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Your Toolbox for Fighting Childhood Obesity

With the Childhood Obesity Conference happening right now in Long Beach, CA, we thought it was a fitting time to address childhood obesity and some of the top ways to combat and reverse it. It’s no secret that the number of children in the US that are overweight or obese is overwhelming. And, to make it worse, that number is still growing at an astounding rate. But, the goal of the conference is to “Accelerate Progress”. So, what can we do to accelerate progress? As many of you remember from our last blog, we discussed some resources that are available to parents and educators to provide to children. Today, we wanted to provide some easy ways to teach health, nutrition and fitness to kids.

NCES MyPlate Lunch & Learn Placemat – Use at the breakfast/lunch or dinner table either at MyPlate Munch and Learn Placemathome or on the go. Designed specifically for kids, this placemat educates your child about the five major food groups while engaging their critical thinking skills as they work through the fun activities on the back.

EIEO Kids Tear pad

NCES EIEO tear pad – Use these handouts to help motivate kids to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity in daily.  It also helps children understand that what you eat has to balance with how much they exercise in order to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.


Kids Portion PlateNCES Right-Sized Plate – With two designs, one for adults and one for kids, these colorful plates provide portioned sections for measuring out portions. This is great for kids so they can learn all about portion control by filling each section of their plate.daily.  It also helps children understand that what you eat has to balance with how much they exercise in order to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Whiz, Zip, Zap Kids Cookbook

Whiz Zip and Zap cookbook – Get your kids in the kitchen to start cooking so they can see how fun it is. Summer is a greattime to engage your kids in activities like helping to cook family meals.   It has been proven that kids who participate in cooking with their parents or caregivers have healthier eating habits. This cookbook provides simple recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks.

Scratch and Sniff Learning Cards for KidsScratch and Sniff Learning cards – These interactive scratch and sniff cards provide a fun way for kids to learn about and try new fruits and vegetables.  First, have them smell the card. Then, have them taste the actual fruit and vegetable to compare the scent and taste. They can also note what they liked most and least about the foods.

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MyPlate Food Bingo Wins Parents Choice Approved Seal

Congratulations to our friends at Smart Picks for receiving the “2012 Parents Choice Approved Seal” for MyPlate Food Bingo. Read their Press Release below for all the details!

Smart Picks
MyPlate Food Bingo wins
” 2012 Parents’ Choice Approved Seal”

What is The Parents Choice Approved Seal?

The Parents’ Choice Approved Seals are given on the basis of the production, entertainment and human values they exemplify.
A Parents’ Choice Approved Seal indicates a wholesome product that helps children enjoy developing physical, emotional, social or academic skills.

My Plate Food Bingo

Spring 2012 Games

Ages: 9 & Up

Manufacturer: Smart Picks, Inc.

Price: $39.95
Review:

MyPlate Food Bingo combines family game night and lesson in healthy eating habits. Based on the USDA’s new MyPlate food categories (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, protein and dairy) the game boards feature ninety-five different foods and their suggested serving sizes. It provides information and tips on healthy eating, exercise, food allergies and more. The game, which is ideal for the classroom or camps, includes 30 laminated cards, 114 picture squares, a checking card, 95 clue cards, 600 square markers, an instruction sheet and an information sheet. The game helps children learn information about healthy eating habits way while also encouraging family time, cooperative play and social interaction. Though the game may mention foods that kids may not recognize, such as kashi, seitan, and amaranth, there is an information sheet that explains what more obscure foods are. The sheet also provides enough nutritional information and additional resources to assist any teacher or home schooling parent to craft a healthy eating curriculum. The practical, tasty, and accessible healthy eating tips on each card (“try frozen grapes instead of popsicles” and “eat popcorn instead of candy or chips”, for example) add to the game’s health and educational value.

