What Other Kids Are Reading
Healthy I.Q. Survey Results and Quiz
Hooray for Health-Minded Kids!
Most kids got an A+ on our recent Health I.Q. survey. They knew their fruits and vegetables. They could point out important body organs, like the heart. Many even knew the name for the muscle in your upper arm (biceps). More than half got that one right, although 5% did pick a funny wrong answer: "gluteus maximus." Oops — that's the name of the muscles in your behind.
The survey's 10,000 participants were more than just health smart. They also were open and upbeat about improving their health. Nearly half said they were very interested to learn about health and about 63% said most of what they hear about health is interesting, rather than confusing, scary, or boring.
KidsHealth.org conducted the online survey in partnership with TIME for Kids. You can read more about the survey in the May 2 issue of the magazine.
Healthy and Looking to Get Healthier
Nearly all 10,000 kids rated their health as excellent (31%) or pretty good (58%). More than 85% said they were willing to try new fruits and vegetables. Only 16% said they never look at food labels, with most saying they check the label always (28%) or sometimes (56%).
Kids also had no problem identifying fruits and vegetables. Most also knew that oranges contain vitamin C and that eating a potato was a better choice than potato chips. Likewise, 94% knew that water was a better drink choice than soda. And only 10% didn't know where carrots grow (in the ground).
Speaking of healthy food, more than half of kids (60%) said they wanted an adult to teach them to cook. Others said they wanted an adult to help them eat more nutritious foods (43%), exercise more (43%), and learn how to do new sports.
About a third of kids (34%) said they also wanted an adult's help to lose weight. But generally, kids don't need to go on diets. Talk to a parent and your doctor if you are concerned about your weight.
Let's Go Outside!
Kids also said they wanted to keep moving, even at school. When asked to choose a recess activity, 87% picked going outside and playing with friends over staying inside and watching a movie. Almost as many (84%) also knew the best way to get to a healthy weight — exercising and eating a balanced diet, of course!
When it comes to healthy habits, kids scored well there, too. More than 90% knew that the lungs were the body organ most affected by smoking. And just about everyone said they washed their hands after using the bathroom. About 85% said yes, which is great, but we do worry about the other 15%. C'mon, folks, hand washing is a must after going to the bathroom!
Washing Up and Brushing Teeth
Why wash your hands after a bathroom trip? Germs! Good hand washing with soap and water rinses germs from your hands so they don't end up getting inside your body, like when you touch your food and pop it into your mouth. Some germs don't cause you any trouble, but germs like the ones in poop can make you sick. Washing your hands also prevents the spread of germs so other people don't get sick, either. Other good times to wash up are after playing outside, playing with a pet, and after blowing your nose.
We also asked kids about teeth brushing. About 60% said they brush twice a day, which is the minimum recommended amount. About 17% were extra tooth conscious and brushed three or more times a day, while a handful (4%) said hardly ever or never (4%). Uh-oh, we hope these aren't the same people who never wash their hands after using the bathroom.
Health-Smart Kids Lead the Way!
How can a bunch of health-smart kids make a difference? Keep building on what you know and — most important — get the parents and other grownups in your life to help you.
You can inspire your family to be more active by suggesting ways to get exercise together. Consider taking regular walks, going for a weekend hike, biking, or even learning a new sport together. Is there a sport your mom or dad has always wanted to try? How about you?
Kids also can lead the way in the kitchen. Maybe your family is in a food rut, where you have the same meals over and over. Or do you have a hard time getting together for family meals? Offer to go along on a grocery store trip and pick out a new vegetable or fruit to try. Remember, 85% said they were willing to do this. That's a lot of kids trying new healthy food.
If you're looking for an even bigger challenge, plan a meal with your parents' help. Home cooking is an excellent way to add more healthy food into your diet. Skip processed or prepackaged foods and try cooking from scratch.
Aim to include a mix of nutritious foods from all the food groups — protein (lean meat and beans); vegetables; whole grains (such as brown rice or whole-grain bread); low-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese); and fruit.
Start with simple recipes and ask a grownup to teach you cooking skills, such as cracking an egg or how to use the microwave. Looking for inspiration? Try these heart-healthy recipes and garden-fresh lunches. Yum!
Other than the delicious foods you'll make, here's another reason to get cooking: All that healthy eating — and new knowledge about nutrition — will help you get in tip-top shape for next year's Health I.Q. survey!
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: April 2011
Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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