My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and with early detection she was able to beat it. On the day I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter, she found out the cancer was gone. I will never forget that phone call and am so blessed that she is able to be a big part of my girls’ lives. We all know someone affected by cancer whether it has been someone close to us or an acquaintance. I have several friends who have battled the disease themself and friends who have lost a family member to the disease. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 1 of every 4 deaths is caused from cancer, making the disease the second most common cause of death, exceeded only by heart disease, in the US. It is important that we educate children about taking preventative measures to slow the disease or stop it from invading our bodies all together, especially when it comes to educating children with healthy choices for meals. What we eat now may not have immediate impact but could have detrimental impact in the long run.
The Prevent Cancer Foundation has provided millions to support cancer research to better understand the disease, funding many impressive discoveries. In 2011, the Foundation provided the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium with funds to support the development of a traditional food and activity workbook that aims to promote healthy lifestyle choices and nutritional habits among alaskan children (8-10) at risk for obesity, cancer and other diseases. Although, the workbook is geared toward Alaskan Natives it provides a wealth of information that could be useful to all youth. It educates children on foods we need, why we need various nutrients, how much we need, when to eat, portion sizes, the importance of hand washing, food sanitation, food safety and includes easy recipes kids can make. My girls are a little young for the workbook but they enjoyed coloring it and talking about the pages they worked on.
One important fact I tried to stress was the impact on sugar. I taught them about the difference between natural sugars versus refined (added) sugar. My two year old wasn’t interested but my 4 year old had a lot of questions especially after an experience she had after eating too much candy without permission (her tummy really hurt her). We talked about how fruit is a better choice than gummy bears and that too much fruit isn’t good either.
As a parent, I need to do a better job of making sure my girls learn to make healthy choices by modeling healthy eating habits at home and teaching them about healthy choices. Educational games and workbooks like the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s are a great way to engage children to learn about healthy choices and the impact they have. Click the link to find out how you can buy the Traditional Food Guide Activity Book for your home or classroom.
Disclaimer: I received two workbooks from The Prevent Cancer Foundation for the purpose of this review. My brother works for the foundation and worked with the girls on the workbook too. All opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted.