Parents—you are in the thick of it. School has started, your kid has soccer practice five nights a week, and they’re working for Christmas break… and so are you. The hustle and bustle is real, and your life may be feeling like a chaotic vacuum. But at the end of the day, are you asking about your child’s health? What is your kid eating? How are they spending their lunch money and when they come home—are they eating healthy?
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, healthy food consumption and practices in children lead to better grades, increased cognitive performance, and lower rates of absenteeism and tardiness. You may be feeling like your child’s performance in school is burying you in stress, but is your child taking school just as seriously? If not, let’s take a look at what’s on their dinner plate.
Since the 1970’s, the number of fast food restaurants across the world have more than doubled, according to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. Between picking up your children from school and getting them to their respective clubs and sports teams, how often are you making a pit stop at the local McDonald’s? According to the President’s Council, about 90% of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet and exceed the daily recommended intake levels in four categories: calories from solid fats and added sugars, refined grains, saturated fat, and sodium. Worst of all, Americans eat less vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, dairy products, and oil than they should.
Against the numbers, how is your family doing? According to the President’s Council, 23 million Americans (6.5 million children) live in insecure (mostly urban) food environments, often dubbed “food deserts” by anthropologists. These families are unable to secure nutrient filled, sustainable food products that support and enhance healthy lifestyles.
At this point, you are probably asking, “what do I do?” or “how do I improve the health of my family and myself?” Always start with the dinner plate. Here at Community Ventures, we strive to improve healthy food consumption and change the way our children and our children’s children will eat and live. All across America, there are programs and initiatives setting out to create healthy, wholesome food options for Americans struggling to find a connection to healthy food.
Bluegrass Harvest, our CSA program focused on linking farmers to folks, helps self-insured employers across Kentucky provide healthy foods in the form of seasonal CSA shares to their employees. Chef Space, Louisville’s first kitchen incubator, is turning food entrepreneurs into healthy business owners, planting them in the West Louisville’s Russell Neighborhood, a food desert by anthropologists’ standards. These initiatives and many more across the country are tackling inadequate food consumption and helping families find food and nutrients that’ll improve their lives. If you are want to get involved, look to your local government, schools, and Community Development Entities and ask them, “what are you doing to help provide healthy food for our children?” The first step in changing our communities and our lifestyles is getting involved.
So, if you are worried about your child’s health and the back-to-school blues have you spending too much time in the local drive-thru—take a breath. There are programs and initiatives out there working to fix the problem. Places like CV, that have the interest of our local schools, families, students, and children in mind. Here at CV, your dream is our mission. Your children are our future.