With the rapid emergence of technology and a socially-active generation turning into a digitally-active one, children are more likely to cut back on activities and increase the amount of time spent on their televisions, tablets, and electronic gaming systems. Media advertisers tend to transform unhealthy meals into appetizing ones that influence the choices children and families make. Due to this, children feel trapped in a world with mixed emotions between what is socially accepted yet unhealthy versus what is beneficial to their health and wellness.
The combination of these factors leads to increasing obesity rates and several other long-term health conditions in children. Building onto the previous Children’s Health & Safety Day theme focused on First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign and the We CAN! initiative, this year’s theme addressed these issues and supported the National Institute of Health’s ‘Media Smart Youth’ campaign empowering children and their families to “Eat, Think, and Be Active!” The focus was implemented throughout the 22 centers across North America and incorporated into an educational, yet fun-filled day.
Through interactive workshops and activities, the Children’s Health and Safety Day introduced children to certain concepts, which will help them make intelligent choices for their own health. Whether it was learning how to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy foods by reading labels, carefully observing advertisements, brushing twice daily or finding time to cut back on television and screen time to less than two hours a day, children left for home with many important messages.
Lastly, the participants also had an opportunity to meet with professionals from various backgrounds in healthcare along with the emergency responders who paid a special visit to the event using emergency vehicles. Some centers participated in a Teddy Bear Clinic, which allowed youth to become a parent and decide how to make their “unwell” teddy bear better by visiting different healthcare professionals and receiving advice. All the meanwhile, parents and caretakers were on a separate track to learn best practices to reinforce and integrate many of the topics their children were learning that day.
This year’s Children’s Health and Safety Day on Saturday, September 12, 2015, in Jacksonville, FL brought together 32 participants including children, parents and caretakers along with 35 volunteers and health/safety professionals. This is only one of the many health and safety related services events that BAPS Charities provides to children and families on an ongoing basis. BAPS Charities work to improve the quality of living for children around the world, hosting educational seminars and training workshops, which are focused on the overall development of each and every child.