Increased Youth Physical Activity Cited As Key To Healthy Future

The Healthy People/Healthy Economy report issued by the Boston Foundation last month finds that Massachusetts remains “considerably behind” when it comes to promoting and improving youth physical activity, which has been identified as one of five keys for ensuring a healthier future for residents.

“The Commonwealth has taken no action to require public school districts to provide more opportunities for their students to be more physically active during the school day, despite the mounting evidence that physical activity improves both health and learning,” the report states.

The report recommends statewide policy requiring physical activity in schools as “a necessary first step.”

“[The state] should embrace the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations and take a whole-school approach to physical activity, encouraging districts around the state to provide in-school opportunities for at least 30 minutes of vigorous or moderate intensity physical activity during the school day and an additional 30 minutes before or after.”

The complete Healthy People/Healthy Economy report is available free at tbf.org/reports.

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Fight Summer Brain Drain — Cook!

Want to ensure the kids keep key math skills like division, multiplication, or fractions fresh over the summer? Send them to the kitchen! Kids can keep their minds moving and improve their cooking prowess at the same time. The colorful 17-Piece Measure & Prep Kit from Curious Chef offers real kitchen tools to help achieve that goal: measuring cups, spoons, bowls, and more — everything chefs of all ages need to gather, scoop, count, and pour. $24.99. curiouschef.com. Keep an eye on the baystateparent Facebook wall this month for a chance to win this cool set!

Free Online Family Cooking Classes

This summer, ChopChop Kids, publisher of ChopChop: The Fun Cooking Magazine for Families is leading a national healthy cooking campaign with its first online cooking club.

ChopChop is challenging families to master six essential recipes — one at a time — by joining the online cooking club free at chopchopcookingclub.org.

Each month, club members will receive a recipe challenge comprised of step-by-step instructions supplemented with basic cooking skills, food facts, family discussion prompts, and shopping tips. Families are invited to post a picture of their finished dish to chopchopcookingclub.org to earn a virtual badge for completing the challenge. Badges will celebrate different cooking skills learned in each recipe, such as whisking, measuring, roasting and grating. Club members are encouraged to complete all six challenges for a chance to win prizes from KitchenAid, OXO, and Le Creuset.

“We’re seeing a new generation of kids who lack fundamental cooking skills,” says Sally Sampson, ChopChop founder. “If you teach kids to cook real food, they’ll lead healthier lifestyles.”

Raspberry Milk Pops

Prep time: 5 minutes

Freeze time: 4 hours

Servings: 8

1 1/2 cups DairyPure Whole milk or 2% Reduced Fat milk

1 (12-ounce) package frozen raspberries

1/4 cup honey

In blender or food processor, combine milk, frozen raspberries and honey; blend until smooth. Pour mixture into eight 4-ounce ice pop molds or plastic drinking cups. Add ice pop sticks. Freeze at least 4 hours or overnight.

— Family Features