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CDC offers some Tips for Teachers that promotes healthy eating and physical activity in the classroom

The Centers for Disease Control has published some Tips for Teachers that promotes healthy eating and physical activity in the classroom.

1. Allow Access to Drinking Water

Access to drinking water throughout the day gives students a healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages, says the CDC. Staying hydrated may also improve student cognitive function.

Allow students to visit the water fountain throughout the day and to carry water bottles in class.

2. Use Student Rewards that Support Health

The CDC does not recommend food or beverages to reward student achievement or good behavior. It recommends ideas for nonfood rewards.

Children are at risk of associating food with emotions and feelings of accomplishment when food is used in the classroom as a reward. This reinforces the practice of eating outside of meal or snack times and encourages students to eat treats even when they are not hungry. This practice may create lifetime habits of rewarding or comforting oneself with unhealthy eating.

3. Make Celebrations and Fundraisers Healthier

Use healthy foods, physical activity events or nonfood items for fundraising activities, suggests the CDC. Encourage parents to do healthy foods and beverages for classroom parties and also to provide healthier options for snacks and lunches.

4. Create a Physically Active Classroom

Incorporate movement into all classrooms and include content about fitness, movement skills and the importance of physical activities.

5. Make Recess Part of Each School Day

Students need at least 20 minutes of recess a day in addition to physical education classes — and they need to play.

6. Do Not Use Physical Activity as Punishment

Don’t force students to do physical activity and don’t exclude them from physical education class or recess. Encourage students to participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day and encourage them to identify healthy behaviors and set personal goals.

7. Include Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Topics in Health Education

Incorporate health education into all classes; encourage physical activity, a healthy diet — and time away from the screen.

8. Watch Out for Student Weight Concerns and Stigma

Refer students with signs of eating disorders or weight concerns to the appropriate professional — and intervene on bullying including weight discrimination or teasing.

9. Encourage Students to Participate in School

Support students in schools programs (sports, clubs) and promote walking to school, fun runs and school days.

10. Be a Healthy Role Model

Be active yourself and consume healthy foods and beverages. Get involved in school wellness programs.

11. Become Familiar with Your School’s Health Policies

Know your district’s health policies, get involved with your health council or team. If there isn’t a health team, start one.

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