Let’s Talk About Health
by Rob Bisceglie, CEO | April 7, 2020
Picture a healthy child.
Are you picturing a child without illness or disease? Maybe they are running or playing with friends and eating nutritious foods. What are the child’s emotions? They’re probably happy and carefree.
If your image of a healthy child included all of the above, then you understand that health means the well-being of the whole person. Action for Healthy Kids believes in the World Health Organization’s definition of health: “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” We can surely debate if “complete” health is possible for anyone to achieve. But we can likely agree that all aspects of health are inextricably tied together. If you’ve ever felt joyful, proud, or more focused after an intense workout, you’ve experienced one of the many ways that our bodies and minds are connected.
Because we at Action for Healthy Kids also believe that health is a human right, we fight to make sure every child has access to the resources and education that help them build lifelong healthy habits. Physical activity and good nutrition build physical and mental strength. But it’s equally as important that a child develop coping, interpersonal, and self-management skills in order to deal with adversity. As millions of children and their families experience extreme stress today in the face of school closings, social distancing, and so much uncertainty surrounding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re all seeing just how critical it is to not only address the immediate human needs of food, nutrition, shelter, income, and safety, but also the urgent need to build resiliency and provide mental and emotional support, especially to those most vulnerable.
In a world currently beset by so many challenges and so much tragedy, it can be hard to focus on anything beyond our day-to-day survival. But, the reality is that this pandemic will drive an even greater wedge among our communities for many years to come—if we allow it to do so. It’s exacerbating disparities that we know already exist in the health and education of our children and exposing our collective failure to invest equitably in access for all kids. We can and must put an end to these disparities.
Our work at Action for Healthy Kids is growing and changing so that we support the primary pillars of child health and address the root causes of long-term poor health and well-being. And today we are shifting our work to respond to those immediate urgent needs and challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
If your mental picture of a healthy child was a happy and active child, then let’s talk about what we can do together, today, in the face of some of the greatest adversity our country has ever experienced, to make that picture a reality.