(NC) Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in Canada. Today, over 1.6 million Canadian children between the ages of 5-17 carry extra weight, with 11.7% classified as obese. Most adolescents do not outgrow this problem and continue to gain weight into adulthood, putting them at risk for heart disease, diabetes and strokes. There are many factors that contribute to unhealthy weight among children, including overconsumption of food and a lack of physical activity. In a recent report, when compared with 14 other countries, Canada scored a D- on overall physical activity levels, with only 7% of kids ages 5-11 and 4% of kids ages 12-17 meeting guidelines.
March is Nutrition Month. To remind Canadians of the benefits of good nutrition the T-fal cook brand is launching the award-winning Healthy Cooking for Healthy Kids Program. The annual 30-day challenge offers valuable tools to help parents build healthy living habits by teaching kids about:
• Nutrition: Incorporates how to select healthy foods, understanding portion control and knowing how to prepare favourite dishes in a healthier way.
• Being active: Exercise plays an important role in managing health, improving moods and keeping stress levels down.
The 2015 Healthy Cooking for Healthy Kids Program provides free printable resources including a live chat with a leading nutritionist, kid-friendly recipes, informative tips, BMI calculators, healthy weight charts, proportion control placemats, grocery lists and reward charts. These are all available online at t-fal.ca/nutritionmonth
Help your family reach their healthy living goals throughout Nutrition Month with these 5 easy tips:
1. Read labels and make a grocery list: Do not be tempted by everything in sight at the grocery store. Stock-up on healthy options.
2. Make cooking a family activity: Get your kids involved in the meal preparation process – it is a great way for them to develop an interest in healthy eating.
3. Eat in: Studies show that the more meals a family eats together, the more likely the children are to eat fruits, vegetables, grains and calcium-rich foods and beverages.
4. Minimize distractions: Kids get more satisfaction from the food they eat and are less likely to overeat if they are kept away from distractions such as televisions and computers.
5. Get active together: When the whole family is involved in physical activities, children learn that being active can be fun. It is recommended that children get a total of 60 minutes of exercise per day, which can be cut down to smaller increments of 10 or 15 minutes. Exercise does not necessarily mean going to the gym. Have a snowball fight, go ice skating or go for walk with the dog.
Nutrition Month information, including healthy cooking recipes, is available at t-fal.ca/nutritionmonth.