The fact that our nation’s schools need a revamp on their school lunch and physical activity programs is not new information. Thankfully now there’s more to report than just stating the need for change.
Recently the USDA recognized over a thousand schools for their improvements to nutrition and physical education programs. Five traits were highlighted to describe what a healthy American school looks like today.
One trait of a healthy school is their stellar performance in the National School and Lunch Program. The voluntary program is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign that is attempting to end childhood obesity within a single generation.
For schools to be a certified member of the National School and Lunch Program they must follow nutritional guidelines. A different vegetable must be provided each day at lunch, one serving of beans or peas must be served weekly, a different fruit is to be offered each day of the week, whole grains are to be served 3 to 5 days a week, and only low-fat or fat free milk products are offered to students on the program.
Snacks are a great opportunity to provide your child with healthy options that can replenish their energy and hold them over until dinner. Of course, having a wide variety of nutritious snacks to choose from can seem like quite the endeavor to undertake; especially after a long day of work or running errands. Luckily, with a little forethought, having a wide array of healthy foods ready to go after school is quite easy to accomplish.
One of the simplest ways to go about this is by creating your own after school snack station. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just filled with some of your family’s favorite healthy snack choices. As the reserves run low, simply restock as needed.
As school budgets get tighter, administrators are doing just about everything to cut costs, including diminishing some of the necessities like teachers’ salaries, library book funds, and even school buses.
Although diminishing school budgets is not exactly good news, some positive results may come out of the cuts. If the budget in your school district leaves hardly any room for school buses and your neighborhood is the first to get the axe, consider starting up a “Walking School Bus” in your community.
A Walking School Bus is a new initiative created by the Healthways/ Blue Zones Vitality City group in the Beach Cities area in Southern California. The Healthways/ Blue Zones group is dedicated to help their communities live longer and healthier.
Walking school buses are a group of children who ride their bikes or walk to school with one or more parent supervising. Children learn the rules of traffic in a safe environment and get plenty of exercise on their way to and from school each morning. As childhood obesity rates continue to increase, a walking school bus might be a good way to sneak some exercise into your child’s routine.
Childhood obesity is increasing at an alarming rate throughout the world. The World Health Organization calls it one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century.
Overweight children are likely to become obese adults, who have a higher probability of developing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age. These diseases can cause disabilities and premature death.
Globally, the number of overweight and obese children under the age of five was estimated to be more than 42 million in 2010.
While most people think being fat is a problem only in rich countries, nearly 35 million of these children were living in developing countries. The childhood obesity problem is rising rapidly in low- and middle-income countries, especially in urban areas.
The rate of children who are overweight and obese worldwide increased from 4.2% in 1990 to 6.7% in 2010, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.