We all know it: the happy, sing-song tune of the ice cream truck as it rolls through the neighborhood. Just like the sight of a robin is the first sign of spring, the ice cream truck song is often the first sound of summer. When we hear it, we know temperatures are rising and vacation isn’t too far away.
However, the sight of children crowding around the ice cream truck, waiting for their summer treat looks different now than it did even just a few years ago. According to a 2007 study at Indiana University and Ohio State University that surveyed the body mass indexes of 5,380 elementary school children, kids’ BMIs grew twice as rapidly over the summer months than it did over the winter months. While we know that BMI is just one indicator of healthy living, we also know that it is a good indicator of weight problems like obesity.
You’d think that kids would actually lose weight in the summer months because it is easier for them to be outside. However, kids can eat more sugary treats during the summer months when their meals may not be as regulated as they are during the school year, and they spend more time than ever being inactive while watching television or playing video games. Add to that the fact that children in low-income neighborhoods may not have safe access to parks or other outdoor spaces to play and you have a dangerous summer situation.
This is why the Food Bank for New York City has created an anti-ice cream truck with slogans on it such as “eat an orange instead of a slice of pizza” and “your body is 60% water, not 60% soda” as part of its Change One Thing campaign. The idea is that if kids replace one soda with a glass of water or one slice of pizza with a piece of fruit, they’ll be able to start making a difference.
It’s a noble effort, but how are you supposed to beat the summer heat without ice cream? Here are four ideas that will not only cool you down, but will up your intake of nutrients, as well.
Image Credit: Co.EXIST
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