This Saturday, February 17 is the official Random Acts of Kindness Day. What will you do to celebrate? We're excited to tell you about a school that replaced its unhealthy celebration habit with a very special new tradition.
Last week in our blog we talked about family-style eating in early education settings and the benefits of eating together regularly, around a table, at meal time. Today we wanted to share this helpful guide to ensure very young children get plenty of physical play every day. Take a look -
Eating family-style meals and snacks is recognized as a best practice in child care settings of all types—large or small centers, in-home providers, preschools, or church child cares. Family style is all about children and supervising adults sharing a meal together, with children encouraged to serve food themselves.
A mountain of research suggests that healthy nutrition radically improves children’s cognitive function and measurable academic achievement.
We know that:
- Specific vitamins and minerals that our body obtains from nutrient-rich foods play a critical role in brain growth, development and learning.
- Staying hydrated is important—a drop of just 1-2% in body fluid can cause difficulty with math problems, slower processing, impaired short-term memory, and trouble focusing on a page of text or computer screen.
- Obese children show less brain activity, especially in the frontal cortex which is associated with attention, short-term memory tasks, planning and motivation.
Central Indiana is forecast to get more snow this weekend - possibly a lot of snow. Some weather forecasters and predicting up to 10 inches! And then the temperature is predicted to plummet, making for a blizzard-like, bitter cold few days. Naturally, staying safe is the most important thing to prepare for in extreme winter weather, but we at Jump IN also want to be sure you have some good resources for getting some fun, physical activity as well - indoors or out.
5-2-1-0 is an easy-to-understand concept created by Let’s Go! Maine to help parents, children, educators, childcare providers, and others remember four important healthy living recommendations. The idea is to encourage kids and adults to incorporate these simple steps into their lives every day: 5 fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of screen time, 1 hour of physical activity, and zero sugar-sweetened beverages. With the help of a CDC-backed study, Maine proved that consistent exposure to the simple 5-2-1-0 message not only increased awareness of the specific daily recommendations but also improved families’ performance on at least two of the four daily goals. Along with health advocates across the country, Jump IN for Healthy Kids has incorporated the 5-2-1-0 message into our ongoing public awareness efforts and aids in incorporating the message into existing programs such as youth serving organizations and schools.
When Jump IN was stood up as an organization in 2014, it was given the task of reducing childhood overweight and obesity in central Indiana from 43% to 38% over ten years, by 2025. If nothing is done to address this growing public health crisis, research tells us that by 2025, the rate will grow to 53% - that's more than every other kid. How do we do it? By creating healthy places, healthy neighborhoods and healthy communities where kids and families can make healthy choices easily and affordably. We integrate proven best practices into schools, child cares, and workplaces. We address healthy food access, the built environments, clinician engagement, and policies that influence access to healthy choices. We collect data to rigorously document our impact. And we take the 5-2-1-0 concept into youth-serving organizations to include in their programming and share the message with the public. The process of moving that 43% in a sustainable, meaningful way takes a long time. Integrating best practices is our focus and we have a lot to share.
It's that time of year when we make our resolutions for the new year: save more money, volunteer more, practice gratitude, and everyone's perennial favorite: get healthier. This year, make the commitment to to adopt 5-2-1-0 into your days. It's simple, it's easy to remember, and your whole family can get on board.
It's possible to celebrate Christmas, New Year's Eve, 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 holiday celebrations.