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Fighting Cancer with Fitness

The Major Role Fitness Plays in Fighting Cancer

Chances are that a friend or loved one will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Although experts in the medical community still have a lot to learn about the different forms of cancer, there have been some very intriguing findings involving the relationship between cancer and fitness. In general, increased fitness levels seem to have a positive impact on people in all stages of cancer treatment. Whether someone is a healthy adult or a cancer survivor, including fitness into daily life can offer many benefits.
One of the most recognized positive outcomes for people who routinely exercise is a lowered body mass index. Getting frequent exercise helps to reduce body fat and increases lean muscle mass for those who work out.  Medical experts have recognized a correlation between lowered body mass index and the prevalence of cancer. Based on this scientific data, people of all ages should incorporate fitness into daily routines to help prevent a cancer diagnosis. Staying in shape can also help to lower inflammation throughout the body and lower the occurrence of other major illnesses.
Even with proper diet and exercise, a cancer diagnosis can sometimes happen without warning. For most, getting this news from the doctor is a stressful experience that is difficult to deal with. However, this is the time when staying fit can be the most advantageous. Fitness and medical experts agree that regular exercise helps to lower stress hormones in the body. After an initial cancer diagnosis, patients should stay motivated to stick with exercise programs in order to maintain a positive outlook. Staying active will help the body deal with the shock of this information.
After a cancer patient has agreed upon on a treatment method with a doctor, some may undergo depression and withdrawal. It can be easy to get discouraged when undergoing strong chemotherapy treatments for mesothelioma and other cancers. Patients should confer with their oncologist about the type of exercise that would be right for them. Moderate walking and resistance training can increase energy levels and positively affect mood. Additionally, there are many side effects associated with these aggressive treatments that can leave patients with the feeling that they have lost control over their bodies. Simple, short-term exercise goals can help patients to regain confidence with their abilities and help them to overcome a cancer diagnosis.
Even patients in remission from cancer can benefit from routine exercise.  Several studies have shown that exercise helps to prevent the cancer from recurring. One specific study of breast cancer survivors found that women who walked three to five hours a week saw a 50% reduction in mortality. Getting frequent exercise after going into remission offers survivors the chance to prevent the disease from coming back. In addition, those who maintain this level of exercise after going into remission are able to regain a lot of the strength that may have been lost during the treatment process.
Although staying active and maintaining a proper body weight is not a definitive cure for cancer, there is enough evidence to suggest that patients greatly benefit from regular participation in cardiovascular and strength training. Further, taking a simple walk around the block or picking up lightweights on occasion offers benefits for anyone desiring to prevent major medical issues. Cancer doesn’t have to be fought lying down. Oncologists can work with cancer patients to help them stay in shape during the long and arduous fight against the disease.

Author: David Haas

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Don’t Let National Nutrition Month End

It’s hard to believe, but March is coming to an end! Another National Nutrition Month is wrapping up. But, as usual, that doesn’t mean that all the lessons learned this month should be pushed aside and forgotten. This year, you learned how to “Get Your Plate in Shape”. Our plates are a big part of our daily lives. For most of us, we sit down to a plate of food an average of three times per day. For those with hectic schedules, it may be less. And, for those that focus on 5-6 well-balanced meals, it’s even more. So, it’s easy to see why learning to get our plates in shape is vital to our everyday success.

Here at NCES, we like to provide tools that make staying healthy easier for you. So, here are a few takeaway lessons to remember, even after National Nutrition Month comes to an end.

  1. 1.       Fill your plate with foods from all of the food groups.  For the average person, our bodies require foods from all of the food groups to remain healthy. The key is to remember moderation; picture the USDA MyPlate when filling your plate, doing your best to match the two.
  2. 2.       Always remember portion control. We all have our guilty pleasures when it comes to food. It’s important not to deny yourself those indulgences and enjoy them occasionally. However, remember not to go overboard and don’t indulge all the time.
  3. 3.       Don’t underestimate the power of vegetables. Vegetables contain a variety of nutrients that are great for our bodies. Not to mention, they are a great way to fill up our stomachs without packing in extra fat and calories. So, be sure to make fresh vegetables a big part of your everyday diet.

Getting your plate in shape will require some effort on your part. You’ll have to remember to make conscious decisions about the foods you are filling your plate with. However, it only takes 21 days to form a habit. So, if you set some goals and push yourself to achieve them for 21 days, in just three weeks, it will be a habit.

