Food insecurity—or the lack of regular access to nutritious food—is a serious problem across the nation but particularly in lower-income neighborhoods. Food insecurity not only makes it difficult for kids to study or develop healthy emotions, but it also contributes to childhood obesity.
Convenient and affordable food choices are generally higher in calories and lower in nutritional value. This diet, when combined with reduced physical activity at home and school, fails to provide the fuel young minds need, turning instead to body fat and fatigue.
According to the most recent Children’s Defense Fund numbers, 1 in 6 Minnesota kids live in food-insecure households, and 27% of Minnesota’s children aged 10–17 are overweight or obese.
To build healthier todays and tomorrows for over 200 participants in our Summer 2014 programs, we provided 15,750 hours of physical activity and served 18,750 healthy meals from our newly renovated and licensed food-prep kitchen.
4th grader Marquis struggles with anger and often fights with other students. During Health and Fitness Week in the summer Beacons program, Ms. Kai taught a class on relaxation techniques. When Marquis’ anger flared up later that week, Ms. Kai practiced these techniques with him and he immediately calmed down. One week later, Marquis reported he now incorporates these practices into his daily life and is able to better control his emotions.