#Tips4Tots Chat Addresses Chronic Disease With Reading, Food Literacy + Family Fun


#Tips4Tots Chat Addresses Chronic Disease With Reading, Food Literacy + Family Fun

24, November 2015 8:50 AM

reading together can improve literacy, reduce the risk of chronic disease

Research links lower literacy skills with higher incidence of chronic disease like diabetes. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 5 Rs—Read, Rhyme, Routine, Rewards and Relationships—for early brain development. Since literacy skills start in early childhood, children who grow up reading and cooking are better prepared for a healthy life.  

During National Diabetes Awareness Month, experts from First 5 Sacramento, California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (CFAITC), Sacramento Public Library and parents across the country joined a Twitter Chat to share their best practices and resources to promote reading, improve food literacy, cook with children and foster lifelong healthy habits. Here are some of the highlights and resources shared: 

  • When it comes to promoting literacy and a love of reading with young children, there is no app to replace a lap. First 5 Sacramento recommends reading with children for at least 15 minutes every day. 
  • Reach Out and Read, a non-profit organization of medical providers who promote early literacy and school readiness via well-child visits, offers reading tips for the whole family as well as milestones of early literacy development in both English and Spanish. 
  • Visiting the local library or bookstore is another way to foster a love of reading. Many libraries and bookstores offer free story times and suggestions on age appropriate books. Sacramento Library offers their list at saclibrary.beanstack.org. CFAITC has a list, as does Dairy Council of CA
  • kids can help cookCombining meals, reading and bedtime routines, and making the dinner table a no-technology zone, promotes healthy habits and gives children a sense of order and security in their lives. Other healthy habits like regular handwashing and trying new foods on a weekly basis also promote health and food literacy. 
  • Many participants shared how talking about food, planning shopping lists, reading recipes and cooking together were great activities that promote literacy and health among children and adults. Grocery store and farmers market visits are opportunities to explore a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and even foods from other cultures. Children build lifelong skills when enlisted to read recipes, measure, pour and more.
  • First 5 California developed Fast Fresh and Fun, a free cookbook with healthy and easy recipes like Breakfast Burrito Scrambles and a Quick Curry Bowl that are fun for the whole family to make and eat together.
  • Dairy Council of CA’s website offers a host of resources for raising healthy eaters including the Eat, Play, Love webinar.
  • Reading, food literacy and cooking can easily be integrated into the classroom and school campus. CFAITC offers resources from their website, ranging from the Imagine This story competition to great cooking demo videos and high school lesson plans on budget friendly meals developed with California Beef Council. Dairy Council of CA promotes Community Health All-Stars like Florencia Rivera who combines classroom nutrition education with reading projects and food literacy activities for an annual Stone Soup celebration.   
How do you promote reading and health in your day to day life? 


DeWalt DA, Berkman ND, Sheridan S, Lohr KN, Pignone MP. Literacy and Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2004;19(12):1228-1239. doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2004.40153.x. Accessed online http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1492599 11/24/15.

American Academy of Pediatrics, 5 Rs for brain development: https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/EBCD/Pages/Five.aspx Accessed online 11/24/15.

Tags: diabetes family meals food literacy Healthy eating healthy eating patterns nutrition education

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