If you ask a group of children what their favorite food is, you’re likely to hear a long list of junk foods that includes pizza and ice cream.
But not every kid’s food of choice falls in that category. Tatyana Chester, 7, of Carrollton is one of those kids. Her favorite food?
“Spinach,” she said.
Chester is one of many children who have benefited from Kids N Fitness — a free, healthy lifestyle program led by staff and volunteers of Tanner Health System’s Get Healthy, Live Well initiative and designed for children ages 8 to 16 and their parents.
Kids N Fitness includes an orientation and six weekly, 90-minute sessions for the entire family. Each session includes a nutrition lesson, physical activity, goal setting, a support session for parents, a healthy snack and a healthy take-home incentive.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three children in the United States is overweight or obese. But childhood obesity can be prevented.
Since launching the program in August, Get Healthy, Live Well has found success helping families in west Georgia who are facing this challenge.
“During the program, children and their families develop healthy habits, discover fun ways to exercise and learn the importance of maintaining a healthy weight,” said Christina Schoerner, RD, a registered dietitian and health coach for Tanner’s Get Healthy, Live Well initiative who teaches the Kids N Fitness course.
While Chester’s affinity for spinach began before the program, she has learned about even more nutritious options. She has also learned about the benefits of exercising.
“What I like about the Kids N Fitness class is that you can be active,” Chester said.
Chester’s sister, 8-year-old Izabella Chester, also participates in the program and learned that staying active will lead to better health. And what does she like most about the class?
“We get to play in the gym,” she said.
Their mother, Lacey Chester, commended the program for teaching kids about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.
“I feel like it’s giving them encouragement to eat healthier,” she said. “Instead of being like, ‘Well, I don’t like that,’ they’ll try it now and they have friends who are also helping them stay motivated.”
Tanner’s Get Healthy, Live Well initiative is currently filling spots for the Kids N Fitness class that begins Jan. 18. Sessions will be held Mondays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Spots fill fast, so interested parents should call or register online soon to make a change in their children’s lives.
When registering, please note the number of family members planning to attend. To sign up, call 770.214.CARE or register online at www.GetHealthyLiveWell.org.
Tanner’s Get Healthy, Live Well initiative is a comprehensive community health collaborative, working to promote a healthy lifestyle and prevent chronic disease for residents of west Georgia. This will be accomplished by decreasing health disparities, reducing obesity rates, eliminating tobacco use, increasing physical activity and improving nutrition. Get Healthy, Live Well is funded in part by a Partnership in Community Health (PICH) grant from the CDC.