Lots of us express a desire to "be healthier," and to "raise healthy children," but what does that mean, exactly? Health and wellness tips may be widely available, but sometimes they feel contradictory and confusing. How do you know which sources to trust?
Our friends at Let's Go! created a simple slogan to help you remember four ways to be healthy every day: 5-2-1-0. These research-proven recommendations come from experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Like adults, kids need to stay active throughout the day. Active kids feel less stressed, sleep better at night, gain more focus, are more ready to learn, and develop healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
One way to make sure that children in your care are getting enough movement throughout the day is to incorporate movement into learning. Below is a list of suggested resources. Check them out and get moving!
Given the number of hours that full-time employees spend in the workplace, it isn't hard to imagine that habits established or reinforced at the office spill over into the family home.
Employers can play a vital role in promoting healthy habits for their employees and employees' families. The returns on investment are real—less absenteeism, increased employee productivity, and reduced health care costs, to name a few.
The key is to use your existing communications tools and other simple strategies to educate and motivate employees about wellness, provide access to helpful resources, and create a workplace culture that values healthy living. Here are three ways to share information and promote healthy choices:
School is out (or almost out), and daylight is plentiful, so make a commitment to help kids be active this summer—in your home, your child care center, camp, or wherever you are!
Everyone—children and adults alike—needs at least one hour of physical activity every day. But physical activity doesn't have to mean exercise. Active play is physical activity, too, so have fun with these physical activity ideas for kids and families:
- Go on a group bike ride.
- Play games like Freeze Tag and Red Light/Green Light.
- Have a backyard/courtyard dance party—invite the neighbors, take turns playing DJ.
Language shapes lifelong attitudes, eating behavior
Caregivers play a major role in helping children develop healthy eating habits. "Caregivers" includes parents/guardians, grandparents, child care providers, teachers, and others who interact regularly with children at meal time.
What we say about food and eating significantly impacts kids' eating habits. Positive messages about food and eating will help children develop healthy habits.
Here we present examples of phrases that help develop healthy eating habits, as well as the phrases to avoid. Replace the negative statements in each example with the positive ones.
Steady, incremental improvements are key to success
A long term commitment to improving student health and well-being has earned Pike Township schools the prestigious “National Healthy School Award” from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation — a distinction earned by no other schools in Indiana. Pike achieved this honor in 11 of 13 schools throughout the district in 2016, with the remaining two middle schools expected to achieve the certification by the end of this school year.
The National Healthy School Award honors schools that have met specific best practice standards for school wellness committees, food service and nutrition education, food and beverage marketing, community engagement, health education curriculum, physical education curriculum, recess, in-class activity breaks, before and after school programs, and staff wellness initiatives. Pike achieved the Bronze level of distinction, and can now move toward Silver and Gold levels. Nationally, just 328 schools achieved a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award in 2016.
Local spotlight: United Way of Central Indiana employee inspires, supports co-workers
Can a single individual impact company culture enough to trigger healthier habits in the workplace? Jeffrey Wilson, administrative assistant at United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI), did.
If you schedule a meeting with Jeffrey, he'll likely arrive with a simple gift for you: a bottle of water and a banana, for instance. His passion for serving others—and his commitment to UWCI's mission to help others learn more, earn more, and live safe and healthy lives—spills over into everything he does.
Four years ago, Jeffrey made a decision to improve his own health by walking daily from United Way’s office—then located near 38th and Meridian— to Butler University and back. He lost more than 25 pounds.
You don't need a gym membership or fancy equipment to get an hour of physical activity each day. You can exercise without equipment, with limited time and little space using these five activities. Try them when you need a burst of energy at work, school, home—or anywhere!
Start with your knees on the ground, feet lifted and your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Put your body into a kneeling plank position. You can also do these on the wall to start or on your toes as you gain more strength.
Start by lying face down. Place your elbows and forearms underneath your chest and prop yourself onto your toes and forearms. Maintain a flat back and do not allow your hips to sag toward the ground. These can also be done in a kneeling position. Start by holding this position for 10 seconds and work your way up to a longer time.
Eating family style meals and snacks is recognized as a best practice in child care settings of all types—large, small, in-home, preschool, daycare, etc. Family style is all about children and supervising adults sharing a meal together, with children encouraged to serve food themselves.
Caregivers place enough food on the table to allow each child and adult to take the full regulatory portion of food required by the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) or State Licensing Rules. Children are allowed to choose how much of each food they serve themselves, or if they will take any of the food at all.
Family style meals help children try new foods by allowing them to feel in control of their eating. Supervising adults can encourage healthy eating habits by role modeling them.
Full-time employees may consume half or more of their daily calories while at work. Can you encourage healthy eating while being a good host in the workplace? Of course you can—and these 8 tips for catering healthy meetings can help!
1. Avoid offering meals and snacks when it is unnecessary.
Doughnuts and other snacks are likely additional empty calories for most employees, not a replacement for their usual meal or snack. If a meeting is expected to last roughly an hour or less, don't provide any food at all. Offer water, coffee, and unsweetened tea instead.