Reflections on Black History Month
Reflections on Black History Month
During Black History Month, Action for Healthy Kids reflects on the progress we’re making in helping kids to be healthy in body and mind. In the 2020-21 school year, the following results show the impact we had on our partner schools in our three core program areas below. Across our partner schools, nearly 80% of students are of color, and 74% of students enrolled in free and reduced-price meals.
Action for Healthy Kids Impact
- EnergizEd (Physical Activity and Active Play): 65% of our partner schools implemented physical activity strategies, including movement breaks, active outdoor recess, and physical education equipment
- NourishEd (Food Access and Nutrition Education): 81% of our partner schools implemented nutrition strategies, such as nutrition education, school gardens, and healthy cooking classes
- ConnectEd (Social-Emotional Health and Risk Behavior Prevention): 100% of schools improved at least one of five core social- emotional learning competencies [self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision making, relationship skills, and social awareness] as a result of their nutrition and/or physical activity strategies
Persistent Societal Challenges
At the same time, the deep-rooted societal inequities persist. Today’s children face an unprecedented set of challenges to their physical, mental, social, and emotional health and well-being. Lack of access to health care, food insecurities, anxiety and trauma disproportionately affect students of color, indigenous populations, and those in underserved communities. Many of these adversities stem from systematic racism and social injustice. COVID-19 has further compacted stressors, in these marginalized communities, as more than 50 million school children lost access to school buildings during the final months of School Year 2019-203.
In the Black community, for example:
- Adult obesity rates are 51 percent higher for African Americans than whites, and 21 percent higher for Latinos. Black and Latino children are more likely to become obese than white children, according to The Food Trust
- Physical inactivity is more common among racial and ethnic minorities in most states, according to the CDC
- The Black community is 20% more likely to experience serious mental health issues like generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder. They are also less open to seeking professional help, according to WebMD
Action for Healthy Kids’ Commitment to Equity
After centuries of inequitable investments in child health and education, we can and must do better. Action for Healthy Kids is dedicated to alleviating health disparities through equitable, culturally responsive interventions. Our goal is to promote partnerships between families and schools to ensure that underserved children are supported with the three foundations of lifelong health: optimal nutrition and physical activity; safe, supportive environments; and stable and nurturing relationships with adults.
Starting this year, Action for Healthy Kids is doubling down on our focus on equity to expand our efforts with underserved schools, decrease disparities and improve health and education outcomes for five million students across 50 of the nation’s highest-need districts by 2025.
We look forward to partnering with you and informing you of our progress on this ambitious goal.
Categories: Around AFHK