Child obesity prevention program educates and entertains
September 14, 2011 — More than a dozen children and their parents spent this past Saturday enjoying outdoor play in the sun, family time in the kitchen and an educational experience at the grocery store. It was all part of Bastyr University and Premera Blue Cross’ APPLE Core program. The one-day innovative pilot program was held on the campus of Bastyr University and provided obesity-prevention education and activities to children and their families.
“The APPLE Core program was a valuable way for my family to explore how to maintain healthier lifestyle habits. The program also provided an enriching way for us to spend time together,” said Becky Giles, who participated in the program with her two children.
“Childhood obesity is one of this country’s fastest growing epidemics, and we at Bastyr University want to take steps to improve the health of our nation’s youth,” said Tiffany Reiss, PhD, APPLE Core director and director of the Exercise Science and Wellness program at Bastyr University. “To do so we need to educate not only the children, but their parents as well. That, in addition to the overall approach to good health we’re taking, is what makes this program so unique.”
Families spent quality time together learning about health, nutrition and exercise in a supportive, educational setting. As part of the day’s activities, parents shopped for healthy groceries and prepared a healthy dinner together with their children. The hands-on, interactive program promoted healthy living strategies to children and their families using a holistic approach that included:
*Whole-food nutrition education
*Integrative physical activity
*Health education to promote healthy lifestyle choices
*Family culinary training to prepare healthy, balanced meals
“Premera Blue Cross and Bastyr University have a shared goal of improving the health of our members and our communities,” said Neil Kaneshiro, MD, assistant medical director at Premera Blue Cross, who spoke with families at APPLE Core. “Childhood obesity is a leading cause of chronic lifelong illness, and we are pleased to partner with Bastyr to empower and enable children and families to manage their health. The APPLE Core program provides tools that help family members support each other in making healthier lifestyle choices.”
The one-day event was a pilot program for a week-long day camp for children, scheduled to launch next summer.