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Kristi Gottwalt

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Be healthy & fit Friday: Kids are eating healthier, but...

Posted by Kristi Gottwalt on Dec 2, 2016 8:11:00 AM

A new study has great news! According to a new review, kids are reducing the number of calories they eat and increasing their healthy food intake. From Health News:

Kids today are eating more food that's good for them: whole grains, whole fruits, dairy, and protein from seafood and plants. And, just as important, they are more likely to avoid sugar-laden foods and drinks full of empty calories, according to a review of children's diet trends between 1999 and 2012.

While this is good news, there are still a few challenges. Kids are eating more salt, and vegetables are still low on the list of what children eat. More on the study:

During the study period, the average Healthy Eating Index score rose to 50.9 in 2012 from 42.5 in 1999, as children ate more healthy foods and more often avoided empty calories, the investigators discovered.

"It's far from the optimal level of 100," Gu said. "The increasing trend is encouraging, but the current dietary quality level is disappointing."

The study found that kids did eat more whole grains, but they had an average whole grains score of only 2 in 2012 -- far below the maximum of 10, Gu noted. Likewise, children had a whole fruit intake score of 2.1, and the optimal score is 5.

While processed foods are likely to blame for higher salt intake, it is encouraging to know that kids are eating healthier! Looking for healthy snacks for your kids? Check out this list

Being healthy requires healthy food choices and regular exercise. That's where ActivEd can help! Learn more!

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Topics: healthy & fit Friday

Inclusive Schools Week

Posted by Kristi Gottwalt on Dec 1, 2016 11:11:00 AM

This week, schools across the country are celebrating inclusive schools week. What is inclusive schools week? This week celebrates the diversity of students and the understanding that regardless of gender, disability, or socioeconomic status, all students are entitled to a quality education in the United States. This year's theme, Champions of Inclusion, highlights the superheroes in education. 

From a MultiBrief article:

Inclusive Schools Week this year is Dec. 5-9. This year, the week's theme focuses on the concept of being a hero. This is particularly fitting because the definition of a hero is a person noted for courageous acts of nobility of character. This resonates with all of the students, parents, teachers, principals and community leaders who take courageous steps forward each day to promote acceptance for all.

Make sure you reach the needs of all students by incorporating multisensory learning into your classroom. How do children learn? The following image highlights several ways. 

Looking for a way to incorporate multisensory learning into your classroom? Walkabouts help students of all learning styles. Ready to learn more? Request your free trial today! 

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Topics: inclusive learning, multisensory learning

Be healthy & fit Friday: Thanksgiving Calories

Posted by Kristi Gottwalt on Nov 25, 2016 6:35:00 AM

Yesterday, we celebrated a national day of Thanksgiving. Celebrating what we are thankful for is important. Most of us are grateful for our health and the health of our loved ones. As we settled around the table, how many calories did we consume? More importantly, how much exercise do we need to burn off those calories? Check out the infographic from for an overview. 



Looking for a way to get your kids active after a big Thanksgiving meal? ActivEd can help. Learn more!

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Be healthy & fit Friday: Childhood obesity screening

Posted by Kristi Gottwalt on Nov 18, 2016 6:35:00 AM

Childhood obesity is an epidemic in the United States—1 out of 3 children are obese. Obesity leads to problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. Health officials are looking for unique solutions to help curb obesity. 

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has produced new guidelines that urge pediatricians to begin screening children for obesity at the age of 6. The task force has been examining successful programs to help children keep a healthy weight. 

From an article in the LA Times

The authors of the proposed guidelines are under no illusion that universal obesity screening will be a silver bullet. Even the best programs to modify kids’ behavior resulted in only a “moderate” benefit, they wrote. But the downside risks of screening are “small to none,” they wrote.

The types of programs that work involve at least 26 hours of counseling over several weeks or months. The more hours involved, the better the results.

Successful programs reviewed by the task force included counseling sessions not just for children who were obese but for parents and other family members as well. They taught patients how to improve their eating habits, including the importance of reading labels on packaged foods. They showed patients ways to exercise safely. They taught kids to keep tempting treats out of sight (and out of mind). And they helped them learn how to set goals for themselves, and monitor their progress toward reaching them.

In 16 clinical trials that tested these programs, most participants gained no more than 5 pounds while growing in height, leading to lower BMIs. Meanwhile, patients assigned to control groups gained up to 17 pounds.

Healthy kids are more likely to succeed academically and to have higher self esteem.

Looking for creative ways to keep your students active? Walkabouts helps prekindergarten through second grade students move while they learn language arts, reading, and math concepts! Want to find out how Walkabouts can help keep your students healthy? Learn more!

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COMMENTARY: When we feel better we do better

Posted by Kristi Gottwalt on Nov 17, 2016 9:03:21 AM

Recently, William Brown and Fred Crawford wrote a guest column for Greenville Online.The article highlights the ongoing longitudinal study that ActivEd founder, Dr. Julian Reed, is completing at Legacy Charter School. South Carolina currently has the 13th highest childhood obesity rate and getting children active can have a huge impact on resolving the obesity problem. Legacy Charter School is ramping up the fight against childhood obesity with healthy meals and daily physical education. 

From the article:

Dr. Reed found that Legacy students had statistically significant improvements on 100 percent of the fitness measures compared to no significant increases in any of the fitness measures for control school students in year seven. Astoundingly, control students exhibited a 66 percent decrease on the fitness measures. Children at Legacy Charter School, such as fourth-grader Michael, could perform push-up, curl-up and aerobic tests better than the control students. “Michael started the year with low fitness scores but ended the year with the highest scores in his class,” says his physical education coach, Lacey Lyons. “He went from doing three push-ups to 21 and two curl-ups to 40. Along the way, Coach Lyons noted the increase in Michael’s confidence and the respect and encouragement he received from his classmates.

These fitness advances correlated with Legacy students exhibiting a statistically significant increase on 50 percent of the cognitive measures, compared to 0 percent for the control students.

Legacy Charter School students also exhibited a significant decrease in the percentage of overweight or obese youth in year seven, while the control schools witnessed an increase in obesity and overweight youth.

Many schools are failing in the fight against childhood obesity. However, the statistics from this groundbreaking study show Legacy is doing something right. Providing daily physical education for every student can impact:

  • Cognition
  • Aerobic capacity, muscular strength and muscular endurance
  • Reduce the percentages of overweight and obese youth

Congratulations to the staff of Legacy Charter School for their hard work and the positive impacts they are having on students. Looking to learn more about how you can get your students moving? Check out Walkabouts!

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Topics: Physical Education, obesity

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Walkabouts are online adventures that transform math, language arts, and reading fundamentals into standards-based, movement-rich lessons for Pre-K through second grade students. At ActivEd, we know that kids learn more, are more engaged, and are healthier when they are active both in and out of the classroom. 


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