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17 Nov

Raising a healthier America

http://www.letsmove.gov

Children today are not like they used to be – and I’m not referring to their ever-evolving vocabulary or their selection of music and clothing. They live a very different lifestyle than those in the past with less physical activity and poor food choices having a direct effect on their health. Just how drastically have children’s health and habits changed? The proof is in the pudding!*

•    Over the past thirty years, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled -- nearly one in three children are overweight or obese.
•    A daily snack for a child has grown from one to three snacks, adding an additional 200 calories a day. One in five school-age children has up to six snacks a day
•    Portion sizes are now two to five times bigger than they were in years past
•    Eight to 18-year old adolescents spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using entertainment.
•    Only one-third of high school students get the recommended levels of physical activity.

First Lady Michelle Obama has made it her personal mission to raise awareness and improve the health of the younger generation. In 2010, she launched her initiative Let’s Move! to get the country focused on teaching children about living healthy. The First Lady’s health initiative “combines comprehensive strategies with common sense”, making it easy to put children on the path to a healthy future whether they are a toddler or teenager.

Here are a few easy ideas to get your kids to eat healthier:
•    Plan your dinners ahead of time, this doesn’t have to mean a week at a time; maybe it is just a couple of nights in a row; this will let you plan balanced meals.  
•    Make breakfast as important as it should be, high fiber breakfast in foods they already enjoy, like pancakes or cereals. Try to sneak in some soy -- when making recipes that call for milk, you can use soy milk. It gives them the extra nutrients, and they won’t even notice.
•    Most importantly have fun, make it creative and let them be part of the preparation. They will take more ownership and enjoy the meals.

Making it fun goes for movement as well. Getting kids to move more at a younger age will help them consider this part of the every day, and not out of the ordinary. This can be as simple as an indoor obstacle course, taking a family walk after dinner or playing outside with bubbles. This is all movement and activity, but also FUN. Showing a child that it is fun to move, and not just exercise, will keep them enjoying the movement part of life.  

If we can start a new generation out with these good habits as part of their everyday life we will raise a much healthier America!

To learn more tips about eating healthy and encouraging physical activities, visit http://www.letsmove.gov


*Let’s Move!

Reference - http://news.healingwell.com/?p=news1&id=521269
 

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