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Unplugging to Enjoy Outdoor Activities During the Summer

SportsSummer is almost here and many look forward to more screen time.

Have you ever wanted to bottle up a child’s energy?

Does your teen need to do more than text or use social media?

Yes, they will stop moving when there is a screen in front of their faces. It could be a TV screen or a computer screen but if they can see it they immediately assume a seated position and time will be lost. So even the most active children can have moments of lazy times in front of the TV or playing a video game. This becomes a problem if you would not recognize your child standing up or without that glazed look he gets while staring at the TV.

Sedentary activities can be allowed if they are monitored and do not become a lifestyle.  In today’s world of video games, iPods, Tablets, and texting we see more kids preferring to exercise their fingers over their bodies.  As parents we need to encourage a healthy way to stay active and burn off excess fat and calories before it becomes a problem.

Since children naturally have a ton of energy and love to play then engaging them in physical activity should not be too difficult. It is recommended that a child get 60 minutes of moderately intense exercise a day.

The one hour can be split up in half or quarters but the main goal is to make them sweat for more than not cleaning their rooms for at least 60 minutes daily. This alone can have a tremendous effect on keep their weight now and keeping them healthy.

Ways to keep your child active:

  • Martial Arts
  • Swimming
  • Join a team sport
  • Take the dog for job or a long walk
  • Bike riding
  • A quick morning routine of jumping jacks, running in place, push-ups and crunches followed by more activity later in the day.
  • Raking leaves
  • Doing yard work for an elderly neighbor
  • Walking a neighbor’s dog
  • Toss a football
  • Go on a nature hunt.
  • Play catch in the front yard.
  • Kickball
  • Surfing

There are plenty of ways to keep moving. It seems so many try to calm their child down or have them satisfied by video games and TV. This will not give children the physical activity or mental stimulation they need to live a healthy life. A lot of that pent up frustration and fidgety behavior is an active kid just waiting to throw a football or go on a nature walk.

Make this a family activity and everybody wins.  Families who are active have active children.  With a rise in childhood obesity it is essential that we find activities the children enjoy.  One of the best ways to encourage an activity is by making it a family sport or activity.

Everyone in the family will benefit from working out together.

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Teenage Smoking: New Youth Cigarette Smoking Data Released

New data, from the Florida Department of Health, shows a decline in the prevalence of cigarette smoking among Florida’s middle school and high school students.The National Institutes of Health sent out a release about the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) 2011 Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF), which shows that cigarette and alcohol use by eighth, 10th and 12th-graders are at their lowest point since the MTF survey began polling teens in 1975. Release: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/dec2011/nida-14.htm
Below is a complete press release on the Florida youth data. The national 2011 results released last week showed that 18.7 percent of 12th-graders reported current (past-month) cigarette use. In Florida, that prevalence rate is below the national average at just 15.4 percent.
Three weeks ago, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids ranked Florida Ranks 13th in “Protecting Kids from Tobacco.” (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/national-report-florida-ranks-13th-in-protecting-kids-from-tobacco-134745003.html)
New Tobacco Free Florida Website

I also encourage you to visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com. Earlier this month, Tobacco Free Florida re-launched its website in time for the New Year, when many Floridians resolve to quit tobacco. The new, user-friendly website provides substantiated information to encourage tobacco users to quit and offers the tips and tools needed to quit successfully. In early 2012, Tobacco Free Florida will expand the website to include sections on helping others quit, a variety of tobacco-related issues in the state, information for teens, and much more.

