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AHA improves the health and well-being of Wake County residents by facilitating and supporting community initiatives.

Middle Schoolers & Teens: Making Their Own Decisions

I’m one year away from having a middle schooler, but the writing is already on the wall. I can see that he and my friends’ teens who are about to start high school will have more independence to make decisions. This independence brings more freedom in choices about what to eat, and as parents, we just have to hope we have given them enough tools to make the “right decisions” about what to eat.

AHA provides lots of healthy living resources on this web site for parents and school staff, but we continually struggle to engage parents of middle and high schoolers. We recognize that parents are less involved during the school day at these higher grade levels, but that often translates to non-involvement.
We would love for parents of our middle and high schoolers across the county to continue to be advocates for their children’s health and work with school administrators to utilize resources such as ours and those available from the USDA. Check out Nutrition Voyage: The Quest to Be Our Best, designed specifically for 7th and 8th graders and their educators. There are three inquiry-driven lessons for each grade, including:
  • engaging ways for students to learn about making healthy nutrition and physical activity choices
  • math, science and language arts standards-aligned activities
  • opportunities for students to investigate and participate in a challenge, evaluate it and learn from it.
Resources cover a range of topics, such as From Farm to You and Finding Fitness. USDA also offers its Healthier Middle Schools: Everyone Can Help series, which includes videos and handouts for everyone from students to teachers to food service managers to principals and parents.
So, parents, we may have to be a bit more hands-off in the classroom as our kids grow older, but we can still play a role in making their schools a healthier environment! Share these resources with your PTA and consider forming a wellness committee if your school doesn’t already have one. AHA will host a free Brains and Bodies Workshop on Sept. 13, 10 am-12 pm, for parents and school staff who want to learn about creating high-functioning wellness committees. Learn more and RSVP to join us!
We also would love to hear from parents who are keeping actively engaged in wellness as their kids move beyond elementary school…share your stories with us at!
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