Building Lifelong Healthy Habits for Kids

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Posted on: 03/26/2024

ITEC launched the Healthy Living Program in 2013, committed to meeting the most pressing needs of Israel’s children. This innovative initiative, developed in collaboration with certified dieticians, aims to combat obesity and promote healthy lifestyles among children and families across Israel.

Childhood obesity is a multifaceted problem with far-reaching consequences, impacting physical health, mental well-being, and overall quality of life. Recognizing that education and proactive intervention are key, ITEC embarked on a mission to empower children and families with the knowledge and tools they need to make healthier choices and build healthier habits.

Since the program’s inception, childhood obesity has increased in 2020 and 2021, presumably due to lifestyle changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. A study by the National Program for Quality Indicators in Community Healthcare in Jerusalem showed that the prevalence of obesity in children had steadily decreased through 2019 but increased relatively quickly in 2020 and 2021. For example, among 7-year-olds, the percentage of children with obesity in 2019 was 6.8%, and by 2021, it had increased to 7.7%. 

As the Healthy Living Program continues to expand its reach and impact, ITEC remains steadfast in its commitment to improving the health and well-being of Israel’s children. By equipping participants with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to lead healthy lives, ITEC is not only addressing the immediate challenge of childhood obesity but also laying the foundation for a brighter, healthier future.

The Role of Tennis in Healthy Living

Integral to the Healthy Living Program is incorporating tennis to teach habits for healthy lifestyles—like regular exercise. By introducing children to the joy of tennis, ITEC instills a love for movement and imparts valuable lessons in discipline, perseverance, and sportsmanship. These qualities extend far beyond the tennis court, shaping attitudes and behaviors that contribute to overall well-being.

Through tennis, children learn the importance of regular exercise and the benefits of an active lifestyle. Whether rallying with a partner or sprinting to return a shot, they develop cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and agility — foundational components of physical fitness. Moreover, tennis fosters mental acuity and focus, encouraging participants to stay present in the moment and make strategic decisions under pressure.

Beyond the physical aspects, tennis cultivates valuable life skills that align with the Healthy Living Program’s goals. From setting goals, overcoming challenges, collaborating with teammates, and showing resilience in the face of defeat, children glean essential lessons that translate seamlessly into their daily lives. By harnessing the power of tennis as a vehicle for holistic development, ITEC empowers children to embrace healthy habits that will serve them well into adulthood.

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