Monday, April 24 marks the beginning of Every Kid Healthy Week this year. Like every year since 2002, one week is dedicated to encouraging healthy choices and habits in our school-age children. It’s a great week for teachers, mentors, and parents to emphasize physical exercise, and healthy food choices, and to start a conversation about mental health. Addressing these issues with school-age children can help combat the childhood obesity epidemic. It is estimated that one in every three children is obese in the U.S.
Another important part of Every Kid Healthy Week is teaching kids about the need for regular check-ups by their healthcare providers. Children between the ages of five and ten should have a well-child exam at least annually. During these visits, healthcare providers will assess the child’s activity level, height, weight, and any concerns including obesity and other comorbidities that can follow children into adulthood.
It is imperative that we take time to emphasize the importance of kids’ health because it is during this time that their immune systems are developing, and their bodies are using nutrients to grow actively. Also, it is a crucial time for children to learn positive and healthy habits that will help shape their personal choices as adults. Especially in children, nutritional intake greatly affects their mood and emotional disposition. Foods high in sugar and dye can lead to poor impulse control and mood disturbance. In comparison, a healthy balanced diet has been shown to help children learn and grow appropriately.
Every Kid Healthy Week provides a platform for grownups to start a conversation with kids about the importance of healthy choices and continue this conversation throughout the year. It is our responsibility as adults to protect the health of future generations.
National Today (2023). Every kid healthy. www.nationaltoday.com
By: Katie Sullivan, Nurse Practitioner