SMArt Kids Burlington: Summertime is Active-time

| Posted On Jun 30, 2011 | By:
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Dr. Brittanny Boulanger

School has now finished until the fall, and so has the Burlington SMArt Kids SMA.  We had our last session on June 21st before our summer break, but we will reconvene in September.

The kids did a superb job focusing on the personal goals they established from last month’s session, despite the plethora of end-of-year distractions such as school celebrations, parties, and final assignments! Each SMArt Kid chose a new goal to work on this summer. We all acknowledged that warm weather and more free time should make it easier to achieve our goals, but travel, vacation time and a less rigid schedule could be challenging.  Luckily, all of the SMArt Kids are committed to their goals, as are their parents.  I am excited to see them all back in September as I suspect they will have much success over the next two months.

At our June SMArt Kids session, our discussion focused on reaching our goal of achieving sixty minutes of active play per day, but we also took the time to review our five main SMArt Kids goals:

Another way to think about our goals is the 5-2-1-0 message (supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics and letsgo.org)

        5- Eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables
        2- Limiting screen time to two hours or less daily
        1- Participating in at least one or more hours of physical activity every day
        0- Encouraging water and low-fat or fat-free milk instead of soda and sugar-sweetened drinks

As part of our review of the above goals, we talked about some recent important updates relevant to our SMArt Kids.  Our nutritionist, Julie Seed, reminded us about the change in the USDA’s Food Pyramid.  MyPlate, a plate-shaped icon that promotes healthy balanced meals with lots of variety, has replaced the traditional food pyramid. 

The USDA's MyPlate icon

As Julie and I have been saying over and over for the last several months, “fill half of the plate with fruits and vegetables.”  Hopefully, this will be more enticing given the rich produce available during the summer months. See the June 9th blog post by nutritionist Anne Dahany for more details regarding MyPlate.

Other updates included the American Academy of Pediatrics’ new position on sports and energy drinks.  The policy statement promotes water as the main source of hydration for children and adolescents. It discourages the use of sports drinks (such as Gatorade®, Propel®, etc.) given the increased calorie consumption and risk of dental erosion. In addition, the policy strongly states that children or teens should never consume energy drinks due to their stimulant content.  Bottom line? Drink water this summer when exercising.

The bulk of our discussion at our June SMA centered on the importance of active play. We learned that SMArt Kids need at least one hour of active play per day. When you think about a full day, that is only 60 minutes out of 1440 minutes!  Sounds easy, right?  And remember: the 60 minutes can be divided into smaller chunks of time. Try 10 minutes of active play in the yard while waiting for dinner, consider a 10-minute walk after each meal, or ride your bike for 10 minutes before camp starts.  We discussed that being active helps you sleep better, feel better, be stronger and healthier, and even think better!

Our group thought of some great ways to be active this summer:

To get the kids engaged for exercising at home, the SMArt Kids and I practiced a few exercises during our SMA.  Remember the Spiderman, Superman and Silver Surfer? Try these or other simple exercises like sit-ups during TV commercials – another simple way to reach that 60-minute goal.

We look forward to meeting again in September.  The SMArt Kids are engaged, energized and enthusiastic, attributes that will enable them to work on our five goals and return in the fall with more confidence and momentum.  Keep up the good work and have a great summer!

See you in September,

Brittanny Boulanger, MD

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About Dr. Brittanny Boulanger

Joined Harvard Vanguard: 2005 Undergraduate School: Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH Medical School: University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA Internship: Golisano Children's Hospital, Rochester, NY Residency: Golisano Children's Hospital, Rochester, NY Board Certification: Pediatrics Hospital Affiliations: Children's Hospital, Boston, MA; Winchester Hospital, Winchester, MA Clinical Interests: Newborn medicine and adolescent medicine Personal Interests: Running, soccer, hiking, skiing, travel and spending time with her two young children.

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