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Are you ready to build a community of Healthy Heroes?

Are you ready to build a community of Healthy Heroes? It’s pretty simple to do. Especially with some new free downloads at NCES! Research has shown that children are more likely to enjoy foods they have a positive relationship with. So, how do we help foster a positive relationship between kids and healthy fruits & vegetables? We make it fun! Today, we’re encouraging you to challenge your students to “Become a #HealthyHero” by creating their own SUPERfood HERO. Here’s how it works;

  • Download the free “Become a #HealthyHero” Activity Card
  • Have each child write their name on the card, as well as their favorite fruit and their favorite vegetable.
  • After they’ve chosen their favorites, have them create a name for their SUPERfood HERO using the fruit and vegetable name. IE: My favorite fruit is pineapple and my favorite vegetable is an artichoke. So, I’ll name mine artichapple. Make sense? Great!
  • After they’ve named their SUPERfood HERO, have them draw a picture of what this SUPERfood HERO would look like.
  • After they’ve filled out the activity card, have them turn it in and give them a #HealthyHero sticker for becoming a #HealthyHero.
  • Hang or place all of the activity cards together and take a picture. This would be great to send home to parents and to share with the rest of your community to see how each kid has become a #HealthyHero.
  • But, don’t stop there. WE want to see your Healthy Heroes too! So be sure to email your pics to info@ncescatalog.com, or share them with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Making learning about fruits and vegetables fun is critical in the success of raising a healthier generation! We’re so impressed by all the efforts that we see every day by others JUST LIKE YOU to teach kids the healthy benefits of fruits and vegetables. Hopefully these free nutrition resources can be one more tool you use to spread your message. Have fun!!

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#Gimme5 Ways to Be Healthy

Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama issued the challenge for 5 ways to be healthy! Here are our five… simple, tried and true methods to be healthy! Enjoy!

  1. Eat at least 2 fruits and 4 vegetables each day
  2. Exercise at least 30 minutes everyday
  3. Take a break from your TV watching and do at least 10 situps or pushups during the commercial breaks for your evening shows
  4. Drink at least 5 large glasses of water each day
  5. Try at least 5 new foods in a week. And no, you can’t count the ‘donut of the week’ as a new food! 🙂

How do you ‘live healthy’? There are so many ways to live a healthy lifestyle and inspire those around you to do the same. So, now, we issue the challenge to you to #Gimme5. Comment on this blog with 5 ways you stay healthy using the hashtag #Gimme5! Happy National Nutrition Month.

NCES Health and Nutrition Education

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Down Hill Ski Race

Downhill SkiWhile your enjoying the Winter 2014 Olympics, here’s a little game to get everyone up and moving during the commercials. Enjoy!

Put a Piece of Tape down the middle of the room, long enough that everyone has enough space to jump over the tape from side-to-side. You know, just like if you were skiing downhill! Put one minute on a stop watch. On your marks, get set, go! See how many times everyone can “downhill ski” from one side of the tape to the other in one minute.  The person with the most side-to-side movements wins!

Happy Olympic viewing!

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Combat Childhood Obesity with Physical Activity ~ Let’s Move

Childhood obesity has been given a lot of national attention in the last few years thanks to Michelle Obama, the Let’s Move campaign and many organizations raising awareness and providing resources for reversing the trend. Among many factors, a lack of physical activity in the lifestyles of kids today is one of the most prominent causes of childhood obesity. Join us in today’s episode of NCES TV as we share how to get kids up and moving.

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NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” Tackles Childhood Obesity

the biggest loser

Have you joined in on all the hype of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” Season 14? I mean, what isn’t there to be excited about? Jillian Michaels has returned, we all have the opportunity to join in on the fun through Biggest Loser’s ‘Challenge America’, and for the first time ever, The Biggest Loser is tackling childhood obesity with 3 child contestants. That’s right, of the 18 contestants on season 14, 3 of them are under the age of 18. If you had the opportunity to watch, you already know that Sunday’s season premiere kicked off with a bang. If you haven’t had a chance to catch up yet, let’s meet the kids of season 14.

On the blue team, 13 year old Noah (Biingo) is a fun-loving kid who wants to use his experience on The Biggest Loser to gain the knowledge he needs to lose weight and get healthy. On the white team, Sunny is the oldest of the child contestants at age 16. Sunny balances a very busy schedule, managing her advancement placement classes and extra-curricular activities. Time is tight and when stress creeps in, Sunny turns to food to relieve her stress. Fighting on the red team is Lindsay, age 13. Lindsay wants to use The Biggest Loser to change her habits and become more active. She’s also excited to be an inspiration to those watching at home, especially kids her age.

For those of who you who are familiar with The Biggest Loser gym and trainers, you’re probably very scared for these poor children right now. But, the format of the program for these child contestants is completely different from their adult counterparts. The kids will not be training on the ranch; they’ll be training from home. But, the trainers will be available to the kids as resources on their journey and a trainer will be checking in on each of the kid’s progress every week. Plus, the kids are not subject to the weekly weigh-ins and cannot be ‘kicked off’ the show!

As we all know, childhood obesity rates are scary… and their rising! So, thank you Biggest Loser for shedding more light on this problem. It’s up to all of us to do our part! Here’s wishing the best of luck to Biingo, Sunny and Lindsay on this season and to a lifetime of health and happiness!

If you haven’t tuned in yet, you’re not too late to join in on the fun of Season 14. NBC’s The Biggest Loser airs on Monday’s at 7:00 PM (CST). You can also learn all about this seasons contestants on The Biggest Loser page.

