Healthi Kids has launched a new agenda, brand, logo and website to reflect its expanded focus on whole child health.

The initiative was launched 11 years ago to blaze a path for healthier kids across the Finger Lakes region. It initially focused on childhood healthy weight and has advocated for more physical activity in schools, better food in schools and neighborhoods and safer, more accessible play areas and streets. As work progressed, its grassroots community coalition recognized that while focusing on children’s physical health remains important, it needed to expand work to support the whole health of children.

In addition to healthy eating and physical activity, the initiative is now focusing on policy and advocacy that addresses the physical, social, emotional and cognitive health of children birth through age 8.

“We can’t silo what’s right for kids,” said Dina Faticone, director of community health and engagement for Common Ground Health. “We must focus on what our community knows is best for whole child health.

 She said every child needs to be supported by a village – a caring connected community of adults and safe and supportive environments that allow them to thrive.

“Together, we must abolish inequities caused by adverse childhood experiences, structural racism, poverty and community violence to support our youngest children,” Faticone said.

Studies have found that toxic stress from negative experiences in childhood can disrupt brain development, especially in the parts of the brain that help us plan, focus attention, remember instructions and juggle multiple tasks. This damage can impair learning, behavior and physical and mental health.

Although unhealthy weight and other associated downstream outcomes may be linked to negative childhood experiences, protective factors – such as a positive relationship with a caring adult – may be able to counteract an adverse experience, Faticone notes.

 Healthi Kids' new mission embraces kids at the center of all decision making, said Jenn Beideman, Healthi Kids’ advocacy manager.

“Our goals support policies, systems and environmental changes that nurture whole child health by building healthy minds, bodies and relationships,” she said. “We remain committed to working alongside our community to make this happen - because our children deserve the healthiest start in life.”

The new Healthi Kids advocacy agenda calls for:

*ensuring every child is happy, healthy and supported in the places they learn
*expanding access to services that build healthy minds and healthy families
* advancing equitable communities for all kids to grow and thrive
* promoting the power of play for every child in every place

The new website, brand and logo were created through a partnership with Antithesis Advertising and McDougall Communications. View the new website here.