In YESII, despite significantly increasing the total amount of physical activity performed, some of the students’ weight remained on an upward trajectory. That is, exercise alone was not sufficient to offset their increases in bodyweight. Therefore, along with the fitness initiative a new healthy eating curriculum and healthy lunch program will be implemented.
The YES3 Program will
- Engage students in the process of making food related decisions
- Include a light, healthy after school snack providing both education and energy for afterschool programming.
- Design a two year healthy lunch program similar to the trial from YESII, led by the Registered Dietitian and YES3 students.
- Provide all YES3 participants with a healthy eating curriculum delivered by the RD.
- Provide family workshops on healthy/healtheir cooking and nutrition options. The youth and their families will learn and benefit from YES3 in terms of the healthy eating curriculum including: body weight control, sustainable foods, alternative cooking methods, and importance of family meals.
The YES program will have a registered dietician on staff to help provide meal plans, healthy cooking classes, and nutrition workshops.
Tips for parents for a healthy diet at home
- Encourage a healthy well-balanced diet. Offer fresh fruit or vegetables or a piece of cheese for a snack instead of chips or cookies.
- Consider substituting corn tortillas for white flour (more nutritious)
- Cut out fat by grilling or baking foods instead of frying them.
- Avoid soda and juices that are high in sugar.
- Encourage water or skim milk as an alternative. Drinking water is a healthy beverage!
- Avoid things with high fructose corn syrup when you can
- It is important to start the day off with balanced breakfast. Low-sugar cereal with milk and a piece of fruit is a good alternative to sugary cereal or doughnuts. Eating breakfast has been shown to improve performance in school. If you are having trouble getting your kids a good breakfast, contact Kelly Dione for options.
- All meals and snacks should contain some protein
- Chicken and pork are often cheaper than beef and are also excellent sources of protein.
- 1 ounce of cheese is equal to 1 slice or a 1 inch cube.
- Peanut butter can be a power snack. Combine with veggies or fruit it is fast and economical.
- Offer dried or fresh fruit instead of sweets. For a healthier sweet, frozen yogurt is an alternative to ice cream.
How to encourage a healthy diet:
- Family meals are success times! Eat together as often as possible.
- Sit at a table. Use the time to find out about the week. Work on manners, share weeks events and reinforce positive behaviors.
- To achieve lasting effects, the whole family’s attitudes and habits towards food and exercise need to change.
- Try to set an example with your own eating habits
- Provide meals and snacks at regular times to prevent eating throughout the day.
- Do not let your child eat while watching TV or doing homework
- Try to decrease fast food meals.
- Try to get your child involved in preparing food to make them more aware of what they are eating
- Have your child chew their food more slowly because they will feel fuller more quickly and be less likely to overeat at mealtimes.
- Include the whole family to plan out the meals for the week and cook together. Use that time to teach about healthy habits.
- Talk about food. Where does it come from? Who is the farmer? What are alternative ways to cook or eat the same item next week? Look up new recipes and let the youth help pick the recipe to prepare together.
See the Mayo Clinic’s Web site for additional information on Childhood Obesity
Health tips for students
- Do not skip breakfast. You may snack and eat heavier meals later in the day if you do
- Healthy breakfasts will help keep you awake in school!
- Try to make half your plate fruits and vegetables
- Make half the grains you eat whole grain
- Choose fat-free or low fat (1%) milk, yogurt, or cheese (NOT IF THEY ARE TOO YOUNG!!!)
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks
- Drink white milk as opposed to chocolate. Chocolate milk as a huge amount of sugar in it!
- Choose lean sources of protein
- Pay attention to portion size
- Eat slower and be sure to drink your water or milk during your meal not afterwards
- Stop eating IF you are full, you can’t eat now for later…..
- Pick foods at lunch that match your nutrition counseling advice
- Eat only from your plate. Do not eat off other student’s plates.
Common Health Issues
High blood pressure
About five of every hundred children have higher than normal blood pressure or hypertension. Hypertension is even more common among Hispanic individuals than the rest of the United States population. In many cases, hypertension develops with age. As a result, your child may show no signs of high blood pressure now, but may develop the condition as an adult. Overweight teens are more prone to hypertension so it is important for you to stress good eating habits and physical activity to your child in high school and through the rest of their life.
