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4 Reasons to Implement School Wellness

April 11, 2017

by Darrin Anderson, Sr., PhD, MS State Deputy Director, New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids April 24-28 marks the fifth year of celebration for Every Kid Healthy Week (EKHW). The goal is to bring both awareness and recognition to schools across the nation who are dedicating time to improving health and wellness and cultivating the school environment. As a father who is committed to the health and well-being of my son and daughter, I believe good health is vital, and all children should have access to healthy meals both at home and school. I also think physical activity is equally important. Many of the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids communities have had great success in revising school wellness policies and working with school officials on implementation. Below are just some of the successes we’ve had in creating an overall Culture of Health within many New Jersey schools: Food access […]

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3 Tips for Healthy Brain Development

April 11, 2017

According to MedicMagic.net, the human brain has around 100 billion cells and loses about a gram of brain mass per year. For this reason, your brain’s health is important. Brain development also is a vital part of children’s health and wellness. A healthy brain can improve a child’s mood and memory. Junk food and too much sugar can impact a child’s mood and cognitive function. A variety of foods can help to generate and improve an individual’s memory and the brain’s overall function. Superlife.com compiled a list of important things that contributes to improving brain health. Here are three easy tips to remember: Make sure kids get enough rest – Sleep deprivation is a major factor in slowed cognitive function. Sleep has a huge effect on mood, memory, alertness, and even academic performance. Sleepfoundation.org recommends school-aged children (ages 6-13) get between 9 – 11 hours per night and teenagers (ages […]

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Daylight Savings Means More Time to Soak Up Vitamin D

March 2, 2017

by David Calderetti Project Director, NJPHK – Vineland Winter is winding down, and daylight savings begins March 12, which means we gain an extra hour of sunlight per day. This is great for two reasons – warmer weather is on its way (finally!), and you can get more vitamin D into your system. Regular exposure to sunlight allows your body to create vitamin D, which is essential for bone and immune health. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences reports an average adult up to age 70 should get 600 IU of vitamin D daily. Here’s a refresher on the sunshine vitamin: Vitamin D deficiency is common during the winter months – Sunlight isn’t the only place to get vitamin D, but it’s hard to get some sunshine when the days are shorter. Vitamin D can boost your metabolism – Getting the daily amount of vitamin D is useful for […]

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4 Ways to Stop Sugar from Sneaking into Your Diet

March 2, 2017

by Marissa Davis Project Director, NJPHK – Trenton Much like my daughter in the picture above, sugar is everywhere! Foods we typically think are healthy (think yogurt, granola, spaghetti sauce) often contain significant amounts of sugar. Consuming too much sugar can lead to many health-related issues like obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Per SugarScience.org, the average American consumes nearly 19.5 teaspoons of sugar per day, which is approximately 66 pounds per year. In observance of March being National Nutrition Month, here are four easy ways you can reduce your sugar intake: Remove the sugar bowl, honey, or molasses from your tables and counters – Out of sight out of mind! You’ll be less tempted to use these sugary products if they aren’t at your fingertips daily. Buy fresh fruit instead of canned fruit – Fruit is naturally sweet, so consuming canned fruit in syrup or juice adds additional If […]

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3 Easy Ways to Stay Heart Healthy

February 13, 2017

By Valeria Galarza Project Director, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership and NJPHK-Camden The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States and about 790,000 people have heart attacks each year. Poor food choices including over processed foods that are high in sodium and sugar are causing serious health-related issues (stroke, health disease, diabetes, etc.) to start at an early age. Because February is American Heart Month, here are three simple ways to make sure you’re taking care of yourself and being heart smart: Eat a healthy balanced diet– Make sure to eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Processed foods (white bread, cookies) contain high amounts of saturated fats and sodium and increase your blood pressure. Learn to read the nutrition labels before you buy! Make sleep a priority– According to a study by […]

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Making Health a Priority Benefits New Jersey’s Kids

January 12, 2017

by Darrin Anderson and Jasmine Hall Ratliff If we want our children to grow up with healthy minds and healthy bodies, we need to surround them with opportunities to develop healthy habits from their very first days. Providing opportunities like these has played a key role in efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic, and it’s starting to pay off—both nationally and in New Jersey. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, show that between 2010 and 2014, New Jersey’s obesity rate for 2-to-4-year-olds enrolled in the federal nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) fell from 18.9 percent to 15.3 percent. The data pointed to similar declines in 30 other states. Several factors might be driving this trend. In 2009, the WIC program started offering a wider variety of healthy food options and increased its promotion and support of breastfeeding. Meanwhile, New Jersey’s Department of […]

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12 Days of Healthy Holiday Tips

December 9, 2016

Holidays are filled with dishes with sugars and fat, which makes eating healthy during a season filled with sweet treats and high calorie meals is no easy task. Don’t feel defeated! The folks at Real Simple.com compiled a list of healthy holiday survival guide to keep you healthy and happy during the holiday season. Here are 12 that really stood out: Eat breakfast – It helps to prevent over eating throughout the day and is the most important meal of the day! Eating oatmeal or eggs will help you feel fuller longer and curb your appetite. Before you splurge on an unhealthy dish, do something healthy first – If you know you’re going to eat a heavy holiday meal, go for a brisk walk or plan a time to exercise before you go. Don’t stress out about dessert – If you over indulge at one meal, just make the next […]

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Staying Healthy in the Winter – 3 Easy Tips to Keep You Healthy This Holiday Season

December 9, 2016

Winter is fast approaching and common cold germs are hanging around. With many holiday festivities and gatherings, don’t get stuck at home battling a stuffy nose or sore throat. There are a number of things you can do to stay as healthy as possible. Here are three super easy tips to remember that will keep you on your feet and prevent the spreading of cold symptoms to others: Keep your hands away from your face – it’s no secret that your hands can have lots of bacteria on them from touching car doors, door handles and other people and touching your face is an easy way to get sick. Wash your hands as often as you can to keep the germs at bay. Also, keep some hand sanitizer with you in a pinch! Drink a lot of water – keeping your body hydrated is good for your health and keeping […]

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3 Insanely Easy Ways to Kick the Soda Habit

November 2, 2016

Let’s face it – soda is one of the worst beverages anyone can consume! It’s full of empty calories, caffeine, and sugar. Consuming too much sugar over time leads to tooth decay and obesity in both children and adults. According to this study by Lisa Conti for Scientific America, diet soda is just as addictive because the artificial sweeteners (called aspartame) increase cravings for sugar. If you’re still looking for something a little jazzier than plain water, try one of these three few to zero calorie alternatives to help you kick the caffeinated habit: Fruit infused water – No, we don’t mean the bottled flavored water you can find at the store. Chop up some fresh strawberries, blueberries, mint, oranges, or lemons to give your water a refreshing flavor. Green tea – Served hot or cold, green tea is both calorie free and naturally high in antioxidants. If you prefer […]

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Diabetes & Kids

November 2, 2016

According to WebMD, the obesity epidemic is widely blamed for an alarming rise in the incidence of type 2 diabetes among children. Intriguing new research suggests it is also to blame for a similar increase in type 1 diabetes. Though being overweight is the main risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, it has not previously been thought to be a major factor in type 1 diabetes, once known as “juvenile-onset diabetes.” Type 1 diabetes is considered to be a genetically driven autoimmune disorder in which the body destroys the insulin-producing cells that allow it to process glucose. In type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin but is unable to use it properly, a condition known as insulin resistance. For many years type 2 diabetes was something that overweight adults had to contend with, mainly because children weren’t having the weight issues they have today. The rise in type 2 […]

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