Ten Thousand Steps




10,000 STEPS WEEKS 3-6

Well, we're still at it!  Week 3's topic was Food Labels and we had the students look at actual packaging to see the type of information that was available for the consumer.  We talked about fat, sodium, calories and especially serving sizes.  We also took a look at the added ingredients that are used to give our processed food the flavor and shelf life necessary to meet  the needs of our “on the go” lifestyles.

The Food Pyramid lessons stress that the pyramid is wider at the bottom and narrower at the top to present a visual image of eating more of , or establishing a base of healthy food choices.  Choosing foods as close to their natural state as you can, using less additions like saturated fats, cream sauces, breading, sugars will help ensure you will be getting the most vitamin and fiber from your food.  Choose foods that are bright in color and eat a variety from the different food groups.  This all sounds so simple, but the choices of foods designed for convenience make it very difficult to stick to a healthy plan.

An article about childhood obesity—A Growing Problem by Lynne Lyons (www.myfreestyle.com) states that More than one third (>72 million) US adults are obese.  This has doubled since 1980 and 16% of 2-19 year old US children and adolescents are obese or > that the 95%BMI for their age.  This has tripled since 1980.  She continues to point out that children mirror their environment.  They do not control the food in the house, at school, or at restaurants.

People now have a distorted perception of appropriate portion size and the larger the serving size, the more we eat.  In the past 20 years, the size of a standard hamburger has increased by 112%, pasta servings are 480% larger and biscuits and cookies are 700% larger than they were 20 years ago.  Is it any wonder that Type 2 diabetes is increasing at such an alarming rate?  Http://forecast.diabetes.org Weighty Matters for Youngsters by Katie Bunker describes research results associating pediatric metabolic syndrome with the development of Type 2 diabetes as an adult.

Www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouthYouth, sites an article describing current eating habits of today's youth and why they feel schools are ideally suited to “give children and adolescents the skills and support they need to adopt healthy eating behaviors for life. “   “Poor eating habits and inactivity are the root causes of overweight and obesity.”  Along these lines, students were asked to record all their physical activity for three days.  The Activity pyramid suggests that children engage in playful activity at least 60 minutes everyday.    Doesn't that sound like something we just take for granted?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the average child watches 3 hours of tv per day, the average time spent with all media combined is about 51/2 hours per day and 65% of kids who surf the web daily eat when they are online.  In 2003, 37% of elementary students didn't participate in 20 minutes of exercise 3 days per week and only 8% of elementary students and 5.8% of high school students were provided with daily PE.

I The Iron River students  were given a pedometer to wear for the rest of the school year.  We wanted to learn just how many steps/day our kids were actually moving and also encourage them to increase their daily activity to 10,000 steps/day by adding 1000 steps to their daily goal.  This week was 5000 steps.  Www.foxnews.com reported on Monday, Feb. 22, 2010 that a study called The Global Corporate Challenge looked at 60,000 workers in 55 countries who aimed to walk 10,000 steps every day for eight months showed results of increased fitness and energy, loss of an average of 10lbs each, reduction in high blood pressure, decreased waist size and reduction of significant risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Type in keywords 10,000 steps walking programs and follow some of the leads if you would like to join in a walking program too.

Teaching the students to be aware of what they are eating, how that food is affecting their health, understanding the needs and effects of physical activity on our bodies, and providing opportunities for  them to make healthy choices is the main goal of our step program.  We want them to learn that HABITS are learned and can be changed, and that they are personally responsible for making the choices that will promote better health.  Their motto is “WE CAN CHOOSE, WE CAN CHANGE, AND WE CAN TAKE CHARGE!”  Everything they do requires them to make a choice and all choices have consequences.  This not only applies to eating and activity but to all their character attributes.  Maybe this is a good lesson for us all.

Iron River Lions Club


Iron River Elementary School