September 2015 | | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 7, Issue 9]

Sitting Too Much Bad for Kids

Experts have been telling adults not to sit for prolonged periods for many years now. Long hours of inactivity cause adults to have greater risk of a variety of problems including diabetes, obesity, heart disease and liver disease.

Looks like sitting for too long can be bad for kids too.

Sitting is bad for children, too

This news story from the New York Times describes a new study in which researchers had healthy girls sit for three hours. Half of the girls didn’t get out of their big comfy chairs during the three hours and the other half rode stationary bicycles for 10 minutes at the beginning of every hour.

The study team examined blood vessel function before and after the 3-hour sitting session and found the girls who didn’t ride the bikes had poorer artery function after the 3 hours, compared to the girls who rode the bikes.

It’s just a small study – only 9 girls – but it’s interesting and maybe helps support the idea that kids need to be active, even at school.

What to do at school:

  • Teach kids about exercise and recreation, so they can be active after school.
  • Make sure kids get up and move around between classes.
  • Take care of yourself too. Grading a ton of papers? Take a break every half hour or so and get moving.
Are Wealthier Students Opting Out of School Lunch?

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 has led to healthier school lunches, which is important for the health of our students. And it appears that kids are eating the lunches, and not throwing more food away, despite the healthier changes. But, one unintended consequence may be that more kids may be buying more food off campus.

Class Divide: Are More Affluent Kids Opting Out Of School Lunch?

This news story published by National Public Radio describes some of the recent survey findings and studies surrounding the reform. There’s good news – needy kids are getting the meals they need, but the news isn’t all good. School lunch participation has dropped a bit, and one reason may be that more high school kids may be walking or driving off campus and buying fast foods.

Some experts say the regulations need to be relaxed to bring those kids back to the lunchroom, but other experts say it’s imperative to keep the new lunch regulations in place.
How Many Kids Eat Fast Foods?

I know we’re all busy and meal time can get a little crazy, so often the solution is to grab food from a fast food place. I mean, it’s cheap and a lot of kids (and adults) like fast food, so I can see the attraction. Of course, the problem is fast foods are generally nutrient-poor but high in calories, fat, sugar, and sodium.

New report shows impact of fast food on children's nutrition

This news story from WJLA in Washington DC describes a new report published by the Centers for Disease Control. Turns out that kids ages 2 to 11 get 8 percent of their daily calories from fast food places and kids over the age of 12 get about 17 percent of their daily calories from fast food places.

What to do at school:

  • Explain the health risks that go along with eating lots of fast foods.
  • In cooking classes, have kids come up with healthier versions of their favorite fast foods.
  • Help kids determine which foods are the healthiest choices when they go to fast food places.
Girls Who Are More Impulsive More Likely to Gain Weight

Personality traits and behavior may have connections to overeating and weight gain. Maybe if experts learn more about these connections, we’ll be able to help kids develop the strategies they need to maintain healthy weight.

Poor executive functioning in girls tied to future weight gain

This news story from Reuters Health describes a study in which researchers assessed 2,500 girls between the ages of 10 to 16 to se how behavior and personality were linked to eating habits.

They found that girls who had trouble controlling impulses at the age of 10 tended to gain more weight during their teen years.  Experts suggest parents and caregivers help kids and teens by creating healthier eating environments at home.
Apples Are Kidsí Favorite Fruit

Kids generally need to eat more fruits and vegetables. Maybe knowing which ones they like best will help us adults stock up on the right foods. According to a new study, apples are the winner when it comes to kids and fruit.

Nutrition: Apples are American kids’ favorite fruit

This news story describes the study by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. Apples account for almost 20 percent of all fruit consumed by kids. Citrus juice and apple juice took second and third place. Banana and melons came in at fourth and fifth.

Eating whole fresh fruits, like apples, is good for kids because they contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fruit juice is okay as long as it’s 100-percent fruit juice, but it lacks fiber and can be a quick way to gulp down calories.

So my suggestion? Stock up on apples, bananas and melons.

What to do at school:

  • Explain why whole fruits are best – more fiber and makes for a healthier eating habit.
  • Have kids make their own study and survey the kids in the school – what are the fruit favorites?
  • Have kids in foods classes make healthy desserts and treats that feature apples and other whole fruits.

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More About School Lunches, Nutrition and Healthy Kids

Rural Children Less Likely to Participate in School Nutrition Programs

Motivating School-Age Kids to Be Active

Fit Kids Do Better in School, Especially Math

Childhood obesity can lead to low self-esteem, future health problems

Kids Eat Healthier at School When Given the Time

About Shereen Lehman

Shereen Lehman is a health and nutrition writer with two decades of experience counseling people on nutrition and diet. She has a master's degree in human nutrition and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Association of Health Care Journalists.

Shereen writes about nutrition for the large website (, is co-author of Superfoods for Dummies ( and Clinical Anatomy for Dummies ( She also teaches Evidence Based Nutrition to nutrition graduate students at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.