The week of August 10 is Healthy Back to School Week at DietsInReview.com.
Tab Forgac serves as vice president of Child Nutrition and Fitness for the National Dairy Council. Forgac is a Registered Dietitian, a Licensed Dietitian, and a School Nutrition Specialist. She has served in numerous leadership positions within the American Dietetic Association and its affiliates and helped lead the development and evolution of the School Nutrition Association Foundation.
While news of the childhood obesity crisis is not new, it continues to trouble me as a nutritionist and mother of two daughters that we have not been able to curb this epidemic that now affects more than one in three children in the United States. However, I do believe we can turn the tide on childhood obesity, and that the nation’s schools play an important role in doing so.
In working with leading child, health and nutrition organizations on behalf of America’s dairy farmers for more than 30 years, I have developed a strong passion for finding a solution and believe that in order to help children lead healthier lifestyles, they need greater access to nutrient-rich foods and opportunities to get 60 minutes of physical activity daily, both in and out of school.
Nutrient-rich foods play an important role in children’s overall health and development and provide a powerful package of key nutrients they need. But children often lack access to, or simply do not choose, healthy foods in school. Poor nutrition, together with a lack of physical activity increases kids’ risk of obesity and other serious health problems throughout their lives. In fact, only two percent of school-aged children consume the recommended daily number of servings from all five food groups and only 35 percent are physically active for 60 minutes a day.
The good news is that a wealth of health and wellness education resources are available to schools to help children change their unhealthy behaviors and adopt healthy eating and physical activity as a part of their daily lives.
Additionally, National Dairy Council (NDC) has for decades provided such health and wellness education resources for schools. I’m proud of this history and NDC’s ongoing commitment to schools. In October, NDC will be launching a new youth program with the National Football League that will give students a voice in shaping their school’s wellness environment. If you work with a school in your community, they can visit www.SchoolWellnessKit.org.
Thanks for the opportunity to share my perspective – and passion – about how we can help our kids eat healthier and be more physically active in school. Thanks also to DietsInReview.com for showing their support and commitment to combating childhood obesity today so that we can ultimately prevent this public health crisis tomorrow.