Healthier Kids, Together + 9 Every Day Graphic

Healthier Kids, Together is a collaborative effort among Providence ministries and community partners in Oregon to reduce the prevalence of obesity in children.

A group of leaders from across the region came together to identify an area of significant need, and childhood obesity was chosen. This need was identified because as a result of the rising rate of obesity, the quality of life of many children may be extremely poor, due to a life of chronic disease. We have an opportunity to turn the tide on the childhood obesity epidemic through this collective effort.

There is no singular solution to reducing the prevalence of obesity in children, partners are encouraged to implement strategies best suited to their area of work.

As a place to start, Providence has adopted evidence-based health messaging, + 9 Every Day! Download this monthly tracker for your family to get started.

This messaging encourages daily goals of:

Fruits and vegetables are some of the healthiest foods on our plate. For strong healthy bodies, children need a variety of fruits and vegetables each day.

To help your child reach the goal of eating five or more fruits and vegetables every day, try the following tips:

  • Include a fruit and/or vegetable whenever food is offered.
  • Eat like a rainbow! Choose fruits and vegetables of all different colors.
  • Avoid pressuring your child to eat. The parent’s role is to decide what food is offered and when it is offered (meals and snacks), the child’s role is to decide if they will eat, and how much they will eat.
  • Make fruits and vegetables fun to eat by creating a funny food face.
  • Teach by example, your child is learning how to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables by watching you.
  • Eat meals together as a family.
  • Surprise your child by letting her pick out fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. Encourage him to pick ones with bright colors, these are the ones highest in vitamins.
  • Remind your child to eat fruit by keeping a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter or in the fridge.
  • Invite your child to help with planning and preparing meals.
Healthy snack ideas
  • Apple or banana with peanut butter
  • Whole grain crackers with cheese and cucumbers
  • Nuts and raisins (or other dried fruit)
  • Cheese quesadilla and tomatoes
  • Vegetable sticks or whole wheat pita with hummus
  • Yogurt with berries
  • Hard-boiled egg and carrots
  • Applesauce
Nutrition resources

TV, interactive video games and the Internet can be good sources of education and entertainments for children, but too much screen time can easily lead to unhealthy side effects. Keep track of your child’s recreational screen time and limit it to two hours or less per day.

Try the following to help your family cut back on screen time:

  • Create a family media plan to help avoid daily battles around screen time. 
  • Turn off the TV during meal and snack time, to encourage healthy social and eating habits.
  • Teach by example, reduce your screen time (including time on your phone) when your children are present.
  • Don’t allow children to watch TV while doing homework.
  • Keep TVs, iPads, phones and other screens out of the bedroom.
  • For a good night’s sleep, avoid screen time one hour before bedtime. Children need nine or more hours of sleep each night.
  • Treat screen time as a privilege that kids earn, not a right they are entitled to.
  • Try saving TV and video games for the weekend.
  • Don’t let screen time replace much needed physical activity. Ideally children will get at least one hour of physical activity every day.
  • Create a list of activities your child can do instead of screen time. For example:
  • Read a book
  • Listen to music or an audio book
  • Play outside
  • Play a game
  • Color or paint a picture
Be aware that TV can impact your family’s food choices:
  • Many ads on TV are for less healthy foods like sugar-sweetened cereal, candy, soda and fast food.
  • Some TV ads use movie or cartoon characters to make unhealthy foods look fun and exciting.
  • Children who watch a lot of TV may make less healthy food choices.
Screen time resources:

Physical activity isn’t just fun for kids, it’s important for healthy minds and bodies. When children move their bodies every day, parents notice the following benefits: better sleep patterns, healthy weight maintenance, improved concentration, increased confidence and self-esteem and help with relaxation.

Tips to help your child get one hour or more of physical activity every day:

  • Encourage your child to be physically active before he has the privilege of screen time.
  • Don’t use physical activity as a punishment, or force activities that are not fun for your child. Physical activity should be about having fun!
  • Physical activity can include traditional team sports like soccer and basketball, it can also include non-organized activities like riding bike (don’t forget the helmet), swimming and throwing a Frisbee. 
  • Don’t forget the games you played as a child like jump rope, hop-scotch and TAG.
  • Ask a neighbor if your older child can earn a few dollars weeding, raking leaves, mowing the lawn or walking the dog.
  • When the weather keeps your child inside, turn the radio on for a dance party, play hide and seek or build an obstacle course.
  • Take a walk as a family (maybe even turn it into a scavenger hunt by making a list of objects your child can find along the way).
  • Set a good example for your child by being physically active yourself. 
Physical activity resources:

Sugar sweetened drinks are best kept for special occasions. Too many sugary drinks can lead to cavities and make it challenging for children and adults to maintain a healthy weight. For everyday choices, choose drinks without added sugar.

Try these tips for making your family’s drinks tasty and healthy:

  • Add the following ingredients to sparkling or still water:
  • Cucumber slices
  • Melon cubes
  • Lemon, lime or orange slices
  • Mint or basil leaves
  • Lavender flowers
  • Fresh or frozen berries
  • Freeze berries or grapes in ice cubes and serve them in a tall glass of water
  • While at the store, invite your child to pick out a box of tea for making a cup of hot tea or a pitcher of iced tea
  • Drink low-fat milk with meals or snacks
  • Add a splash of 100% juice to a glass of water to add a bit of flavor
  • Invite your child to pick out their own water bottle to use at home or on the go. If your child likes their water cold, keep the bottle in the fridge.
Healthy beverage resources:

Teach your child the importance of sleep. Getting the right amount of sleep each night can improve your child’s health, attention, behavior, learning and control of emotions.

Healthy sleep tips:
  • Limit the amount of caffeine your child eats or drinks. Beware of caffeine in sodas, coffee, tea and energy drinks. 
  • Plan a regular sleep schedule. Keep the same sleep and wake times every day.
  • Plan quiet time one hour before bedtime, and turn off all electronics.
  • Plan a regular bedtime routine, for example: have your child brush teeth, read a book, listen to calming music or take a warm bath or shower.
  • Create a quiet bedroom for your child with no television, computer or phone.
  • Try to avoid having your child eat dinner too close to bedtime. If your child is hungry before bed, offer a healthy snack.
  • Do not watch TV or movies, especially scary ones, close to bedtime.
  • Help your child be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day.
Seek help if your child:
  • Is overly sleepy during the day.
  • Wets the bed more than once a week and is five years old or older.
  • Snores and/or has pauses in breathing during sleep.
  • Experiences nightmares that cause anxiety, distress or bedtime resistance.
  • Experiences other sleep problem or disturbance that is not resolving.

Contact Us

For more information or to request creative assets to help promote the + 9 message:
Email or call 503-893-6332

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