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Starting the New Year strong
Jan. 14, 2013
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Healthy Delano event Monday, Jan. 21

By Starrla Cray
Staff Writer

DELANO, MN – Interested in getting healthier in 2013?

Delano Elementary Principal Darren Schuler knows a few fun ways to help that happen – including a Healthy Delano event Monday, Jan. 21 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Delano Elementary School.

“Three Rivers Park District will be there to teach kids how to snowshoe,” Schuler said. “There will also be snack stations with yogurt sundaes and trail mix.”

Chef John Nolden from Ridgeview Medical Center will be on hand to demonstrate simple meal ideas, and Kristin Nelson from My BodyShop Fitness Center in Delano will offer a yoga station.

“We also hope to have information about NuVal,” Schuler said, explaining that NuVal is a nutritional scoring system that ranks foods on a scale of 1 to 100.

The Healthy Delano project has been a source of encouragement for many people, including Schuler’s own family.

“I think we’ve done all the events,” Schuler said. “It’s been good all-around.”

For example, Delano Elementary has certain days for each class when parents are specially invited to eat lunch with their children.

“It’s always an open invitation, but this is a more formal time,” Schuler said.

After lunch, parents are invited to informative sessions. During one of these, parents filled out a survey about their children’s sleep habits.

Of the 137 parents who participated, 97.1 percent reported a regular bedtime and a predictable bedtime routine for their children. Nearly 40 percent reported a bedtime of 8 p.m., and just over half stated a wakeup time of 6:30 a.m.

“They are doing a really good job getting adequate sleep for their children,” Schuler said.

Sleep was also a focus of “unplugged week” in October, when Delano Elementary School and Ridgeview Medical Center offered a week of free, family-centered activities such as swimming, biking, open gym, and a health fair.

The lead speaker was Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, who provided information about the link between lack of sleep and behavioral issues.

“It was interesting learning how much sleep kids should be getting – and adults, too, for that matter,” Schuler said.

According to Kurcinka, the average kindergartner needs 11 to 12 hours of sleep each night. Teens typically need 9.25 hours, but only get 6 hours and 50 minutes, on average. Adults also get less sleep (6 hours and 54 minutes) than their recommended 8.25 hours.

Lack of sleep can interfere with managing emotions, focusing attention, processing information, getting along with others, and performance. Kurcinka noted that a predictable routine often makes it easier to get adequate sleep.

“At another Healthy Delano event, two physicians spoke about obesity and eating habits,” Schuler said. “That was very informative, too.”

Anyone who’d like additional resources for healthy living can register for Family Health Manager on the Ridgeview Medical Center website.

By creating an account, families can discover their “health score” and receive tips on reaching health goals. They can also obtain a free Healthy Living Playbook, custom-designed for Delano residents.

“The book has a lot of good ideas, like playing football with neighbors, planting a garden, and getting a pedometer and tracking your steps for a weekend,” Schuler said.

One activity Schuler’s family enjoys is nature walks at regional parks.

“We bought some tandem bikes in the summer, so that’s been really fun, too,” he added.

To learn more about Healthy Delano, go to http://www.delano.mn.us/community/misc/healthy-delano.

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