In the U.S., youth ages 8 to 18 use media, on average, more than 7 ½ hours a day – more time than they spend on just about anything else except sleeping.
Media use is one of several important factors that can influence child health, particularly as it relates to nutrition and physical activity. That’s why communities across the country – with help from the National Institutes of Health’s Media-Smart Youth program – are taking steps to help youth better navigate today’s media landscape and understand how media can influence their choices.
Media-Smart Youth’s free curriculum includes ten interactive lessons on media, nutrition, and physical activity. In the program, youth analyze media messages, sample healthy snacks they haven’t tried before, and get moving during fun action breaks. They also create videos, banners, or other media products of their own to encourage their peers to eat healthy and get active, too.
The Media-Smart Youth team at NIH recently checked in with a few nonprofit organizations across the country to learn about their experiences and outcomes with the program.
- At Alkebu-lan Village, in Detroit, MI, youth took to heart what they learned about good nutrition, and convinced the owner of the on-site convenience store to stock fruit and granola bars so they had healthier snack alternatives. They also videotaped a skit about healthy choices, clips of which aired on a local Saturday morning kids’ TV show with a viewership of 1.8 million people.
- The YWCA El Paso del Norte Region in Texas took youth on a field trip to the local Telemundo TV station, where youth learned about the production process first-hand and appeared on a live news show to answer questions about the Media-Smart Youth program. Youth also made their own “Food Network Kids” video of a mock cooking competition, in which contestants created different dishes with whole-grain tortillas, including pizza and wraps.
- In Washington, DC, Kid Power, Inc. inspired youth to share their knowledge with their friends. On Global Youth Service Day, youth staffed a booth to promote food facts and to challenge classmates to identify fruits and vegetables, hidden in bags, using just touch or smell. Kid Power also enlisted students from American University’s film program to share tips about media production and to film a video featuring a dance performance the youth choreographed themselves.
These are just a few of the great stories we heard from community partners implementing Media-Smart Youth. If you’re interested in learning more about this free program for your community, check out this video and the resources below.
- The Media-Smart Youth website has more information, plus free program materials available for download and mail order.
- NIH’s We Can! program, of which Media-Smart Youth is a part, has many more free resources for families and communities to help youth eat right, get active, and reduce screen time.
- Let’s Move Faith & Communities is hosting training webinars for faith and community leaders interested in implementing these programs. To register, visit the HHS Partnership Center’s website.
The 350,000 students of Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) deserve the opportunity to be physically active where they live, learn and play. We know that having early, positive experiences with physical activity sets students on the course for life. Daily physical activity not only helps children stay healthy, it can also enhance important skills like concentration and problem-solving, which can improve academic performance and promote success in the classroom—and in life.
Earlier this year, First Lady Michelle Obama elevated this issue of providing students with opportunities to be physically active. Identifying the school environment as an integral setting to get children moving, the First Lady announced Let’s Move! Active Schools—a multi-sector collaboration to support school teachers, administrators and staff to bring physical activity into the school day. With the launch of the program, she challenged school leadership to sign-up their local schools or districts.
Taking Mrs. Obama’s challenge to heart, less than three weeks after the launch, our district committed to sign up all 350 schools in M-DCPS for Let’s Move! Active Schools. Thanks to the hard work of our school leaders and staff, including our District Director of Physical Education and Health Literacy, Dr. Jayne Greenberg, I am proud to say that we have enrolled 100% of our schools in the program, becoming the largest urban district to do so.
As a Superintendent, I know firsthand the many challenges that schools or school districts face across the country. Budget cuts and limited resources drive us to make tough decisions on a daily basis. But, what I have learned is that cutting physical education or physical activity out of the school day is not the solution. In M-DCPS, our team works tirelessly to ensure that opportunities are available to students and staff of all backgrounds and abilities. As a result, we have seen tremendous progress in our students’ physical activity and fitness levels. Students are healthier, more confident and demonstrating healthy behaviors outside the school walls.
While changing your school environment and culture may seem overwhelming, the great news is that Let’s Move! Active Schools can help address these challenges. By spurring innovative solutions and offering customized tools every step of the way, schools will have the necessary resources to make incremental changes that will have a lasting impact.
I encourage you to sign up your local school or district for Let’s Move! Active Schools at www.letsmoveschools.org. Remember, every child deserves a chance to grow up healthy and strong. These opportunities will help kids be active and learn the love of movement, which will sustain them for a lifetime.
While the temperatures are dropping and the cooler winter weather is here, there are still plenty of ways for you and your family to stay active and healthy this winter!
Up for some outdoor activity?
