This year has been stressful for just about everyone, and children are no exception. In fact, children are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of stress and anxiety due to their developing brains and bodies. As we aim to elevate children’s health during the pandemic and beyond, we must do so with nourishing foods and physical activity, as well as by addressing their social, emotional, and mental well-being.
While dairy farmers continue to produce nutritious dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt that nourish children, families, and communities around the world, Dairy Council of California — in partnership with educators, health professionals, and community leaders — is taking a more holistic approach to fostering health. For Dairy Council of California, this means providing science-based nutrition education resources to teach children how to build healthy eating habits and apply important self-management and self-care strategies. These strategies include mindful eating, self-awareness, and responsible decision-making skills to support their physical health as well as social, emotional, and mental well-being — all while igniting a passion for consuming healthy foods including milk and dairy foods.
Nutrition, which plays a role in building physical and mental resilience, is also included within the self-care strategies the Surgeon General of California recommends for reducing stress during COVID-19. These strategies include: prioritizing physical exercise, getting enough sleep, maintaining supportive relationships, engaging in mental health care, and practicing mindfulness.
Although feelings of stress and anxiety are exacerbated by the pandemic, children will always need to be supported socially, emotionally, mentally, and physically for good health and well-being. For that reason, emphasizing nutrition education and teaching children how to build healthy habits that consider the needs of the whole child is an enduring strategy that will help now and in the future.
Dairy Council of California continues to innovate its curriculum with the whole child in mind. We also believe collaboration is critical to creating healthy individuals, families, and communities. By bringing together educators, health professionals, change-makers, and community leaders to collaborate, coordinate, and co-create, we can achieve success in improving the health of children today, tomorrow, and in the future. Learn more at HealthyEating.org.