A child’s chance for a bright tomorrow starts with getting enough food to eat today. According to FeedingAmerica.org, 1 in 7 children in America may not know where they will get their next meal. For these more than 11 million kids in the U.S., getting the energy they need to learn and grow can be a daily challenge. Their food insecurity is caused by the lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.
In addition to food insecurity, a lack of physical activity can also make a significant difference in the health of a child. Data from the National Survey of Children’s Health shows that only 24 percent of U.S. children ages 6 to 17 are currently meeting the guideline of 60 minutes of physical activity every day. That regular physical activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), not only can help improve cardiorespiratory fitness, build strong bones and muscles, control weight, and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression; it can also reduce the risk of developing health conditions such as heart disease.
1 in 7 children in America may not know where they will get their next meal.
UnitedHealthcare and Sesame Workshop®, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street®, have been partnering to support families, health care providers, and communities to address a variety of well-being initiatives, including food insecurity, physical activity, and healthy habits, since 2010.
Sesame Workshop’s Growing Every Day, Every Way program educates families on the importance of making nutritious food choices and incorporating physical activities to establish lifelong healthy habits. The bilingual (English and Spanish) educational materials include:
- Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget™, which is designed to help support families who are coping with uncertain or limited access to affordable and nutritious food.
- We Have the Moves™, which encourages families to participate in regular physical activity to help children build strong bones and muscles, improve their social and emotional skills, and support their ability to learn new concepts.
- Growing Every Day, Every Way™, which provides parents with resources to help them keep infants, toddlers, and preschoolers healthy by building an understanding of their child’s physical and cognitive developmental milestones.
Only 24% of U.S. children ages 6-17 are meeting the 60 minute guideline of physical activity.
Since the Food for Thought program launched in 2010, Sesame Workshop has unveiled independent research indicating the program has been successful in helping families increase their knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors around nutrition. The research found that within four weeks, nearly three in four families participating in the program reported making positive nutritional changes, including seeking information on how to cope with food insecurity, taking steps to save money on food, and making changes to promote healthy eating in the family.
Learn more about Growing Every Day, Every Way and access free, bilingual resources at uhccommunityplan.com/grow and SesameStreetinCommunities.org.