Kansas Action for Children launched a toolkit in July 2015 designed to improve the health of young children across state. The “Think Big! Start Small.” toolkit is part of efforts to improve food and beverage environments experienced by young Kansans.
“The food and beverage environment plays an important role in shaping decisions made by Kansans of all ages,“ said Shannon Cotsoradis, President and CEO of Kansas Action for Children. “By helping young children learn a few important habits related to nutrition and wellness, we can improve health outcomes – including reducing child and adult obesity.”
In response, Kansas Action for Children created the toolkit designed to reinforce four key messages for young children:
- Better Beverages: Beverages play a big role in children’s health. Choosing better beverages—like water or low-fat milk—is best for healthy development.
- Unplug Under 2: Screentime interferes with healthy brain development. Limit screentime to less than two hours for kids two and older.
- Breastfeeding Benefits: Breastfeeding has many benefits. It reduces infants’ risk of infection and disease and lowers moms’ risk of health problems, like diabetes.
- Right Rewards: Teach kids healthy habits. Don’t reward good behavior with unhealthy foods and don’t use physical activity as a form of punishment.
The kit includes a range of communications resources that underscore these messages to help all Kansas kids grow up healthy.
“Parents and caregivers are confronted by lots of information – that is often conflicting or confusing – about what is best for children’s health. This toolkit will help reinforce a few key messages that can have a big impact on the health of Kansas kids,” said Leadell Ediger, Executive Director of Childcare Aware of Kansas.
The Think Big! Start Small. campaign built on the momentum of the organization’s Pass on Pop: Soda-free Sundays initiative, through which more than 3,000 individuals and organizations across the state pledged to skip sweet drinks, like soda, each Sunday in 2014.
The Think Big! Start Small. toolkit includes infographics to share on social media, an animated video, coloring pages for children, and other resources to educate both individuals and organizations about shaping health habits for life. The resources are designed for the various groups and individuals that inform the health behaviors of both children and their caregivers including health care providers, government and regulatory agencies, childcare providers, as well as community organizations and members.