Get Moving to Stay Warm: Get your blood pumping during a game of neighborhood tag to stay warm on a chilly afternoon. Or, if you have a bigger group, organize a game of soccer or flag football for an action-packed hour of physical activity.
Play in the Snow: Put on your boots and coat and get outside for some snow-filled fun! Make a life-sized snowman or build a snow fort.
Go for a Ride: Grab a sled and find the perfect hill. Once you reach the bottom, race back up to the top for your next ride.
Explore the Great Outdoors: Find a nearby trail and take a hike to explore nature this winter.
Too cold outside? Here are some ways to be healthy and active while staying warm indoors this winter.
Dance the Day Away: Turn your living room into a dance floor and get moving to all of your favorite holiday tunes!
First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a "Let's Move! Active Schools" event with athletes and students at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill., Feb. 28, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Shoot Hoops: Check out your local community center and start a game of basketball to stay active and meet new friends in your community.
Discover New Things: Visit a Let’s Move! Museum and check out new interactive exhibits.
Cook a Healthy Recipe: Head into the kitchen with your family and cook a new healthy recipe! Follow @LetsMove on Twitter as we share a MyPlate-inspired recipe each day this month, and give some of the recipes a try. For additional recipe ideas, click here to visit the MyPlate board on Pinterest where you can find hundreds of great recipes.
The Indian Health Service’s Zuni Comprehensive Community Health Center has become the first hospital in New Mexico to become Baby-Friendly certified. This means that nearly half of all IHS hospitals that currently perform deliveries have become “Baby-Friendly.” Nationally, fewer than 6% of all U.S. hospitals are Baby-Friendly designated, and the only Baby-Friendly hospitals in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and South Dakota are all IHS hospitals.
The IHS Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move! in Indian Country” campaign dedicated to solving childhood obesity within a generation. The IHS campaign aims to certify all IHS obstetric facilities as Baby-Friendly. This initiative promotes infant feeding to reduce the risk that children will develop obesity and diabetes in the future. Baby-Friendly hospitals offer new mothers the information, confidence, and skills they need to initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.
Other IHS hospitals that have been Baby-Friendly designated are Claremore Indian Hospital (Oklahoma); Phoenix Indian Medical Center (Arizona); Quentin N. Burdick Memorial Health Care Facility (North Dakota); Pine Ridge Hospital (South Dakota) and Rosebud Indian Hospitals (South Dakota).
Community partners in Adams County, Idaho offer a picture-perfect illustration of how local groups can collaborate and adapt a national program to help parents and children learn to make healthy choices. The Adams County Health Center (a Federally-Qualified Health Center) is working with several other area partners to engage families in the National Institutes of Health’s We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition)® program. We Can! is a national education program designed to provide families and communities with science-based strategies that they can use to help children eat right, move more and reduce screen time.
Led by Linda Rogers Bailey, a Health Center staff member and the local We Can! point person for the past three years, the groups are using the We Can! Energize our Families Parent Program to teach parents and caregivers the importance of good nutrition and physical activity. “This program has been so inspiring, that we now work with the school to implement lesson plans that focus on positive food choices and physical activity in the classroom as well as summer time with parents, grandparents and caregivers,” says Bailey. “Together, these programs have heightened the awareness of healthy choices in our community.”
Bailey’s team is combining We Can!’s concepts with additional training on parenting strategies, methods for building parents’ self-confidence and self-esteem, and approaches to improving parent/child relationships. Their work illustrates how every community implementing the program has the ability to tailor the lessons – including adding extra skill-building concepts – to reach parents and caregivers who may benefit from a healthy lifestyle makeover. The Team’s parenting classes will also provide participants with a ready-made social network in the community; these networks provide support beyond the classroom for parents trying to make healthy changes for a lifetime.
Importantly, kids are included in the programming, too! A We Can! lesson for them can mean an introduction to nutrition and physical activity concepts through fun challenges such as blindfolded fruit/veggie taste tests. This summer, kids also received a free hot lunch through the Summer Food Service Program; the Center’s community garden donated fresh produce for the lunches.
The Adams County effort is a great example of how community groups can adapt the We Can! program to fit the needs of local parents, caregivers and children. This year, Let’s Move! Faith & Communities is teaming up with We Can! to extend the program’s reach to additional faith-based and neighborhood leaders nationwide, like Bailey and the groups in Adams County, Idaho. For more information about the Let’s Move! Faith & Communities and We Can! partnership, and to register for a We Can! webinar training, visit the HHS Partnership Center’s website.