Survey Data Shows Decrease in Smoking Among Florida Youth
Data Reveals Decrease in Cigarette Smoking Though Smokeless Tobacco Use Continues to Grow
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health (DOH) released results from the 2011 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS) showing a decrease in cigarette smoking rates among Florida middle school and high school students.
In 2011, 11.9 percent of high school students and 3.5 percent of middle school students reported current cigarette use, meaning they had smoked a cigarette at least once during the past 30 days. Compared to last year, this data shows a decrease of 9.2 percent among high school students and a decrease of 28.6 percent among middle school students. More significantly, since the Tobacco Free Florida campaign launched in 2007, 17.9 percent fewer high school students and 42.6 percent fewer middle school students in Florida were current cigarettes smokers.
“The continued decrease in the smoking prevalence rate among our state’s youth is a clear indication of the effectiveness of our tobacco prevention programs,” said Dr. Frank Farmer, Florida’s State Surgeon General. “However, tobacco prevention remains a critical issue in Florida where tobacco use remains the number one cause of disease and preventable death.”
Despite the promising decline of cigarette smoking among youth, the prevalence of smokeless tobacco use has trended upward among Florida youth over the past several years. This is consistent with an increase in smokeless tobacco use nationwide.
Smokeless tobacco products are perceived to be less harmful. But in reality, these products contain more nicotine than cigarettes[i] and 28 cancer-causing agents (carcinogens).[ii] In addition, people who experiment with smokeless tobacco often develop a pattern of regular daily use.[iii]
“The most prominent influence on youth’s decision to partake in tobacco products is whether the parent engages in tobacco use,” said Kim Berfield, Deputy Secretary for the Florida Department of Health. “Parents with nicotine habits are advised to quit as soon as possible and discuss their quit struggle with their children, as many children tend to underestimate the addictiveness of nicotine. Parents should also be aware and talk to their children about the dangers and misconceptions of smokeless tobacco and flavored tobacco products, which are growing in popularity in younger populations.”
Preventing youth tobacco initiation is a critical step in combating the pervasive problem of tobacco in our state. In fact, nine out of 10 adult smokers begin while in their teens, or earlier, and two-thirds become regular, daily smokers before they reach the age of 19.[iv] In Florida, more than 22,800 kids (under 18) become new smokers each year.[v]
Tobacco prevention is as imperative as ever. Today, the design and contents of tobacco products make them more attractive and addictive than ever before.[vi] In addition, adolescents’ bodies are more sensitive to nicotine, and adolescents are more easily addicted than adults.[vii]
Tobacco Free Florida offers a number of free, convenient and confidential resources to help young tobacco users quit.
·         Online: Floridians age 13 or older can enroll in the Web Coach® at www.quitnow.net/florida, which will help them create personalized web-based quit plans.
·         Phone: Floridians age 11 or older can call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a Quit Coach who will help them assess their addiction and help them create personalized quit plans.
ABOUT TOBACCO FREE FLORIDA
Tobacco Free Florida (TFF) is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. The program is managed by the Florida Department of Health, specifically the Bureau of Tobacco Prevention Program.
Smokers and smokeless tobacco users interested in quitting are encouraged to call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a quit coach. To learn about TFF and the state’s free quit smoking resources, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or follow the campaign on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or Twitter at twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.

Sue Scheff: Money Is Good But Good Health is PRICELESS: Give your Children the Gift of Good Health

Guest Blogger, Susan White, from Radiology Technician Schools, has provided an educational article for parenting your kids towards good health!

Give your Children the Gift of Good Health

By Susan White

The best legacy we can pass on to our children is not money or wealth; it’s good health, and the only way we can do that is to instill in them the value of eating the right food and leading an active life right from childhood. With all the varieties of junk food and flavors of soda crowding the market and jostling for space in your cupboards, it’s hard to get your child to eat vegetables and fruits, but the only way to ensure that they are not obese children who grow up into unhealthy, pasty and fat adults with high levels of cholesterol who are at risk for diabetes, cardiac diseases and strokes is to make them understand that their food choices at an early age dictate who they become when they mature into adulthood.

Your job is made more difficult by the commercials that tout the benefits of burgers and chips and other fried and processed foods that are loaded with saturated fats, chemicals and additives and have zero nutrition value. To add to the burden, your kids’ friends are all eating the food they like, at fast food joints and out of packaged bags. Yes, it’s an uphill climb to make your child eat healthy food in this unfavorable scenario, but you must do what you must do, for it’s your child’s future at stake.

  • Eat healthy meals at home, ones that are prepared in house and include proteins, carbohydrates, good fats and vitamins.
  • Make desert a fruit rather than cake or pudding that’s loaded with sugar. Find ways to make tasty, healthy fruit salads. Ice cream that’s low in sugar and rich in milk can be added as a treat.
  • Make sure your kids drink milk instead of sodas filled with sugar. Flavor the milk if that’s what it takes to get them to drink it up.
  • Stay away from the aisles that stock sugared cereals. Instead, get your kids to eat wholegrain breakfast cereals with low fat milk.
  • Make fresh fruit juices for them to drink rather than sodas.
  • Include fruits and vegetables as a part of every meal.
  • Give your child a home-packed lunch rather than money for lunch at the school cafeteria. Use whole wheat bread to make healthy sandwiches.
  • Encourage your child to play outdoors rather than sit on the couch and watch TV or hole up in their room playing video games on weekends.
  • Offer your children a choice between vegetables, fruits and dishes before you prepare a meal.
  • Get your children to eat their meals at the table rather than in their rooms or in front of the television.
  • Set an example for your kids by eating healthy yourself and working out on a regular basis.
  • Most important, make your children understand why you are adopting a healthy food routine at your home when all their friends are able to eat what they choose.

To contact this author, please email her at susan.white33@gmail.com.

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