It can be tough for busy school administrators, pediatricians, cafeteria workers, teachers and parents to figure out the best ways to teach young people how to live a healthy lifestyle.
That’s why Dr. Deborah Kennedy decided to break things down.
The PreventObesity.net Leader created Build Healthy Kids, an easy-to-understand nutritional and physical education program that explains healthy living habits. Based on recommendations from the American Heart Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the year-long program focuses on one easy-to-understand topic each month, such as limiting screen time, getting enough Vitamin D and avoiding sugary drinks.
“My impressions are that kids know a lot, they just don’t do it,” Kennedy tells the Inside Track. “All they need is a nudge.”
Kennedy has more than two decades of experience as a nutritionist, including stints at Yale University’s Prevention Research Center and Columbia, Tufts and Cornell Universities. She’s also authored several books on nutrition, including Nutrition Bites and Beat Sugar Addiction Now! For Kids.
In creating Build Healthy Kids, Kennedy sought to make the often complex world of healthy nutrition easier for people to understand and actually begin to implement in their own lives. At the heart of the program is a monthly newsletter that explains the concepts, with one side designed for adults and the other for kids. Kennedy also created promotional posters for school cafeterias and classrooms that remind kids (and adults) about the monthly healthy habit.
Build Healthy Kids is currently being tested in Guilford Public Schools in Connecticut — this month’s topic focuses on choosing healthy proteins — and dozens of other districts have expressed interest in beginning the program.
Kennedy notes that the program can easily fit into classroom lessons or other health promotion efforts — and also is a good tie-in to the new school meal guidelines being implemented nationwide. “There’s always a champion at each school who takes it and really makes it their own,” Kennedy says.
Pediatricians also use the program in their offices, as it provides a way to give young patients and their parents constructive advice to reach or maintain a healthy weight. Instead of merely telling kids to eat more vegetables, for example, pediatricians can tell them to aim to eat three vegetables a day, and offer parents strategies for getting youngsters to actually eat them.
Along with giving teachers and doctors tools for explaining nutrition and physical activity concepts, the program can be used by high school students looking for community service opportunities. High schoolers are instructed on how to teach the concepts, and then present them to elementary schoolers.
It’s a win-win. Teenagers — who aren’t always receptive to traditional lessons on healthy living — absorb the lessons without even realizing they’ve been taught. Younger kids, meanwhile, are excited to learn things being taught by the cool older kids.
One teenager who took part in the program, for example, realized that she wasn’t consuming enough calcium while preparing her own lesson. She started drinking more milk to make up for it, Kennedy says.
THIS WEBSITE IS INTENDED FOR USE BY PERSONS OF MAJORITY AGE AND IS GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Office of State Advocacy
American Heart Association
7272 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX 75231
Compliance with Laws
Users of the Services shall abide by all applicable international, federal, state and local laws, including, but not limited to, those pertaining to libel, slander, defamation, trade libel, product disparagement, harassment, invasion of privacy, and copyright and trademark infringement.
Disclaimer of Warranties and Limitation of Liability
THE WEBSITE IS PROVIDED TO YOU "AS IS." THE ASSOCIATION DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, WHETHER EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, WARRANTIES OF TITLE OR NON INFRINGEMENT, OR ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE). THE ASSOCIATION DOES NOT WARRANT OR GUARANTEE THE ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS, CORRECTNESS, TIMELINESS, OR USEFULNESS OF ANY INFORMATION, PROGRAMS, PRODUCTS, OR SERVICES OR OTHER MATERIAL PROVIDED THROUGH THE WEB SITE. THE ASSOCIATION MAKES NO WARRANTY OR GUARANTEE THAT THE WEB SITE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED, TIMELY, SECURE, OR ERROR FREE. IN NO EVENT WILL THE ASSOCIATION BE LIABLE TO THE USER OR ANYONE ELSE FOR ANY DECISION MADE OR ACTION TAKEN IN RELIANCE UPON THE INFORMATION CONTAINED ON OR PROVIDED THROUGH THE WEB SITE, NOR FOR ANY INCIDENTAL, INDIRECT, SPECIAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES.
Copyright and Ownership.
