Healthy Children - November 2011

INCCRRA in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services is providing information on childhood obesity through its website. The intent is to communicate to child care practitioners, parents and others who visit the website, the seriousness of obesity in young children and to link them to current research on the issue.

Helpful suggestions for meal planning, recipes and healthy physical activities are presented on this site not just for overweight children but the health of the entire family.

New ideas are listed every month. Each month a new column on this issue of national concern is posted. It answers questions you have regarding heavy children and healthy lifestyles -- be sure to check it out.

For more information contact the Illinois Department of Human Services at (217) 785-9336 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also contact your local Illinois Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.

The consumer health information on childhood obesity provided by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies on the site or by any links to other sites is for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific treatment plan, product or course of action. This web site generally links to other sites that are informational in nature and does not link to commercial sites that are primarily intended for the sale of products or services. Use of this site or any links to other sites does not replace medical consultations with a qualified health or medical professional to meet the health and medical needs of you or a loved one. You should promptly seek professional care if you have any concern about the health of you or a loved one and you should always consult your physician before you or a loved one starts a fitness regimen.



Turkey: After the Holidays

Turkey Salad

Serves 4
2 cups diced, cook chicken or turkey
½ cup dried cranberries
½ celery
2 eggs, hardboiled, chopped
½ cup low fat mayonnaise or salad dressing
½ tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
Combine turkey, cranberries, celery and eggs
Add remaining ingredient and toss gently.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories 250
fat 8 g
calories from fat 70
sodium 660 mg
total carbohydrate 20 g
fiber 1 g



30 Ways in 30 days to Stretch Your Fruit and Vegetable Budget

Calculate an appropriate Healthy Food Budget for your family, based on USDA’s Low- Cost Food Plan
This easy-to-use calculator, offered by Iowa State University Extension, helps to create a budget for what is a reasonable amount to spend to feed your family healthy meals.
Cook enough for several meals and freeze leftovers
Place enough food for 1-2 meals in each container
Create a meal plan...
...for the week that uses similar fruits and vegetables, prepared in different ways. Make the most out of the produce that you buy
Buy fruits and vegetables in season... farmers’ markets or at your local grocery store.
Grow your own...
...vegetables. Invest a little in seeds, and get a lot of vegetables in return. Try indoor pots or greenhouse growing for the cooler months. Visit the Centers for Disease Control Web site for more information.
Mix it yourself
100% juice from frozen concentrate is often less expensive per serving than pre-bottled juice.
Minimize waste... buying only the amounts your family will eat.
Learn basic food math
Taking the time to make a food budget before grocery trips can make food buying decisions easier. Simple food math can help you decide if the watermelon or the bunch of grapes is a better buy.
Enjoy the comforts of home...
...more often. Eating at restaurants can increase the amount you spend on food. Include fruits and vegetables in quick, simple meals that you prepare at home. Visit the USDA's recipe finder for more information.
Be creative!
To get the most out of your purchase, enjoy your fruits and vegetables in different ways. For example, you can use fruits for dessert. Try baking apples or poaching pears with some cinnamon. Visit the CDC's recipe finder or Fruits and Veggies More Matters for more information.
Homemade soup... a healthy and tasty way to use vegetables. Make a big batch and freeze leftovers in small lunch-size containers.
Look for sales and deals...
...on fruits & vegetables at the grocery store or through coupons.
Cut your fruits and vegetables at home
Pre-cut produce can cost much more than whole fruits and vegetables.
Don’t shop hungry
Eat a healthy snack, such as an apple, before going to the grocery store so that you stick to your budget and avoid spending money set aside for fruit and vegetables on less healthy temptations.
Maximize your time and money
Cut coupons for foods, such as fruits and vegetables, only on your grocery list.
Canned fruits and vegetables...
will last a long time and can be a healthy addition to a variety of meals. Choose canned vegetables that have no added salt and fruit that is canned in 100% fruit juice.
Frozen fruit and vegetables... well in the freezer until you’re ready to add them to a meal.
Pick your own at local farms
Late summer and early fall is a great time to pick your own fruits and vegetables. This can be a fun and less expensive way to buy in bulk and freeze, can, or dry for later.
Dried fruit...
...lasts for a long time, but can be expensive. Buy in bulk with friends and share the cost.
...can be a great budget choice for many forms of fruits and vegetables.
WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) and Senior Farmers Market coupons...
can be used by WIC participants and older adults to purchase locally- grown, delicious fruits and vegetables.
Buy in small amounts...
...when trying new fruits and vegetables. Taste test before you change your grocery list.
Keep it simple
Buy dried beans, peas, and lentils in their raw or uncooked form instead of the processed and packaged versions which cost more.
Avoid buying single servings
Purchasing many small packages of produce is often more expensive than buying in larger amounts.
Shop at discount grocery stores...
...for good deals on fruits and vegetables, especially canned items.
Shop at large grocery stores...
...instead of small convenience stores when possible. There is more choice and the produce is often less expensive at larger stores.
Store them in the refrigerator or freezer...
...soon after getting home from your shopping trip, to make many fresh fruits and vegetables last longer. Many cookbooks offer specific freezing instructions.
Clearly label your foods
in the freezer and refrigerator with the contents and date to stay within a safe time frame.
Get creative with your leftover fruits and vegetables
Make salsa from your tomatoes and smoothies from your fruits! Visit to learn how.
Buy frozen fruits and vegetables... large bags to stretch your budget (e.g., green beans and blueberries). Avoid those with added sugar, salt, or sauce.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention |



