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Program touts wise eating along with increased activity PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holyoke Enterprise   

Colorado State University Extension has a new program available for families. It focuses on helping children learn to make wise food choices and increase activity.

The program was developed to address the issue of childhood obesity, but it is not a weight loss program. Rather, it is a program to teach children lifelong habits so they won’t gain excess weight as they grow.

Those interested in learning more about this program or participating in the study should call Tracy Trumper at Colorado State University Extension in Phillips County at 854-3616.

Research shows when children are overweight they continue to carry that extra weight their entire life. This increases their risk for developing chronic health issues like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

While this program is open to any family, it is especially encouraged for one of the children to be age 8-12.

There is no cost to participate and families receive pedometers and an educational manual. The program is self-paced with health and wellness goals established monthly.

Participants meet with the extension agent once at the beginning and once at the end. Between those times, communication will be via internet and e-mail to help families assess progress toward their goals.

Children in families which eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables are less likely to be overweight and less likely to have heart disease or other chronic disease as adults.

Raising healthy children can be a challenge as parents try to encourage kids to make wise food choices. Helping kids learn to make those choices doesn’t just happen at the dinner table. It is a lifelong process.

It starts when children are very young and beginning to show their preferences for certain foods. Naturally they gravitate towards sweet, salty and high fat foods because of the yummy taste.

But, children can also learn to enjoy a variety of foods representing all food groups. Part of the process is for parents to model eating a variety of foods which are not all sweet, salty and high fat.

Another way parents and other adults can model behavior is by being active. This will vary for each family, but it’s taking walks or hikes together, spending an afternoon at a playground, participating in team or family sporting events or other types of activities.

What’s most important is the family does something besides stare at a screen. Evaluating the amount of screen time for a family will make them aware of inactive hours. Screen time includes not just television, but also using a computer and playing video games.