Families look to their healthcare providers for trusted health advice, especially when sorting through the noise of social media where health messages can be confusing and contradictory. But time is short at a wellness visit—with lots of topics to cover—and conversations about weight can be challenging for doctors and patients alike. So what can a healthcare practice do?
Focus on healthy behaviors
Help families remember what's "healthy" by promoting the nationally recognized, evidence-based 5-2-1-0 goals:
- Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day
- Limit screen time to 2 hours or less daily
- Get at least 1 hour of physical activity
- Drink 0 sugary beverages and more water
Hearing the 5-2-1-0 message at the doctor's office is consistent with health messages children are hearing at school and child care. This, in turn, helps keep good choices top of mind and more likely to become habit.
Additionally, focusing on 5-2-1-0 puts healthy behavior for all children at the forefront of your practice, rather than singling out overweight individuals and focusing on the negative. Consider incorporating the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Habits Questionnaire into your office work flow.
Before you turn on the TV, computer, or other electronic device for your child, consider these facts:
- Screen time is habit-forming. The more time children engage with screens, the harder time they have turning electronics off as they become older children.
- Over 50% of advertisements accompanying children’s TV shows are about foods. Up to 98% of these promote foods that are high in fat, sugar, and/or sodium.
- The early years are critical. Limiting exposure to television during the first 4 years of life may decrease children’s interest in it in later.
- Excessive screen time has been linked to irregular sleep and delayed language acquisition for children under the age of 3, as well as increased early childhood aggression.
- Children who spend less time watching television in their early years tend to do better in school. They also have a healthier diet and are more physically active.
- Reducing screen time can help prevent childhood obesity. This in turn means significantly reduced risk for diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure at young ages.
Looking to start, expand, or freshen up your physical activity or health education program in the new year? We've rounded up 7 toolkits and curriculum resources for you to explore.
Animal Trackers is a complete motor skills and physical activity curriculum developed by the nation’s leading specialists in health and education. A program for preschool children ages 3-6, Animal Trackers features over 60 activities spread out over 10 units filled with colorful characters, games, songs, and stories. Creep and crawl like Lenny the Lizard, or gallop like Harry the Horse. Fee required to access program materials.
CATCH Early Childhood is designed to nurture a love of physical activity, provide an introduction to classroom-based gardening and nutrition, and encourage healthy eating in children ages 3-5. Little ones are motivated to walk, run, jump, dance, and move their whole bodies while playing and having fun.
Community engagement is an important part of a comprehensive workplace wellness program. Employers gain many advantages by engaging in community partnerships, but how do you choose effective partners for your community engagement efforts?
Effective community wellness partnerships require strategic planning and ongoing communication. You want to find a partner(s) whose interest in and commitment to improving wellness is well aligned with yours.
Physical activity is important to the overall health and well-being of everyone, including school-age children. The benefits are well documented and include significant reduction in health risks, building and maintenance of strong bones and muscles, improved health-related fitness, and positive social and mental health. Increasing scientific evidence suggests that healthier students are also better learners, and physical activity can improve academic achievement.
Schools are in an ideal position to influence children's health through increased physical activity, because school is where most children spend the majority of their time outside of home. A School Wellness Policy can help guide these efforts.
It's possible to celebrate Thanksgiving—or any holiday—without going overboard on sweet treats and calorie-laden food and beverages. Here are a few simple strategies to help support you in eating healthy at your Thanksgiving Day celebration.
Drinking water will help you stay hydrated and feel full. Additionally, by choosing water, you'll be avoiding empty liquid calories. Remember, that 12 oz can of Coke contains 140 calories and 10 teaspoons of sugar—skip it and you'll save room for dessert!
Give thanks for good health this Thanksgiving by adding a new physically active tradition to your family's celebration.
It's not a far-fetched idea. In fact, Thanksgiving Day boasts more run/walk races than any other day of the year. A record high 726 Thanksgiving Day races were recorded nationwide in 2016, with nearly a million finishers!
We've rounded up a few ideas for you to consider locally, including some tips for a do-it-yourself event at home.
If you work with children 5 years of age and younger, you probably already know that active play is important. But how much active play time do they need each day? What does "physical activity" for this age group look like? And how can you encourage active play if children are reluctant?
Let's look at the key recommendations for child care providers at specific ages, as well as tips for reaching those recommendations in your daycare center, preschool, or home.
Do the rewards you give your employees support their health goals or sabotage them?
Pizza parties, doughnut breakfasts, and birthday cakes are easy to plan and execute, but they contradict your goal to help employees adopt healthier habits. So what else can you do?
Whether you want to reward your team for achieving a goal, celebrate a holiday together, or specifically incentivize them to participate in wellness initiatives, you can opt for healthy rewards that support wellness goals and are meaningful and valuable to employees.
Halloween may come just once a year, but when candy and sweet treats take center stage at our celebrations, the cumulative long-term consequences are scary.
Shift the focus of your Halloween celebration away from candy and have fun with healthy snacks, active games, and non-food prizes instead.