Every Kid Healthy Week

Published 2:16 pm Friday, April 22, 2022

By Kayla Walton
Health Education Planner

It’s not exactly surprising that health and wellness tend to become increasingly important as people age, more or less at the same rate that these elements may be starting to decline.

However, research is now showing the positive impact that creating healthy habits in childhood can have on health as an adult. Creating space for an active lifestyle, access to healthy foods, and social and emotional growth can form the foundation for better health outcomes later in life.

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“Every Kid Healthy Week” is celebrated each year at the end of April, and takes place April 25-29 of this year. Every Kid Healthy Week focuses on educating youth and their parents on the importance of social-emotional health, nutrition and food access, physical activity, equity and supporting families.

The national health observance was first recognized in 2013 as a time to celebrate and bring awareness to
the health and wellbeing of children and specifically, the role that schools and communities can play in supporting youth health initiatives.

Schools are in a unique position to strengthen kids’ mental, physical and emotional wellbeing in an accessible environment in which students are both familiar with and comfortable. In fact, schools in the United States have contact with about 95% of children in the country between the ages of 5 and 17 years old.

This is an important developmental period for youth when behaviors and ideas can take root and effect their lives for years to come. We want these behaviors and ideas to be helpful and healthful.

I have seen first-hand how Clark County schools and their staff invest time, resources and hard work into the youth in our community receiving wellness support beyond academic experiences.

By working with community partners, schools host special events throughout the year to educate students and parents on a variety of health topics and also incorporate these themes into everyday school-life.

Clark County schools will be partnering with the Clark County Health Department in the up-coming year to install a new school gardening program at Shearer Elementary and Strode Station Elementary, as well as to expand the gardening program at Conkwright Elementary.

The Health Department has received a grant through the Kentucky Department of Public Health to fund the gardening program and purchase the needed supplies to get the garden beds on-site and in use at the school campuses.

With staff support, school gardens will be maintained by students and used for academic learning as well as to incorporate physical activity into student school days and increase students’ consumption of fruits and vegetables.

The Clark County health department will support the garden by providing materials through grant funding, providing supplemental health education on nutrition and physical activity, and coordinating garden communication efforts with the community.

The benefits of an on-campus school garden are vast. These benefits can be substantial and measurable such as improved physical health outcomes as a result of increased exposure to nutritious foods. Or they can be intrinsically rewarding by simply providing a space for kids to connect with nature, each other and experience the satisfaction of the growing process, from seedling to harvest. We are excited to bring this experience to our community and encourage you to be on the lookout for the new growth
coming to a few of our Clark County schools and students.