Above: NBA star Tristan Thompson poses with kids for Healthy Me Week. Below: Some kids make their health pledges.
One of the things I love about my job is getting to interact with people. This week, instead of touching the lives of parents — as we aim to do each month at Today's Parent — I was honoured to meet and talk with 80 amazing Oakville, Ont., fourth graders about the importance of health and well-being.
Healthy Me Week is a national, week-long health initiative (which starts June 2, 2013) that promotes active living to Canadian families in the hope to combat rising obesity rates in children across the country. Started by the Concerned Children’s Advertisers (CCA), Healthy Me Week unites dedicated media partners and sports groups like the NBA, who gathered together this past Wednesday to put on a fun-filled morning at the Oakville YMCA. The students enjoyed interactive stations, where they learned how to eat better, be more active and set goals to live happier and healthier.
On behalf of Today’s Parent, I ran the “Own Up” station, where we had the kids sign a personal pledge to “Get Up, Fuel Up, and Own Up” — the key messages of the program. I felt incredibly proud that they all took the time to talk about their goals, sign the pledge and share with each other. A few of the teachers present said they had never seen their students so excited to write things down before. From “walk to school more” to “eat all my veggies” to “help my little brother ride his bike” to “play more tag” — all of their ideas to get healthier became evident of their decision to make a change too. (My favourite goal from one little boy was “think more in school.”)
The excitement kicked into high gear when Canadian NBA superstar (and super-nice guy), Tristan Thompson from the Cleveland Cavaliers made an appearance. His six-foot-nine frame intrigued everyone who walked by the gym (and made for an interesting interview as we were standing). Tristan says he loves doing these types of events with children and hopes to motivate them to live a life of activity and healthy foods. “I always try to encourage kids to get outside and play with their friends in any way that they can. They can pick up a [basket] ball or even ride a skateboard to school. These things don’t cost much money,” he said. “And if they have siblings, they should ask them to play too — that’s after all their homework is done, of course,” he adds.
Tristan was sure to remind the kids to do well in school. Originally from Brampton, Ont., Tristan could relate to these youngsters, and remembers that physical activity was always pertinent to his lifestyle growing up. “You don’t even have to break a sweat. You just have to move more and do whatever you can. Every little bit helps.”
So now we look forward to jumping into Healthy Me Week, starting this Sunday, and following a seven-day challenge focused on moving more, eating healthy and being motivated. The goal of Healthy Me Week is to offer tips and resources that help Canadian families think about healthier food choices and recognize opportunities to incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives. “It's about making small changes every day that lead to big health improvements over time,” explains CCA president, Bev Deeth. “We hope Healthy Me Week provides the nudge families need to make positive changes for the sake of their long-term health and well-being.”
For more information, visit www.healthymeweek.ca or follow #HealthyMeWeek on Twitter throughout the week.