Establishing Healthy Habits for Kids

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You likely know by now that being overweight or obese increases your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. In fact, AICR estimates that over 100,000 cancer cases a year are caused by carrying excess fat.

That’s a sobering statistic, and the latest numbers on childhood obesity suggest that number will keep growing. After all, children who are overweight or obese tend to grow into overweight and obese adults.

But you can help ensure a brighter, healthier future for your kids. How? By treating yourself right.

Think about it: Children model their parents’ behavior, so every time you prepare a healthy meal or make time for getting active, you’re instilling those same habits in your kids.

The Obesity Society recommends that parents keep only healthy foods in the house and choose the restaurants the family visits.

Anyone who’s unthinkingly polished off a bag of potato chips while watching their favorite program knows that eating in front of the TV encourages “passive overeating” – that’s why it’s a good idea to serve meals at the dinner table whenever you can.

Encourage kids to get and stay active any way they can. Planning family activities that revolve around walking, biking, hiking or swimming can help less active kids get their hearts pumping.

First Lady Michelle Obama has launched a nationwide campaign called Let’s Move! to help stop childhood obesity. The website’s got lots of ideas for getting kids interested in health and nutrition.

AICR has our own children’s website called the Taste Buddies, filled with games, quizzes and kid-friendly information to help kids learn that eating better and moving more can be fun.

The Cancer-Diabetes Connection

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Last week the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society published a consensus paper on the links between diabetes and cancer.  The two diseases share many of the same risk factors: overweight and obesity, lack of physical activity and poor diets.

Here’s the AICR statement welcoming the new consensus report.

We’ve written about this connection often, over the years.  Here’s an in-depth look at the science connecting both diseases, from a recent issue of our AICR Science Now newsletter.

In August, we’ll release our latest AICR In-Depth background paper for health professionals.  This paper will review the science on the cancer-diabetes connection and provide “bottom line” advice for patients and clients. If you’re a health professional or educator, you can receive AICR In-Depth papers, along with lots of other free information and discounts on bulk purchases of AICR materials, by signing up for the AICR HPE eCommunity.

Staying Active by Thinking Green

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There are over 400 national parks in the United States that help preserve historic buildings and landscapes while creating recreation activities close to home. Volunteering at a national park can be rewarding both mentally and physically. Volunteers help maintain over 1,000 trails and historic landmarks including places like Pearl Harbor and the Martin Luther King Birthplace.

The June issue of AICR’s eNews shows volunteering at a park is a great way to get involved with your local history and to add physical activity to your schedule. AICR recommends 30 minutes of moderate daily activity to prevent cancer and it’s important to find an activity that you enjoy so you’ll stick with it.

There are other ways to volunteer outside if helping out at a national park isn’t for you. The recent oil spill in the Gulf coast region has produced a need for volunteers to help clean up the affected area and report the environmental impacts caused by the spill. National parks have been affected by this as well as other organizations helping to clean up the Gulf Bay. Some of these organizations you can volunteer at are the National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. Their websites will contain more information on how to help.