The health of our kids is a priority for any parent. A child’s health has a big impact on their physical and mental development, making it a societal priority to promote a healthy lifestyle to our children. Many underprivileged children go to school without eating, which affects their ability to learn and threatens their development. Many schools are finding ways to assist these learners and Every Child Healthy Week is an opportunity to highlight the efforts of these schools and communities.
The link between nutrition, physical activity and learning has long been recognized as a factor that needs to be well managed. Nutritious meals and physical exercise are known to help children learn better and schools are now playing their part in equipping children for a bright future. Schools are a common space for learners that promotes equality and growth, making it the ideal place to run feeding schemes and host sports days. These programmes benefit millions of young children daily by providing for their basic needs to allow them unhindered growth. Let’s look at the importance of a nutritious meal and physical exercise to a child’s ability to learn.
It is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as a healthy meal in the morning provides the energy needed to get through the day. Breakfast originates from the phrase “breaking the fast” and is basically the fuel that your body needs after not getting any nutrients while you are sleeping, and your body is repairing itself. A nutritious breakfast provides a kickstart to a child’s mind with the nutrients needed to process the new information they are expected to learn. For this reason, breakfast packs have been introduced in many schools in underprivileged areas and some include food parcels that are given to children to take home. Some schools have embarked on community projects such as vegetable gardens to encourage healthy eating habits in homes by teaching community members how to grow their own vegetables. Research on students benefiting from these programmes has shown an improvement in punctuality, attendance, concentration and academic performance.
Physical exercise helps the brain in various ways. From increasing your heart rate to pump more oxygen to your brain, to assisting the body in releasing a variety of hormones essential for brain cell production. A balanced lifestyle that includes physical activity has a positive impact on academic performance. Schools offer a variety of sporting activities to learners while NGO and government programmes allow those without the necessary facilities to participate in sports days and tournaments. As the saying goes, ‘Healthy body, healthy mind.’
It might not be as well-known as other awareness weeks, but Every Kid Healthy Week promotes an important aspect of childhood development. The work done to keep children healthy and assist them with their academic development is crucial in building a prosperous society and must be applauded. It’s important to shine a spotlight on these efforts and support them so that they become a standard in every school. So, let’s work together to keep every child healthy, every week.