Earlier this year, the First Lady joined the Partnership for a Healthier America to launch a new effort to encourage people to drink more water. Drink Up is a nationwide effort to inspire Americans to drink more water. And the City of Columbus is taking the First Lady’s message to heart.
People are saying – and drinking – water first for thirst in Columbus, Ohio. In fact, Water First for Thirst! is more than just a message, it is a movement. A movement to make water the easy, appealing and first choice for children and families.
The message began in 2004 as part of a larger project to promote healthy weight in young children – Healthy Children, Health Weights (HCHW). HCHW is a childhood obesity prevention program at Columbus Public Health that promotes a healthy weight in children starting with the youngest age group—birth to 5 years old. Now Water First For Thirst! offers tools to help communities change their message, change what they serve and make a commitment through policy to support those changes.
The message is spreading. For nearly 10 years now, Water First for Thirst! has been promoted locally at child care centers and community based organizations. Posters are seen throughout the school system, in churches, on vending machines around the city, and other venues. This year, the Growing Healthy Kids Columbus Coalition (a local collaborative of over 50 organizations) adopted “Water First for Thirst!” as its 2013 campaign message and has had great success in getting the word out. A 30-second TV spot featuring Health Commissioner Dr. Teresa Long ran on WBNS 10TV and web ads have been running with 10 TV’s Commit to be Fit. The Ohio State University Extension is also using Water First for Thirst! in education for teens across the State, and the Ohio Hospital Association is gearing up to promote Water First for Thirst! to hospital employees as part of their statewide worksite wellness campaign.
Changes are happening to make water the easy choice. Columbus City Schools (the largest school system in the state) updated its vending contracts to allow only water to be sold in beverage vending machines that are accessible to over 50,000 students. Columbus Children’s Parade committed to serving only water at their annual event, involving more than 400 children. The City of Columbus has made changes to vending options and its recreations centers. Other organizations making changes include Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus Urban League, and YMCA.
You can become a Water First for Thirst! partner by learning why water is important, how to change your message, and how to make water the easy choice. Link to web, print and social media tools, sample polices and vending language at http://publichealth.columbus.gov/water-first-tools.aspx.
For more tips and to learn more about how you can help kids get a healthy start to life, visit the Let's Move! Child Care Website.
With winter just around the corner, spend time with your kids in the kitchen trying out these recipes inspired by MyPlate to keep your family healthy and happy this season. MyPlate recipes use delicious foods to create healthy meals, encourage people to eat the right portion sizes, and limit the amount of added sugar and saturated fats.
In February, MyPlate teamed up with the Partnership for a Healthier America and the nation’s top recipe creators to launch its very own Pinterest page, cataloguing thousands of delicious and nutritious recipes. Recipes are categorized by meals and food groups, as well as “First Lady Favorites” and “Kid-Friendly Meals.” MyPlate’s Pinterest page is a one-stop, easy-to-access tool for parents looking to make healthier changes in the kitchen for their families.
Check out some of these MyPlate recipes below and get cooking!
Credit: Yunhee Kim
Credit: Jason Wallis
Want more? Go to www.pinterest.com/Myplaterecipes to find other recipes your family will love!
Congratulations to GSA Child Care Centers for meeting the goals of the Let’s Move! Child Care Challenge. Part of the work we do at GSA is helping to build a stronger community. One way we have done that is through our network of 106 child care centers that recently partnered with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Child Care initiative to work on making every day changes toward a healthy lifestyle for our kids.
As the centers enthusiastically went to the website healthykidshealthyfuture.org and enrolled, they found helpful hints and even provided helpful tips to others to successfully meet the checklist items. The Let’s Move! Child Care checklist consists of the following principles: physical activity, limits on screen time, serving healthy food and beverages, and infant feeding options for parents.
GSA teams up with Let’s Move to promote healthier lifestyles for our children.
The GSA centers were leaders in helping demonstrate how to create environments to support nursing mothers returning to work. Small changes providing quiet spots were important and easy to make.
The child care centers have made improvements to their menus and food choices, working with their own “chefs” and planting gardens, as well as working with caterers to change menu options. Providing baked instead of fried foods, has been a winner, improving nutrition while still giving the children their favorite foods.
We thank all the providers in the GSA network that continue to work daily to provide healthy and high quality learning environments for all our kids. GSA will continue to work to make a stronger community by offering programs like its child care centers.
To find out more about GSA’s child care facilities, please visit gsa.gov/childcare.
I just spent the morning calling people who had applied to receive a USDA Farm to School grant. They were fun calls to make as I was letting this year’s awardees know their project had been selected for funding.
