Published Jan. 1, 2009
Healthy habits for kids
in the New Year
Robert Crown Center offers healthy
and eating tips for kids in 2009
It’s a startling
According to the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children,
kids in this area are almost 2 1/2 times more likely to
be overweight than those nationwide.
“We are at a turning point. This could be the first generation of
kids that could be outlived by their parents,” said Jon
Scoles, strategic director of marketing for the Robert
Crown Center for Health Education in Hinsdale. “It’s a
real public health crisis.”
For years Robert Crown has focused on a number of societal issues
affecting children and teens. In recent years importance
has been placed back on the obesity epidemic, Scoles
said. And while fast food is more available and finding
fresh fruits and vegetables nearby is a challenge for
urban communities, Scoles said getting children to see
the impact of what they’re putting in their bodies is a
problem throughout the Chicagoland area.
This month educators from Robert Crown will go into Prospect School
and show students molds that illustrate what five pounds
of fat looks like in the body versus five pounds of
“We tell the kids how many grams of fat are in a double
cheeseburger and how many grams of sugar are in a soda,
but it’s one thing to read a label. It’s another thing
to see what it actually looks like,” Scoles said.
Simple changes to children’s snacks and exercise routines can
vastly improve their lives and potential longevity.
Scoles said it’s important to keep kids hydrated, and
water is the best thing for them to drink.
“The pops and the juices really need to be cut out and replaced
with water and milk,” he said. “A lot of the time
parents see 100 percent juice and think, ‘Oh this must
be healthy,’ but it’s really high in sugar.”
Scoles recommends mixing juices with water in order to keep the
flavor but dilute the amount of sugar being consumed. He
also recommends upping the amount of fruits and
vegetables in their diet.
“Kids do pretty well with fruits because they’re convenient, but
when you start talking vegetables it’s difficult,” he
said. “A lot of the time it’s a tactile issue. Some kids
don’t like the feeling of soft, mushy cooked veggies,
but you can get creative and try to serve them raw. I
know sometimes I’ll give my son the frozen veggies
before they’ve been cooked and he’ll eat them that way.”
If kids don’t like the taste of certain fruits and veggies, Scoles
recommends looking for little ways to make them
flavorful without adding needless calories.
“A lot of parents get frustrated,” he said. “But if your child
doesn’t want to eat a sliced apple, try sprinkling a
little cinnamon on it for variety. It’s a great way to
add flavor without the sugar.”
David Bedney, who manages the Robert Crown Campus in Homan Square,
said in order for kids to live healthy lifestyles, it’s
important to educate parents as well.
“We had the kids do a two day food log of what they were eating for
breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Bedney said. “We had them
draw pictures of what they were eating and share them
with their parents so they can see what they’re actually
taking in on a daily basis.”
Robert Crown recently put together a cookbook of healthy
recipes submitted by community members that includes the
following lunch or snack food.
For more information on how to obtain a copy of “50 Recipes for 50
Years,” call (630) 325-1900.
2/3 cup light cream cheese
2 large tortillas, warmed
1/2 cup shredded carrots
8 to 10 leaves of baby spinach, trimmed
6 slices deli turkey
6 slices mozzarella or provolone cheese
Spread the cream cheese over the entire tortilla and then top with
carrots and spinach. Then add layer of cheese slices and
turkey. Roll up like a wrap and cut into eight pieces.
Making a Difference is a yearlong
partnership between The Hinsdalean
and the Robert Crown Center for Health Education, which
to teach and motivate youth to lead healthy, happy and