High blood pressure can be controlled through dietary changes, exercise or what are called lifestyle changes and medication or a combination of the two. If hypertension is allowed to continue or become worse over many years, the prolonged extra pressure can:
- cause heart failure
- put stress on blood vessels in the brain, causing them to burst, producing a stroke
- cause changes in blood vessel walls resulting in damage to the kidneys, eyes, and other organs
Any of the following symptoms may indicate high blood pressure:
- Shortness of breath
Limiting salt in your child's diet may help reduce their blood pressure. Giving up the use of table salt and restricting salty foods MAY reverse mild hypertension and MAY help lower more serious blood pressure elevations. You will also have to be careful when shopping for packaged or processed foods because most canned and processed foods contain a lot of salt, so check labels carefully to make sure the items have little or no salt added. Physical activity also helps regulate blood pressure and can reduce mild hypertension along with losing weight.
See the American Heart Association’s Web site for additional information on blood pressure
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong disease that develops when the pancreas cannot make enough insulin or when the body’s tissues cannot use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body’s cells use sugar or glucose for energy. Insulin also helps the body store extra sugar in muscle, fat, and liver cells. Without insulin, the sugar stays in the blood instead of being used by the cells causing high blood sugar levels.
A person has diabetes when their blood sugar stays too high for an extended period of time. Over time, high blood sugar can cause problems with the eyes, heart, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys. High blood sugar also makes a person more likely to get serious illnesses or infections. Diabetes is very expensive to treat, requires a lot of effort to treat once it is diagnosed and as stated, causes a LOT of other health problems. Therefore, it is important to prevent diabetes rather than treat it.
One of the biggest contributors to the rise in diabetes is an increase in intra abdominal fat (belly fat) and obesity rates. How big your belly is relative to your hips is a risk for developing diabetes. For this reason, avoiding being overweight prevents and losing weight treats early diabetes. Unfortunately, we are now seeing more and more people at much younger ages developing diabetes linked to being overweight and not getting enough physical activity. This disease is PREVENTABLE. One of the goals of YES3 is to prevent diabetes through proper diet and physical activity and reaching and maintaining appropriate body weight and waist size.
Many children have no symptoms before they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
When children do have symptoms the most common include:
- Slight increase in the frequency of urination
- Slight increase in thirst
- Increased tiredness
- Blurred vision
- Frequent infections and slow-healing wounds or sores
- Weight loss
Factors that affect the body's resistance to insulin in childhood include:
- Sex-Girls seem to develop more resistance to insulin than boys.
- Body composition-Insulin resistance increases as the amount of fat around the waist increases. Being overweight is the primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes in children.
- Activity-Exercise improves how the body's cells use insulin and get the sugar they need.
- Race-Latino at higher risk than other races for insulin resistance and diabetes
See the American Diabetes Association’s Web site for additional information on Type 2 Diabetes.
Obesity is clinically diagnosed as being greater than the 90th percentile for weight for height or greater than or equal to the 95th percentile Body Mass Index (BMI) for a specific age and sex. That is just a fancy way of saying you weigh too much for your height!
Effects of obesity
Obesity has been linked to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. That means that being obese is unhealthy. Many risk factors associated with these diseases such as high cholesterol and blood pressure start in childhood. The risk of being an obese adult is greater among children who are obese. The age of onset, severity, and parental obesity are three factors that indicate that obese children are likely to become obese adults. Obesity in children can also have social psychological and emotional consequences. Obese children may feel isolated and lonely which can lead to self-esteem and identity problems.
Causes of obesity
- IF we REALLY knew what CAUSED obesity, we would fix it. But we don’t. What we do know, is that there are some things that are associated with an increased likelihood of being obese.
- Genetics-Children with obese parents are more likely to be obese. Heredity contributes between 5-25% of the risk of obesity. Relatively speaking, this is a small contribution so there is plenty of room to raise healthy kids! The remaining risk is attributed to environmental and behavioral factors.
- Dietary Patterns-The total number of calories that children consume is more than the body needs. Restaurants are providing larger portion sizes and children are exercising less. There appears to also be a shift toward high sugar foods. In the United States, the average person eats well over 4000 calories per day. What is striking about this is how easy it is to eat that many calories and still be hungry especially when the calories come in the form of foods high in sugar.
- Physical Activity-Children are spending less time being physically active. Kids need at least 60 minutes of activity a day. Active kids sleep better, perform better in school and are less likely to get into trouble.
- Want to help your kids? Eat more fresh foods and get them to play more! You will both be happy!
Lifestyles and behaviors are established early in life so it is important to get started now in encouraging your child’s good health. The primary goals in obesity management are reducing the number of calories your child consumes by following a well-balanced diet and increasing physical activity. Make sure your child eats breakfast. Children who skip breakfast may have difficulty in class and tend to snack and eat heavier meals later in the day.
See the Mayo Clinic’s Web site for additional information on Childhood Obesity