Let’s be honest. It’s easier to sell kids on an idea when it’s already ingrained in pop culture—when somebody else suggests that it is the new big thing. So get out the blender.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GREATER LAWRENCE/FAR EASTSIDE – The Greater Lawrence/Far Eastside community – comprised of the City of Lawrence and southern Lawrence Township – has been selected as one of 50 communities across the country to compete in the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge for a chance at a $250,000 grand prize.
The Challenge, a partnership between the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties, will award a total of $1.5 million to small and mid-sized cities, counties, and federally-recognized tribes that are able to show measurable change in their communities by implementing health innovations and data-driven solutions during the two-year challenge. Hundreds of entities applied to be a part of the Challenge.
Greater Lawrence/Far Eastside proposed a Healthy Families Healthy Children initiative in partnership with Jump IN for Healthy Kids as its health challenge. The initiative will work to reduce childhood obesity in the greater Lawrence community by creating healthy environments where families can make healthy choices to improve their children’s health.
A mountain of research suggests that healthy nutrition radically improves children’s cognitive function and measurable academic achievement.
We know that:
- Specific vitamins and minerals that our body obtains from nutrient-rich foods play a critical role in brain growth, development and learning.
- Staying hydrated is important—a drop of just 1-2% in body fluid can cause difficulty with math problems, slower processing, impaired short-term memory, and trouble focusing on a page of text or computer screen.
- Obese children show less brain activity, especially in the frontal cortex which is associated with attention, short-term memory tasks, planning and motivation.
Forget the doughnuts and the big-as-your-face muffins drowning in sugar sprinkles. A healthy breakfast includes a variety of whole grain, fruit, vegetable, dairy and meat or meat alternative combinations. With a little planning and our tips for a healthier breakfast, you’ll be well on your way to getting the recommended 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, providing an opportunity to highlight not only the health challenges facing our children, but also the solutions that we’re promoting through our work at Jump IN for Healthy Kids.
In central Indiana 4 out of 10 children are estimated to be overweight or obese. That’s nearly a quarter million kids struggling with an unhealthy weight that puts them at risk of significant health issues.
Child obesity is linked to:
- Heart disease and heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Early onset of Type 2 diabetes
- Poor academic performance
- Social, emotional, and behavioral problems
If we do not reverse childhood obesity trends, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention project that this generation of children will be the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
Vending machines remain popular because they provide quick, convenient and inexpensive food options for users—and possibly a revenue stream for the organization hosting the machines. But they don’t have to be chocked full of candy and chips to achieve all these things.
We know that playing outdoors enables children to easily engage in both moderate and vigorous physical activity such as running, skipping, jumping, climbing, chasing, lifting, balancing—even digging, splashing, and building. Playgrounds and outdoor play equipment are substantial investments, and we design and build them with the expectation that they will sustain us for many years. But that doesn’t mean we should stop thinking about them once they are erected.
Whether you’re in position to begin planning for a new playground, tackle a substantial renovation to existing play space, or make just minimal additions or changes, the following best-practice design ideas are worth thinking about.
Families often seek guidance from trusted health care providers to make the best decisions about nutrition and physical activity for their children. But starting these conversations can be tough, and time is short at the doctor’s office.
Doctors feel this struggle, too, and many of them are looking for strategies to make their time with patients most efficient and productive, especially with regard to preventing and managing childhood and adolescent obesity. These family medicine doctors, pediatricians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants no doubt know the devastating impact that excess weight can have on overall health—leading to the early onset of life threatening conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
Researchers have identified steps your child’s primary care provider can take to help your family prevent and manage overweight and obesity—guidelines statistically proven to be associated with better outcomes for children.
At Jump IN for Healthy Kids, we talk a lot about what employers, schools, child care centers, places of worship, community centers and youth service providers can do to facilitate healthy eating and physical activity within their organizations. There is no doubt that what happens in these places has substantial impact on the lives of children and their caregivers.
But ultimately, we want the healthy habits established in these places to spill over into family homes as well. You can make that happen by sharing what you’re doing—as well as other tips—with the families you serve. Whether you, your workplace, school, or child care center is already a role model for healthy living or just beginning the journey to improve, there are simple steps you can take to share tips and influence the lives of children and families you know.
Actually, the general trend towards poorer health in the United States may be affecting your bottom line more than you realize. And it isn’t just your employees’ health that impacts you, but also the health of their families. Full-time employees may consume half or more of their daily calories while at the workplace and spend 25% or more of their waking hours at the office each week, so it isn’t hard to imagine that habits instilled or reinforced at the office spill over into the family home.
But you can take simple, affordable steps to change the tide. Here are four convincing reasons to do so: