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October is National Health Literacy Month

By Lorel Studer, Em's FitCamp Member

It’s hard to keep track of everything, right? Work, home, finances, politics (if you like getting angry), all of it is important and too much or too little emphasis can cause imbalance and stress. What about health concerns and living a long healthy life? Based on the 2020 National Center for Health Statistics, Kentucky and Ohio residents can expect to live 73.5 to 75 years of age (National Health Statistics, CDC). How many of us are thinking of our own mortality? Well, it’s morbid, so probably not too many.

October in National Health Literacy Month. The purpose of health literacy is to be able to use information about health and wellness and use the information to stay healthy, make appropriate decisions about disease prevention and treatment. Health literacy has always been an interesting topic to me. When I worked as an ICU nurse, I was always surprised about how little people really understood about their disease process, the treatment and how it affected their healing and/or prognosis. It’s not an easy thing to teach when someone is lying in an ICU bed. The teaching and learning needs to come before an illness, often and early. We teach our kids to read at the ages of five and six, why isn’t health literacy and promotion more of an emphasis? “Obesity prevalence was 12.7% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 20.7% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 22.2% among 12- to 19-year-olds. Childhood obesity is also more common among certain populations” according to the CDC. Combating this can’t land solely on the formal educators and clinicians. It has to be a team effort and we should be the captain of our own team. Accountability in one’s own healthcare, in my experience, is lacking. Granted, I was always seeing patients at their worst, but like my high school coach always said, “The team is only as strong as its weakest link.”

Teaching kids about exercise has become a Wednesday focus for the team at Newport Fitness. They’ve dedicated that day every week to kids of all ages by providing age-appropriate exercise classes. At Newport Fitness they have safe equipment and certified coaches to introduce kids to exercise that supports aerobic, muscle and bone health. These types of physical activities are recommended the by US Department of Health and Human Services to maintain a healthy lifestyle and reduce chronic disease. See Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans for more strategies and recommendations.

Healthcare literacy is important. Teaching kids about their health and wellness is essential to disease prevention as adults.

This may feel like one more thing, but while your kids are exercising in the FitCamp room, you can get your sweat on and burn a few hundred calories yourself. Check it out, your kids will thank you for it.

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