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my kids have sat down and they won’t get up. kids’ health. it’s a family affair.

March 2, 2010

in wellness

as they grapple with longer school days and more homework, combined with aging out of playgrounds, a desire to relax, and a disinterest in sports, our kids are slugs on a rug most afternoons and weekends. and they’re obviously not alone: one in three kids is overweight or obese, and kids as young as three are showing signs of heart disease. you don’t have to be a stats genius to get that many of us are not teaching, or are struggling to teach, our kids about good health. we need help!

despite our growing national problem and the impact families have on health care costs and overall well-being, far too few companies, not to mention insurance providers, offer that help in a serious way beyond general benefits eligibility. even fewer are those involving families in a way that’s fun—a key ingredient in making anything “good for you” stick—or designed to educate and inspire a family health philosophy. IBM is one that gamely latches onto this fact and attempts to address it with their children’s health rebate, a $150 incentive to make nutrition and exercise a family affair. i’ve worked with a client to spur dinner table conversation through a kids’ art contest that asked “what is health?” and a separate photo contest about how families make time for themselves. these aren’t substantive changes. of course, one needs more. but they’re seedlings, and they show that these companies get that you can create two (or more) for one change by working through the child to reach the adult.

for my family, today’s great idea is to walk to city sports to buy four pedometers. we’ll see if a little competitive stepping and (admittedly low) technology can get our kids up and moving. of course, my youngest has already figured out she can just jump up and down or shake the thing to rack up her steps. at least she has to move some with either method of cheating.

  • for those of you with kids, how do your kids feel about fitness and general health? if they’re like mine, what’s worked for you?
  • for those of you at companies, how does your company reach out to, involve, and support your family on health matters? how would you like them to?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

fran March 2, 2010 at 11:27 am

readers interested in child obesity may be interested in today’s entry on the health affairs blog: http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2010/03/02/child-obesity-health-affairs-explores-strategies-for-combating-epidemic/.

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Anita D March 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm

We put a mini trampoline in front of the tv–there isn’t a kid alive who can resist jumping while watching tv. The kid’s school is great @ modeling good eating habits and encouraging movement.

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fran March 2, 2010 at 3:49 pm

a mini trampoline — that’s a terrific idea.

our kids’ schools are a mixed bag. and with our eldest now in middle school, she’s only exposed to gym once per week. for her, recess consists of reading in a quiet corner.

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