Healthy Kids - February 2014

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February Spotlight for Healthy Kids: Childhood Obesity

Online Learning Activities for Kids

Heart Healthy Tips and Activities for Kids

Heart Healthy Interactive Games

American Heart Association’s Healthy Challenge Scavenger Hunt

Resource for teachers and parents to help kids increase their physical activities 

Disease caused by childhood obesity includes high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels. Children could also be affected by low self-esteem, negative body image, and depression. About a third of the children today are affected by obesity.

Both weight and body composition is considered when determining weight (American Heart Assocation):

Among American children ages 2–19, the following are overweight or obese, using the 95th percentile or higher of body mass index (BMI) values on the CDC growth chart:

  • For non-Hispanic whites, 30.1 percent of males and 25.6 percent of females.
  • For non-Hispanic blacks, 36.9 percent of males and 41.3 percent of females.
  • For Mexican Americans, 40.5 percent of males and 38.2 percent of females.

According to the American Heart Association, the following recommendations should be followed:

1. Encourage healthy eating habits. Small changes can lead to a recipe for success!

  • Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole-grain products.
  • Include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products.
  • Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils and beans for protein.
  • Serve reasonably sized portions.
  • Encourage your family to drink lots of water.
  • Limit sugar-sweetened beverages, sugar, sodium and saturated fat.

2. Make favorite dishes healthier. Some of your favorite recipes can be healthier with a few changes. You can also try some new healthy dishes that might just become favorites too!

3. Remove calorie-rich temptations. Treats are OK in moderation, but limiting high-fat and high-sugar or salty snacks can also help your children develop healthy eating habits. Here are examples of easy-to-prepare, low-fat and low-sugar treats that are 100 calories or less:

  • A medium-size apple
  • A medium-size banana
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup grapes
  • 1 cup carrots, broccoli, or bell peppers with 2 tbsp. hummus

4. Help your kids understand the benefits of being physically active. Teach them that physical activity has great health benefits like:

  • Strengthening bone
  • Decreasing blood pressure
  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Increasing self-esteem
  • Helping with weight management

5. Help kids stay active. Children and teens should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week, and every day if possible. You can set a great example! Start adding physical activity to your own daily routine and encourage your child to join you. Some examples of moderate-intensity physical activity include:

  • Brisk walking
  • Playing tag
  • Jumping rope
  • Playing soccer
  • Swimming
  • Dancing

Browse a list and register online for affordable classes offered at Grand Prairie recreation centers

6. Reduce sedentary time. Although quiet time for reading and homework is fine, limit "screen time" (TV, video games, Internet) to no more than two hours a day. The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend TV for kids age 2 or younger. Encourage your children to find fun activities to do with family members or on their own that simply involve more activity. 

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