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In This Issue
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Children's Heart Health

 
February is National Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, killing more than 600,000 Americans each year. We don't usually think about children when it comes to heart disease or other heart related ailments, but developing heart healthy habits at a young age is key to changing the tide when it comes to these issues. While genetics play a factor for those affected by heart disease, the majority of cases are related to an individual's long-term diet and exercise habits, beginning at a young age.

Good nutrition is an essential component of quality child care. Children develop lifelong eating habits through early eating experiences, so promoting good eating habits by providing nutritious foods and by educating children and their families on nutrition should be a priority for all childcare providers. Food provides energy and nutrients needed by children during a critical period when they are growing and developing at a rapid pace. It's critical for early childhood providers to provide a solid foundation for positive eating habits, and to encourage the children in their care to taste new foods. Furthermore, it's important to provide alternatives to snacks or meals the children might be used to consuming. Instead of eating chips or sweets, recommend an apple or some carrots instead. Instead of drinking a soda or sugary drink, offer a glass of water.

A good nutrition is only part of the equation to developing heart healthy habits for children. Physical activity is an essential part of a healthy heart. Just like other muscles in the human body, the heart needs a good daily workout. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity every day. For young children, that daily activity should include a range of light, moderate, and vigorous activities. Simple activities like singing and dancing, or going on a nature walk can provide the daily light to moderate activity that all children need.

Heart-healthy habits for children are the same for adults, so the most practical and impactful way to teach children at an early age is by setting a good example yourself. Here are some heart-healthy tips for everybody: 

  • Limit TV to no more than two hours a day
  • Get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day
  • Eat a well-balanced diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, and dairy
  • Avoid fast food, fried food, candy, and sodas
  • Don't smoke cigarettes
The path to a healthy lifestyle begins in childhood. Heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity are becoming more common in children and young adults. Introducing the concepts of good nutrition and regular exercise are the best ways to help children develop heart-healthy habits at a young age and maintain a healthy lifestyle for the rest of their lives.
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Heart Healthy Eating for Kids
Article Courtesy of med.umich.edu
 
We all know that Valentine's Day is in February. Most kids look forward to getting valentines and candy. Instead of a valentine, what can you give to your child's heart for Valentine's Day? A heart healthy diet! This website can help you learn how to turn your child's diet into a diet that can help to prevent heart disease later in life, starting now! View Article  
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     Physical Activity in Children         
                      Article Courtesy of heart.org
 
Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for developing coronary artery disease. It also increases the risk of stroke and such other major cardiovascular risk factors as obesity, high blood pressure, low HDL ("good") cholesterol and diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends that children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
 View Article 
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This Month's Trial Course: Healthy Habits   
 
CCEI offers NFS100: Healthy Habits: Nutrition and Fitness Practices as an online no-cost trial child care training course to new CCEI users during the month of February.

This course offers ideas for promoting healthy eating and active play in the early childhood environment. Participants will learn why and how to develop a nutrition policy, strategies for working with families to promote proper nutrition practices at home, and curriculum enrichment ideas for increasing healthy lifestyle choices and reducing obesity.
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Nutrition in School-Age Programs   
 
Afterschool programs have a great opportunity to shape and develop heart healthy lifestyles in young kids. School-age programs can offer a variety of organized physical activities and provide healthy snacks and meals.

Young students in afterschool programs typically have more freedom and time to be active and participate in physical activities. While afterschool programs are just one of the many settings that students can be active and take part in activities, they are a valuable resource in continuing the development and healthy lifestyles being promoted in early childhood education. 

Learn More 
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Alumni Profile   
 
Amber McNabb
Hixson, TN

Congratulations to Amber for successfully completing the Online Self Study CDA Certificate!

Amber began her career in early childhood at Sequoyah Vocational School where she took classes and worked in a laboratory daycare setting. She enjoys spending time with the children in her care during art time, while the children's favorite time of day is outdoor play time! Amber is motivated by simply being around the kids in her care and seeing the joy they bring to life. She says, "I love to see them improve their problem solving skills. The way their face lights up when they solve something on their own is priceless."

Amber continues to take classes with CCEI and plans to continue her education in early childhood care. She recommends CCEI to everyone and says, "I plan on doing at least two classes per month. I feel like I'm constantly learning, and the more training I have the better." 
 
Congratulation, Amber! CCEI is proud to call you a graduate!
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