Vending machines remain popular because they provide quick, convenient and inexpensive food options for users—and possibly a revenue stream for the organization hosting the machines. But they don’t have to be chocked full of candy and chips to achieve all these things.
We know that playing outdoors enables children to easily engage in both moderate and vigorous physical activity such as running, skipping, jumping, climbing, chasing, lifting, balancing—even digging, splashing, and building. Playgrounds and outdoor play equipment are substantial investments, and we design and build them with the expectation that they will sustain us for many years. But that doesn’t mean we should stop thinking about them once they are erected.
Whether you’re in position to begin planning for a new playground, tackle a substantial renovation to existing play space, or make just minimal additions or changes, the following best-practice design ideas are worth thinking about.
Families often seek guidance from trusted health care providers to make the best decisions about nutrition and physical activity for their children. But starting these conversations can be tough, and time is short at the doctor’s office.
Doctors feel this struggle, too, and many of them are looking for strategies to make their time with patients most efficient and productive, especially with regard to preventing and managing childhood and adolescent obesity. These family medicine doctors, pediatricians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants no doubt know the devastating impact that excess weight can have on overall health—leading to the early onset of life threatening conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
Researchers have identified steps your child’s primary care provider can take to help your family prevent and manage overweight and obesity—guidelines statistically proven to be associated with better outcomes for children.
At Jump IN for Healthy Kids, we talk a lot about what employers, schools, child care centers, places of worship, community centers and youth service providers can do to facilitate healthy eating and physical activity within their organizations. There is no doubt that what happens in these places has substantial impact on the lives of children and their caregivers.
But ultimately, we want the healthy habits established in these places to spill over into family homes as well. You can make that happen by sharing what you’re doing—as well as other tips—with the families you serve. Whether you, your workplace, school, or child care center is already a role model for healthy living or just beginning the journey to improve, there are simple steps you can take to share tips and influence the lives of children and families you know.
Actually, the general trend towards poorer health in the United States may be affecting your bottom line more than you realize. And it isn’t just your employees’ health that impacts you, but also the health of their families. Full-time employees may consume half or more of their daily calories while at the workplace and spend 25% or more of their waking hours at the office each week, so it isn’t hard to imagine that habits instilled or reinforced at the office spill over into the family home.
But you can take simple, affordable steps to change the tide. Here are four convincing reasons to do so:
More than 3.3 million children across the U.S. will eat healthier meals and snacks, thanks to recent revisions to the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). These new dietary rules and suggested best practices may serve as a useful guide for you, even if your program or child care facility does not participate in the subsidized program.
Sitting for long periods of time is hard on the body and mind. Research suggests that even short bursts of exercise are beneficial—and every bit helps add up to the 60 minutes of physical activity needed daily.
Healthy workplaces promote the “Sit for 60, Move for 3” rule, getting 3 minutes of physical activity for every 60 minutes of inactivity, especially if you sit for long stretches of time at work.
Walking is an easy way to get active. Walk or march in place while you’re on the telephone. Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of calling or emailing. Lap the building when you go to the restroom, before or after lunch and before leaving for the day. Walk to and from lunch; if you usually bring your lunch, go for a walk before and/or after eating.
Ready to do more than walk? Here are 10 easy exercises you can do at your desk or almost anywhere:
- Supports brain development and increases children’s ability to learn.
- Builds and maintains healthy bones, muscles and joints.
- Promotes good sleep.
- Cultivates independence.
- Encourages development of motor skills and social skills.
- Helps maintain healthy weight.
Take a look around your classroom, daycare, and home. Do these environments encourage age-appropriate physical activity? Here are some easy physical activity ideas for kids at specific age levels.
Children spend an average of 7 hours per day watching television, playing video games and surfing the internet, even though research suggests that more than 2 hours of recreational screen time daily is associated with poor health, overweight and obesity. For children under the age of 2, no screen time is advised.
It is easy for recreational screen time to rack up, especially when it is used to fill transition periods or as a “quiet time” activity in child care settings, out-of-school programs, and at home. Take time to assess how much screen time kids are getting while in your care, and, if needed, create an action plan to replace that time with more constructive, healthy activities. We can help.
Local success story: Indiana Health Information Exchange employee leads expansion of simple program
Shortly after Carrie Lane started working at Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE) in 2013, the company, located on Senate Avenue right along the downtown canal, began promoting a 30-minute “canal walk” twice a week. An email to all staff announced the time and meet-up location. It proved a great way for Carrie to get exercise, de-stress and meet co-workers.
When the employee in charge of the canal walks left IHIE, Carrie not only volunteered to keep the walks going but also began looking for opportunities to expand the fledgling employee wellness program.