September 2, 2015
Jump IN for Healthy Kids – a community-wide initiative established in 2014 to improve children’s health in central Indiana – is encouraging a wide range of organizations to “Make the Leap” to a healthier future for children throughout the region.
Data collected by Jump IN estimates that 221,000 kids in central Indiana are at a significantly higher risk for diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer based on their current health. Jump IN’s goal is to reduce those trends by ensuring children and their families have real opportunities to make healthy choices in healthy environments.
“The Indianapolis region ranks at the bottom of the list in terms of the health of its residents,” said Ron Gifford, chief executive officer of Jump IN. “Changing that culture of health is complex and requires the entire community to work together to address the problem.
“Today, we’re launching a campaign that enables organizations to ‘make the leap’ collectively to help us change the unhealthy habits that are the root cause of this issue in central Indiana. The ultimate goal,” explained Gifford, “is to create a community where the healthy choice is the easy choice.”
The pledge challenges schools, child care providers, youth-serving organizations, employers, faith-based groups and community organizations to do their part to help kids lead active and healthy lives. “Great habits start with great role models,” noted Gifford. “We’re encouraging these groups that have significant influence on children to model healthy behaviors and inspire children to make healthy choices.”
Pledge signers agree to implement comprehensive strategies that build a better culture of health, such as ensuring healthy meals and snacks are served, providing opportunities for physical activity, expanding or instituting wellness programs, and modeling healthy habits and activities.
In addition, families and their children are encouraged to take the “5-2-1-0 Pledge” – eat five servings of fruits and vegetables daily; limit sitting in front of the TV, computer or smartphone to two hours or less per day; play and be active at least one hour a day; and have no sugary drinks like soda, and instead, drink lots of water.
Interested organizations and individuals are invited to “Make the Leap” by signing the online pledge at JumpINPledge.com. The website provides numerous resources to help groups get started on implementing the pledge, including several downloads:
“Taking the pledge does not solve this crisis,” reiterated Gifford. “But collectively, we can learn, share and discover impactful ways to inspire children and their families to lead healthy lives.”
An initial launch event was held September 2 at the University of Indianapolis’ Ruth Lilly Fitness Center, where more than 100 business and community leaders, members of the Jump IN Leadership Council, and more than 100 school-age youth learned about the pledge and the resources available to accomplish the pledge’s goals.