By Dawnavan Davis, Ph.D. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, Director of Health Promotions -
In the United States, 68 percent of adults and 33 percent of children are currently overweight or obese. In Kansas City, 30 percent of children fit this description. If this trend continues, today’s children will have a shorter life span than their parents – a grim prospect that can be combatted by developing life-long healthy habits and kicking off a healthier lifestyle now.
Challenging Kansas City to a Healthier Life
On the heels of the Blue KC Childhood Obesity Report, which revealed both local and national data about obesity rates of children and adults, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) is challenging Kansas City to get moving and actively engage in wellness opportunities.
At Blue KC, we understand it takes a village; community organizations, policy makers, local businesses, family members, physicians, school administrators and others all play a crucial role in helping our communities stay on track to live healthier lives. By providing recommendations and tools to help individuals adopt healthy lifestyle habits today, Blue KC aims to empower KC residents with the encouragement and resources to help them live healthier lives.
In order to have a healthier community tomorrow, we all must start making changes today. This summer, Blue KC is taking this statement to heart and to the streets of Kansas City, issuing a challenge to all Kansas Citians:
Together, one step at a time, we can create a healthier community and take steps down the path toward lifelong good health through a variety of family-friendly strategies, resources and programs in Kansas City. Here are some family-friendly tips to start living a healthier life:
• Discover the places in your community that sell healthy food options, and make time in your busy schedule to shop for fresh food and cook nutritious meals for your family. Healthy, homemade meals will provide your family with the energy to tackle each day.
• Make mealtime collaborative and fun. Bring the kids to a local farmers’ market or take them with you when you grocery shop and let them choose fresh fruits and veggies to use when cooking.
• Enjoy some outdoor exercise. Locate safe areas to walk, bike and run in your neighborhood. Play a family game together outside like tag or basketball game. Blue KC recommends doing family activities that help children get 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
• Always stock healthy snack options, such as fresh fruit and yogurt. Eliminate sodas and sugarcoated snacks. Encourage kids to drink plenty of water.
• Do fun Kansas City activities as a family. Play Frisbee on the lawn at the Nelson Atkins Art Museum or Liberty Memorial. Walk around the exhibits at Science City. Take a trip to the Kansas City Zoo. Visit your neighborhood park or play ground. There are a lot of local activities where kids can get moving and have fun at the same time.
Blue KC Employees Accept the Challenge to Walk the Walk
In the same way that Blue KC is challenging the community to engage in healthy habits this summer, Blue KC employees were also challenged to stay fit and active. Blue KC issued an opt-in company-wide Summer Fitbit challenge to help employees track their steps and find new ways to get moving throughout the day. The Fitbit monitors steps taken and calories burned, encouraging each employee to personally take healthier steps one day at a time, seven days a week for 12 weeks. The message from Blue KC was simple: Get active, track activity and plan for a healthier lifestyle – starting now.
By making individuals innately aware of their activity levels and that of their fellow employees via their Fitbit and a private, online dashboard, Blue KC hopes the company-issued challenge will encourage participants to live healthier, more active lifestyles by setting personal health and fitness goals and finding new ways to increase their activity levels.
Feeling Healthy this Summer and Beyond
Whatever way you choose to boost your health and wellness this summer, remember that even taking small steps will have a great impact on improving your overall health. It only takes three weeks to form a habit. By establishing healthy eating and exercise habits now, you’re one step closer to following the path of lifelong health. Lace up your running shoes, stock your cabinets with healthy snacks and challenge yourself to become your healthiest self this summer.
Visit Blue KC at Facebook.com/BlueCrossBlueShieldKC to share your health, wellness, and fitness tips with others and to report your healthy lifestyle progression!
To learn more about what your family is doing well when it comes to being healthy, and where you may need some helpful tips for improvement, families are encouraged to complete the Blue KC Healthy Family Survey at BeWellKC.BlueKC.com/Healthy-Family-Survey.