Statewide “High Five for Health” campaign promotes healthy habits for students

By Hayley Robb, Building Kentucky

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky (FHKY) and the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) launched today a new public service campaign informing Kentucky students in grades K-12 and their parents of five habits they can form this summer to set themselves up for a successful school year.

“We look at summer break as an opportunity for children to do the things they enjoy, while also building healthy habits for the next school year and beyond,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO, FHKY. “’High Five for Health’ suggests activities the whole family can do together, and older kids may even be able to do some independently. We are proud to partner with KDE to help Kentucky families be healthier.”

“High Five for Health” is a multi-faceted education and awareness effort that includes animated videos, social media graphics, message points and materials to be distributed at sporting events, youth organizations and various other locations.

“The Kentucky Department of Education is proud to support an initiative as important as this,” said Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass. “Healthy children receive better grades, attend school more often and stay focused longer in the classroom. These are the years when foundational habits are built, creating healthy, responsible and successful adults.”

Health care professionals, community-driven entities and parents are strongly urged to download the free toolkit to receive additional tools and resources, improve outreach and spark healthy habits with their families.

The “High Five for Health” summer 2022 campaign encourages Kentuckians to:

1. Prioritize physical activity.

Regular physical activity is one of the most important aspects to overall health. Physical activity improves sleep quality, brain health and cognitive thinking and reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease. Encourage your child to strive for 60 minutes of physical activity daily.2

2. Practice healthy eating.

Choosing wholesome foods is important, particularly for children and teens as they grow and develop. Healthy eating leads to stable energy, strong bones, muscles and teeth, improved mental health and helps children maintain a healthy weight and prevent chronic diseases. Summer break is the perfect time to experiment with new recipes and food groups your child may enjoy during the school year.

3. Monitor chronic conditions such as asthma, obesity and diabetes.

It’s important for parents and children to know the symptoms and warning signs of certain chronic conditions like asthma, obesity and diabetes. Wheezing and coughing are two of the most common signs of asthma, but other conditions may be harder to spot. Whether it’s creating a schedule to check blood sugar levels or implementing regular exercise, talk with your child now so they’re prepared when school starts.

4. Stay up to date on vaccines.

Take time to get caught up on “well” check-ups and dentist appointments this summer. Meet with your pediatrician to make sure your child is up to date on all immunizations and your family dentist to practice good oral hygiene.

5. Manage stress and emotions.

People with strong social-emotional learning skills are better able to cope with everyday stressors and challenges. Social-emotional learning is the process of developing self-control and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work and life success. A few activities to strengthen those skills include coloring, journaling, meditation or listening to music. Summer break is when students get to pursue what they enjoy. Use this time to find outlets that work for your child when they get angry, upset or down on themselves.

Back in December, the Foundation launched “High Five for Health” with support from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid to address concerns voiced by parents around the COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11. The summer 2022 campaign continues to carry that message and adds a more holistic health framework.

All campaign materials are available for free download at HighFiveForHealth.org.

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