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5 Snacks You’ve Been Tricked into Thinking are Healthy

July 31, 2017

Let’s face it – we’re a nation on the go! Quick, easy, and healthy snacks are the ideal choice for people of all ages, but it isn’t always easy to tell which is best to munch on. In fact,  the Huffington Post reported that Americans spent $374 billion on snacks like chips, protein bars and pretzels in 2014. Unfortunately, Large amounts of salt, sugar, and fat can be found in many of the snacks in grocery aisles. Parents try to keep pantries stocked with healthy snacks aside from fresh fruits and vegetables, but sometimes get duped by snacks with misleading healthy labels. Here are five snacks you may think are healthy and nutritious, but are not: Granola bars – Most cereal bars contain whole grains and fruit as ingredients, but a large amount of added sugar and trans fats make these snacks an unhealthy choice. Try some of these recipes […]

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4 Reasons to Give Yoga a Shot This Summer

July 5, 2017

Are you looking for a new way to exercise? Practicing yoga is a great way to calm your body and mind while increasing flexibility and muscle strength. Yoga is a great activity for all ages and levels of physical ability. Summer programs like Camden’s Connect the Lots and Vineland’s Park Hop have incorporated yoga into their healthy activity rotations. YogaJournal.com offers a list of 38 awesome health benefits of practicing yoga, including the following: Stress Management – Practicing yoga can help increase calmness and sharpen concentration. Muscle Strength and Toning – Along with relieving stress, yoga is great for physical health. As you continue to practice yoga, you may notice an increase in your core strength and overall muscle tone. Healthier Eating Habits – Exercising regularly helps you burn more calories and become a more conscious eater. You can start positive dietary changes by switching out junk food snacks and […]

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Stay Active This Summer!

June 6, 2017

by Cara Morello Director of Administration/Operations, Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA Summer is the ideal time for kids to get up, get out, and explore. But, for some kids, summer means no access to recreational and educational activities to help them learn, grow, and thrive during out-of-school time. As a result, some kids can experience learning loss and gain weight twice as fast than during the school year (Y USA, 2016). Keeping kids active and engaged over the course of the summer will help combat some of the barriers that arise during the summer season. Being active doesn’t have to be boring or strenuous – contrary to what most believe. There are options for any kid, and any parent, to have fun this summer, instead of being in front of the television or computer. Parents may consider a summer camp program for their child that ensures campers are moving throughout the […]

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The Importance of Environmental Scans for Children

May 1, 2017

by Victoria Buhl Stickers, computers, yoga balls… These are just a few of the items staff members have requested when asked: “What would you like to put on your school’s wish list?” I have been working with the NJ Partnership for Healthy Kids to conduct environmental scans in four Trenton elementary schools. My project is part of a much larger initiative entitled the Community Health Collaborative (CHC), funded by Novo Nordisk. The CHC brings together various Trenton-area organizations with the goal of decreasing the risk of type II diabetes in second and third graders from the identified target schools. My role in conducting and compiling the scans will help inform the other grantees of the most immediate needs in the schools.  The environmental scans consisted of 50 questions and assessed each school’s physical activity environment, nutritional environment, built environment, and overall school climate and culture. To conduct the scans, I […]

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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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