Today USDA announced awards for 71 projects spanning 42 states and the District of Columbia that support USDA’s efforts to connect school cafeterias with local farmers and ranchers through its Farm to School program.
USDA Farm to School grants help get healthy, local foods into schools and
teach children where their food comes from. (Photo Credit: Katy Campbell)
USDA Farm to School grants help schools respond to the growing demand for locally sourced foods and increase market opportunities for producers and food businesses, including food processors, manufacturers, and distributors. Grants will also be used to support agriculture and nutrition education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes. Selected projects will serve more than 13,000 schools and 2.8 million students, nearly 45 percent of whom live in rural communities. Projects are diverse:
- Sustain Floyd Foundation in Floyd, Virginia, will expand existing farm to school programs to all schools in Floyd County, and develop and implement promotional campaigns in support of farm to school initiatives while creating a model for rural communities that face particular challenges in food procurement and experiential food-based education. The project will also install a central food storage facility and hydroponic winter growing system.
- Alaska Gateway School District in Tok, Alaska, will enhance an existing greenhouse and garden project to increase on-site food production, as well as work with an agricultural consultant to maximize quality and quantity of food production during Alaska’s short growing season.
- FirstLine Schools Inc. with Edible Schoolyard New Orleans in New Orleans, Louisiana, will expand existing efforts to connect urban kindergarteners and their families to local food sources through healthy, locally procured cafeteria meals and hands-on gardening and cooking activities.
- The New York Botanical Garden in New York, New York, will integrate school gardening activities with hands-on workshops that are complemented by nutrition education, standards-based curricula, and farmer’s market exercises. The project will also offer professional development for teachers and workshops for parents and administrators.
- Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, Nebraska, will train farmers and school food service personnel in farm product safety and usage, provide individual farm to school facilitation for ten pilot schools, and raise awareness of farm to school to lay the foundation for future expansion in Nebraska.
For a complete list of FY14 Farm to School grant recipients, please see: http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/FY_2014_Grant_Award_Summaries.pdf.
Without exception, people on the receiving end of my calls told me I’d made their day and thanked me profusely. USDA is very pleased to be supporting these projects. We know all the credit goes to the award recipients and we thank them for all the great work in improving the health and nutrition of the nation’s children.
Editor’s Note: USDA recently released the results of the first-ever Farm to School Census, which showed that in school year 2011-2012, school districts purchased and served over $350 million in local food, with more than half of participating schools planning to purchase more local foods in the future. School districts that missed the opportunity earlier in the year to respond can submit information regarding farm to school practices through November 30, 2013.
Sam Kass Delivers Remarks on Let’s Move! at the American Heart Association’s Annual Scientific Sessions
Yesterday, Executive Director of Let’s Move! Sam Kass was a featured speaker during the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2013 in Dallas, Texas. Kass spoke during a plenary session entitled “Solving the Obesity/Type 2 Diabetes Epidemic: The Role of Physical Activity/Exercise.” The plenary session was part of the “Global Congress on Physical Activity,” one of twenty six tracks the AHA offered to attendees during the five-day conference.
Not only have childhood obesity rates tripled over the past three decades, it is estimated that one third of today’s youth will suffer from Type 2 Diabetes at some point in their lives. With these staggering statistics, we all need to work together, and that’s exactly what Let’s Move! has set out to do. During his remarks, Kass spoke about the key goals First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative has worked toward over the past four years, which include inspiring a cultural shift that helps families support kids’ health, creating a demand for healthier products, ensuring that the healthy choice is the easy choice for families, and increasing physical activity for kids across the country.
He also highlighted important progress that has been made. Through Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties, over 60 million people now live in a community that is committed to improving the health of its residents. And great strides have been made in creating healthier environments in schools, such as improvements to the nutritional value of school lunches and working to increase physical activity in and around the school day through Let’s Move! Active Schools.
Kass commended the scientists and clinicians who work tirelessly on this issue to combat cardiovascular disease. He emphasized that while the efforts to improve children and family health and combat disease can be challenging, they are critical in supporting a healthier generation of kids in this country. Research that was presented at the AHA Scientific Sessions today reminds us all how important it is to keep pushing forward with our efforts. This new research shows that in the United States, kids’ cardiovascular endurance performance declined approximately six percent per decade between 1970 and 2000. It also outlined that around the world, children are about 15 percent less fit than their parents were when they were young. While we have seen progress on engagement in programs to help get kids moving, now is the time to double down on our efforts to reverse the trend of inactivity in the country. During his remarks, Kass called on Americans to work toward making physical activity easier and more fun for kids and families.
