Keeping kids healthy while at home

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — One likely consequence for many children stuck at home is an increase in unhealthy weight gain.

“When you’re at home more there’s more access to snacks and food,” Pediatrician Dr. Laura Waters said. “Whereas when you’re in school you only get that at breakfast and at lunchtime and then obviously after school and things when you go home.”

Waters says what seems like an endless summer has made it easier for kids to snack throughout the day.

“As they obviously coming in during the summertime for their well-child checks they’re coming in with a little bit of weight gain that we’ve noticed,” Waters said.

Waters says it’s important to have healthy food options readily available for your child.

“Because a lot of times if there are going to have to prepare something or do something they’re not likely to choose that they’re going to grab something that’s quick and easy,” Waters said.

She says this includes things like bananas, apples and mandarin oranges.

Waters also says to check in with your child throughout the day,

“Some of those older kids that are going to be staying at home by themselves you know kind of checking in and just saying hey are you taking your breaks and are you getting outside? And that sort of thing,” Waters said.

Brad Brummel of Springfield Public School also stresses the importance of taking breaks when school starts.

“Not only does it help us with our mental health but allows us to focus and concentrate on our next task at hand,” Brummel said.

SPS will offer physical education for both hybrid and virtual learners.

“We are encouraging students to remain active while they’re at home,” Brummel said. “I know that in our courses we always push for the CDC recommended play 60 minutes a day and you can go wrong with that.”

He says he’s also working with teachers on ways to incorporate active learning during lessons.

Waters also made a list of healthy food items for kids:

  • Low-fat yogurt, granola and fruit
  • Apples and peanut butter (more apple, less PB)
  • Baby carrots and hummus (Kids like to dip)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Apples cut up and ready to eat
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Low-fat cheese sticks
  • Bag up smaller snacks like pretzels into individual serving sizes so kids don’t overeat

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