Stay tuned for all of our future blogs! Later this week, we’ll be talking about why drinking water is still important in the winter. Plus, if you’re tired of drinking glass after glass of water, we’ll share some great foods that can help you reach your daily fill of water. Use the box in the upper, right section of the blog to subscribe to the NCES Health Beat to make sure you don’t miss a beat.

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World Diabetes Day: Stand Up! Fight Diabetes!

Did you know that today is World Diabetes Day? This day is all about raising awareness from the local level to a global level. Most of you already know about diabetes. But, just to recap, diabetes is a

“chronic disease that arises when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.  Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that enables cells to take in glucose from the blood and use it for energy. Failure to produce insulin, or of insulin to act properly, or both, leads to raised glucose (sugar) levels in the blood (hyperglycemia). This is associated with long-term damage to the body and failure of various organs and tissues.” (www.idf.org)

The effects of diabetes on the body are sickening, as very high blood sugar levels can do long term damage to many organs in the body. Here are some stunning facts (diabetes.org); 25.8 million Americans have diabetes. Another 79 million people have pre-diabetes.  In 2007, diabetes contributed to 231,004 deaths and the estimated total cost of diagnosed diabetes was $174 billion. The good news: we can fight these numbers!

Like the Coca-Cola bears, join in the fight to stop diabetes. Begin by education yourself and others around you about the causes of diabetes and the damaging effects this disease has on the body. Find a way to get involved in the fight! There are many organizations like the “International Diabetes Federation” (idf.org), StopDiabetes (stopdiabetes.com) and the American Diabetes Association (diabetes.org).  Also, don’t forget to visit the Diabetes section of the NCES Catalog website. Here, you’ll find all the tools you need to educate patients about living with diabetes and even learning to live with your own recently diagnosed diabetes.

If you have any questions about educating about or living with diabetes, please comment on this blog, visit us on Facebook or email us at info@ncescatalog.com. We love hearing from you!

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Reader Favorites: Top School Lunch & Child/Family Resource Blogs

We hope you all had a happy National School Lunch Week. Like we said in the NCES HealthLinks Newsletter, School Lunch Week is all about raising awareness for this cause and praising those that are doing a great job of actually improving school lunches for children across the country. In our last newsletter, we asked our readers to participate by submitting their list of favorite blogs or websites that they think are the best resources for packing yummy, healthy lunches. Here’s what we got from you! (In random order)

  1. TheLunchTray.comThe Lunch Tray is a blog all about food and kids, both in school and out. The blog has a big focus on school lunch reform. But, also is passionate about sharing ways to feed your kids healthy both in and out of school. From articles about current trends and issues to recipes that will help your family eat healthy, The Lunch Tray is a great source for healthy families.
  2. 100DaysofRealFood.com100 Days of Real Food has one goal: Eat without processed foods! It may seem like a lofty goal in today’s society. But this blog can help you do it. It’s full of tips, recipes and lots of resources perfect for someone that is just trying to cut out processed foods or a seasoned professional that just wants to stay on top of this industry. If you’re just coming around to the idea, 100 Days of Real Food even helps you with their ‘10 Day Pledge’ to help you get on the right track.
  3. FedUpWithLunch.comAre you a parent looking for ideas to help your youngsters be fit and active? If so, this is a great spot for you! You’ll find everything here from blogs about how to spend less at the grocery store to cookbook reviews to help you make buying decisions. Looking for more than just a blog? Fed Up with Lunch even has a self-titled book out. The tagline; “How One Anonymous Teacher revealed the truth about school lunches-and how we can change them”.
  4. ChooseMyPlate.govChooseMyPlate.gov is the official website for everything MyPlate. So, although their site covers a lot of topics outside of child nutrition, they offer great resources on school lunches, healthy snacks and even physical activity for kids. Have you seen the Super Tracker yet? The USDA’s super tracker allows you to track your food and activity to make sure they balance! Sounds familiar, huh! Learn about balancing Energy In and Energy out with the NCES EIEO handout.
  5. NourishInteractive.com/BlogGreat for parents, teachers and everyone interested in kids health and nutrition. Nourish Interactive’s ‘Nourishing Thoughts’ blog is here to help you dig through all of the news you hear about nutrition these days. With more and more studies, products and trends constantly being thrown at us, the goal of Nourishing Thoughts is to do some of the legwork for you and only bring accurate, relevant information to the table.

Well, there you have it; our reader favorites! Going through each of these websites to research their purpose, I found each one of them to bring their own special piece to the table. I guess what Simon Cowell would call their “X Factor”. Using the links above, you can go check out each of the blogs for yourself! From the blog, you can easily follow them on Facebook and other social networking sites. If you like this list, but feel like we left your favorite off, please feel free to leave it in the comments sections so that we can all check it out!

For more great resources, you should check out the NCES Educated Kids section. Here a couple of our favorite products from this section!

MyPlate Munch and Learn Placemat: 

Make eating out or in fun with these Placemats. Each one provides activities to teach young children about eating healthy and being active while waiting to eat their food. This placemat is great for in-home, restaurants and any school or hospital cafeteria. Grades Pre-K-6. Pkg of 50, 2012.

Easy Lunchboxes

Pack lunches fast with these sturdy and reusable containers. Great for work, school or travel and perfect for both children and adults. Dishwasher, microwave & freezer safe. Made of non-toxic, food safe polypropylene (PP) BPA, PVC & Phthalate free. FDA-approved.