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.
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.
Thanks to the Indianapolis Colts, Jump IN for Healthy kids works with school districts in central Indiana to integrate school wellness policies that create healthier environments for children. The new two-year program, Jump Right UP, has just launched in four districts: MSD Pike, MSD Warren, IPS,, and MSD Lawrence. And we're getting noticed for it already. Read the IndyStar's Season of Sharing piece that just came out yesterday.
Regular readers of Jump IN's blog may remember a previous blog post highlighting our work in the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge, a two-year, national competition among cities and counties to create the healthiest community. Our project focused on improving healthy environments to reduce childhood obesity in Greater Lawrence and the Far Eastside. Our work has included interventions in schools, child cares, and in helping increase access to healthy food. An important part of our food access work is a program we launched with support from the Glick Fund, the Healthy Corner Stores Initiative. We have an update on that work that we're excited to share with you.
Jump IN works closely with many schools to help teach good nutrition skills early in life. Research shows that instilling healthy and appropriate eating habits in children impacts their health as adults, so schools are ideal sites for food education. . In addition, balanced and healthy school meals improve student performance and behavior. Introducing kids to new fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can put them on track to become good eaters. We're excited to tell you about some of the great work coming out of MSD Warren and its commitment to improving its nutrition and physical activity policies.
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.
As designated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), September is National Childhood Obesity Month. Nationally, roughly one in five children suffers from obesity. In central Indiana, those numbers are worse. Jump IN for Healthy Kids is focused on changing those numbers and helping children and families lead healthier lives.