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Published: February 28, 2012
By AUTUMN McALPIN - OC Moms - FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
In the past week, Chapman University students tackled the childhood obesity epidemic by engaging kids at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Garden Grove in Power Up! - a five-day educational program focusing on fitness and nutrition.
Five members of the Chapman Public Relations Student Society visited the Morningside Elementary School site of the club to implement the program.
"As a way to reduce the high rate of obesity in our community, we plan to engage children through fun activities that also give them and their parents the tools necessary to live healthy lifestyles," said team member Becky Ogden.
Power Up! comes at an important time as a recent study reported 33 percent of children in Orange County are overweight or obese.
Guest speaker Dr. Jacqueline Winkelmann, a pediatrician from CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital, launched the week by presenting the new government "Healthy Plate" concept which has substituted the previous “food pyramids” ideology.
“We discussed the importance of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins and fats, then played games to emphasize these concepts and learn new examples of these foods. The hope is that we educate the children who will in turn educate their families, and hopefully the cycle of obesity can end once and for all,” said Dr. Winkelmann.
On Day 2, American Heart Association of Orange County provided jump ropes to all the kids and taught them different jumps and games, which resulted in happy smiles and take home tricks they could show their parents. The next day, Chef Steve Hamada from Sapphire Laguna restaurant showed the kids how to make a healthy snack, then allowed the kids to taste-test healthy foods.
The Fire Department of Garden Grove, members of the ROTC, and various Chapman University athletes rounded out the week’s program with visits in which they showed the kids various ways they stay healthy and active in their jobs and sports.
Of the childhood obesity problem, Dr. Winkelmann states, “Obesity is a true epidemic in our country, and this generation is predicted to be the first to live a shorter life than its predecessors. Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and many cancers have all been directly linked to obesity. This program has done an amazing job in spreading much needed education regarding healthy food choices and lifestyles in a fun, energetic way that kids can relate to.”
Power Up! has created a guide that organizations can use to adapt a similar program for kids in their facilities.
To receive the guide, contact Justin at firstname.lastname@example.org.