The LiveWell Healthy Kids Work Group
The Healthy Kids work group is working to improve the physical, mental and social well-being of Douglas County children and youth so everyone has the opportunity to thrive in a community that fosters resiliency, creativity and wellness. The workgroup welcomes participation from a diverse group of individuals and organizations interested in promoting healthy children and youth in Douglas County.
During the past three decades, childhood obesity rates have tripled, and today, nearly 1 in 3 children in America are overweight or obese. Many of these children face mental and physical health problems like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, asthma and depression. We are working to reverse the trend by promoting physical activity, supporting school and community gardens, nutrition education, social connectedness and family work and life balance.
Strategy and Opportunities
Strategy: Improve the nutrition environment for children birth to age 18 (including schools, child care settings and before/ after-school programs).
Opportunities for Community Action
- Assure implementation of strong wellness policies and practices in Douglas County schools, before and after-school programs, child care homes and centers, which will include:
- Oversight by a wellness “committee” (such as the LiveWell Douglas County Healthy Kids Work Group) with representation by key community stakeholders (including school district(s), early childhood, United Way, Boys and Girls Club, Parks and Recreation Departments etc.)
- Policies and practices that include criteria for the nutritional quality of snacks, vending options, school stores, concessions, and food at special events & fundraisers
- Assure that all nutrition education curricula meet a minimum standard
- Increase enrollment and participation in meal programs (including breakfast, free and reduced meals, afterschool, and summer food programs) for school-age youth in Douglas County
- Advocate for continued implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
- Advocate that all schools move toward “modeling” of the highest possible category of implementation for the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
- Create (or maintain) school and early childhood gardens across Douglas County
- Establish practices that result in greater use of fruits/ vegetables from gardens that serve children birth to 18
Strategy: Adopt policies to ensure opportunities for physical activity in schools, before- and after-school programs, and licensed child care providers.
Opportunities for Community Action
- Cultivate school wellness champions within schools (including PE teachers) and the community
- Increase school participation in Let’s Move in Kansas Schools or programs designed to promote movement in the classroom
- Assure implementation of strong wellness policies and practices in Douglas County schools, before- and after-school programs, child care homes and centers which will include oversight by a wellness “council” or “committee”
- Ensure that all students in grades K-12 have adequate opportunities to engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, through approaches including: active transport to school programs, intramural sports and activity programs, active recess, classroom breaks, after-school physical activity programming, and integration of physical activity into curricula lesson plans
- Establish requirements for child care and early childhood education programs to improve physical activity standards. Encourage each licensed child care site to adopt policies to provide opportunities for physical activity, including free play and outdoor play for at least 60-90 minutes for toddlers and 90-120 minutes for preschoolers per 8-hour day
Strategy and Opportunities for Community Action are identified in the Douglas County Community Health Plan.
LiveWell Annual Celebration Breakfast Awards
As part of its annual celebration, on Friday, November 19, the LiveWell Douglas County coalition awarded Culture of Health Action Awards to both coalition members and community partners whose efforts have helped improve the health and well-being of Douglas County residents.
Eudora Schools Foundation has been engaged in a number of efforts to promote health among school-aged youth in Eudora. Shanda Hurla and Lauri Kuntz were at the celebration to accept the Culture of Health award on behalf of the foundation for their efforts to create the “Bird’s Nest,” a school-based pantry that provides snacks and take-home foods.
For more information about joining, go to Get Involved.
Work Group Leadership
- Chair: Kaitlyn Peine, K-State Research and Extension, Douglas County