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Unplug and Help Our Younger Generation

Unplug and Help Our Younger Generation

National Public Health week is this week, April 6-12, 2015! Jefferson Center joins the public health community in rallying around a goal of making the U.S. the Healthiest Nation in One Generation-by 2030.

The goal is to be the healthiest nation in one generation and that means focusing on the younger generation! This group is referred to as Generation Z and although there is no solid start or end date, most references list the generation starting in the mid-1990s and going through present day. A major difference with Generation Z from previous generations is their attachment to technology and social media.

This has positive effects:

  • Ease of connecting globally with like-minded peers
  • Awareness about social causes, both nationally and globally

However, it also has some negative effects:

  • Health problems associated with sedentary lifestyles
  • Cyberbullying causing stress, anxiety and depression in young children

Thankfully we are aware of these things and can make changes in our daily lives to help our younger generation!

Here are some tips to get active with your (or any!) child:

  • Try a non-traditional sport: it doesn’t have to be soccer or softball! Go for a hike, check out a climbing gym or see if your kid is interested in skateboarding. The goal is to be active; it doesn’t have to be a competition.
  • Make it a family priority: Go for a walk together after dinner, plan a weekend bike ride. If your kids see that being active is a priority for you, they’re more likely to make it a priority for them!
  • Incorporate their favorite gadget: smartphones and tablets can be a motivating factor! They can keep track of steps and distance, map out where you’ve walked or even let your kid earn “rewards” for being active.

Shannon Gwash is the Director of Wellness Services for Jefferson Center and is also a Certified Mayo Clinic Wellness Coach. She earned her MS from the University of Denver in Strategic Health Communications/Behavior Change. She has nearly 10 years of experience in the communication world and nearly three in parenting … which clearly makes her an expert there. To stay sane, she runs around Sloan’s Lake, hikes with her daughter, enjoys outdoor concerts and reads nerdy books.

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