Many studies have documented a strong link between healthy minds and healthy bodies. These studies point to a direct link between nutritional intake and academic performance, as well as between physical activity and academic achievement. Additional research suggests an association between weight problems and lower academic achievement.
Our nation’s First Mom, Michelle Obama, is raising much needed awareness about the rise in and impact of childhood obesity through the Let’s Move campaign. As a partner to Mrs. Obama’s campaign, the newly formed Partnership for a Healthier America will encourage families to commit to a healthier lifestyle.
Adults and children in this country are more overweight, out of shape, and sicker than ever before. Our fast-paced, convenience-driven lifestyles have transformed the way most families eat into a pattern that would be unrecognizable to our great-grandparents. The diet of most American families is full of complicated foods made with hydrogenated oil (trans-fat), refined sugars, processed meats, and food additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG)—things that are not part of a healthy diet.
Our kids need us to change our course of action now to make quality food and healthy habits a priority. No parent wants a child to inherit a lifestyle that promotes disease. So let’s all do our part to ensure each and every child in this country inherits an insatiable spirit for a vibrant and fulfilling life. Below are five simple steps to inspire and empower kids to eat better. Which small step will you take today?
- Learn how to read and interpret food labels. Then teach your kids.
- Set food rules. Rules help children learn skills and behaviors to live successfully. Establish guidelines on the number of sweet treats to eat per day or per week and commit to serving at least one vegetable each night for dinner.
- Go Mediterranean. The Mediterranean diet is deemed one of the healthiest in the world, as it is rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oil, and nuts and moderate amounts of low-fat diary. Pizza is a family favorite and a great Mediterranean crossover food to incorporate into your family’s meal plan.
- Eat more home-cooked meals. Cooking meals at home is the best way to control portion sizes, the quality of ingredients, and the salt, sugar and fat content. Home-cooked meals also provide an excellent opportunity for families to eat together, save money and establish a tradition of home-cooking.
- Learn more about natural, whole foods - then inspire other families to eat fewer chemically processed animal and junk foods.