Back To School Health - WSMV Channel 4

Back To School Health

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Like most kids, it takes Marie Chace a while to get back into the routine of school.  Her mom says a summer full of good times may have lead to a few bad habits.

Mary Chace, Marie's mom says  "It's real easy to slip into sleeping in late and not getting outside because it is too hot or maybe eating junk food."

They can be tough habits to break, in fact studies show that young children, especially gain weight twice as fast during the summer months. But when school starts, that starts to change.

Karen Bakies, RD, LD, American Dairy Association says "The key is to get kids on a schedule. When you get kids on a schedule, they're more likely to eat and sleep and get physical activity on a regular basis."

Karen Bakies is a registered dietitian with the American Dairy Association.  She says the structure that comes with school provides benefits most kids and parents don't realize. First in the cafeteria, new guidelines this fall require schools to offer healthier foods.

Karen Bakies says  "The focus really will be on those nutrient rich foods that kids need to grow strong, grow tall, and perform in the classroom including low fat free dairy products, more fresh fruits, more fresh vegetables."

Getting to bed earlier is another way school keeps kids healthy. Studies show the more you sleep, the less likely you are to overeat.

Then there's exercise. Only about half of all high schoolers play organized sports. But through free events like the fuel up to play 60 program, 36 million kids not only learn proper nutrition, but now get daily exercise they might not otherwise get.

Mary says  "Getting a couple of kids excited about something and it can take off and excite a whole classroom. And I think this a great time to use the positive effect of peer pressure."

Experts say another way school can keep kids healthy is that they are more likely to eat breakfast during the school year than in the summer. Eating breakfast helps control appetites and regulate metabolism. Local school systems have programs to try and keep students moving and healthy. Check with your child's local school to see what's available.

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