Getting youth involved in healthy living projects

Decision making for healthy youth.

Youth are a huge part of what our society will be for the future. Michigan State University Extension suggests asking the question, are we preparing them to become ambassadors of health today? This is a great question we should be asking ourselves.

Youth are very much aware of the issues that plague their environment related to healthy living concerns. Youth will jump at the chance to help be a part of something that would benefit them as well as their family and their community. Youth should actively be engaged in the conversations around healthy living issues and what can be done to change them. As we look at the issues surrounding access to food, proper nutrition, health, increased physical fitness, drug awareness and personal safety these are real issues that youth deal with on a daily basis. How can we get youth engaged in creating change in some of these areas as well as being advocates by teaching other peers about these important issues.

When you look at your organization, club, group or community, are youth at the table as active participants and providing input and feedback that help bring about change? Are youth being asked to provide input into local health initiatives? Are youth being asked what do they think about healthy living issues that they are faced with on a daily basis? If your answer is no, you should re-evaluate the way you are making decisions related to healthy living and ask for input from the youth that you serve. Involve youth in the process of planning or come up with ideas that will benefit everyone as a whole. As youth are invited to the table they will tell their peers about their experiences and recruit them as well to do the same. Providing support to youth will increase youth and community awareness into the healthy living programs that are being planned. MSU Extension has been providing this model of approach to youth for many years.

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