In need of a kickstart? NCES offers extremely useful Right-Sized Portion Plate for both Adults and Kids. Also, fresh off the press are our new MyPlacemats for Kids. They come in sets of 50. So, they are great for taking to restaurants, as well as the houses of family & friends so your kids can think healthy while they are enjoying their meals. Be sure to check these great tools out today!

What did you learn during National Nutrition Month 2012? Did you make any commitments to yourself? How did it go, were you able to keep your commitments? Leave your comments here on the blog, or visit our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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Staying Energized When You’re Stuck Inside

Okay, as the summer heat really settles in, it gets harder and harder to get outside. Not to mention, there are many safety concerns for both you and your children when it is too hot. The last thing you want is for the kids to get in the habit of watching movies or playing video games all day. So, what do you do? You find fun, interactive ways to entertain the whole family. Since helping your family stay active is what we do, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite things to do when we’re stuck inside. Here it is!

Play Twister: A game like Twister provides the structure of a board game. But, it gets everyone moving and stretching. It’s not only important to get active. It’s also important to stretch your muscles and keep them moving. You’re entire body will feel better!

Clean the house: I know this probably won’t sound that appealing to your kids.  But, there are ways to make it fun. First, make sure that the entire family gets involved. Then, turn on some active music and have everyone show off their best dance moves while they sweep, dust and scrub the bathroom. You never know, it could become one of your favorite family traditions.

Find a fun kids workout DVD: We’re all familiar with Jane Fonda tapes and Tae-Bo. But, now we have fun DVD’s that have been made just for kids. These DVD’s will get your kids moving and burning calories. All while they are having fun! Here are a couple to get you started.

1)      Up, Down and All Around    2)   Yoga for Kids

Let the whole family cook dinner: This one isn’t as much about being active as it is about engaging your little one’s brains and teaching them about nutrition. Getting them in the kitchen gets them away from the TV and gives you a great opportunity to teach them all about the food groups, healthy foods and how to build healthy meals.

These are just a few of our favorites. But, there really are a lot of ways that your family can stay active in the heat of the summer. If you need some more ideas, be sure to check out our website at www.ncescatalog.com or visit us on Facebook. Plus, you can always give us a call (800 NCES BOOKS) or chat live with our dietitian.

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5 Tips for Setting Fitness Goals

The month of May is National Physical Fitness Month. So, to recognize this, we thought that we might give you some tips on easy methods of working out, that won’t take a bite out of your daily schedule.

Current physical activity guidelines state that 150 minutes of physical activity a week is required to keep you fit and healthy. To put it plainly, a half an hour for five days out of the week, while paired with a healthy diet, is usually enough to keep you away from becoming overweight.

Fitness and physical activity are important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and it doesn’t always have to get in the way of your everyday life. By separating those workout periods into ten minutes, or even five minute blocks, you can spread out your physical activity enough to make the time easy to find.

But, fitness doesn’t happen overnight, and more than one of us have made a New Year’s resolution, only to watch it fade away within a month or two. Taking things gradually can help maintain a healthy lifestyle, and one way to partition your fitness into manageable chunks, is to set goals.

A few tips to follow when setting goals for yourself:

  • Make the goal challenging, but achievable. Too easy and you’ll become unmotivated, too hard and the same thing will happen.
  • Make it a variation of short-term and long-term goals. Being able to hit marks along the way to your bigger goals can be just as rewarding as the bigger goals themselves.
  • Have progression in your goals. Whether adding time or intensity, having progression built into your goals makes it more achievable and positively enforcing.
  • Set your exercises according to your lifestyle and what you’re comfortable with. Getting outside of your comfort zone is basic, to a point. If you don’t like it to start, you never will.
  • Reward yourself when you reach your goals. Avoid using food as a reward though. And make sure that the reward matches the goal. If it’s a big goal, give yourself a big reward!

These tips and more, along with short, easy-to-do exercises can be found in the book, “Fit In 5” by Greg Whyte.  This book, and many more can be found at www.ncescatalog.com and in our catalog.