Health News Digest

Parents for Healthy Kids

October 9, 2017

Parents For Healthy Kids: A Great Idea

By Michael D. Shaw

Many years ago, when I was in elementary school, you could count the number of fat kids in the entire student body on the fingers of one hand. Moreover, these few kids were likely to be on the stocky or barely chubby side, rather than truly obese. Today, about one in five school-aged children (ages 6–19) has obesity. The percentage of children with obesity in the United States has more than tripled since the 1970s.

A number of causes for this situation have been proffered, including:

  • Too much sugar
  • Too little exercise
  • Not enough fruits and veggies
  • Portion control (The new (ab)normal)
  • Advertising and promotion of fast food chains, directed to kids

A blistering piece in the Daily Telegraph flat out states that “If you are the parent of a fat child, you are a bad parent.” It goes on…”If force feeding your child into obesity and ill health, a life on diabetes medication and far higher risks of cancer, heart disease, infertility and an early death isn’t child abuse, then what on earth is it?”

OK, we get it. Parents need to be involved. Which brings us to Parents for Healthy Kids, a new initiative launched by Action for Healthy Kids and the National PTA. Parents for Healthy Kids features a website, online community forum, trainings, and grants to educate, engage and empower parents nationwide to improve school and student health.

A press release announcing the new initiative makes some good points:

“Evidence shows children who attend schools that promote physical activity and healthy eating perform better academically. Healthy school environments also set the stage for children to adopt a healthy lifestyle into adulthood. However, studies and statistics show many schools face challenges when it comes to implementing policies and programs that help address childhood obesity and enhance learning. Additionally, according to a survey conducted by Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) and National PTA, nearly all parents said they are concerned about the future of school and student health in the U.S.”

Rob Bisceglie, CEO of AFHK continues…

“Parents and parent groups are a powerful force for change in schools and can help bring together school staff, other parents and community partners to improve student health and learning. We are excited to be able to help mobilize parents around school health issues through Parents for Healthy Kids in collaboration with National PTA and our generous sponsor, ALDI.”

Visitors to the Parents for Healthy Kids website can:

  • Learn how to engage with school leaders and decision makers on health issues
  • Find ways to help bring more physical activity and healthy eating to the school day
  • Share opinions, exchange ideas, and connect with like-minded parents in a community forum
  • Be inspired by stories from parents nationwide and share their own
  • Find tips and ideas for reinforcing healthy habits at home

Even though the initiative was launched only a few weeks ago, 150 schools have already been awarded grants (for the 2017-2018 school year), to implement health and wellness programs that include a family engagement component.

While we’re at it, we should note that authorities have been clamoring for years for parents to get more involved in their child’s education. The benefits are undeniable.

We wish Parents for Healthy Kids much success!