Look into the innocent eyes of an infant, toddler or pre-schooler, and you can imagine limitless potential, a life ready to burst forward and conquer the world.
But how do kids actually get to that place where they are healthy in mind and body as they journey through life?
Research tells us that many factors pave the way to life-long health and achievement. And Reliant Foundation invests in three of them: fitness, nutrition education and early literacy. We call them the tools for life-long health.
Reliant Foundation puts free books into the hands of 15,000 children, ages 6 months to 5 years, at their pediatric well visits through our Reach Out and Read program. Reading to young children has proven to help them reach major early literacy milestones, reflecting proper cognitive and motor skills development. And of course, when a child learns to read, he or she can learn anything!
Fueling our bodies correctly is essential at any age, but it is critical for children whose bodies are constantly developing. America learned the hard way that poor nutrition is a major cause of obesity; battling childhood obesity is Reliant Foundation’s primary health focus. The Foundation invests in community programs that teach children and families about wellness through gardening, healthy cooking, and understanding portion sizes and food labels. Kids are teaching parents about vegetables that the family might not already eat, for example, and parents are learning to shop and cook for a healthier life.
It’s not about structured workouts when you’re a child–it’s about learning how to work physical activity into your day. And that can be challenging if your neighborhood is not safe for outdoor play, if you are a latchkey kid who stays inside (often close to TV, cell phones, and gaming devices) until an adult arrives home. Or maybe you are too embarrassed of your weight or appearance to join activities. Reliant Foundation invests in fitness activities at nonprofit after-school programs, including swimming, organized sports and dance teams and much more—all to teach children and teens how to keep their bodies moving for health!