Priority Areas & Resources

Toddler eating an apple outsideHealthy Eating

The best advice for healthy eating is more simple than most people think. Some important aspects include: eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and whole grains (like whole wheat, oats, brown rice, and popcorn), avoiding foods with trans fats, drinking more water, and limiting intake of sugary drinks. Teaching kids about healthy eating, tips for healthy snacks and meals, and improving access to healthy foods in different environments through policy are critical ways to make sure kids are eating healthier.

 

An teacher sitting in a classroom with six elementary school students. They are sitting in chairs arranged in a circle, playing a game, stretching their arms in the air.Physical Activity

Each child should get at least one hour of physical activity every day. Regular physical activity helps kids stay focused in and out of school and protects both kids and adults from developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and osteoporosis. Improving physical activity environments in schools, afterschool programs, and communities are critical ways to help kids be more physically active.

 

Mom and daughter drinking tap waterDrinking Water

Water is the best drink option for kids and adults. It has zero calories, and tap water is free! Water is a healthier choice than other drinks, such as soda, juice, and sports and energy drinks. Making clean, cold, free water more accessible in environments like schools and afterschool programs is a critical way to ensure kids are better hydrated. Limited access to water during school and outside of school hours can pose problems for children’s health.

 

Six bottles of multi-colored sugary drinksSugary Drinks

The largest source of added sugar in kids’ diets is sugary drinks. Drinking too many high-sugar drinks increases the risk for overweight in kids and adults and can cause dental cavities. Teaching kids the importance of limiting their consumption, creating environments that are free of sugary drinks, and communicating these messages to parents and families are critical ways to reduce sugary drink intake.

 

School children (ages 6 to 9) inside school bus huddled around girl playing with digital tablet.Screen Time & Marketing

Screen time – time spent watching TV, using a tablet or smartphone, or playing computer or video games – could be spent exercising, reading, doing homework, or spending time with friends and family, instead. TV and internet sites also have tons of advertisements, especially for junk food. Kids who often watch more than four hours of TV per day are more likely to be overweight. Strategies to replace screen time activities with more active play are critical ways to help kids reduce their time spent in front of a screen.