Healthy eating and physical activity solutions for kids

Beyond Talk...Time to Take Healthy Action

Hats off to First Lady Michelle Obama for her commitment to a national childhood obesity initiative with details soon to be released. Kudos to U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin who offered very strong and urgent words in her Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation 2010. No one should be caught off guard by anything either of these leaders have shared with the nation. In 2001, then Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, in his Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity, gave us a peek into the future if we did not have a united effort to reverse the trend. So what will these fresh words by new leaders mean to you or me?

It is time for each and every person to take a look at what their role can be to help create and implement simple solutions to eat, move, and enjoy a healthy balanced lifestyle for all. This must start with a personal plan. What can you do to improve your own health? How can your family create a plan for healthy change? What can you impact within your work world to guide a culture of health in the workplace? What partnerships and associations can you impact in your community to make a healthy difference?

The nonprofit I direct, Healthy Kids Challenge (HKC), has been guiding leaders to help create solutions for kids and families around this issue since 1998. I guess we haven't resolved the problem yet, huh? It's huge, it's challenging, it's important and we've learned one thing for absolute certain; change has to start with people who are aware of the need, who have an understanding of the value and importance, and who are motivated and willing to take small steps to help guide personal and systems change. Until then, we're another resource on the web, another toolkit on the shelf. However, once the light bulb has been turned on, HKC has been able to guide schools, community programs, business, and healthcare organizations to successful healthy, sustainable, budget friendly changes. 

A few success stories from HKC follow: (And, this is the tip of the iceberg!)

  • Physical activity and healthy snacks a common thread in community library preschool programs 
  • The physician office waiting room transformed into a teaching environment with healthy messaging "while you wait"
  • Student led activity and cooking clubs, worksite meetings held during a walk around the complex
  • Teachers challenging each other to eat more fruits and veggies along with their students
  • Administrative support for professional development time for helping school wellness teams create a healthier school environment

HKC offers tools, training, and resource support but the answer starts with going beyond all of that and individuals and groups deciding it's time to take action and "Make a Difference Today for Tomorrow". What is your role in this issue at such a critical time? We'd like to hear from you. What can we do to help? It's time to go beyond my blog and take action, together!