Saturday, April 19, 2008

Facts About Children's Nutrition

Cheryl Forberg offers these facts about children's nutrition. You can also check out her advice/suggestions regarding healthy kids' snacks and exercise routines in the new Kids' Corner section of the Diet Center!

1.On average, children ages 11-18 eat at fast food restaurants twice a week.

2.When children and teens eat fast food, they consume more calories, fat, carbohydrates, added sugars and sugar-sweetened beverages. They also consume less fiber and milk, and fewer fruits and non-starchy vegetables.

3.At least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week is the recommended minimum. However, only 23% of children and nearly 40% of adults get no free-time physical activity at all.

4.A national study reports that only 8% of elementary schools, 6.4% of middle/junior high schools, and 5.8% of senior high schools provide daily physical education or its equivalent (150 minutes per week for elementary schools, 225 minutes per week for middle/junior and senior high schools is advised) for the entire school year for students in all grades in the school.

5.Six out of 10 children ages 9-13 don't participate in any kind of organized sports/physical activity program outside of school, and children whose parents have lower incomes and education levels are even less likely to participate. Nearly 23% don't engage in any free-time physical activity.

6.Among children and teens aged 6-19 in the US, 16% (over 9 million) are considered overweight.

7.Among children ages 2-5, the prevalence of overweight has increased from 7% to more than 10% since 1994.

8.The obesity epidemic threatens everyone, but not everyone is equally at risk. Among children and adolescents, obesity is more common among African Americans and Hispanics.

9.Most overweight children have at least one major physiological risk factor (besides overweight) for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol, high triglycerides, high insulin or high blood pressure.

10.Overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults. This increases to 80% if one or more parent is overweight or obese.

11.Overweight children are more likely to have abnormally thick heart muscle ue when they become adults, which increases the risk of heart attack and heart failure.

Kids may require lots of food fuel to stoke their metabolism, but they still need to be active. An hour of moderate activity each day is recommended. Though some kids love to ride their bikes or play basketball, far too many prefer to plop down in front of the television after school and often, they don't budge til dinnertime. Parents may need to intervene to keep things moving. When kids find activities that they enjoy, they're more likely to stick with it and they'll do it more often.

Here are some tips to keep them moving:
1.Limit their hours of TV or computer games - if they want to watch/play beyond that, have them stand up! (This is especially helpful to kids with weight issues. Standing up burns more calories, and this may make them more inclined to go and do something active rather than standing to watch television)

2.Step it - set a good example and take the stairs when you're together (rather than elevators.)

3.Go for a family walk before or after dinner; in addition to exercise, it's a great way to spend more time together, sharing your news of the day.

4.If it's feasible, encourage them to walk or ride their bikes to and from school.

5.Spend less time at the movies and more time playing soccer or swimming.

6.Involve them in walking the dog, yardwork, housecleaning - anything that's active.

7.A small investment in basic equipment can make a big change. Help your children find a new activity they love: hula-hoop, mini-trampoline, jumprope, kickball, badminton, roller skates, basketball or swimming!

8.Set a good example and be an active parent -- eat healthy and exercise!

No comments: