MEND Program
Shapedown BC
 

 

How elementary schools and highschools can help: the 5-2-1-0 rule

From 1981 to 1996 the number of boys and girls who were overweight doubled and the number that were obese tripled. Public Health Agency of Canada

Schools play an important role in teaching a child good eating habits and how to live an active life. Active and healthy children learn better and develop healthy habits that can last their whole lives.

5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day

Fruits and vegetables contain many nutrients that a child's body needs and they should be the cornerstone of everyone's diet. According to a 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey, children who eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day are significantly less likely to develop overweight and obesity than children who eat less than 3 servings per day. Additional evidence supports the linkage between high fruit and vegetable consumption and decreased cancers, diabetes and heart disease rates. Help you students reach the goal of 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day:

  • Implement a program in your school such as Healthy Buddies, a 21 week program with all lessons organized around one or more of the following: physical activity, nutrition, and self esteem. Empowering children to help other children is key to the Healthy Buddies program. The program is designed to pair older and younger students as learning buddies, creating opportunities for increased social responsibility and raising awareness of healthy living through out an entire school. Starting September 2008, Healthy Buddies will be piloted in Northern Alberta by Peace Country Health and in Ontario by the Variety Club of Ontario. For more information go to the Healthy Buddies website.
  • Make sure your school knows about Action Schools! BC, a best practices whole-school model designed to assist schools in creating and implementing individualized action plans to promote healthy living while achieving academic outcomes and supporting Comprehensive School Health.  Action School! BC contributes to the overall health and physical literacy of children and youth by integrating daily physical activity, physical education and healthy eating practices into the school community, with a goal of providing a foundation for life-long healthy living.  The initiative is a source for practical and relevant professional development, curriculum-linked resources and support for teachers in physical education, daily physical activity and healthy eating, and physical activity and healthy eating leadership training and resources for students - including action ideas, program recommendations, success stories, downloadable resources and initiative information, and links to healthy living resources from British Columbia and across Canada.  The initiative promotes the creation of inclusive and diverse physical activity and healthy eating opportunities throughout the school day, and supports schools in making the healthy choices the easy choices for students, teachers, administrators, and other members of the school community.  The Action Schools! BC framework for action focuses on six Action Zones: School Environment, Scheduled Physical Education, Classroom Action, Family and Community, Extra-Curricular, and School Spirit.  Please visit www.actionschoolsbc.ca 
  • Refer to the Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in BC Schools when selecting food items for fundraisers, vending machines, cafeterias and school stores. Advertise only healthy foods and beverages on school grounds and use healthy foods for fundraisers.
  • Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Learning Resource is a Kindergarten to Grade 10 grade-by-grade set of healthy eating and physical activity classroom-based lesson plans for the BC public school system. Ministry of Health, in partnership with Ministry of Education, developed the learning resources in consultation with students, teachers and health professionals. They are congruent with and meet minimum prescribed learning outcomes in Health and Career Education from Kindergarten to Grade 9 and Planning 10.

2 hours of screen time or less per day

The latest Canadian Community Health Survey data indicates that children who watch more than 2 hours of screen time (TV, computer, video games) per day have double the incidence of overweight and obesity when compared to children who watch less than 1 hour per day. Screen time takes the place of essential physical activity. Help to decrease screen time for your students:

  • Educate your students and their families to limit screen time to 2 hours or less per day and keep children physically active. We recommend the use of a timer to avoid quarrels as to how much time has elapsed.
  • Remind students and families that children should not be allowed to watch TV before 2 years of age and there should be no TV in the children's bedroom, no matter what the child's age.
  • Learn about Screen Smart, a new program for elementary schools.  This program aims to decrease recreational screen time and increase physical activity levels of students. 

1 hour or more of physical activity per day

There is significant improvement in both physical and mental health when children and teenagers obtain their required 60 minutes of physical activity per day. But more than half of 5-17 year olds are not reaching activity levels sufficient for optimal growth and development. Encourage students to be active! According to Canada's Physical Activity Guide, children should engage in 30 minutes a day of vigorous physical activity such as running and playing soccer and 60 minutes a day of moderate physical activity such as playing outdoors or biking. Help students reach their daily physical activity requirement:

