With nearly 1 in 2 Americans developing cancer at some point in their lives, prevention must start early. So we’ve teamed up with AICR and are reaching out to parents and camps with our free printable activities, recipes and trackers to use during 6 weeks of summer! Kids’ activity level actually tends to decrease in the summer despite the images of going to the beach, riding bikes and playing outside. There is often less activity and more lounging, resulting in excess weight gain. This is why summer is an important time to focus on children’s health!
You can’t change your genes, but you can turn your protective shield on to influence them! Diet and lifestyle can make a huge difference to your health, while altering your genetic influences.
Think about what good health means to you and your family – living longer or better, social acceptance (for kids at school), having more energy, or for adults, being able to do daily chores with no problems, looking younger and/or setting an example for your kids. Then commit to just a few activities this summer that match your idea of good health.
Here are 7 ideas you can do — and why they’re so important — to help get you started:
- Have fun using our Super Crew get active tracker to get your kids moving everyday. Aim for 30 minutes a day and change sedentary behavior like trading in a night at the movies for a night of bowling!
- Offer water regularly – and avoid sugary drinks. Children who are thirsty are more likely to overeat. Kids are 60% more likely to become obese for each additional can or glass of sugared beverage they consume every day. Use the hot summer to experiment with healthy flavored water – try adding cucumbers, frozen berries or orange slices with mint leaves.
- Try our tasty whole grain recipes and activities. Whole grains can help prevent some cancers, give kids long lasting energy and help them feel full verses refined flour (white bread, white rice, etc) that may lead to over-eating! A study found that women who were overweight as young children or adolescents had more than a 25% higher risk of colorectal cancer than those who were lean at those ages. Use our toolkit to talk about the fiber, vitamins and energy whole grains provide.
- Check out the Super Crew’s easy tips on boosting fruit and veggie intake in your family’s diet. You’ll be surprised how simple steps like offering 2 healthy choices instead of one, empowers kids to eat healthier.
- Learn easy steps to cook with kids without overwhelming you or them! Our cooking by age guide will take the guess work on what’s safe and simple.
- Keep healthy snacks available! Make sure that fruits and vegetables look appetizing. Experiment with shapes, sizes, textures, and temperatures to make fruits and veggies more fun.
- Print our 30 day Super Crew Activate your shield calendar filled with a simple activity to do everyday. Hang on the fridge!
Use this 6 weeks of this summer to choose at least 1 fun summer shield activity every week with your family! Write down when and how you are going to implement your goal – then actually plan and schedule it, make it happen for your kids’ and family’s health.
Melissa Halas-Liang is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator with a masters in nutrition education. She is founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. where she is “saving the world, one healthy food at a time.” Read more about her Super Crew characters and visit her site www.superkidsnutriton.com. Then discover how nutrition can help you live your best health potential through her on-line courses and blog, Melissa’s Healthy Living.
Melissa is AICR’s partner in AICR’s Healthy Kids Today – Prevent Cancer Tomorrow campaign.