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Total Force Fitness and Military Kids

Military kids are resilient and resourceful in the face of great challenges. Frequent moves and deployments create stress most families don’t experience. The health and wellness of military families affects the strength, resilience and readiness of service members who rely on support from their families.

Messages for Communicators

  • Frequent deployments and moves can be especially stressful on service members’ children.
    • Military kids are resilient in constant change. They are resourceful and creative support systems for their families and communities.
    • Most military family moves many times while their kids are growing up, and for some, it can be far more frequent.
  • Parents are children’s first and best role models. Eating healthy, being active, getting sufficient sleep, avoiding tobacco and managing stress sets the example for military children to follow.

Nutrition and Military Kids

Nutritional Fitness is the ability to sustain your performance through food, dietary supplements, and beverages in adequate quantities, quality, and proportions.

  • Children have different nutritional needs from adults to support their developing minds and bodies.
    • A healthy diet lowers the risk of chronic disease that can affect kids for a lifetime, like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and cavities.
    • Good nutrition also helps kids’ academic performance.
  • Military kids face additional challenges to their nutritional health, as frequent moves and living in base housing can affect their access to healthy foods.
  • A healthy balanced diet for kids includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, a variety of proteins and healthy oils and fats.
  • Children’s diets should also limit calories from solid fats and added sugars, and reduce sodium intake.
  • Some tips for better child nutrition:
    • Limit intake of sugary drinks. Replace soda, sugary sports drinks, and large quantities of juice with water.
    • Reduce extra sodium. Read labels to raise your awareness of hidden sodium in your kid’s food. Buy reduced sodium items whenever possible.
    • Serve lean protein foods. Reduce fatty red meat like burgers and increase lean, unprocessed proteins like chicken, seafood, beans, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
    • Choose whole grains. Whole grains are packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Whenever possible, serve whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat over refined grains like white bread, some pastas, and anything made with bleached flour.
    • Snack on fruits and vegetables. The earlier you get kids in the habit of healthy snacking, the better. Replace high fat, high sodium snacks such as chips or roasted peanuts with sliced carrots or an apple.

Financial Fitness and Military Kids

Financial Fitness is the combination of attitude, knowledge, and skills to make and exercise money management decisions that best support your life circumstances.

  • Financial fitness can contribute to overall health in numerous ways, including reducing a source of stress, increasing access to nutritious foods, and maintaining a healthy environment.
  • Financial issues are often cited as one of the topics that create the most stress for military families.
  • Taking a deliberate and planned approach to budget and finances can ensure that military families have the financial resources to provide a healthy start for their kids, and maintain the lifestyle they choose.
  • Kids can be more aware than parents think about stresses in the family, and that can affect their behavior, performance in school and interactions with friends.
  • Making a budget or spending plan, setting financial goals, and putting aside money each month for savings are all important steps to bring your finances under control.
  • Paying attention to your credit score, and taking steps to improve it when possible, will also improve your financial health.
  • There are tools to help Service Members and their families manage their financial fitness, including Personal Financial Counselors at military installations world-wide.

Graphics

Total Force Fitness for Kids social media graphic showing an orange military kids logo, a multi-colored Total Force Fitness logo, and a blue circle with a star in the center

Total Force Fitness for Kids social media graphic showing an orange military kids logo, a multi-colored Total Force Fitness logo, and a blue circle with a star and a dollar sign emanating from the center

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