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Starting a Community Garden to Fight Against Childhood Obesity

HomeWellnessStarting a Community Garden to Fight Against Childhood Obesity

Obesity is on the rise in the U.S., and children are no exception. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 children or adolescents is considered obese. Unfortunately, obesity in children can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and a weakened immune system, creating lifelong health issues.

To combat the effects of childhood obesity, many people are looking to more natural and holistic approaches toward weight management. Obviously, healthy eating is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight and encourage smart habits that will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, not every child understands the importance of a healthy diet in today’s fast-food culture.

That’s where community gardens can help.

Starting a community garden is a great way to educate young minds about the importance of nutrition and sustainability while allowing them to grow their own food and show responsibility for something. It can take some creativity to educate children on the negative effects of unhealthy eating and sedentary lifestyles, and a community garden is a fantastic way to get them interested in taking better care of their minds and bodies.

So, what can you do to help the children in your community and start a thriving community garden?

Get Friends and Neighbors Involved

You can’t build a community garden without a community to back it up. Talk to your friends and neighbors about starting a garden that all kids in the community can use, and determine things like

  • Location
  • Funding
  • Volunteers
  • Who will have regular access
  • Education

Once you have a spot in place, take active steps to get it “garden ready” for the kids. That should include everything from ensuring the soil is viable to offering free gardening tools that kids can borrow.

Part of the community garden should be educating young minds on the importance of growing their own food. Kids are more likely to eat something when they’ve been directly involved in producing it. Show them how to plant seeds, properly care for their crops, and when it’s time to harvest.

Encourage Healthier Habits

Creating a community garden will benefit everyone nearby, including adults. However, it’s a wonderful way to educate the next generation on everything from healthy eating habits to sustainability.

When it comes to teaching kids about nutrition, they need to know where their food comes from. More doctors are asking patients where they buy their groceries because they’re concerned about the health effects of convenience items or pre-packaged foods. When kids learn how to grow their own produce, they’ll be more inspired to cook with healthy, whole ingredients rather than reaching for canned items or convenience foods. That’s a habit they will take with them well into adulthood.

As your garden “grows” (literally and figuratively), you can also teach lessons about how gardening can be an eco-friendly practice that helps the planet. Recycle your waste, use rain barrels to collect water, and try composting to boost the sustainability of your garden.

What kid doesn’t love getting their hands dirty? Sometimes, all it takes to inspire a child to do something different is to show them what they can do with a little time, effort, and care. Not only will gardening change their eating habits, but it can encourage them to be more active and spend more time in the great outdoors – a boost for their mental health and physical well-being!

While a community garden seems like a lot of work to get started, it’s easy to maintain once it’s set up, and the more people you’re able to get involved, the happier and healthier your community will be. You might even inspire your neighbors and friends to create individual gardens at home to encourage healthy eating and sustainability in their own back yards.

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pearls of wisdom
Noah Rue
Noah Rue
Noah Rue is a journalist and content writer, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn't searching out his next great writing opportunity, Noah likes to shut off his devices and head to the mountains to disconnect.

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