Every Kid Healthy Week is celebrated on the last week of April every year. It provides schools as well as any individuals or businesses who want to become involved with a chance to impact the lives of school children with healthy choices in eating and exercising. Not only can healthy food and activity choices help children grow up to be healthy adults, but also they can improve cognitive skills and learning in the school environment.

Creating the Healthiest Environment for Children

Every Kid Healthy supports a variety of tools and programs to help schools make healthy choices for children. Every Kid Healthy has the possibility of impacting academics and test scores simply because healthy children have improved concentration and thinking skills. Schools are invited to start a healthy living challenge, and community businesses are invited to support the local schools in these endeavors.

It is vital that children are active every day. Current recommendations call for at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. This could occur at school or home. While parents can help their children enjoy moderate aerobic activities most days of the week, the CDC recommends at least three days of intense aerobic activity, such as running. Muscle strengthening is also important for children because it can lead to healthy bones, muscles, and joints for a lifetime. Children should enjoy a muscle-strengthening activity that is age-appropriate, such as gymnastics, approximately three days each week.

Encouraging Role Models at Home & School

Children should also see a healthy diet modeled in the home and should be encouraged with healthy food choices at school. Nutrient-dense foods are vital. Parents should focus on serving proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy while staying away from added sugars and trans fats.

Children have a hard time saying “yes” to healthy eating and exercising when they do not see their parents modeling this behavior. They are also more inspired to succeed when they have a say in the process, such as when they are involved in meal planning or cooking. Family meals are vital at all stages of growing up because they help to eliminate unhealthy food choices made while on the go.

Parents who are unsure how many calories their children should be consuming daily or what types of activities are age-appropriate can check with their pediatricians. Dr. Matney can advise concerned parents on current guidelines and on how they can get picky eaters to make healthy food choices.