Alcohol Awareness Month

How Do We Teach Them to Resist Peer Pressure When It Comes to Alcohol?

Research shows that most young people, 12- to 20-year-olds, do not consume alcohol.  However, when it comes to underage drinking, many tweens and teens tend to believe the myth that “everyone is doing it.”  This misconception could easily lead them to conclude that they should be trying alcohol too, so they will fit in.

Giving students the facts about alcohol, both the dangers and the statistics on how much drinking is really going on, and arming them with coping strategies to handle peer pressure can help in the fight to prevent underage drinking.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Parents and teachers may find the resources listed below useful in educating kids, tweens and teens against underage drinking:

·The Cool Spot

·Laws in Your State – National Minimum Drinking Age Act

·Too Smart to Start

·Activities: Reach Out Now (PDF)

·Booklet: I Wasn’t Having Fun Anymore (PDF)

·Lesson Plan: Reach Out Now (PDF)

·Lesson Plans: Stop Underage Drinking A Safe Place to Learn and Play

Snack Facts: Raising the Bar on Nutrition Standards in Schools

While some schools have already implemented higher nutrition standards for food and beverages sold in vending machines and a la carte food lines, the US Department of Agriculture has not updated their rules since 1979.  New rulings will go into effect in September 2014, so some schools may see nutrition improvements in the future.

The USDA’s new standards are required by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act passed in 2010, and limit vending machine snacks or “competitive snacks” to 200 calories per item, and sodas and sports drinks sold in high schools to 60 calories or less in a 12-ounce serving.  Elementary and middle schools can sell water, 100% fruit or vegetable juice and low-fat or fat-free milk.

For more information about snacks sold in schools, please see Snack Facts: Raising the Bar on Nutrition Standards in Schools.

Summer Food Programs

When schools close for summer vacation many children loose access to breakfast and lunch meals.  To support low-income families and ensure students return to school ready to learn in the fall, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are promoting increased awareness to federal summer meal programs.  More information regarding the summer programs and how you can get involved can be found at

Tips for Making Exercise a Family Affair

Parents need to engage in regular physical activity, not only for their own health, but for their children’s benefit, as well. Children learn by example. Let your children know that you enjoy exercising because it’s an important part of a healthy lifestyle, it helps you get stronger and gives you more energy, which helps make you look and feel better about yourself.

It can be difficult for parents to fit exercise into their family’s busy schedules. With a little planning and creativity, however, you can find ways to exercise with your children. Listed below are some simple ways you can exercise with your children:

Infant through Preschool Aged Children
Grab the stroller and go for a brisk walk with your children. You could also purchase a jogging stroller, which allows you
to walk faster, jog, or run at a fast pace while pushing the stroller.
Use a back carrier to transport young children. Carrying the added weight can help burn extra calories as you walk.
If your child is walking, take a leisurely stroll around the block or at a nearby park. Remember to limit the distance; little legs
can tire quickly.
Turn on some lively music and dance with your children.
Use an infant carrier or bike trailer to go on a bike ride with your children.

Grade School Aged Children
Try in-line skating or skating. Be sure that everyone is equipped with helmets and protective gear.
Spend an afternoon at the park or playground. Bring along a flying disc or football so that you and your children can play together.
Play a game of catch or kickball in your backyard.
Go for a hike in the forest or bicycle ride on a nearby nature trail.
Let your children help you in the yard. They can help you dig holes, plant flowers, and rake leaves.

Teenage Children
Go for a walk with your children after dinner each night.
Purchase a family membership at a local health club and work out together several days each week.
Play tennis, golf or basketball with your children.
Register your family for a run or walk event in your area. You can also train together before the event.
Join a community volleyball or softball team that is open to teens and adults.