Let’s Help Kids Make the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice

September 24th, 2015 by Live Well Omaha Kids

  By Arli Boustead, Project Coordinator, Go Nebraska Kids

How many choices would you say you make in a day? Hundreds? The reality is that we’re faced with making a ton of choices not only for ourselves, but also for the children in our community, every day.

I’m reflecting a little bit more this month on the issue of childhood obesity, as September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. I got to thinking about not only the choices I make with my child’s health in mind, but also more importantly, the choices that he is faced with. How can I possibly expect him to make a healthy choice if it isn’t available to him in the settings he learns and plays?

A few years ago I saw the docu-series, HBO’s Weight of the Nation. If you haven’t seen it you may find it fascinating. The “Children in Crisis” segment stood out to me because the overall message centers on the innocence of our children. “A child hasn’t created the environment in which he or she is living. A child hasn’t grown the foods or marketed the foods. A child doesn’t decide where parks will be situated. A child doesn’t decide how much education they’re going to get about nutrition and active living.”

Like us, our children are faced with hundreds of options each day: at school, in after-school programs, child care centers, churches, libraries, community centers, the list goes on. Just like us, in our workspaces and grocery stores, the healthy choice isn’t always the easy or most attractive choice.

WorldOWater!-2Enter Go Nebraska Kids and the 5-4-3-2-1 Go!® healthy habits countdown. Go Nebraska Kids has a simple message for kids that helps combat the childhood obesity epidemic without making it seem like “work:” Eating right and being active is as easy as… 5-4-3-2-1 Go!®

Go Nebraska Kids has already spread this message in several Nebraska communities, championed by community members, organizations, teachers, medical providers, and families who are working together to help kids learn and practice healthy behaviors where they live, learn and play.

WorldOWater!-4There are 21 elementary schools in 5 counties that are promoting the 5-4-3-2-1 Go!® healthy habits countdown in some way or another. There are 6 out-of-school settings (like Southwest YMCA in Omaha) that are making it easier for kids to learn and practice the countdown. There are 32 pediatric clinics in these counties that are coaching kids to learn and practice the 5 recommended daily behaviors in 5-4-3-2-1 Go!®.

worldOWater!-3I always knew children (especially young children) are capable of learning complicated things very early on. It’s the environment we create for them that either supports what we’re telling them, or not. I’m choosing to focus on what I can control and collaborating with others to help Nebraska kids develop some key healthy habits, like those recommended in the 5-4-3-2-1 Go!® countdown. At least we can help kids make the healthy choice by making it the easy choice, right?

For more information about getting your school, organization, church or group involved with Go Nebraska Kids and the 5-4-3-2-1 Go!® healthy habits countdown, please click here.

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