The AHA’s Scientific Sessions – held annually – are structured to improve patient care by sharing the most recent and significant advances in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. In addition to attracting thousands of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular clinicians, researchers, and leaders from more than 105 different countries, the Scientific Sessions also draw over 1.5 million virtual attendees.
As Let’s Move! approaches its fourth year, First Lady Michelle Obama discussed how the initiative is changing the way kids eat and stay active in the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) November edition of their publication, The Nation’s Health. The publication was disseminated at the National APHA Conference in early November and has more than 24,000 print readers (public health professionals, Members of Congress, subscribers, and the media); 50,000 online readers; 13,000 visits per month to the website; approximately 250,000 Twitter followers.
In the Q&A, Mrs. Obama focused on what progress Let’s Move! has already made, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report showing that after steadily increasing for the past three decades, obesity rates are beginning to decline among low-income preschoolers. Mrs. Obama also discussed improvements that have been made to school meals and how some restaurants have committed to offering healthier options for kids. In addition, local elected officials and child care centers across the country are signing up to be a part of Let’s Move! and becoming champions for health in their communities.
“I am thrilled to see that so many people have really taken Let’s Move! and made it their own — in their communities, in their families, and in their homes,” the First Lady said.
Mrs. Obama also discussed how businesses and the public health sector can do their part in supporting healthier kids and families by making the healthy choice the easy choice for families. Additionally, she stressed the importance of collaborative efforts between all sectors of society in working toward the common goal of ensuring kids and families are healthy.
“I think that one reason why we’re seeing change happening is that we helped people understand that everyone has a role to play in helping our kids lead healthier lives, and we’ve encouraged everyone to do their part to help,” Mrs. Obama said. “And, so many different people are working together, stepping up to address this epidemic in their communities.”
Everyone has a role to play in preventing childhood obesity, including local elected officials who serve as leaders in adopting policies or making environmental changes so children in their communities reach their full potential and live healthy lives.
As a part of Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC), communities can earn bronze, silver and gold medals in each of the initiative’s five goals, which are aimed at helping young people eat healthy and be physically active. Since July 2012, the National League of Cities (NLC) has awarded 1,274 medals to participating local elected officials.
Yesterday, nearly 400 mayors, city councilmembers, and other local elected officials were honored for their participation in Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties at a celebratory event at the NLC’s Congress of Cities and Exposition in Seattle, Washington.
Eighteen communities and the local elected officials leading the efforts in these communities, who have made the most progress in completing the five LMCTC goals, were also honored during yesterday’s event. The 18 communities receiving awards included:
- Hawaiian Gardens, Calif.; Kenmore, Wash.; and Selma, Ala., for sites with populations less than 25,000.
- Annapolis, Md. and Casa Grande, Ariz., for sites with populations between 25,000 and 49,999.
- Davenport, Iowa; Jackson, Tenn.; Meriden, Conn.; Revere, Mass.; and Somerville, Mass., for sites with populations between 50,000 and 99,999.
- Beaumont, Texas; Columbia, S.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Norfolk, Va.; Orlando, Fla.; and Rancho Cucamonga, Calf., for sites with populations between 100,000 and 249,999.
- Columbus, Ohio and Knox County, Tenn., for sites with populations more than 250,000.
The first city to earn five gold medals, Beaumont, Texas, was also honored. Through the leadership of Councilman Alan Coleman and city staff, Beaumont was recognized for their achievements, including hosting a multi-purpose training session where local childcare providers learned and discussed nutrition standards with a dietician.
During the event, Let’s Move! Executive Director Sam Kass commended the city leaders receiving awards and challenged them to take additional actions to improve the health of their communities. A panel comprised of Councilman Coleman; Columbia, S.C. Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine; and Selma, Ala. Mayor George Evans also provided city leaders in the audience with examples of what is working in their cities to address childhood obesity.
For more information about the LMCTC initiative, its accomplishments, and how local elected officials can sign up, visit: www.HealthyCommunitiesHealthyFuture.org.
Tuesday afternoon, leaders from the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the Notah Begay III Foundation (NB3F) met at the White House to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize a partnership in support of Let’s Move! in Indian Country. The two organizations will jointly work to curb and prevent childhood obesity in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
Notah Begay III and Acting IHS Director Dr. Yvette Roubideaux sign a Memorandum of Understanding at the White House.
Let’s Move! in Indian Country (LMIC), is a part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, which aims to help kids grow up healthy and able to achieve their dreams. LMIC was established to engage tribal leaders and community members to provide a healthier environment for children in their communities.
