September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
Learn ways to promote healthy growth in children and prevent obesity.
One of the greatest health problems is the increased health risks that our young children will have, problems of older adults. The main chronic health problems are asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Children with obesity can be bullied and teased more than their normal weight peers. They are also more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem. Plus, children with obesity are 80-90 % more likely to be obese adults, leading to more health issues and increased medical costs.
In 2020 we have special issues related to even more obesity related problems with our children due to Covid - 19. We all have experienced quarantine periods, stay at home orders, closed playgrounds, schools and sports facilities. All leading to even greater decreased physical activity and more screen time. Many children, adults too, have experienced depression, anxiety and lack of social interaction all which may lead to increased food and beverage consumption and weight gain.
For this school year, when many children are learning online, we need to be certain that:
1. Kids have access to water and low or sugar free beverages, NOT sugary foods and snacks.
2. We need to stop the snacking of high calorie snacks and beverages.
3. Take an exercise break, whether it is walking in your home, back yard, lifting weights, video exercises and dance to playing with your brothers and sisters. Get you and your kids moving more.
This year you may not even notice that both you and your children are gaining excess weight. You can use the CDC's Child and Teen BMI calculator to screen for potential weight issues.
It is even more important than ever to have more servings of fruits and vegetables at meals and snacks. STOP the chips and sugary beverages. Caloric intake is the number one factor in weight gain.
Parents, be a role model, make sure you kids get enough sleep, only on-screen time as needed for studies and drinking plenty of water with healthy foods.
This is also the perfect time to teach your kids how to prepare and cook healthy foods and meals.
Parents and teachers, these ideas apply to you too, you need to be the role model even more than ever.
This is the time to follow the OLIVER FOUNDATION'S 7 Healthy messages as follows.
Choose 5-A-Day servings of fruits & vegetables!
Have more water & less sugary beverages!
Opt for healthy snacks!
Increase active play & decrease screen time!
Choose 3-A-Day servings of low-fat dairy!
Enjoy a healthy breakfast!
Serve a smart portion size!
Healthy Choices Grants
are now available.
Next Deadline October 15, 2020
Congratulations to the
July 15, 2020 Healthy Choices Grant Recipients
Steiner Ranch Elementary, Leander ISD
Boys and Girls Club, Home Club Elementary, Austin ISD
Turner Elementary, Pasadena ISD
YES Prep Brays Oak
Congratulations and Welcome to our new
2020-2021 Teen Advisory Board Members
**Applications for the 2021-2022 School Year will be accepted
December 15, 2020 - February 15, 2021.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Meet the Oliver Foundation
Teen Advisory Board
The Oliver Foundation Teen Advisory Board is a 12-18 member organization represented by students across the Houston area. Each month you'll meet a different member who will share their perspective on living a healthy life.
Zoe Price, President
The Kinkaid School - Houston, Texas
Teen Board Member 2017 - Present
Zoe is a senior at The Kinkaid School, where she participates in Debate and Model UN. She enjoys running, and is a member of the Varsity Cross Country and Track teams. Zoe likes to spend her free time reading and drawing.
Staying Mentally Healthy During Distance Learning
This summer, I received the amazing opportunity to participate in a research program with Boston University, during which my group researched how quarantine impacts serotonin neurons in the brain. We discovered that social isolation has a negative impact on these neurons, likely leading to anxiety and depression-like symptoms. This research inspired me to look for and begin practicing new ways to stay mentally healthy as we enter another semester of distance learning, and I have decided to share some of them with you all in the hopes that they also help you manage anxiety and stress caused by the pandemic.
It is difficult to maintain a routine during quarantine, especially in the summer without scheduled classes and endless meetings; however, studies show that eating meals at regular times and having a set sleep schedule can help stave off boredom and spikes of anxiety or depression. Having a specific schedule also helps prevent procrastination and the overwhelming exhaustion that sometimes comes with having to wonder when to accomplish each task. For me, I have set specific wake-up, workout, and exercise times for each day in order to motivate me to get out of bed and ensure I get everything done.
2. Keep your workspace and room clean
Working on organizing and cleaning your home can be a great way to feel productive, and having a clean workspace helps many people complete tasks more efficiently. Furthermore, scientific studies show that the predictability of cleaning offers a sense of control in the face of uncertainty, as well as providing your body and mind a break from the stress that comes with the pandemic. I recently organized my desk, and it definitely makes it a lot easier to focus. If you have time, you should organize your bookshelf, desk, or closet - it may help!
3. Spend time doing something you love away from screens
Most teenagers already spend a significant portion of their summer looking at a screen, whether to play video games or watch Netflix. However, now that the sole form of communication also comes through the screen, people are using their devices more than ever, which can begin to wear on your eyes and cause fatigue. Taking a break from screens to read, draw, bike, or do anything that you enjoy can help make quarantine feel a little more normal, and it will help ensure that your eyes and mind stay rested.
Beach vacations and long pre-season sports practices usually encourage students to spend quality time in the sun, but social distancing has driven more and more people into their houses. Spending some time in the sun helps your body produce Vitamin D, which helps regulate mood and ward off depression. Furthermore, studies have shown that people who spend more time in the sun have greater activity of natural killer cells, a type of immune cell critical to the innate immune system. I usually go for a run in the morning in order to spend time outside, but my other family members like to swim, walk the dog, or just read in the shade. No matter what you do, just get outside!
Exercising is not only great for your body and overall fitness, but it has an amazing impact on your brain as well. Exercise helps release serotonin and dopamine, the two "happy" chemicals in the brain. For me, I always turn to running when I feel anxious, and it has helped me deal with a lot of stress in my life. Furthermore, exercise has been known to reduce inflammation and insulin resistance in the brain while also stimulating the release of neuronal growth factors, all of which have a profound impact on memory and cognition. So, exercising will not only help prevent depression and anxiety, but it will help you perform better in distance learning school as well.
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