In September, Clarence Gooden tweets mentioned Action for Healthy Kids, an organization that had recently received grants from CSX Corporation. As a transportation company, it seemed unusual that they would provide grants to a non-profit whose focus was not on transporting goods but instead focused on creating healthier schools. However, Action for Healthy Kids provides a significant impact on the nation’s school lunch program in an effort to promote healthier living for children.
History of Action for Healthy Kids
Action for Healthy Kids was founded in 2002 in response to a call to action by the United States Surgeon General, David Satcher. The call to action asked schools to fight the growing problem of childhood obesity. Since its founding, the organization has worked to fight obesity and lack of physical activity by partnering with more than 80,000 volunteers and 75 organizations to create school changes that promote student health.
Committed To Change
In an effort to conquer childhood obesity, Action for Healthy Kids works to ensure that every school has a regularly updated wellness policy and that children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. In addition, the group works to be sure all school lunches meet nutritional standards promoted in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Action for Healthy Kids provides schools with culturally-sensitive physical activity suggestions as well as healthy educational eating programs. The organization’s grassroots efforts are designed to provide children with the keys to health with the belief that healthy children lead to academic success. Using physical activity and nutrition lessons to make it fun for children to be healthier, Action for Healthy Kids hope that students will develop healthier habits that will remain with them into their adult life.
Achievements and Accomplishments
Since their beginning in 2002, Action for Health Kids has grown from fewer than 700 volunteers to more than 80,000 in 2014. During the 2013-2014 school year, the organization brought physical activity and nutrition programs to more than 29,000 schools, reaching over 12 million students. In 2007, the organization hosted “ReCharge! Energizing After-School!” training programs across Florida in order to education children on the importance of healthy lifestyles. Action for Healthy Kids partners with school districts across the country, many of which have made a high-level commitment to meeting the health needs of students.
Health and Learning
According to the United States Center for Disease Control, healthy students are better learners. Hunger and chronic illness often lead to poor performance. Scientific studies have found that school health programs provide the best method for improving academic outcomes. Research has found that school health programs have the most significant impact on reducing health risk behaviors on young people, which is why many schools have begun to implement programs in order to not only keep children healthy, but also to help them improve academically.
Action for Healthy Kids has received the support of many individuals and corporations, many of whom have developed their own wellness programs in the workplace. Companies such as Wal-Mart, Kelloggs and other high-profile corporations with thousands of employees nationwide are realizing the benefits of a healthy workforce, and this focus is expanding to include the children of their employees. This change in corporate philosophy is directly related to knowledge that a healthy family creates a better workforce.