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Fill-in-the-Blank News Release
for County Health Departments

Child Health Day and Month -- October

For Release: October ___, 2000
Contact: (Administrator)
______________ County Health Department
(Phone #)

Counties Celebrate Child Health Day and Month in October

National Child Health Day, the first Monday in October, kicks off a month to highlight ways children can build healthy bodies every day of the year. The county health departments are focusing on different children’s programs and activities to get families, schools and community organizations involved in health-related activities for children, said ________ County Health Department Administrator __________.

“Surveys conducted by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) indicate 27 percent of first graders and 61 percent of 5th graders report having less than one hour of daily physical activity.  Similarly, 44 percent of first graders and 54 percent of 5th graders reported spending more than two hours daily watching television, playing video games, or using a computer. Furthermore, 36 percent of high school students responding to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey in 1997, indicated they do not participate regularly in any form of physical activity. In fact, from 1991 – 1997, daily participation in physical education classes in Oklahoma high schools dropped from 42 percent to 27 percent,” said __________.

Nationally, nearly 10 to 15 percent of children and adolescents are overweight, according to recent studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Health officials are concerned because childhood obesity is a major public health problem that leads to increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and other leading causes of death and disability in later life.

During October, designated as Child Health Month, the __________ County Health Department wants to draw attention to the need for children to exercise regularly and eat nutritious foods to control weight. Regular exercise provides short-term benefits and reduces long-term risks for disability and premature death.

Some local activities and events scheduled include:  (Insert local information.) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.

The __________ County Health Department offers the following suggestions:

  • Start the day with a healthy breakfast. Breakfast foods are full of essentials such as fiber, calcium, vitamin D and iron. Also, children who eat breakfast do better in school and are only half as likely to be overweight.
  • Teach children not to smoke and to avoid the smoke of others.
  • Restrict the time children spend watching television and playing video games.
  • Get plenty of exercise. Children who exercise regularly get better grades in school. Physical activity improves moods, strengthens bones, reduces stress, control weight, improves social skills and reduces the risk of heart disease.
  • Play with your children. Live and play safely with proper protective helmets, pads and eyewear.
  • Create physical activity opportunities by looking for new things to do as a family like walking, biking, and games.
  • Plan and shop for healthy meals and teach children good eating habits by increasing fruit and vegetable consumption while reducing fat and soft drink consumption. Provide low-fat foods for snack time like fruit, yogurt, fruit juices and nutritious frozen treats.
  • Encourage schools to require physical education for all students.
  • Promote physical activity in neighborhoods through availability of sidewalks, safe playgrounds, bicycle and skate trails.

“Let's get moving!” said __________. “We can shift the trend from childhood obesity to a generation of children who are healthy and active.”

For more information on how you can get involved in improving children’s health, contact the __________ County Health Department at (phone number).


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