Parents and educators see collaboration between schools and families as instrumental in creating the healthy environments kids need to succeed. When we asked Kansas parents, we discovered 86 percent are hungry for more information about school wellness guidelines and practices (via Team Up for Kansas Kids 2014 Parent Survey). But fewer than one in four are aware of an existing wellness committee at their kids’ schools.
I am honored and excited to officially introduce Team Up for Kansas Kids — a statewide effort designed to close that gap by facilitating the constructive partnerships between school leaders and families that will ensure healthy futures for Kansas kids.
The Kansas Health Foundation is committed to providing all Kansans with the opportunity to live a healthy life. We look to achieve this by promoting wellness in schools, neighborhoods and communities – and by encouraging healthy habits from a young age.
We created Team Up for Kansas Kids to connect and empower influential role models in a kid’s life — family members and school leaders — because the healthy habits kids are exposed to are crucial to lifelong success.
Quality nutrition and physical activity are widely known to prevent sick days, obesity and other chronic diseases. But healthy eating and exercise also improve academic performance. Both are consistently linked to improved concentration in class, lower rates of absenteeism and higher test scores.
Nearly one-third of Kansas kids between the ages of 10 and 17 are overweight or obese and two-thirds of American high school students aren’t active enough to raise their heart rates for the recommended 60 minutes every day. As a nation, we all end up paying dearly to offset the negative effects of obesity and poor health. After all, kids are the future.
Both Kansas schools and families have a tremendous opportunity to reverse these dangerous trends and set our kids up for lifelong success. Team Up for Kansas Kids aims to unite the efforts of school leaders and families and provide both with opportunities to explore resources, share tools and best practices and glean tips for facilitating collaborative action. We see this as an opportunity not only for Kansas, but for states nationwide to spring into action.
I invite you to continue to explore our website, where you’ll find resources specifically for school leaders, families and examples of schools around the state who’ve already begun implementing wellness programs to great success. I hope you’ll also consider pledging your support for this effort, as I look forward to fruitful discussions and creative solutions. Together we can help our kids grow up smart, strong and healthy.