By TaNiqua Ward; TSET Healthy Living Program Specialist
The TSET Payne County Healthy Living Program (HLP) strives to promote nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco cessation. The Payne County HLP has four sectors which consist of businesses, cities and governments, community institutions/organizations, and schools. There have been partnerships formed between the HLP and many of the schools in Payne County. The emphasis is on getting youth engaged in healthy living and encouraging schools to adopt and implement wellness policies.
Keeping children healthy by making simple lifestyle changes is important for their health and their future. It is important to teach children about selecting healthy foods and being physically active at an early age. One in three children is overweight or obese, putting them at risk for a variety of health complications and chronic diseases. Evidence shows students who eat right and are physically active in school learn healthy lifelong habits and are better equipped to succeed academically. Every Kid Healthy Week celebrates schools that are joining the fight against childhood obesity. The Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) has the goal to reduce cancer and cardiovascular disease by reducing tobacco use and addressing physical activity, poor nutrition and obesity. Our goals align with the Every Kid Healthy Week and what the HLP promotes for the schools. Compared to other states, nationally the 2014 Oklahoma State of the State’s Health Report Oklahoma ranked:
- Next to lowest rate of fruit consumption
- 44th lowest rate of vegetable consumption
- 44th least physically active
- 6th highest rate of obesity
- Adult smoking rate of 23.3% in 2012 (compared to 19.6% nationally)
Every Kid Healthy Week is celebrated the last week of April each year. It is an annual observance that celebrates health and wellness achievements within schools and is recognized on the calendar of National Health Observances. During this week, acknowledgments are given to schools and their efforts to improve nutrition, physical activity, and learning. It highlights the importance of healthy children learning better and draws the link between health and school performance. People within the community should support the healthy programs within schools that are promoting healthy food options and physical activity. Teachers, parents, and individuals who want to learn and get involved can visit www.EveryKidHealthyWeek.org. This is a great opportunity to contribute to shaping our children’s future.
Shape Your Future is a program of TSET that has resources for forming healthy habits. There are recipes to eat better, activities to move more, and resources to be tobacco free. You can go to shapeyourfutureok.com to find out more information on improving health for you and your family.