By: Dr. Linda Carson, CEO, Choosy Kids
A friend of mine recently bought a Powerball ticket after being reminded of the popular saying, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot that day was about 1 in 292 million, and there were nearly 700 million tickets sold! Human nature is ambitious that way. We’re willing to fantasize and sometimes even invest in pipedreams that we wish we could have—even when the odds of achieving them are overwhelmingly stacked against us. Maybe we could use our human nature for “aspiring for more” to our advantage. If we invest in something that we will receive a huge return on and keeps accumulating positive benefits for life, wouldn’t that be worthwhile? I think yes!
Let’s Invest in Health
Your body is your bank and health deposits of physical activity and nutrition can accrue great dividends. In actuality, health is the only true wealth and investing in it often in small increments can improve it and enhance it. And of course investing in children’s health has life long benefits. Let’s make our children rich and fit for life by investing in them too.
National Children’s Health Month and Day
October is National Children’s Health Month and the first Monday of each October is Child Health Day. October is a great time of year for transition and change in weather. It’s also a wonderful month for getting outside and enjoying the beauty and adventure of nature, our outdoor classroom. Let’s embrace October for its emphasis on making children as healthy as we can.
Since 1929, Child Health Day has been a United States Federal Observance Day on the first Monday in October. On Child Health Day the President invites "all agencies and organizations interested in child welfare to unite on Child Health Day in observing exercises that will make the people of the United States aware of the fundamental necessity of a year-round program to protect and develop the health of the children of the United States."
The Environmental Protection Agency celebrates Children’s Health Month. Download this poster and see how many tips you can fit into the month of October. This year’s EPA theme, Healthy Communities, Healthy Children, highlights EPA’s commitment to work with communities to ensure every child has a safe place to live, learn and play.
The Environment Affects Your Child’s Health and Wellbeing
Check out some information and resources from the EPA:
: Studies show that spending time in green, natural environments can have positive impacts on children’s mental and physical health.
- Researchers from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign found that a 20-minute nature walk helped boost concentration levels in children who had been diagnosed with ADHD.
- A study of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in New York suggested that having nature in close proximity reduces the impacts of stressful life events such as bullying or family relocation.
- Australian 10-12-year-old children who spent more time outdoors were 27-41% less likely to be overweight than their peers who spent less time outdoors.
Want to Learn More about the Health Benefits of Nature?
The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) established in 1990, implements broad public awareness and engagement campaigns, which showcase how simple everyday actions based on sound environmental knowledge can lead to huge impacts. Check out this infographic from NEEF about children and nature by clicking on link under the image.
Be sure to also check out Get Into Nature for Better Health, a resource on free apps to help get you and your family out to the park.
More from the EPA
The “environment” also includes indoors. The “inside” environment, where Americans spend up to 90% of their time, such as at home, work, school, or daycare, can also have a significant impact on a child’s health.
- About one out of every 10 school-aged children in the United States have asthma, and every year, more than 10.5 million missed school days are attributed to this disease. Indoor air quality can be compromised with environmental asthma triggers such as mold, second hand smoke, or pet dander.
- Because children are not miniature adults, they are often more likely to be at risk from environmental hazards than adults. Learn to spot situations that may pose a risk to your child, such as exposure to pesticides, radon, and lead, with this guide from EPA on children’senvironmental risks.
- Interesting but slightly dated facts about environmental health hazards and children can be found here.
AAP And Head Start National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness
The 5-2-1-0 message campaign adopted by the AAP provides suggestions for families to help meet or exceed these recommendations
- Eat at least fruits and vegetables a day.
- Keep screen time (like TV, video games, computer) down to hours or less per day.
- Get hour or more of physical activity every day.
- Drink sugar-sweetened drinks. Replace soda pop, sports drinks and even 100% fruit juice with milk or water.
And Finally...One final resource to recommend for families looking for ways to invest in the health of their children might be the website, www.KidsHealth.org, managed by the Nemours Foundation. It is a site devoted to children's health and parenting. There is a specific link just for kids and one for parents as well. Nemours is a leading pediatric health system and highly regarded for its research, and educational outreach.
It’s Children’s Health Month! So, let’s hit the jackpot! Let’s invest in the body banks of our children to reap dividends for a lifetime.
Are there other resources that you have used and can share with our blog community?