“Today’s partnership is an important step towards helping Native American youth lead healthier lives,” said Sam Kass, Let’s Move! Executive Director. “With LMIC, we’ve seen tribal leaders engage their communities by creating food policy councils and reintroducing sports like lacrosse into schools, but we know there is more work to be done to ensure all our children have the healthy futures they deserve.”
Today, nearly one in three children in the US is overweight or obese. The numbers for Native American and Alaska Native youth are even higher. Additionally, obesity related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease are among the leading causes of death within these communities.
“Our new partnership with the NB3F gives us an opportunity to identify and share best practices from all of our prevention efforts,” said Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, IHS Acting Director. “We are excited to partner with them as they establish a new national center focused on these issues.”
A “Win-Win” for Child Care Providers Participating in Let’s Move! and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
As a family child care owner for over 25 years in Philadelphia, PA, Anna Mae Guille provides care for up to 6 kids at any given time. She has been a long-time provider of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and participates in the Let’s Move! Child Care (LMCC) initiative.
Anna Mae has had success with both programs. She offers the following tips to help combat childhood obesity for kids in your care:
Sign-up for Let’s Move! Child Care. Joining Let’s Move! Child Care is easy. You can sign up on the website and download free materials and resources to help get your kids moving and eating healthy. For example, Anna Mae says participating in LMCC gave her ideas to engage her kids in physical activity. “My kids are now learning yoga and gardening, getting 60 to 120 minutes of outdoor play most days, and I have a child-size exercise bike and treadmill for rainy days.” Anna Mae also uses the Let’s Move! Calendar as an easy way for her kids to track their physical activity.
Children exercise on the child-size exercise bike and treadmill on rainy days.
Become a Child and Adult Care Food Program provider. Child and Adult Care Food Program providers provide nutritious meals and snacks to kids as part of their care. “CACFP provides an easy guideline for me to prepare healthy meals,” says Anna Mae. “I can use the guide that CACFP provides or I can create my own meals from the examples knowing that I will still be providing healthy meals for my kids.” Find out if you are eligible to become a CACFP provider through your state agency contact here: CACFP State Contact.
Children planting herbs for their edible planter outside of Fun Time Child Care.
Already a CACFP provider? Connect with your CACFP sponsor for more resources. CACFP sponsors can provide education, support and additional resources to CACFP providers. Anna Mae received a CACFP wellness mini grant from her state with the help of her CACFP Sponsor. Anna Mae has used the grant to continue her efforts to improve nutrition and increase the physical activity of kids in her care. Her efforts support the goals of LMCC.
Children’s Museum of Manhattan Launches Early Childhood Health Curriculum Approved by the National Institutes of Health
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the federal agency that supports the nation’s libraries and museums. The agency manages Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens.
On Friday I was thrilled to join Sam Kass at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) for the launch of EatPlayGrow™, a new early childhood educational curriculum designed to keep children healthy through creative strategies developed specifically for families with very young children. (And equally thrilled to see the IMLS-funded exhibition EatSleepPlay™ at CMOM!)
The curriculum helps children develop lifelong healthy habits. National Institutes of Health nutritionists provided guidance, and the entire curriculum was reviewed by federal scientific experts to ensure that the information is accurate and consistent with national dietary and physical activity guidelines.
At the event, Let’s Move! Executive Director Sam Kass said, “Recent studies, like the CDC’s report that obesity rates are dropping among low-income preschool children in 19 states, show that the tide is turning with regard to childhood obesity. These findings are encouraging, but we know that we need to keep working to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity. EatPlayGrow™ is an example of what the First Lady has called on all of us to do: use collaboration, creativity, and hard work to give all our children the skills they need to grow up healthy and able to pursue their dreams.”
In addition to the curriculum, CMOM and NIH staff will provide professional development training for childcare providers, health practitioners, teachers, and parents. A wonderful aspect of the curriculum is that it includes lots of literacy learning so it is easy to implement during the pre-school day and contains lessons for use at home. What a great way to connect home, school and the museum!
These training sessions will also be made available as a webinar. EatPlayGrow™ will be disseminated nationwide through community anchors such as libraries, museums, and community centers.
CMOM tested the EatPlayGrow™ curriculum in museums, community centers, and Head Start sites in New York City and New Orleans and found that
- curbing childhood obesity should be started as early as possible, most notably within the family;
- using the arts and other creative efforts combined with evidence-based information can affect behavior change; and that
- this message should reach families through multiple touch points within their community.
The curriculum can be downloaded free of charge at www.nih.gov/wecan and www.cmom.org and is also available through the Association of Children’s Museums, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, First Book, and the Family Place Libraries.
CMOM has applied the expertise of museums in reaching diverse audiences and using the arts as a transformative power. The museum is focused on an issue of deep concern to families, to communities, and to our nation. By sharing this curriculum nationwide many more museums, libraries, childcare centers, and families will make this magic happen in their communities.
From everyone at Let’s Move!, we want to thank and honor all of our nation’s veterans who have dedicated their lives serving and defending our country. We are so grateful for your service and sacrifice.
In April 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched their Joining Forces initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.
As we honor our nation’s veterans today, here are five ways you can thank a veteran.First Lady Michelle Obama receives a briefing on the Air Force’s healthy eating efforts while visiting Little Rock Air Force Base, Little Rock, Ark., during a tour celebrating the second anniversary of Let’s Move!, Feb. 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Interested in learning ways to support veterans, service members, and military families? Visit www.joiningforces.gov to learn more and get involved in First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative to take action to service America’s military families.
Stay connected with Joining Forces by:
Signing up for email updates: www.whitehouse.gov/joiningforces/stay-connected
Following Joining Forces on Twitter: @JoiningForces
Liking Joining Forces on Facebook: www.facebook.com/JoiningForces
“Staying active has always helped me”, said Lester Asamoah, a mentor through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program in Oklahoma City, OK. Growing up in the heart of inner Oklahoma City, Lester’s options for free play were limited: he could either play sports or play video games. Going against the grain, Lester chose to stay active, playing sports throughout his childhood. Now, he strives to support kids in his neighborhood who also want to stay active, even though they may live in an adverse environment.
These days, Lester serves as the mentor to a 3rd grader in Oklahoma City who loves to play soccer. Lester believes that his mentee’s love for sports keeps him active and engaged in something positive.
When Lester speaks of his mentee, he’s clear about why he believes mentoring through sports helps children to develop not only a healthier lifestyle, but also a positive outlook on life:
“He lives in an area that where many boys end up on the streets at a young age,” Lester says. “So for him, staying active helps to not only keep him from the wrong crowd, but it may very well decide the course of his future.”
Lester decided to become a Big Brother so he could give back to kids just like him. He hopes to show them that playing sports can lead them on a path to a brighter future.
When they’re together, Lester and his mentee play soccer, or the young boy’s other favorite sport, basketball. “He has dreams of being a pro soccer player, like many nine year olds,” Lester says. “This dream gets him to practice every day and it keeps him in a safe environment. His dream helps him to complete his homework because he knows that after his homework is done, he and I can play sports or attend our home team basketball games to watch the Oklahoma Thunder.”
Lester understands the value of sports and mentoring children to keep them healthy and on the right path. Lester says, “Mentoring kids in sports and being active brings much more than health benefits. It’s also a great way to bond and help the next generation.”
They are t-shirted and tilling up soil in schools across the country. And this year, thanks to a new partnership, FoodCorps service members have USDA at their side.
FoodCorps is a national service organization that places emerging leaders in schools across the country to teach kids about what healthy food is and where it comes from, build and tend school gardens, and bring high-quality local food into schools participating in the National School Lunch and/or School Breakfast Programs.
FoodCorps service member Dennis Lackey gardening with children in Flint, MI. (Photo credit: Robyn Wardell)
USDA is pleased to support the FoodCorps model; their recipe for success includes three main ingredients:
KNOWLEDGE: FOOD AND NUTRITION EDUCATION
FoodCorps teaches kids about healthy food and where it comes from.
The typical elementary student receives an average of just 3.4 hours of nutrition education in a year, yet they watch more television than that in a typical day. FoodCorps service members work with teachers to increase the quantity of nutrition and agricultural education children receive, while dramatically improving its quality through an emphasis on hands-on learning.
ENGAGEMENT: SCHOOL GARDENS
FoodCorps increases agricultural literacy and gives kids the skills to grow and cook good food.
Gardens are gateways. Studies demonstrate that children who have grown a fruit or vegetable themselves are far more likely to try it, breaking down an important barrier to healthy eating. Gardens serve as gateways for communities, too, providing a space for parents, teachers and volunteers to come together to learn about food and agriculture.
ACCESS: LOCAL PROCUREMENT
FoodCorps helps schools purchase food for school meals from local farmers.
The National School Lunch Program represents a $10 billion annual market for farmers, daily nutrients for 32 million kids, and an opportunity for sustainable economic development for communities. FoodCorps service members forge relationships between school food service directors and local farmers who can supply healthy ingredients at scale, filling lunch trays with food from the farm, and educating kids about food production in the process.
The current class of FoodCorps participants includes 125 service members devoting a year of national service to helping children develop lifelong relationships with healthy food. Service members are placed at 108 sites across 15 states in some 300 schools.
