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09 September 2013

Easy Tips for a Healthier Back to School Routine

Kathleen Pitcher Tobey

Recent CDC studies indicate fewer preschool children are obese and more public schools are providing kids with access to nutritious food and physical activity, but more can be done.

It’s back to school time in America and parents everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief as their kids enter back into the comforting fall routine of class, homework and football games. Hopefully, part of that routine will also include healthy eating and physical activity for your child.  Several recent studies have pointed to a marked decline in the number of obese, low-income preschoolers, which is encouraging news. In addition, public schools are doing a much better job of providing nutritious foods and physical education to kids.  While the trends are positive, much work remains as we teach children healthier lifestyle habits that in turn improve their school performance and make it less likely they will cope with chronic diseases later in life.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends some simple strategies for promoting health and wellness with your children:
  • Start their day at home with a nutritious breakfast.
  • Be positive role models by eating healthy meals and snacks with your kids.
  • Make water easily accessible throughout the day.
  • Encourage your local school or day care provider to serve healthy snacks and provide your child with indoor or outdoor physical activity.
  • Limit the amount of time your children spends watching television or at the computer.
  • Encourage your child to be physically active every day. Spend time together at the neighborhood park or engaging in a favorite sport.
First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative has an informative website that provides ideas for families that want to learn more about healthy eating and physical activity. It also includes some strategies and recommendations for schools and communities that want to encourage these lifestyle changes. Visit the Let's Move website here. To find out more about the CDC’s childhood obesity research please read the most recent studies here.   
Here’s to you and your healthy child!