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Educating the next generation on healthy living

    By Contributing Writers. April 18, 2012 - 1:08 pm

It’s no secret that our country has been pushing us all to live healthier lifestyles lately, due to the fact that the American diet is known to thrive off of empty calories, fast food, and obscenely large portions. Nowadays, even McDonald’s has a healthy option menu!

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, unhealthy eating and inactivity cause approximately 310,000-580,000 deaths every year. This is about 13 times more than the amount of deaths by guns.

As someone who has formed poor eating habits at a very young age, I can say from experience that it is very important to start understanding and learning about proper nutrition early on. In fact, a lifestrong.com article said that if a child does not receive proper nutrition, it can very likely affect his or her learning ability.

Even though I am now 21 years old, I still have a hard time resisting desserts and calorie-packed foods. However, because I know that the way you eat has long-term effects on your healthy and longevity of life, I’m making a better effort to eat better.

Recently, I was able to visit the Hickam Teen Center for their nutrition event. While I was there, I taught six different groups of teenagers about proper portion sizes. The event also had stations that taught the teens about eating more greens, drinking less sugary drinks, and exercising more.

One out of three children in America is currently overweight or obese due to them eating processed and fast foods instead of fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods, kidshealth.org said.

I was also able to help out at Sacred Hearts Academy during an event they had in partnership with Hawaii 5210, which is a new initiative that promotes healthy eating and active living for children in Hawaii. The 5 stands for “5 fruits, roots, and vegetables,” the 2 stands for “2 hours or less of screen time,” the 1 stands for “1 hour of physical play,” and the 0 stands for “0 sugary drinks.”

At the event, I assisted young children ages 3-10 with a children’s workout video. It was so neat to see how eager they were to learn about healthier living, and quite surprising to see how much I was sweating from the workout, myself!

I will also be helping out at the 4th Annual YMCA Healthy Kids Day event, which is happening on April 21st at the Bishop Museum from 9AM-2PM. There will be activities, games, and prizes for everyone, in hopes that the event encourages parents and their children to have fun while eating healthy. This is a free event for Kama’aina and Military with ID.

If you would like to volunteer for the event, or attend, you can e-mail info@YMCAhonolulu.org.

SERENA KARNAGY
staff writer