By Robyn Kalda, HC Link
As a member of the Healthy Kids Resource Centre, HC Link is proud to support the Healthy Kids Community Challenge program. This program promotes children’s health by focusing on a healthy start in life, healthy food, and healthy active communities. After nearly a year on the first theme of the program “Run. Jump. Play. Every Day.”, in July the 45 participating communities launched into the second theme, “Water Does Wonders”.
The principal message of this theme is to encourage kids to drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages when they are thirsty. Sugar-sweetened beverages are completely unnecessary as part of a healthy diet. The Heart and Stroke Foundation says:
“Consuming too much sugar is associated with heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, cancer and cavities.”
How can we encourage children (and their families) to drink more water, and to drink water instead of sugary drinks? The 45 participating communities have lots of ideas.
A popular idea is distributing reusable water bottles to kids. A number of communities encouraged families to photograph themselves with their reusable water bottles while engaging in various physical activities, and to share their photos on social media.
When one has a reusable water bottle, it’s important to be able to refill it. To fill this need, various communities are installing refill stations.
As another idea to illustrate “Water Does Wonders” for health, in the summer various communities sponsored free swims – water in enormous quantity!
For other participating communities, clean, drinkable, safe water is not easily available. In these communities, participants are working to improve access to clean water as a necessary co-requisite to encouraging children to drink more water.