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Health & Wellness: Don’t just sit this summer — be fit

Daily Herald – Amy Osmond Cook

“With Memorial Day on the horizon, that means one thing — summer vacation is on its way. Don’t let this be the summer your child wears out the wireless controller on his game console. If the last time your child got her heart rate up during summer vacation was when she was chasing down the ice cream truck, it’s time to re-examine your family’s fitness habits. Summer is the perfect season to introduce healthy fitness habits. Fitness isn’t limited to physical exercise, it includes mental exercises and eating healthy every day. No matter the age, it’s never too soon to practice healthy habits.”(more)

Drop in childhood obesity cannot be explained by health behaviors

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“While a reported drop in obesity rates among U.S. children has been heralded as positive news, more work must be done to understand exactly why that drop occurred, according to researchers at Rice and Temple universities. A 2014 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed a decline in the prevalence of obesity among 2- to 5-year-olds between 2003-2004 (a 13 percent child obesity rate) and 2011-2012 (a 7 percent child obesity rate); however, the study did not identify the health and demographic factors linked to the decline. Rice and Temple researchers replicated the CDC’s study with 1,900 children between the ages of 2 and 5 in an attempt to explain the changes. Their discovery: The 6 percent drop in childhood obesity cannot be explained by changes in maternal or child health behaviors such as smoking cessation, breast-feeding or physical activity.”(more)

Building Strong Children Today for a Strong Nation Tomorrow

The Huffington Post – Marian Wright Edelman

“Pediatricians aren’t usually day-to-day policy makers but policy decisions affect the work they do every day as frontline caregivers for our nation’s children. That’s why I was extremely pleased the official journal of the Academic Pediatric Association (APA) recently devoted an entire supplement to a pressing policy crisis affecting pediatricians, public health workers, teachers and all of us and the nation’s future: child poverty in America. As Academic Pediatrics put it: “Childhood poverty creates long-lasting, often permanent, physiologic changes through constant exposure to threats such as malnutrition, acute and chronic disease, toxic stress, social deprivation, and lack of opportunity.” The editors add: “Children remain the poorest members of our society even in good times, with rates that are unacceptably high for a developed nation. This situation is not an inevitable fact of life. The United States is a nation that knows how to use policies and programs to raise its citizens out of poverty.” I agree! The Children’s Defense Fund 2015 report, Ending Child Poverty Now, shows policy solutions to ending child poverty in our nation already exist and can be implemented without delay if politics and greed can be overcome by a commitment to help children. By expanding investments in nine existing policies and programs that work we could shrink overall child poverty 60 percent, Black child poverty 72 percent, and improve the economic circumstances for 97 percent of poor children.”(more)

5 ways you could be destroying your child’s teeth

The Panama City News Herald – Jennifer Elliott

“As far as health information, dental knowledge is often a very grey area. Most adult patients have a hard time understanding the importance and causes of good vs. bad hygiene. Throw kids teeth into the mix and you have yourself an even more vague understanding. I often hear- “They’re just baby teeth,” but nothing can be further from the truth. Children’s teeth are extremely important as they act as space savers for the adult teeth. Here are five common mistakes we as parents make that can cause our kids teeth additional harm. 1. Using soft spouts with food/drink cups.”(more)

So We Know Students Are Stressed Out … Now Let’s Talk About It

NPR Ed – Jacquie Lee

“Since 2013 teenagers have reported stress levels that exceed those of adults. And traditionally, parents have underestimated what their kids are feeling. This became apparent in 2009 when a Stress in America survey showed that parents had no idea the level of stress their kids were under. But parents are finally starting to notice…So what changed? Experts say that the increase of public attention focused on stress and the health hazards it can cause — suicide, depression and anxiety — may have pushed parents to take their kid’s stress more seriously…But not all stress is bad. In fact, some stress can help increase motivation and focus…So for students who are teetering on the edge of extreme and just-enough stress, how can they find a happy medium?”(more)

Physical Fitness and Sports: 14 Ways for Kids to Increase Physical Fitness and Awareness

U.S. Dept. of Education – Staff Writer

“May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Let’s Move! reports that nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. Lifestyles that include physical activity and good nutrition will help keep kids on the path to a more healthy and productive future. National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is a great time to help kids become more aware of the fact that physical activity and eating well promote a healthy lifestyle.”(more)