- Author: Dohee Kim
UC Cooperative Extension's Network for a Healthy California--Children's Power Play! Campaign, in partnership with LA's BEST After School Program kicked off the third annual "Power Up Your Summer!" Challenge on Friday, June 10. The event empowered kids to add more play and eat more fruits and vegetables this summer to beat the "summer slump" in physical activity and healthy eating.
Youth leaders, U.S. Olympian Cyclist Tony Cruz and Chivas mascot were there to guide kids in super-charged, fun group games and activities.
Kids gain weight more than twice as fast during the summer as they do during the regular school year.
"For many students, summer break is also a break from healthy habits fostered in the structured school environment," said Ben Melendrez, program coordinator. "Instead of scheduled meals and snacks, children at home may have continuous access to unhealthy snacks. In place of recess, they spend more time watching television and playing video games. It all adds up to more calories consumed and less burned."
Eating more fruits and vegetables not only beats the "summer slump" and childhood obesity; it also helps kids feel good, reduce stress, improve strength and increase self-esteem. The event provided kids and their families resources, tools and guidance to ensure they meet their personal goals for healthy eating and physical activity this summer.
Elementary school children should get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. They should also eat two-and-a-half to five cups of fruits and vegetables every day.
"Parents can help their kids stay on track this summer by including more fruits and vegetables in meals and snacks, limiting screen time and by being positive role models," said Melendrez. "One of the best ways for parents to help kids get active and maintain healthy eating habits is by enrolling them in a summer activity program, which provides scheduled play and snacks as well as a safe place for them to learn and grow while parents are at work."
For more information on the Network for a Healthy California--Power Play! Campaign, please call (323) 260-3841 or click here.