Posts Tagged ‘Childhood Obesity’

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

May 7, 2008

Health experts recommend that children get at least 60 minutes each day of physical activity.  They need to run, climb, jump and get up and move around, away from their desks, the television and computer games.  Today, about one in every four school-aged children are overweight or at risk for becoming overweight.  It is extremely important to encourage children to adopt good physical activity behaviors that promote a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity can have beneficial effects on the following aspects of health for children:

  • Weight
  • Muscular strength
  • Cardiorespiratory (aerobic) fitness
  • Bone mass (through weight-bearing physical activities)
  • Blood pressure (for hypertensive youth)
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Self-esteem

Tips For Childcare Providers and Parents

As a caregiver for children, you have an important role in shaping a child’s physical activity attitudes and behaviors. Here are some tips to encourage the children in your care to be more physically active.

  • Set a positive example by making physical activity part of your daily routine such as designating time for walks or playing active games together.
  • Offer positive reinforcement for the physical activities in which children participate.
  • Make physical activity fun. Fun activities can be anything the child enjoys, either structured or non-structured. They may range from team sports, individual sports, and/or recreational activities such as walking, running, skating, bicycling, swimming, playground activities, and free-time play.
  • Ensure that the activity is age appropriate and, to ensure safety, provide protective equipment such as helmets, wrist pads, and knee pads.
  • Limit the time children watch television or play video games. Instead, encourage children to find fun activities to do with friends or family members or on their own that simply involve more activity (walking, playing chase, dancing).

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Now that you have all of this knowledge surrounding children’s health and the role that physical activity plays in that, it’s time to find some tools to help get those children up out of their seats and running around! Who ever said that physical activity is all work and no play must not have had any Little Tikes toys! Below are our top 3 recommended toys for encouraging physical activity. But don’t worry if none of these 3 meet your needs, we have many more toys available online at to meet your physical fitness needs.

Sports Variety Pack

Children will jump out of their seats to get outside and play with these easy-to-use sports sets!  With this great sports variety pack you will encourage children to exercise and learn about sports through individual and group play!  And this package offers something for everyone; basketball, bowling, and soccer!  And even you can be a winner when you purchase this sports package because it features fun savings of $60.00!

Sports Variety Pack Includes two each:


Slam ‘n Slide

Bring the fun of a water park to your very own play yard with this huge inflatable water playground!  Children will get lots of exercise as they climb up to the top of slide where they’ll be sprayed with water from overhead and then slide down the giant 12 foot slide into the splash pool at the bottom.  But the fun doesn’t stop there; children will also enjoy the basketball hoop in the large splash pool for added enjoyment. And the best part is that they will want to do this again and again and again! 

Ultimate Beach Ball Sprinkler

Nothing gets children moving like an Ultimate Beach Ball™ Sprinkler from Little Tikes!  This has been the top selling product for 3 years running!  With just a splash of cool water and a sprinkle of laughter, children will be running around this sprinkler for hours of wild water play!  This Ultimate Beach Ball™ Sprinkler inflates in minutes. All you have to do is hook it up to the hose and watch the fun begin. Water sprays out of 4 different places and there is a water pouch in the bottom of the sprinkler that you can fill up to make the sprinkler more stationary or leave it empty so children can kick the ball all over the playground!  Ultimate Beach Ball™ Sprinkler is 88″ in circumference.



March is National Nutrition Month

March 12, 2008

fruit.pngMarch is National Nutrition Month fruit.png

Did you know?      

apple20x20.png While just a decade ago, 15 percent of U.S. children were obese, currently 22 percent are considered obese.*       

grapes.pngGuidelines suggest that kids eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains than in the past and that they need to get 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each day

 banana-20x20.png Several studies indicate that the omission of breakfast — or the consumption of an inadequate breakfast — contributes to poor focus and school performance in children

orange-20x20.png Preschoolers drink four times more juice from apples, grapes and other non-citrus fruits than they did 15 years ago. Try diluting juices with water, mineral water, or club soda to avoid excess sugars. Also, make sure to purchase the 100% fruit juices, not the ones loaded with unnatural sugar.

strawberry.png Proper nutrition is directly related to children’s eyesight. Incorporating Vitamin A rich foods in their diet, such as chicken, milk, and cheese will play an important role in vision.

National Nutrition Month®, created in 1973, is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the American Dietetic Association. The campaign reinforces the importance of making healthy food choices along with physical activity.

There are plenty of great activities you and the children in your care can do to learn about adequate child nutrition. Check out the American Dietetic Association website at where you can learn everything you need to know about the nutrition campaign, and also obtain educational, yet fun games and classroom/playroom ideas.

Below is a food guide pyramid designed specifically for children. This fun graphic is great because it incorporates a simplified healthy eating and physical activity message that children can understand. To obtain your own copy of this Food Pyramid, visit

Now it’s Snack Time! 

carrot.png Young children actually need snacks. Their stomachs are still small, so they often can’t get all the nutrients they need through meals alone. Snack should be offered every two hours before or after a main meal. Try avoiding prepackaged snack foods because they are high in calories and often provide very little nutrients. Check out these healthy snack recipes for the children.

After School Muffin Pizza  

What you need:

  • 1 English muffin or bagel, split and toasted
  • 4 teaspoons pizza sauce or tomato puree
  • 3 tablespoons shredded part- skim mozzarella cheese
Click here to find the complete set of directions for this yummy snack.

Fun Fruit Kabobs  

What you need:

  • 1 apple
  • 1 banana
  • 1/3 C. red seedless grapes
  • 1/3 C. green seedless grapes
  • 2/3 C. pineapple chunks
  • 1 C. nonfat yogurt
  • 1/4 C. dried cocount, shredded

Click here for the utensils and directions needed to complete this nutritious, yet delicious snack for the children.

If you don’t have enough time to make the above snacks, try some of these simple nutrient-dense foods for the children in your care:

  • Slices or small cubes of cheese
  • Whole-wheat crackers or graham crackers
  • Dry cereals low in sugar
  • Applesauce or other fruit sauces
  • Yogurt with fresh fruit