Childhood Obesity Facts

  • Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.
  • In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.1,2
  • Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors.3 Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.4
  • Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.5,6


Health Effects of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being.

Immediate health effects
  • Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.7
  • Obese adolescents are more likely to have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes.8,9
  • Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.5,6,10


Long-term health effects:
  • Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults11-14 and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.6 One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults.12
  • Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.15


  • Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases.6
  • The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies, the media, and the food and beverage industries and entertainment industries.
  • Schools play a particularly critical role by establishing a safe and supportive environment with policies and practices that support healthy behaviors. Schools also provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.


Key Resources


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention |



SNAP: America’s First Line of Defense Against Hunger

USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, was crafted to expand during times of need. And so, as it was designed to do, participation in SNAP rose in response to the recent economic downturn experienced by our country. This increase in Americans participating in FN’ core nutrition program means that children are not experiencing hunger. And a reduction in child hunger has positive effects on the health, physical, emotional and intellectual development of America’s children.

Ultimately, these effects will yield long term benefits for our communities. Healthier kids mean a healthier country. Participation in SNAP also means that underemployed or recently unemployed parents can focus on obtaining a better job or a replacement job, since they don’t need to worry about feeding their children or where their own next meal will come from.

In so many ways, SNAP serves as the first line of defense against hunger. However, there have recently been a number of inaccurate stories about SNAP in the media. For this reason, FNS has created a document that combats many myths and misperceptions that are currently circulating about this critical program. The document’s key facts about SNAP are data-based and range from who participates in the program to payment accuracy levels.

For example, did you know that nearly 50% of SNAP recipients are children? And that another 8% are seniors? Or that nearly 40% of SNAP recipients live in households that have earned income? For these and other myth-busters, please see the recently updated SNAP fact sheet on our website. Also, learn about how SNAP is reaching underserved populations, and how more SNAP recipients are utilizing farmers markets to purchase healthy, locally-grown foods (page 8).

I’d like to encourage you—our many, diverse and valued partners—to join FNS in distributing this information so that the public and media are armed with facts about this critical nutrition program—our Nation’s first line of defense against hunger.

Ollice Holden
Food Nutrition Service Midwest Regional Administrator



Step Up to the New MyPlate!

By Samia Hamdan, MPH, RD, Nutritionist, FNS Midwest Region

Mealtime is an enjoyable time for all of us. USDA’s new MyPlate food icon, released on June 2, was designed as a familiar placemat reminding Americans to eat healthfully. Half of the plate is filled with fruits and vegetables. The other half is made up of grains and protein, with a side of low-fat or skim dairy product.

The MyPlate icon is based on the recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and is part of a national campaign to encourage healthy food choices. The “My” in “MyPlate” reminds us of the importance of a personalized approach to healthy eating.

The selected messages for all Americans are:

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains.
  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals—and choose foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.


Many great resources are available on the website. Here are a few to check out:

  • 10 Tips Nutrition Education
  • Series
  • Kid-friendly Veggies and Fruits
  • Be a Healthy Role Model for Children
  • With Protein Foods, Variety is Key.


The new 2010 Dietary Guidelines Consumer Brochure, Let’s Eat to the Health of It, provides practical ways to make healthy choices under themes such as “balancing calories,” “foods to increase” and “foods to reduce.” A description of each of the food groups featured on the MyPlate is also available on the website.


Can MyPyramid and MyPlate be used together?

Yes! Many of the messages about what to eat and how much to eat have not changed. One new feature to note is the “protein” group, which replaced the “meat and beans” group. This new name encourages a variety of proteins, including plant- based proteins. The orange vegetable group has been expanded to include red vegetables rich in Vitamin A.

If you have found MyPyramid posters, guidance materials and other tools useful in nutrition education, continue to use them until FNS revises its nutrition education resources to reflect the new MyPlate.


Do green bell peppers fall under the dark green vegetable food group?
No. Although they are green, they are not part of the Vitamin A-rich dark green vegetable group.

Visit to learn more and to find more new resources coming this fall!