Moving Towards Health Equity - At Home, School, and in Your Community
Across the country, communities are working together to ensure their children have fair opportunities to succeed and live healthy, happy lives in pursuit of health equity. Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. However, as Dr. Camara Jones notes, health equity is not just about an outcome, but a process. By attending to all aspects of individual health and addressing the systems that create health disparities, we can move closer to the outcome of health equity for all people.1
At Healthier Generation, we are committed to collaborating with community partners to promote equitable, whole-child health. Together, we develop safe environments that support all aspects of health for young people, including healthy eating, physical activity, and social-emotional learning, while making sustainable changes in the environments they live, learn, and play.
Healthful eating has lifelong benefits for children, including improved mood and academic performance.2 While some communities do not have places to buy affordable, nutritious foods,3 schools are creatively stepping up to support their students with low-cost, healthy food access.
Spotlight: Penn Hills Charter School of Entrepreneurship, Pennsylvania
Penn Hills Charter School of Entrepreneurship provides families with fresh produce from their school garden along with nutritional facts and recipes to eat healthy at home. They are also planning to provide online cooking classes for their families.
Hungry for more ways to eat healthy at home and school? Explore these bite-size resources:
- For schools/community groups: Hosting a Healthy Cooking Event for Families
- For families: Simple Tips to Eat More Fruits & Veggies
Participating in family physical activity is a great way to spend time together and can help children learn teamwork, leadership skills, and quality decision-making.4 Some schools and community centers open their facilities for families to have a safe environment for physical activity.
Spotlight: Audubon Middle School, California
Audubon Middle School provides safe environments for physical activity by making their open spaces accessible to the community outside of school hours. Families enjoy using the facilities for sports and recreational activities before and after school.
Interested in moving more at home and beyond? Take these small steps:
- For schools/community groups: Develop a joint-use agreement that expands access to places like playgrounds, gymnasiums, and walking tracks
- For families: Choose Your Own Family Adventure based on child age, time needed, and indoor/outdoor location
When young people are surrounded by safe and supportive environments, they are more likely to succeed in school and have healthy relationships with others throughout life. Children and teens, especially those experiencing traumatic hardships like poverty, are best equipped to reach their potential when caring adults help them handle stress, manage emotions, and tackle everyday challenges.5
Spotlight: Willson Elementary, Ohio
Willson Elementary School has created a virtual Meditation Center to provide students, staff, and families with free resources on meditation, yoga, trauma-informed learning, and loving kindness. Every Friday, a staff member also engages families in a virtual field trip around the world to have fun together and reduce stress.
Want to create your own caring environments? Try these strategies to build social-emotional skills:
- For schools/community groups: Learn why and how to increase family engagement
- For families: Name and tame big emotions with this Feelings Chart and At-Home Feel Good Plan
Healthier Generation is proud to collaborate with whole-child health champions across the country. Share what your community is doing to support health equity on Twitter at @HealthierGen. Then, visit KohlsHealthyAtHome.org for free family engagement resources.
1. National Academies of Sciences. (2019, February). Achieving Behavioral Health Equity for Children, Families, and Communities: Proceedings of a Workshop. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK540766/#:~:text=Health%20equity%2C%20as%20defined%20by,of%20health%20for%20all%20people.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, May). Childhood nutrition facts. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/nutrition/facts.htm
3. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Healthy People 2020. (2020, October). Food insecurity. Retrieved from https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/social-determinants-health/interventions-resources/food-insecurity
4. Association for Applied Sport Psychology. Making physical activity a family event. Retrieved from https://appliedsportpsych.org/resources/resources-for-parents/make-physical-activity-a-family-event/
5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences: Leveraging the Best Available Evidence. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.