Authored By Karen Schebaum
Let’s Go! supports 10 evidence based strategies to be implemented across community settings. Five of them, based on research, have shown to have the greatest impact on healthy eating and active living. These “priority strategies” are what our participating schools, after school programs, and childcare programs primarily focus on. These strategies are also completely applicable guideposts to a healthy lifestyle at the individual and family level.
- Provide healthy choices for snacks and celebrations; limit unhealthy choices. I really relate to this one. If I don’t want to eat Oreos every night, I can’t have them in the house. I also make sure I bring fruit to work as a snack every day.
- Provide water and low fat milk; limit or eliminate sugary beverages. Yep, this one too. We drink flavored seltzer, low sodium vegetable juice and water. These are pretty much the only drinks in our house. When we go out to eat (which is only occasionally) I sometimes treat myself to a root beer and then it really feels like a treat.
- Provide non-food rewards. This one is a bit tougher for me. Everything tastes better after a work out! I strive to reward myself by occasionally watching a show on Netflix, or reading.
- Provide opportunities for children to get physical activity every day. I have furry rather than human children. However, applying this strategy to myself, I will say I find this one harder in the Winter. Nevertheless, the dog won’t walk herself and I have numerous exercise DVDs lined up and an exercise mat spread out and ready to go.
- Limit screen time. The TV aspect is easy for me—we don’t have cable or network TV and watch Netflix lightly. What is increasingly difficult is not overdoing screen time on my MacBook and Kindle Fire. I suspect this can be an issue for my iPad, iPhone, and Android loving friends too. Adults complain about the amount of texting and video game playing by kids, but we adults often have our own screen time issues!
It seems to me that, as we look to organizations and institutions in our communities to implement these strategies for change, a good place to start is at home, by embracing and implementing them in our own lives.
What are your guideposts on the path to a healthy lifestyle?
Check out Let’s Go!’s 10 Strategies for Success.
Also take a look at Let’s Go!’s Sites of Distinction – those sites excelling at implementing the five priority strategies and having them written into policy.
Karen Schebaum is a manager of the Kids CO-OP, Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center – Home Office for Let’s Go!.