Healthy Children - September 2014

INCCRRA in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services is providing information on childhood obesity through its website. The intent is to communicate to child care practitioners, parents and others who visit the website, the seriousness of obesity in young children and to link them to current research on the issue.

Helpful suggestions for meal planning, recipes and healthy physical activities are presented on this site not just for overweight children but the health of the entire family.

New ideas are listed every month. Each month a new column on this issue of national concern is posted. It answers questions you have regarding heavy children and healthy lifestyles -- be sure to check it out.

For more information contact the Illinois Department of Human Services at (217) 785-9336 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also contact your local Illinois Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.

The consumer health information on childhood obesity provided by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies on the site or by any links to other sites is for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific treatment plan, product or course of action. This web site generally links to other sites that are informational in nature and does not link to commercial sites that are primarily intended for the sale of products or services. Use of this site or any links to other sites does not replace medical consultations with a qualified health or medical professional to meet the health and medical needs of you or a loved one. You should promptly seek professional care if you have any concern about the health of you or a loved one and you should always consult your physician before you or a loved one starts a fitness regimen.


 

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

One in 3 children in the United States is overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, DHS encourages your family to make healthy changes together.

  • Get active outside: Walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride, or play basketball at the park.

  • Limit screen time: Keep screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games) to 2 hours or less a day.

  • Make healthy meals: Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods.


Taking small steps as a family can help your child stay at a healthy weight.

 


A Growing Problem


What causes childhood obesity?


Childhood obesity is the result of eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activity.

Why focus on food and physical activity environments?

There are a variety of environmental factors that determine whether or not the healthy choice is the easy choice for children and their parents. American society has become characterized by environments that promote increased consumption of less healthy food and physical inactivity. It can be difficult for children to make healthy food choices and get enough physical activity when they are exposed to environments in their home, child care center, school or community that are influenced by –

  • Sugary drinks and less healthy foods on school campuses. About 55 million school-aged children are enrolled in schools across the United States, and many eat and drink meals and snacks there. Yet, more than half of U.S. middle and high schools still offer sugary drinks and less healthy foods for purchase. Students have access to sugar drinks and less healthy foods at school throughout the day from vending machines and school canteens and at fundraising events, school parties, and sporting events.
  • Advertising of less healthy foods. Nearly half of U.S. middle and high schools allow advertising of less healthy foods, which impacts students’ ability to make healthy food choices. In addition, foods high in total calories, sugars, salt, and fat, and low in nutrients are highly advertised and marketed through media targeted to children and adolescents, while advertising for healthier foods in almost nonexistent in comparison.
  • Variation in licensure regulations among child care centers.  More than 12 million children regularly spend time in child care arrangements outside the home. However, not all states use licensing regulations to ensure that child care facilities encourage more healthful eating and physical activity.

www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/problem

Why is it important to Eat Vegetables?

Eating vegetables provides health benefits – people who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.

Health Benefits

  • Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.
  • Eating a diet rich in some vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain types of cancers.
  • Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables and fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Eating vegetables and fruits rich in potassium as part of an overall healthy diet may lower blood pressure, and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss.
  • Eating foods such as vegetables that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.

Nutrients

  • Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. None have cholesterol. (Sauces or seasonings may add fat, calories, or cholesterol.)
  • Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C.
  • Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Vegetable sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans.
  • Dietary fiber from vegetables, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as vegetables help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
  • Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, and in addition 400 mcg of synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.
  • Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.
  • Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C aids in iron absorption.
http://www.choosemyplate.org/food-groups/vegetables-why.html


 

Just Desserts


Try these recipes for desserts

Fruit Slushy in a Can
Put in freezer for about 2 hours until it doesn’t slosh about when shaken.
Open can and put contents in blender.
Whip until slushy consistency.
Pour into bowls and serve with spoons immediately.  Makes 2 servings.

Ingredients:
1    15-ounce can of fruit in fruit juice, no sugar added (e.g., peach, pear, apricot)

Yogurt Parfait
Add the pineapple, raspberries, dates, bananas and yogurt in layers to a tall glass or sundae dish. Sprinkle almonds all over the top. Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:
2 cups chunked canned pineapple
1 cup frozen raspberries
3 cups vanilla yogurt
1 medium peeled and sliced banana
1/3 cup chopped dates
¼ cup sliced toasted almonds

Citrus Swirl
In a mixing bowl, chop the frozen yogurt into tablespoon-size pieces with a spoon. Drizzle on the lemonade or juice concentrate and stir slightly, but do not blend completely. Spoon into a serving dish. Top with fresh fruit. Serves 1.

Ingredients:
1 cup frozen vanilla yogurt, slightly softened
1 tablespoon frozen lemonade or orange juice concentrate, thawed but not diluted

A Summer Delight

Slice cake horizontally into 3 layers; place each layer on a plate. Spread lime sherbet on 1 cake layer and freeze. Spread lemon sherbet on 1 cake layer and freeze. Place lemon layer on top of lime layer and top with remaining cake layer. Spread whipped topping on top and sides of cake. Freeze. Once completely frozen, wrap tightly in aluminum foil until ready to serve. Slice to serve.
Serving size: 1 slice  Serves 12

Ingredients:
1 commercial angel food cake (you can find this in the bakery section)
1 quart lime sherbet, softened
1 quart lemon sherbet, softened
1 (16 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed in refrigerator


http://www.cdc.gov/bam/nutrition/cool-treats-desserts.html


 


Build a Healthy Meal


A healthy meal starts with more vegetables and fruits and smaller portions of protein and grains. Think about how you can adjust the portions of you plact to get more of what you need without too many calories. And don’t forget dairy- make it the beverage with your meal and add fat-free or low-fat dairy products to your plate.


make half your plate veggies and fruits
Vegetables and fruits are full of nutrients and may help to promote good health. Choose red, orange, and dark green vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.

add lean protein
Choose protein foods, such as lean beef and pork, or chicken, turkey, beans, or tofu. Twice a week, make seafood the protein on your plate.

include whole grains
Aim to make at least half your grains whole grains.  Look for the words “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” on the food label. Whole grains provide more nutrients, like fiber, than refined grains.

don’t forget the dairy
Pair your meal with a cup of fat-free or low-fat milk. They provide the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories. Don’t drink milk? Try soymilk (soy beverage) as your beverage or include fat-free or low-fat yogurt in your meal.

avoid extra fat
Using heavy gravies or sauces will add fat and calories to otherwise healthy choices. For example, steamed broccoli is great, but avoid topping it with cheese sauce. Try other options, like a sprinkling of low-fat parmesan cheese or a squeeze of lemon.

take your time
Savor your food. Eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel. Be mindful. Eating very quickly may cause you to eat too much.

use a smaller plate
Use a smaller plate at meals to help with portion control. That way you can finish your entire plate and feel satisfied without overeating.

try new foods
Keep it interesting by picking out new foods you’ve never tried before, like mango, lentils, or kale. You may find a new favorite! Trade fun and tasty recipes with friends or find them online.

satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way
Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert dish—fruit! Serve a fresh fruit cocktail or a fruit parfait made with yogurt. For a hot dessert, bake apples and top with cinnamon.