Lessons learned as kids help later in life

Contributing writerOctober 9, 2011 

Many ideas cross our minds when we see a newborn baby. Oooh, so darling. Oh so sweet! Thank goodness it’s yours! What a blessing! Does it come with a manual?

We know that providing for the health and well-being of children is one of our society’s most challenging and wonderful responsibilities. While children are our most precious resource, the obligation to ensure that all our children can live, learn, and play in safe and healthy environments can be daunting.

Experts tell us that lessons learned as children can translate into a healthier life. When parents and other caregivers set an example of healthy living, they lay the foundation for their children’s success. Thurston County is a wonderful place to raise kids in a very family friendly atmosphere. We are blessed with very active, involved families working to support happy, healthy kids.

Still, over the last decade, childhood obesity rates have tripled, and this epidemic threatens many young Americans, leaving them at risk for severe and chronic health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

To make an impact on this epidemic, a coalition of community members involved with children and youth has formed. Members of the Healthy Child Weight Coalition include parents, local parks and recreation staff, school personnel, Boys & Girls Club staff, local physicians, WIC program representatives, Thurston County Commissioners, and staff from the YMCA, Washington State University Thurston County Extension and Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department. The coalition is working to create neighborhoods that support and foster healthy children and families – encouraging the education, health care, environments and policies needed to promote a healthy weight and thereby prevent chronic disease.

CHILD HEALTH MONTH

We can all celebrate by learning the power in the numbers 7-5-2-1-0 to grow happy, healthy kids.

7: Eat breakfast all seven days of the week.

5: Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

2: Limit daily screen time to 2 hours or less each day.

1: Spend at least one hour per day in physical activity.

0: Don’t drink any sugary drinks on most days.

Check out our new website at 75210.org and look for healthy, active opportunities for kids in our area.

Dr. Diana T. Yu is the Health Officer for Thurston and Mason counties. Reach her at 360-867-2501 or yud@co.thurston.wa.us.

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