|RMC Food, Fun, Fitness Camp Focused on |
"Giving Kids Tools for Healthier Living"
A total of 23 children ages 8 to 12 participated in a free “Food, Fun and Fitness Camp,” sponsored by the Regional Medical Center May 31-June 2.
According to Erika Kittrell, R.N., co-coordinator of the camp, goals of the program were to educate children and parents on the importance of balancing nutrition and exercise, and to promote healthy lifestyles for children. “Our slogan for the camp was ‘giving kids the tools for healthier living,’” she said, “and our main focus was the 5-2-1-0 method, which is five servings of vegetables and fruits per day, less than two hours of television or computer a day, one hour of exercise or play each day, and 0 carbonated and sugary beverages. The campers made charts for the 5-2-1-0 and checked off their progress each day.”
Registered dietitians including co-coordinator Rebecca Eastep, R.D., L.D. taught the children the importance of eating healthy and how to prepare fun, healthy snacks and meals. “Using the healthy plate concept, the children learned how to incorporate all the food groups to build their own balanced meal using foods they enjoy.”
Pediatric hospitalists Dr. Julia Arana and Dr. Charles Kilgore met with the children and discussed healthy lifestyle habits throughout the camp.
“Given the current epidemic of obesity, we need to be working on ways to curb this trend,” commented Dr. Arana. “The 8 to 12 year-old age group is ideal to institute change in lifestyle, activity and eating habits, and we were excited to work with such an enthusiastic group of young people during the camp.”
Dr. Arana added, “The kids soaked up the information regarding becoming more active and finding ways to have fun, and learning that eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. One of our goals was to help children learn to make healthy food choices, and many parents have told us stories of how the kids used the information from camp to change the families’ meals. I think the camp really had a lasting impact on all of the participants.”
Camp trips included visits to the local YMCA, where the children learned exercises to promote fitness such as basketball and swimming. “We also visited the Bi-Lo on Chestnut, where the produce manager gave the children a tour of the fresh produce area and showed them various types of fruits and vegetables,” noted Eastep. “The campers ended their trip with a scavenger hunt for healthier food options throughout the store.”
“We owe a special thanks to the RMC Foundation for their support of the camp and to the YMCA and Bi-Lo on Chestnut for their participation in helping our campers learn about a healthier lifestyle,” noted Kittrell.