Healthy Children - December 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.



Here are the Facts

Helping children learn to eat right and be active every day means they have a better shot at being successful in school – and in life. But, our children’s health and their ability to learn continue to be in jeopardy. The statistics are alarming and should encourage all of us to take action.

  • More than 30 percent of American children are obese or overweight. This is
    triple the number than in 1980.
  • Overweight kids are likely to become overweight adults.
  • Poor nutrition is everywhere, only 2 percent of school-age children consistently eat well.
  • Kids are less active overall due to today’s fast-paced but sedentary lifestyles. Only 8 percent of elementary school students and 6 percent of middle school
    and high school students have daily PE at school.
  • 35% of school-age children watch an average of 5 or more hours of TV on a school day.
  • Overweight kids miss school 4 times as much as normal weight kids. If kids aren’t in school, they can’t learn.
  • Low-income and minority children are most seriously at risk.
  • All of these children face serious, yet preventable, obesity-related health risks such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.
  • As a nation, we spend $119 billion annually on obesity-related health care costs. The U.S. economy simply cannot bear continued increases in these costs.


If we don’t help our children learn to eat right and be active every day, then this generation will be the first to live shorter lives than their parents. In addition, evidence continues to show that healthy kids learn better... and our kids are counting on us.

Reprinted with permission from:



Homemade Turkey Soup

To make this popular soup lower in saturated fat, prepare it ahead of time to cool and skim off the fat that rises to the top.

6 lb. turkey breast. It should have some meat (at least 2 cups) remaining on it to make a good rich soup.
2 medium onions
3 stalks of celery
1 tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. dried rosemary
½ tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried marjoram
½ tsp. dried tarragon
½ tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste
½ lb. Italian pastina or pasta
  1. Place turkey breast in a large 6-quart pot. Cover with water, at least ¾ full.
  2. Peel onions, cut in large pieces, and add to pot. Wash celery stalks, slice, and add to pot also.
  3. Simmer covered for about 2 ½ hours.
  4. Remove carcass from pot. Divide soup into smaller, shallower containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.
  5. After cooling, skim off fat.
  6. While soup is cooling, remove remaining meat from turkey carcass. Cut into pieces.
  7. Add turkey meat to skimmed soup along with herbs and spices.
  8. Bring to a boil and add pastina. Continue cooking on low boil for about 20 minutes until pastina is done. Serve at once or refrigerate for later reheating.


About 4 quarts of soup (16 servings)
Serving Size: 1 cup
Nutrition Facts
Calories: 226
Total fat: 5g
Saturated fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 93mg
Sodium: 217 mg



Let’s Move! Child Care

Join family child care and center-based providers who have already committed to Let’s Move! Child Care by signing up at for updates, webinars, and to share your success stories!

We are excited to announce the launch of Let’s Move! Child Care, a new effort to promote children’s health by encouraging and supporting healthier physical activity and nutrition practices for children in child care. With more than 20% of children between 2 and 5 years old overweight or obese, the child care community is an essential ally in the effort to prevent childhood obesity, support children’s healthy development, and prevent the occurrence of later chronic disease.

The 5 goals of Let’s Move! Child Care are in the following areas:

Physical Activity
Provide 1 – 2 hours of physical activity throughout the day, including outside play when possible.
Screen Time
No screen time for children under 2 years. For children age 2 and older, strive to limit screen time to no more than 30 minutes per week during child care, and work with parents and caregivers to ensure children have no more than 1 – 2 hours of quality screen time per day (as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics).
Serve fruits or vegetables at every meal, eat meals family-style whenever possible, and don’t serve fried foods.
Provide access to water during meals and throughout the day, and don’t serve sugar-sweetened drinks. For children age 2 and older, serve low-fat (1%) or non-fat milk, and no more than one 4 to 6 ounce serving of 100% juice per day.
Infant Feeding
For mothers who want to continue breastfeeding, provide their milk to their infants and welcome them to breastfeed during the child care day. Support all new parents’ decisions about infant feeding.


For more information and to register for Let’s Move! Child Care, visit us at



Quick Tips and Info for Today’s Busy Parents

Serve your kids breakfast before school.
A simple meal of whole grain cereal, fruit and milk provides nutrients. Healthy bodies need nutrients like calcium, iron, folic acid and zinc. Breakfast may also help control weight. A recent study showed that 9 - 10 year old girls who ate breakfast for 10 years were leaner than girls who did not eat breakfast.
It is risky for young kids to drink alcohol.
Kids who drink alcohol before the age of 15 are 6 times more likely to form alcohol problems than those who drink after the age of 21. About 700,000 U.S. 12 - 14 year old kids drink alcohol. Almost 50% get it from family or at home. Do not drink alcohol with your teens. Tell them to wait until they are 21 to drink.
Exercise outdoors.
Research shows that you will have decreased tension, confusion, anger and depression. You may also be more likely to repeat your exercise routine. Walk, run, bike and hike. Take your small weights, and do some strength training.
Beware of relaxation foods and drinks.
They contain high amounts of a hormone called Melatonin. They may also contain Valerian root and other herbs. Brownies like Lazy Cakes look harmless. However, they contain 8 mg of melatonin. One bite can harm a young child.

To receive familyTIME as an e-newsletter, sign up by calling 217-544-5808 in Springfield, toll-free 1-888-727-5889 or E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



School-age TIME

Activities: Is Quitting OK?

Studies estimate that 83% of kids age 6–17 are in an extra activity. Forty-two percent play sports. About 72% of kids quit youth sports by the time they are 14. What do parents do when their child wants to quit an activity? Push her to continue? Let her quit? Many fear quitting will become a lifelong pattern. Experts tell us that children often quit activities because they:

  • Fear failure
  • Believe the activity is beyond their ability
  • Feel too much pressure to perform
  • Are bored
  • Have not improved
  • Give in to peer pressure
  • Find too many activities leave no time to “hang out” with friends
  • Realize the activity is no longer fun
  • Get little play time
  • Want to try other activities


David Elkind, The Hurried Child, advises parents. Children ages 9 and under do not have a clear idea of activities they will like. When they want to quit, most likely they are not having fun. The activity is “not for them”. He assures parents that quitting an activity does not start a pattern of quitting.

If your child asks to quit–stay calm. Gather your facts.

  • Talk with your child. Ask questions
  • Listen; really listen to what your child says. Try to find the cause for wanting to quit. Is she having a problem?
  • Ask other parents if their children are having problems
  • Attend practices, games and events. Observe the coach, your child and other kids
  • Is the activity beyond your child’s ability?
  • Think about why your child signed up for the activity. Was it her idea? Was it your idea?
  • What is the purpose of the activity? Is it to learn or improve a skill? Is it for fun or for safety – such as swimming?
  • Observe your child. Is she so stressed she has a change in her behavior?


Do not give in too quickly. Children lack problem-solving skills. Help your child problem-solve. (Visit the Parent Help Line web page to learn more about skill-building.)

Give praise and encouragement. Talk about future goals. If the activity does not work for your child–together make the decision to quit. Then, try a new activity.

Reprinted with permission from Parent Help Line.