Take the pledge: Help Scouts drink right, move more, and snack smart

healthy-kidsFor anyone who’s seen a Boy Scout patrol return from grocery shopping with six family size bags of sour-cream-and-onion potato chips.

For anyone who has set out snacks for a Cub Scout den and seen the boys eat everything but the carrots and celery sticks.

Or for anyone who’s watched a Venturer finish two 32-ounce bottles of Gatorade during a three-mile hike.

For all those Scouters and more, the Healthy Kids Hub is for you.

In 2010, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So if the statistics hold up, one out of every three Scouts in your pack, troop, team, or crew has this common health problem, which could mean immediate and long-term effects on his or her well-being.

But it’s not all bad news. The BSA is one of nine extracurricular organizations that have joined up with Healthy Kids Out of School to develop guiding principles for turning this country’s worsening childhood obesity epidemic around.

What’s in it for you? The Healthy Kids Hub, which launched today. The Hub is a gold mine of resources developed by leading universities, after-school organizations, and nonprofits designed to be used by adults who work directly with kids.

These aren’t dull academic journal articles about obesity; these are graphically rich tools you can use right away.

The resources include easy-to-digest information on a wide range of topics, such as ideas to encourage kids to drink water instead of sugary sports drinks, suggestions for outdoor and indoor games, and low-cost, healthy snack ideas.

It’s all based around the three Healthy Kids Out of School guiding principles: 

  • Drink Right: Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Move More: Boost movement and physical activity in all programs.
  • Snack Smart: Fuel up on fruits and vegetables.

Most Scout units shouldn’t have trouble with the second principle, but the resources on the Healthy Kids Hub can help you work all three tenets into your unit’s meetings and activities. Depending on which level of the program you’re in, this may involve talking with the youth leaders in your unit to get them to deliver the message to the rest of the guys and girls.

But first, join leaders from other out-of-school-time organizations, such as the YMCA, 4-H, and the Girl Scouts, in taking the pledge to adopt the three principles. Leaders who do so by May 8, 2013, can win one of 100 $50 gift cards. (See the rules page for details.)

Even if you don’t win a gift card, the real prize is equipping your Scouts with the knowledge they need to lead long, healthy lives.

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ScoutSTRONG: Your one-stop shop for healthy living in Scouting

About Bryan Wendell 3286 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.