  • Make sure your school knows about Action Schools! BC, a best practices whole-school model designed to assist schools in creating and implementing individualized action plans to promote healthy living while achieving academic outcomes and supporting Comprehensive School Health.  Action Schools! BC contributes to the overall health and physical literacy of children and youth by integrating daily physical activity, physical education and healthy eating practices into the school community, with a goal of providing a foundation for life-long healthy living.  The initiative is a source for practical and relevant professional development, curriculum-linked resources and support for teachers in physical education, daily physical activity and healthy eating, and physical activity and healthy eating leadership training and resources for students - including action ideas, program recommendations, success stories, downloadable resources and initiative information, and links to healthy living resources from British Columbia and across Canada.  The initiative promotes the creation of inclusive and diverse physical activity and healthy eating opportunities throughout the school day, and supports schools in making the healthy choices the easy choices for students, teachers, administrators, and other members of the school community.  The Action Schools! BC framework for action focuses on six Action Zones: School Environment, Scheduled Physical Education, Classroom Action, Family and Community, Extra-Curricular, and School Spirit.  Please visit www.actionschoolsbc.ca
  • Implement a program in your school such as Healthy Buddies, a 21 week program with all lessons organized around one or more of the following: physical activity, nutrition, and self esteem. Empowering children to help other children is key to the Healthy Buddies program. The program is designed to pair older and younger students as learning buddies, creating opportunities for increased social responsibility and raising awareness of healthy living through out an entire school. Starting September 2008, Healthy Buddies will be piloted in Northern Alberta by Peace Country Health and in Ontario by the Variety Club of Ontario. For more information go to the Healthy Buddies website.
  • Canada's Physical Activity Guides are available on the Public Health Agency of Canada website. Educators will find a Teacher's Guide to Physical Activity for Children and a Teacher's Guide to Physical Activity for Youth.
  • Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Learning Resource is a Kindergarten to Grade 10 grade-by-grade set of healthy eating and physical activity classroom-based lesson plans for the BC public school system. Ministry of Health, in partnership with Ministry of Education, developed the learning resources in consultation with students, teachers and health professionals. They are congruent with and meet minimum prescribed learning outcomes in Health and Career Education from Kindergarten to Grade 9 and Planning 10.
  • Do not use food as a class reward for students. Use other types of rewards such as going outside to play or playing at the playground
  • Ensure your school is available after hours for use by the community for recreation so that students in your area have the opportunity to be active before and after school

0 sugar sweetened beverages per day

We know that one of the major contributors to the childhood obesity epidemic is the over consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSB's). Examples of SSB's are soft drinks (pop), fruit “beverages” , “punches” or “cocktails” (bought or homemade), flavoured milk, sports drinks and flavoured coffees. These beverages are liquid candy and should rarely be served. 100% pure fruit juice does not contain added sugar but may well contribute to excess weight gain and portions should be limited.

Aside from weight gain, a child who drinks too many SSB's may also have tooth decay and loose bowels or diarrhea due to problems digesting the sugars in the drinks.

Help decrease the amount of sugar sweetened beverages that children are drinking:

  • Learn about Sip Smart : From sport drinks to pop to fruit "punch", sugar-sweetened beverages are everywhere. To help kids kick this liquid-sugar habit, the BC Pediatric Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation are launching an elementary school educational program. It includes innovative resource materials and a teacher-friendly learning module. By teaching kids why it is important to drink less sugary drinks, the initiative complements BCHLA's other efforts to reduce unhealthy choices in schools. The goal? When kids are thirsty, they reach for healthier thirst-quenchers.
  • Learn about Drop the Pop. The overall goal of Drop the Pop is to achieve an improvement in the health of school-aged children and their families through healthy eating and the creation of supportive environments.The Campaign raises awareness of how sugary beverages and low nutrient foods negatively affect health and learning. To read more about Drop the Pop, click here  
  • Encourage parents to limit fruit juice to one small glass (125 mL) per day. Fruit juice contains the sugar of fruit but at higher amounts than in fresh fruit since it takes many fruits to make one glass of juice. Encourage parents to give children fresh fruit instead of juice.
  • Encourage parents to pack water or milk in their child's school lunch instead of a juice box.
  • Advise parents that if SSB’s are to be included in a meal they should be viewed as a dessert substitute.
  • Milk drinking is 30% lower in schools that sell pop and juice in vending machines. Refer to the Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in BC Schools when selecting food items for fundraisers, vending machines, cafeterias and school stores. Advertise only healthy foods and beverages on school grounds and use healthy foods for fundraisers.

December 2014

Shapedown BC is now being offered in Cantonese and Mandarin!  Contact Amy Chow at 604-233-3150 x 5584

May 2014

We are pleased to share this report on our progress with the CHWII.  Click here for Our Journey, March 2014

MEND is accepting new families! Learn more here

ShapedownBC is accepting referrals! Learn more here

January 2013

Teachers interested in learning more about Screen Smart and receiving free copies of Screen Smart resources should sign up for the Action Schools! BC 5-2-1-0 Workshop.  This workshop is cross-curricular collaboration featuring Action Schools! BC Healthy Eating and Physical Activity, Sip Smart! BC, and Screen Smart resources that support school health promotion messaging of: 5 or more servings of vegetables and fruit; 2 hours of screen time or less; 1 hour or more of physical activity; and 0 sugary drinks per day.  The Screen Smart program is available free of charge on the Screen Smart website here.