Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Let’s Make Our Children Rich and Fit for Life

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:
Outside: 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

Inside: 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 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Head Start National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness has resources for building healthy, active lives for everyone in the family. Especially helpful is the Growing Healthy Family Goal Setting resource.

The 5-2-1-0 message campaign adopted by the AAP provides suggestions for families to help meet or exceed these recommendations for living a healthy active life:
  • Eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day.
  • Keep screen time (like TV, video games, computer) down to 2 hours or less per day.
  • Get 1 hour or more of physical activity every day.
  • Drink 0 sugar-sweetened drinks. Replace soda pop, sports drinks and even 100% fruit juice with milk or water.
You can read more about this in a past Choosy Kid's blog!


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?


About the Author: Linda Carson, Ed. D, is the founder and CEO of Choosy Kids, LLC, and the Ware Distinguished Professor Emerita at West Virginia University. An award winning, nationally recognized expert, Dr. Carson has devoted her career to promoting healthy preferences for young children and the adults who make decisions on their behalf. Click here to learn more about Linda.

30 comments :

  1. Getting your kid outside and in Nature is so good for them and for the time you can spend bonding with them.

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    1. GOOD point about the bonding time! You are always making memories no matter what you are doing.

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  2. I absolutely love this. I am from South Florida originally and spent so much time in the ocean. I call it "Vitamin Sea". I moved to San Diego for seven years and now I live in the Natural State - where there is so much lush gorgeousness outside. We're always out on trails and hiking. My husband's ten year old loves it. I am sharing this post. It's just brilliant.

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    1. Thank you so much Heather! It is awesome that you have had those experiences and are now able to share them with your husband's 10 year old!

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  3. I never really thought about the effect of the environment on a child's health and well being. It makes sense though!

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    1. I am glad that we were able to get the wheels turning for you!

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  4. Getting your kid outside and in Nature is so good for them and you. Plus you get some one on one time.

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    1. Valid points, Rebecca! Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I love this campaign. Kids need to get outside and play. I think we shelter them so much these days, when we need to be outside with them!

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    1. We don't live in the days where children were outside from dusk to dawn anymore, so you are right, they are sheltered. But it is up to parents TODAY to get their gets outside and moving. To enjoy the fresh air and nature.

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  6. This is such an awesome campaign. It is so important for kids to get outside play and get active. Too many children are unhealthy because they don't get out and move.

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    1. You are right, Taylor. But many children are "unhealthy" because they just aren't educated in what they are supposed to be doing.

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  7. I love this message. Not just kids lets spread this knowledge to working adults too!

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    1. YES! Because so many adults don't put enough investment into themselves either.

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  8. This post is just so packed with such good information. Thank you for pointing out how important the environment is, inside and outside!

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    1. You are welcome! And thank YOU for stopping by!

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  9. It's been so hot here in FL I often wonder how kids are getting in their active time. I remember spending lots of time outdoors as a kid and loving it. I'm so glad to see campaigns like this reminding us to stay active and get our kids outside.

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    1. Maybe they are playing outside earlier in the day or later in the evening? Or in pools? Hopefully they are getting to spend SOME time outside. Stay cool!

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  10. This is such a great campaign to get the kids to be more active. This is also one of the best ways to bond as a family.

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    1. Yes...outside...no technology...no distractions. Pure bonding time.

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  11. So much great information here not just for kids but adults like! I know I definitely need to limit my screen time (especially since I already work on the computer all day) and spend more time outdoors - I literally will go an entire day without leaving my apartment sometimes - not good!

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    1. You need that natural Vitamin D and fresh air. Get outside! :)

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  12. I notice a tremendous difference in my children's behavior when they get outside more. I dread bad weather days when we are stuck inside and they want to watch TV.

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    1. A lot of parents would agree with you. Children are able to burn off so much energy and their minds can explore so much more when they are outside rather than indoors.

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  13. There's nothing better than having kids spend more time outside, aside from being active they learn a lot of skills as well. I fully support this and I hope a lot of parents do to.

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    1. Love this! Life skills kids can learn outdoors!!!

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  14. Being outside is so important! I try to get my kids out most of the day, until it gets really cold, and then I reserve outside time for when Daddy is home to help get kids in all the outdoor gear :-)

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    1. hahaha! It is a workout just getting kids dressed to go play in the snow. But in the end, it is well worth it! keep up the good work!

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  15. Investing in health is so important. Kids need to be active and to receive proper nutrition.

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  16. Yes! we do need to invest in our children's health! Thank you for raising awareness for this!

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