All trademarks, service marks and trade names of the American Heart Association (collectively, the "AHA Marks") are trademarks or registered trademarks of the American Heart Association or its licensors, vendors, agents and/or content providers. You may not use, copy, reproduce, republish, upload, post, transmit, distribute or modify the AHA Marks in any way, including in advertising or publicity pertaining to distribution of materials on the Website, without the Association’s prior written consent. The use of the AHA Marks on any other website or network computer environment is not allowed.
Services and Submissions
For content that you provide to the Network that is covered by intellectual property rights, you grant the Association a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use, in any form now existing or hereafter discovered, any content that you post on or in connection with the Services.
To the extent that the Association makes available to you through the Services (or otherwise) "widgets" to obtain access to Content from the Services (collectively, the “Widgets”), you agree as a condition to accessing and using such items that you will not use the Widgets for any commercial use, without the prior written consent of the Association. Prohibited commercial uses include, but are not limited to, sale of access to the Services on another web site and use of the Services for the purpose of gaining advertising or subscription revenue.
Member Account, Password and Security.
Some of the Services may require that you create/receive a password and account designation before using the Services. See “Registration” below. You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any such password and account, and are fully responsible for all activities that occur under your password or account. If you allow third parties to access the Services through your username and password, you will defend and indemnify the Association and its Representatives from and against any liability, costs or damages arising out of claims or suits based upon or relating to such access and use. You agree to immediately notify the Network as set forth above of any unauthorized use of your password or account or any other breach of security related to the Services of which you are aware.
Unlawful or Prohibited Use.
As a condition of your use of the Services, you will not use the Services for any purpose that is unlawful or prohibited by these Terms of Service or is otherwise prohibited under applicable law. You may not use the Services in any manner that could damage, disable, overburden, or impair the Services or interfere with any other party's use and enjoyment of the Services. You may not attempt to gain unauthorized access to any Services.
Guidelines. Be respectful of others -- do not post or send:
1. Content or communications that are unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, defamatory, vulgar, sexually explicit, obscene, pornographic, libelous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable;
2. Content or communications that falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your identity, affiliation with the Association, or any person or other entity;
3. Confidential business or personal information, or content that infringes any trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights of any party;
4. Content or communications that make available unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, sweepstakes, junk mail, spam, chain letters, pyramid schemes, or any similar form of solicitation;
5. Content or communications that are fraudulent, false, inaccurate or misleading;
6. Content or communications that violate any law, ordinance or regulation; that promotes illegal activities; that is harmful to minors; or
7. Links to files that contain viruses, Trojan horses, worms, time bombs, cancelbots, corrupted files, or any other similar software or programs that may damage the operation of another's computer or property of another.
A user’s ability to access to the Services is based on that user’s level of user authorization.
Unregistered users of the Network have limited access to the Services. They can see public information on the website, including blog posts, educational resources, and the Leader Directory. Unregistered users may also contact people in the Leader Directory individually, using the social media links (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) shared by the Leader. Unregistered users may also, subject to these Terms of Service, embed Widgets on other web sites, but they cannot customize the Widgets or have access to any of the contact information or other data generated by the use of such Widgets.
There are two types of registered users of the Network:
Supporters are people who affirmatively opt-in to participate in the Network by filling out a registration form (“Contacts”) or completing an online action. They can take action on alerts and view public information, including blog posts, educational resources, and the Leader Directory. Supporters may also contact people in the Leader Directory individually, using the social media links (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) shared by the Leader.
Network Leaders are Contacts who have completed a registration form requesting Network Leader status and who have been approved by the Network based on a) a demonstrated organizational commitment to the Network Mission, and b) a track record of having done work to engage or organize others (“Network Leaders”). In addition to retaining all the user privileges of Supporters, Network Leaders can create public profiles to share in the Leader Directory. They can, subject to these Terms of Service, embed Widgets on other websites and request the set-up of action alerts and email launches to the network through Voices for Healthy Kids Action Center staff.
Access and Interference
You agree not to circumvent, disable or otherwise interfere with security-related features of the Services or features that prevent or restrict use or copying of any content or enforce limitations on use of the Services or the Content therein. You agree that you will not use any bot, crawler, harvester, indexer, robot, spider, scraper or any other automated means to access, compile, read or gather content from the Services automatically. Additionally, you agree that you will not: (a) take any action that, in our sole discretion, imposes, or may impose an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on our infrastructure; (b) interfere or attempt to interfere with the proper working of the Services or any activities conducted on the Services; or (c) bypass any measures we may use to prevent or restrict access to the Services.
You agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless the Association and the Representatives from and against any and all losses, damages, liabilities and costs of every nature incurred by any of them in connection with any claim, damage or loss related to or arising out of: your use of the Services, any assistance or Services provided by us or the Representatives to you, any alleged unauthorized use of the Services by you, or any breach or alleged breach by you of these Terms of Service. You agree to cooperate fully in the defense of any of the foregoing. We reserve the right, at our own expense, to control exclusively the defense of any matter otherwise subject to indemnification by you and you will not settle any matter without our prior written consent. Your obligation to indemnify, defend and hold harmless shall be limited to the extent that you are afforded sovereign immunity under applicable federal, state or local laws. In such cases where your obligation to indemnify may be limited due to the requirements of federal, state or local laws, you shall be responsible for the ordinary negligent acts and omissions of your agents and employees causing harm to persons not a party to these Terms of Service.
In the event that you have a dispute with one or more other users of the Services, you release the Association and Representatives from any and all claims, demands and damages (actual and consequential) of every kind and nature, known and unknown, suspected and unsuspected, disclosed and undisclosed, arising out of or in any way connected with such disputes.
Applicable Law and Jurisdiction
This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of Texas, without regard to its conflict of laws rules. Venue for any cause of action arising under this Agreement shall be proper in Dallas, Dallas County, Texas.
Electronic Communications; Binding and Entire Agreement
If any provision of this Agreement is held to be illegal, invalid, or unenforceable under present or future laws, then such provision shall be fully severable, this Agreement shall be construed and enforced as if such illegal, invalid, or unenforceable provision had never comprised a part of this Agreement, and the remaining provisions of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect and shall not be affected by the illegal, invalid, or unenforceable provision or by its severance from this Agreement.
Applicable Law: This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of Texas, without regard to its conflict of laws rules. Venue for any cause of action arising under this Agreement shall be proper in Dallas, Dallas County, Texas.
Waiver: The terms of this Agreement cannot be waived or modified except by the Association. There are no representations, warranties or covenants other than those set forth in this Agreement, which sets forth the entire understanding between the parties. The User's rights and obligations hereunder are personal to User and cannot be assigned, sublicensed or otherwise transferred or encumbered by User or by operation of law. Any such assignment in contravention of the foregoing shall be null and void and of no force and effect.
Leaders are people who are actively working - either professionally or as volunteers - to change policies and environments to help children eat better and be more active. We use the following criteria to evaluate whether to approve an applicant for Leader status with the Voices for Healthy Kids Action Center.
Do you meet the criteria below? If so, register as a Leader here. There is no cost to be a Leader.
At least one item must be checked within each of the following two categories:
1. Applicant is focused on changing policies and environments
They are working on one of Voices for Healthy Kid's six issue areas:
Ensure foods and beverages in schools meet dietary guidelines
Expand community access to high quality food
Expand physical activity programs in and out of school
Improve built environment in communities to increase physical activity
Use pricing strategies to promote purchase of healthier foods
Use regulation/policy to reduce youth exposure to unhealthy food marketing
They are working on other obesity-related issues, such as:
Their primary focus is working on individual behavior (e.g., teaching kids about food, play, etc.), but they have access to organizations that could provide opportunities to change environments, such as
Public Health Agencies
Their project is commercial, but contributes positively to changing policies and environments, such as:
2. Applicant is organizing others or contributing to organizing efforts
They are organizing others by:
Providing volunteer opportunities
Building contact lists of supporters to engage in advocacy
They provide support to organizations or leaders doing work changing policies and environments, such as:
They are a leader in a governmental body that may be the target of organizing efforts to change policies and environments, such as a:
Federal or state agency
Mayor or other local executive office
Federal, state, county or local public health department
Federal, state, county or transportation department
Federal, state or local education agency or school board
If the applicant claims to work for an organization, at least one item must be checked below:
3. Applicant works for an organization:
Has an email address that matches the domain of the organization they list
Is listed on the organization website as staff
The Voices for Healthy Kids Action Center is looking for bloggers who can write about issues that matter to our community on a regular basis. If you would like to be considered for this network, please check this box.