active kids; With child obesity and Type 2 diabetes on the rise, programs across the United States are being developed to curtail health problems and help encourage a healthy lifestyle. One such program is North Carolina’s Be Active Kids.org. In association with the state’s Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, Be Active Kids teaches children ages 4 and 5 about physical activity, proper nutrition, and food safety.
What is Be Active Kids?
Launched in 1998, Be Active Kids was initiated by Blue Cross Blue Shield in response to North Carolina’s health and well-being for kids’ status. The previous year, North Carolina was ranked 39th out of 50 in kids’ health. Blue Cross Blue Shield worked with professionals in the fields of early childcare, nutrition, and food safety to develop a program based on skill-training, an extensive curriculum, and evaluations. Over 200 volunteers statewide are a part of Be Active Kids, training teachers and childcare providers locally.
According to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation website, the curriculum’s goal is to “establish an early, positive, relationship with one’s body through fun physical activities and education” in healthy eating habits. In an effort to build upon the program, Food Lion joined to teach children about food safety and how allergen testing is used in the food industry .
In addition, Blue Cross added a new section to the curriculum called Healthy Strides. With Healthy Strides, daycare providers are given tips on how to increase daily physical activity and eat healthier while serving as a role model to young children.
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The Be Active Kids Kits
The Be Active Kids kits are available for free through the training course or Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. Four and five year-olds will learn lessons through art, indoor games, make-believe, math, music, outdoor games, and science. Inside all Be Active Kids kits are:
- Instructor’s Guide with 19 lesson plans
- health supplement for providers
- healthy recipes
- playtime ideas
- tips for involving families
- a laminated MyPyramid poster
- the Be Active Kids characters with their favorite foods and activities
- food flashcards
- classroom posters
- a family newsletter
The kit features six characters to encourage children’s imaginations. The characters take children on such imaginary trips to such places as the zoo, going on picnics, and tackling an obstacle course. They include Blue Caring Cub, Glide the Bird, Swing the Monkey, Leap the Rabbit, Dart the Dog, and Cubby the Lion Cub. Cubby, the newest member, teaches children the importance of hand washing, washing fruits and vegetables properly, and temperature control of foods.
Since the beginning of the program, all of North Carolina’s 100 counties have (or currently still do) participate in Be Active Kids. Over 7,000 kits have been given out. According to Kids Count, an alliance that keeps track of kids and their health, North Carolina is now 37th in the nation. Be Active Kids is an effective program encouraging children to increase their physical activity, eat healthier, and learn food safety.