as a most urgent health issue facing the county. The importance of this topic cannot be argued—the country spends 150 billion dollars annually treating obesity-related diseases.

Posted by: michellerenee88 | March 31, 2010

One in Three

Our nation is growing…more fat. In the last 25 years, obesity rates have doubled among US adults; however, the growth rate is more alarming for children ages 6-19—it has tripled. One in three children in the US are overweight or obese.  Doctors are seeing evidence of this trend daily in diagnosing elementary aged children with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, painful joint conditions, and type 2 diabetes.


The cumulative effect of this epidemic could result in this country’s first generation destined to have a life span shorter than the preceding generation.

How can we stop this trend?

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has a goal to reverse childhood obesity epidemic by 2015 by focusing on two objectives: improving access to affordable healthy foods and increasing opportunities for physical activities in schools and communities across the nation. While this foundations and others combat childhood obesity on a national level, families can contribute to the battle simply by making healthy food choices and exercising more at home. Households can make and achieve their own goals–reverse childhood obesity in your home by 2015!

Posted by: michellerenee88 | February 9, 2010

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