FoodCorps results last year were impressive. Service members reached over 67,000 children, built or revitalized over 400 school gardens, organized over 3,000 volunteers, and donated over 29,000 pounds of produce to local communities.
Imagine how much more we can do together this year.
FoodCorps service member Kirsten Gerbatsch samples garden produce with children in Traverse City, MI. (Photo credit: Kelly Campbell)
Editor’s Note: How do the schools in YOUR community bring the farm to school? Please make sure your district is counted by accessing the USDA Farm to School Census results online. USDA will be accepting additional submissions to the Census through November 30, 2013. To receive information and updates about USDA’s Farm to School Program, please sign up for our Farm to School E-letter.
As a physician and sports enthusiast it’s important to make sure I’m fueling my body with healthy, nutritious foods to stay fit and focused. It’s not only critical for me personally, but also as a dad. I want to make sure my kids grow up and develop their own healthy eating habits so they can lead long, active and productive lives. This all starts with breakfast. Each morning, my wife and I make sure to provide our kids with a healthy and tasty meal to start their day and give them the boost they need for an active day.
Sometimes it can be challenging to offer breakfast foods that my young boys enjoy that are also nutritious. But if you teach your children the importance of starting the day off right with a healthy meal and then lead by example, it’s more likely to become a family habit. In our house every breakfast starts with a cup of fresh fruit. Yogurt, whole grains such as oatmeal and breads are frequently on the menu as is low-fat milk and fresh juice. My children are like many other boys and girls and their appetites and preferences change on a daily basis, so we always try to mix up the available options, making certain they are getting the necessary amounts of nutrients while at the same time being careful of them not consuming too many calories.
This Fall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a healthier School Breakfast Program based on standards included in the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and the healthy options for school breakfast are expanding. As my children have gotten older, they have started making their own food choices and I’m excited that more will be available to them at school. Research has shown that kids who eat school breakfast are less likely to be overweight and tend to be healthier because they eat more fruits, drink more milk and enjoy a larger variety of foods. According to studies, school breakfast has also been linked to better attendance, attentiveness in the classroom, and academic performance.
Research has consistently shown numerous benefits to children who eat nutritious meals throughout the school day. So help not only your children, but other children around you, begin each day with a healthy breakfast and the best chance at success. Our children truly are our future, and how we nourish, support, and teach them impacts what they will be able to accomplish. Visit http://www.fitness.gov/ for more information on the new School Breakfast Program, and help your kids start their day the right way!
As a participant of Let’s Move! Cities, Towns, and Counties (LMCTC), Cambridge, Massachusetts became part of a national movement to address childhood obesity by building healthy communities for a healthy future. City Manager Richard C. Rossi is leading this effort with city, public health, school, and community partners to improve the health and well-being of the city’s children; together, they are introducing healthier and tastier school lunches, fitness activities, and model nutrition policies.
Starting in 2012, the Cambridge Public Health Department and its partners began awarding $500 mini-grants to community organizations to promote healthy eating and physical activity. The city is using these mini-grants as a strategy to further Cambridge’s efforts to achieve the five goals of LMCTC.
Josefine Wendel, Coordinator of Let’s Move! Cambridge, notes, “It takes a whole community to create a healthy city, so we are excited many Cambridge groups are committed to creating environments where the healthy choice is the easy choice.”
As a Let’s Move! Cambridge “mini-grant” awardee, Soccer Nights is a community initiative that brings together parents, volunteers, and children from different racial, economic, and cultural backgrounds to promote physical activity, leadership development, and unity.
At the clinics, about 450 kids had a chance to practice new skills and learn about team-building while they played soccer. The mini-grant funded healthy snacks for two five-day soccer clinics for 6-to 12-year-old kids in Central Square and North Cambridge neighborhoods. The kids had fun making new friends and eating healthy foods. Parents reported that participation in Soccer Nights increased their kids’ desire for physical activity and likelihood of playing sports in the future.
Wendel notes that mini-grants are a great recipe for building sustainability around healthy eating and physical activity in a community. Partnering with invested community organizations, like Soccer Nights, also leverages a city’s ability to promote health and well-being within its community and change the environment to make the healthy choice the easy choice. The mini-grants helped move Cambridge to make significant progress in the LMCTC goals.
This year’s mini-grant awardees will continue to shine a spotlight on healthy eating and physical activity to help make Cambridge a healthier city.
To learn more about what Cambridge is doing to address childhood obesity visit:
To learn more about Let’s Move! Cities, Towns, and Counties and how to participate, visit www.healthycommunitieshealthyfuture.org