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How Allison Holker And Gogo Squeez Are Helping Educate Parents On Healthy Meals

Childhood obesity has increased substantially over the past four decades. WHO estimated that, in 2020, there were 39 million children under five years of age who are overweight. The prevalence of obesity among those aged 5–19 has also increased globally, and the pandemic has only exacerbated things.

Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic evoked major lifestyle changes, including stay-at-home orders and physical distancing. As a result, schools closed, and some children lost access to nutritious food, as well as regular physical activity, and familiar routines. The potential consequences threaten the health and well-being of children with obesity.

To try and address these concerns, GoGo squeeZ has teamed up with dancing pro, TikTok star, and “Boss mom” Allison Holker Boss to host a three-part speaker series – The Expert squeeZ – designed to empower families to nurture and support kids during this unique and uncertain back to school season.

“No one knew how to engage with the last year as it was new. Now, it’s about adjusting and managing it,” said Holker. “We want to create a space where we acknowledge parents have a lot to navigate and then have those conversations as well as offer some tips that you can decide which ones may or may not work for you.”

The Challenges Parents Are Currently Facing

GoGo squeeZ recently issued an online survey to just over 1,000 parents of kids up to age 17 about their feelings around back to school.

KRC Research conducted an online survey among a sample of 1,005 parents of children between the ages of 0-17 across the United States. The survey was fielded between August 19-24, 2021, and showed the need for open access to experts and resources as parents navigate helping kids start a new school year and routine.

Some of the key takeaways were:

  • 78% of parents find it challenging to get their kids to eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • 66% of parents find it challenging to get their kids to eat a healthy lunch at school
  • 78% of parents are looking for simple, healthy snacks that help add more fruits and vegetables to their kids’ diets
  • 68% of parents are looking for easy ways to add more nutritional value to the lunches their kids are eating at school
  • 77% of parents say their kid or kids have spent more time indoors during the pandemic
  • 67% of parents say their kids have spent less time participating in physical activity or extracurricular sports during the pandemic
  • With less time participating in youth sports and just participating in physical activities in general, parents agreed the following elements have been negatively impacted:
  • 72% agree it’s negatively impacted their child’s opportunity to socialize with other kids
  • 44% agree it’s negatively impacted their child’s emotional well-being
  • Over half of parents (51%) agree that their child has had more emotional ‘downs’ or feelings of sadness during the pandemic 
  • Nearly 80% of parents confirm that their child or children have spent less time socializing and seeing friends throughout the pandemic

The Expert squeeZ Series Addresses Kids of All Needs

Topics will include Nutrition & Healthy Eating, Mental & Emotional Health, and Physical Health & Active Play. Ms. Holker will be joined by several experts each week.

Dani Lebovitz, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who bring hands-on learning and sensory engagement into food education to foster curiosity, transforming picky kids into adventurous eaters. She will address nutrition.

As the mother of an autistic child who is a very picky eater, I asked Ms. Holker if children with special needs would also be able to gain some insight. “Dani has incredible tips to help navigate picky eaters,” Holker responded. “What she’s doing is offering you ways to work with what their likes are and ways to ask your children why they like certain things. Is it the texture? Maybe it’s the crunch they like or don’t like or perhaps the temperature. Finding this out and then using it in your favor can help.”

In terms of mental and emotional health, Dr. Mona, a Pediatrician & Parenting Health Influencer, will share well-researched expertise to lessen big worries and help moms find more joy in motherhood.

Lastly, Tiffany Aidoo of Laureus Sport for Good, and a New Orleans Program Officer, as well as a former collegiate athlete, will address physical and active play.

Keeping Kids Happy and Healthy

Various studies have shown that our children are feeling the strain of the pandemic in all sorts of ways. For example, one study highlighted how kids might experience disturbed sleep, nightmares, poor appetite, inattention, and separation-related anxiety due to the pandemic. So while we’re addressing what they are eating, Ms. Holker also suggested keeping life playful.

“As an adult – we’re paying the bills, we have careers, etc., and that’s all super important but sometimes parents lose out on the fun element of life and a way to connect with your kids,” Holker shared. “I like to be active with my kids in a playful setting, whether it’s dancing, setting up an obstacle course, or jumping on a trampoline. I want them to see that I’m still trying things and that we can bond over being goofy together and show that life as an adult can be fun and playful.”

As Ms. Holker and I ended our conversation, I asked her if she had any advice for parents overall. She responded, “I would say everyone will live their life differently, but as long as you are on a path moving forward to try and find your purpose, what you believe – that’s going to make you a better person. So strive for your greatness!”

You can view this series starting Thursdays at 3 PM ET on September 16 on the GoGo squeeZ Instagram page. It is an opportunity to hear from expert guests who will provide useful tips and guidance. In addition, GoGo squeeZ will donate ten meals to kids and families in need through Feeding America for every virtual attendee this school season, so you also have a chance to give back! One dollar helps provide at least ten meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local food banks. Donation max 25,000.

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