The Larry Joe Harless Community Center is “going healthy” this summer and is inviting children ages 8-14 to join them, the center reported.
In May 2009, members of the LJHCC fitness staff in Gilbert were trained in the BodyWorks program. This program is designed to help parents and caregivers of adolescents improve family eating and activity habits. With their new certifications, the staff is providing ways to help families and individuals make healthy choice options, such as increasing daily fruit and vegetable intake, decrease time watching television or at the computer and increasing daily physical activity. This will begin with a free “Fit Camp” for children ages 8-14 to begin on July 20 at LJHCC at 1.
A large share of adolescents had poor eating habits and do not get the recommended daily amount of physical activity. In developing the BodyWorks program, the Office on Women’s Health (OWH) found that many adolescents skip breakfast, have non-nutritious lunches and don’t eat dinner with their families. Adolescents spend about three hours a day watching television, playing video games, using the computer, and talking on the telephone, without parental limitations.
A “Fun and Fit Clinic” is planned for July 16 to promote the Fit Camp. The clinic will begin at 1 p.m., and is free to all children ages 8-14.
At the clinic, attendees will find informational booths, fun activities, free basic child check up, including Body Mass Index (BMI), and a technical survey to assist children in developing healthy habits. BMI is used as a screening tool to identify possible weight problems for children. CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend the use of BMI to screen for overweight and obesity in children beginning at 2 years old.This will be followed by some fun “pool” time, including a giant waterslide.
The camp schedule each day will follow the BodyWorks curriculum with time allowed to prepare and eat healthy snacks, plus time to enjoy activities at LJHCC, including swimming. The last day of camp, families will be challenged to take their knowledge and go shopping at our local grocery to plan alternative healthy meals/snacks. The camp is free to children ages 8-14 and the time is 1- 4.
“The Fun and Fit Clinic will allow time for parents to understand their child’s B.M.I.,” says Cheryl Mitchem, executive director of LJHCC. “We believe that healthy children become healthy adults. These activities will help parents to be role models to their children and encourage them to establish better eating and activity habits for their families.”
BodyWorks, developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, that focuses on helping children ages 8 to 14 and their families create healthier lifestyles. The program provides tools to help improve family eating and activity habits. The toolkit includes a video on healthy shopping and cooking strategies, a recipe book, food and fitness journals, and more.