8 ways to help your community fight childhood obesity
At Convention 2017, Childhood Obesity was announced by OPA President Jan Titsworth as the 2017-18 President’s Project. To support this goal, everyone can help better the lives of children and encourage them to be more active and to lead healthier lifestyles. You can participate in walk to school days, get involved with community organizations, talk to children, or contact an Omega Phi Alpha chapter and participate in their service projects. Here are some easy ways you can help your community reduce childhood obesity.
- Volunteer at a local school:
See if a local school near you offers a program in which you can volunteer to help walk students to school or to the bus. http://www.walkingschoolbus.org/
- Participate in Walk to School Days:
October 4 is International Walk to School Day. Contact a local school, or your neighbors, or local children, to see if they would like to walk to school on this day. Make sure the children stay safe on their route! http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/
- Nutrition education:
If you provide snacks for a classroom or a sporting event, then bring healthy snacks! Ask the teacher or coach if you can also give a talk on why healthier snacks are a better alternative. You can also present a nutritional demonstration showing cost differences, sugar and fat contents. Find a friend or a fellow alumna who are nutritionists and have them help you. You can also create a cookbook full of easy, healthy recipes and pass them out to kids to show they can cook with their parents at home.
- Fundraisers/carnival booths:
If a school is looking to hold a fundraiser, suggest doing a walk-a-thon, or a jump for heart campaign, or a dance marathon, where people can sponsor a child to participate in these events. You can have a healthy bake sale and provide recipe cards along with the food being sold. If the school hosts a carnival, make the booth a healthy one! Play games that encourage movement and sell healthy snacks instead of candy at the carnivals.
While Halloween is usually a night for all the candy in the world, provide children with healthy options like fruit snacks, apple slices or cuties (mandarins). You can also limit children on how much candy they eat on Halloween night, and then teach them about moderation and how you can still eat candy and stay healthy.
- Contact the school district:
See if they will provide nutritional information about children’s meals, and find out what you can do to help promote healthier meals at the school. See if you can help decorate the school with nutritional posters. Make homemade lunches. Contact a fellow alum teacher to find out how you can help students lead a healthier lifestyle. If you are a certified teacher, talk to the physical education teacher about leading an exercise class.
- Volunteer at your local YMCA:
Find out what the local YMCA has going on and ask to volunteer to be a coach, run programs or mentor youth through their Rise and Reach program.
- Contact an Omega Phi Alpha chapter:
Reach out to active sisters and find out what they are doing this semester for their president’s project, and ask what you can do to help with their project or if you can join them for it!
There are definitely more than 8 ways you can help your community overcome childhood obesity, but please feel free to share what you do this year by using the hashtag #opafightschildhoodobesity and in your posts!
Morgan Mills (Alpha Gamma), OPA writer