Posts tagged healthy eating
Creating school food environments that support healthy eating among children is a recommended national strategy to prevent childhood obesity, and is shown to have positive effects on student behavior, development, and academic performance.
To help children learn life-long healthy eating habits, researchers developed the Healthy Eating Design Guidelines for School Architecture.
These guidelines provide practitioners in architecture and public health as well as school system administrators with a practical set of spatially organized and theory-based strategies for making school environments more conducive to learning about and practicing healthy eating behaviors.
Watch how the Buckingham Elementary School redesign project in Dillwyn, Va., used the tool to improve its ability to adopt a healthy nutrition curriculum and promote healthy eating.
At the school, every aspect of the architecture—the furniture, color pallet, and materials—was designed to promote healthy behaviors, such as:
Some of the design principles incorporated include:
- A food lab where kids can learn how to prepare healthy foods;
- A cafeteria which facilitates fresh food production;
- A school garden for kids to grow food for the school cafeteria and burn a few calories;
- A lower-stress environment to address light, noise levels, air quality and crowding; and
- Layouts that encourage more movement and the use of attractive water fountains.
This project is the first of its kind and represents a brand new way of thinking about childhood obesity prevention.
¡Por Vida!, launched in October 2010, is a San Antonio restaurant recognition program that aims to help adults and children make healthier food choices by identifying menu items that meet certain nutritional guidelines. The obesity prevention program is one arm of a larger city effort that implores residents to “Find Your Balance” and get healthy.
Since it started, a dozen restaurants have joined the program.
Editor’s Note: This is a 20-part series featuring new research briefs on Latino childhood obesity, nutrition, physical activity and more by the 20 grantees of Salud America! Part 14 is Dr. Myriam Torres. Find all briefs here.
Dr. Myriam Torres
“Voices of Latina Mothers and School Staff on Childhood Obesity”
In her Salud America! pilot research project, Dr. Myriam Torres of the University of South Carolina brought together public health researchers, community leaders and Latino families to study and develop effective policy recommendations regarding physical activity among Latino children from a growing immigrant settlement in West Columbia, S.C.
Key preliminary findings include:
- main barriers to healthy eating and physical activity among Latino children include lack of infrastructure that supports walking and biking and unhealthy school lunches; and
- community stakeholders and school staff agreed that lack of transportation, Spanish-speaking parents and the cost of out-of-school sports were the main barriers that keep Latino children from participating in organized sports.
The study suggests that Latina mothers understand the variety of factors that impact their children’s diets and levels of physical activity. These barriers demonstrate the need to develop policies that support healthy changes in our environments and schools.
Read more here.
Salud America! is an RWJF national program directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.
Food access and mobile food vendors make eating healthy food a challenge in Texas colonias—rural, predominantly Latino settlements along the U.S.-Mexican border that often lack water, electricity, and other infrastructure.
Check out a video discussion of colonia issues with Dr. Joseph Sharkey, a professor at The Texas A&M Health Sciences Center and a Healthy Eating Research grantee.
The Utah Department of Health recently released several videos, “For Me, For Us,” to offer reliable health care information to racial/ethnic minorities, the Daily Herald reports.
Each video tackles healthy eating, access to health care and healthy births, and other health challenges facing minorities in Utah.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched MiPlato.gov, the Spanish-language version of ChooseMyPlate.gov, that serves as a reminder to help Latino consumers make healthier food choices.
MyPlate and MiPlato emphasize the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy, and are supported by consumer messages, such as ”Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables.”
“USDA’s new MyPlate food icon is a simple reminder to help Americans think about their food choices in order to lead healthier lifestyles and today we are proud to introduce its Spanish-language partner, MiPlato, to help Hispanic consumers at mealtime,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Regardless of our primary language, it is important that we all learn about and embrace healthy eating habits because a healthy nation starts with healthy people.”
MiPlato will complement the MyPlate image as the government’s primary food group symbol, an easy-to-understand visual cue to help consumers adopt healthy eating habits consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Watch San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro’s award-winning introductory video about SABalance.org, the city’s new website touting healthy eating and physical activity for local families, schools, and more.
The video won bronze Telly awards in the health and wellness and instructional categories.
The “Garden Angel” program at Oak Meadow Elementary School in San Antonio, supported by parent and grandparent volunteers, promotes nutritious eating and reinforces the school’s commitment to health as a member of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program.
Students take part in planting, caring for and harvesting vegetables throughout the year. Students are encouraged to experiment with new tastes and try new vegetables.
“Children learn early on that taking an active role in a garden can be rewarding,” said Lori Chapa, outdoor classroom coordinator at the school. “They take pride in the garden they have cared for and are excited to eat what they have grown. We hope this practice will promote healthier eating habits and lifestyles today and for years to come.”
To read more innovative and inspiring success stories to improve health and wellness in schools across the nation, go here. You can also submit your own success story.
There’s a good chance you’re one of the many kids or parents who’ve enjoyed reading about the unsatiable worm in The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the famous children’s book by Eric Carle.
Now the fast-eating caterpillar, who gets a tummy ache from eating too much, is helping families learn to eat healthy.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the American Academy of Pediatrics have joined with the children’s book and with We Give Books to help teach families about healthy eating habits at home. The Eating Healthy. Growing Strong. campaign is an important part of the Alliance’s mission to combat childhood obesity.
This spring, more than 17,500 pediatrician offices across the nation will receive free copies of specially created The Very Hungry Caterpillar books, together with growth charts and parent handouts that encourage doctors and parents to have meaningful conversations about the importance of healthy eating.
“Parents and doctors both play an enormously important role in ensuring children develop healthy eating habits early on in life. By joining with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the classic children’s brand The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we are starting a dialogue between parents and doctors that will go beyond the waiting room and into the home, enabling 21 million children to make more nutritious choices and lead healthier lives,” said President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation, a founding organization of the Alliance along with the American Heart Association.
Learn more about the campaign here.