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Free tools teach healthy lessons

Allina offers a new, free, online tool focused on lessons for kids to help them learn about maintaining good health.

Allina Health announced in April the availability of a new, free, online resource to help kids 3-14 have fun while learning more about good health and choices.

The web site offers 50 different lessons and activities that can be used by teachers, school staff, homeschool educators, parents, daycare providers, community groups, parents and others who spend time with children. The site classifies information into four main groups: Eating, exercise, cleanliness and stress management.

Each main group lists the corresponding lessons and for what ages they are appropriate, as well as how long they take to complete. Many come with worksheets, a video and/or some type of activity.

Each lesson also includes a newsletter with fun homework that families can do at together at their leisure.

The eating lessons list several options for learning about healthy snacks, correct portion sizes and reading food labels, as well as about milk, gardening and food marketing.

About a dozen sessions give information on how to stretch, use a pedometer, and protect skin from the sun. One lesson addresses body composition and acknowledges the differences among people.

A section on keeping clean gives information on why it's important to brush teeth, bathe daily and wash hands often.

The stress management portion of the site contains lessons about the importance of 'unplugging and powering off,' knowing what's important, maintaining a healthy heart and enjoying nature.

An information release says Health Powered Kids replaces the past Allina Health program Power by the Hour.

"In addition to our tried-and-true exercise and nutrition lessons, we're also helping parents and teachers talk about stress management and hygiene," says Susan Nygaard, RN, Allina Health Manager of Community Health Improvement. "This fills a major need in the community. We need to look holistically at children's health -- we know all these areas have a direct impact on how children learn and live a balanced life."

Allina rolled out the new online resource at 10 schools then asked for feedback about it.

Erin Cramer, a 3rd-grade teacher at Park Brook Elementary in Brooklyn Park, Minn., said, "I started using the exercises on Health Powered Kids to help my class burn off a little extra energy and refocus during the long afternoons. By accessing the website directly from my classroom, the kids can see the visuals right on the board. They love it."

To access Health Powered Kids™, visit Users must register for a free account in order to see and use the lessons.