About a year ago, two registered nurses, Deborah Fisher and Maureen Cianci, were discussing the health of K-6 students. They decided to create an informational webinar to address the health crisis among children and, after a year stalled by Covid, have now produced one to help students and parents make healthy choices.
Fisher leads the Sussex County Child Health Crisis work group. She said school nurses should record students’ heights and weights and report this information to the health department. The work group should also receive this information so that it can make healthy changes that benefit students throughout Sussex County.
Cianci is president-elect of the North Jersey Health Collaborative of Sussex County. She talked about the importance of providing good health information to preschool students and their parents, and to expectant parents as well.
Alma Dhuyvetter, health and wellness director at Sussex County YMCA, came up with the webinar series titled “Tips for Raising Happy Healthy Kids.” Zach Frick from the Sussex County YMCA loaned out a yoga studio where the Sussex County Child Health Crisis work group recorded the series. The webinar became available in May, and everyone agrees it’s a great way to reach parents.
Fisher gives the introduction, which covers general parenting tips and some background on Sussex County Child Health Crisis and its work group.
The second part, “Nutrients,” was done by Lauren Bath, the registered dietician for ShopRite in Newton. Bath focuses on nutrition for newborns and toddlers.
“I provided general recommendations regarding food group consumption for the preschool-aged children and information regarding each food group — fruits, vegetables, starch/grain, protein and dairy,” Bath said.
Bath also included suggestions for adding more food groups into children’s mealtime.
Bath also presented part three, “Sugars found in food and drinks.” She show how the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate plan, food groups, and nutrition facts labels help people make informed dietary choices.
“I discussed how to offer ‘better beverages’ to toddlers that weren’t only sugar sweetened beverages,” said Bath.
She shows serving sizes to compare common servings to the suggestions on nutrition facts labels. She said the American Heart Association recommends that children ages 2 to 18 should have no more than six teaspoons of sugar, which is equivalent to 25 grams of added sugar.
The fourth section, “Physical Activity,’’ was introduced by Dhuyvetter of the YMCA. She discussed the importance of a healthy lifestyle for both parents and their children and the many benefits of exercise — how it reduces health risks and supports healthy weight management.
Nancy Capriglione, an aerobics instructor from the YMCA, and her son Dante performed an exercise segment that can be done at home.
The webinar series “Raising Happy, Healthy Kids” can be viewed on YouTube: youtu.be/vshY7c6sKl8.