Creating Healthy Families, One Child at a Time

Eight weeks may not seem like a long time, but it was the perfect amount of time for four families to learn important lessons regarding nutrition (utilizing the 5-2-1-0 messaging), stress management, emotional eating, and physical activity.

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Beginning in September, four families from the greater Torrington area participated in the second session of the Families Fit Together program. The 8-week program consisted of weekly workshops, held at the Brooker Memorial Child Care Center on Litchfield Street in Torrington. Each workshop incorporated a physical activity lesson, led by Caitlin Rossier, a Fitness Instructor from the NWCT YMCA, as well as a wellness lesson on a variety of topics, such as Fruits & Veggies, Sugar Sweetened Beverages, Smart Snacking, Emotional Eating, and Attacking the Fat in Fast Food. The wellness lessons were led by Carla Angevine, Clinical RD for Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, Nicole Benson, 5210 Fit Together Coordinator, and Victoria Palagy, Psychiatric Clinician for the Center for Youth & Families. The group even enjoyed a visit from local farmer, Laurie Szpak, who introduced the group to the squash family, describing the cultivation process of various gourds, pumpkins, and squash fruits to the kids and parents. She also shared with them her favorite squash recipes and gave each child a squash to take home and eat!

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Families committed to participating for eight weeks, with each workshop lasting about 90 minutes. In each workshop, the kids participated in a 35-minute physical activity lesson or game. These exciting games and activities demonstrated to the kids how much fun exercising can be. Meanwhile, parents joined in on a discussion about creating healthy habits in the home for the whole family. For the last 45 minutes, kids and parents enjoyed an interactive lesson which often involved food tasting or cooking demonstrations. In their final workshop, parents and kids were challenged to remember all that they learned with a fun Jeopardy-style game.

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For more information on how your family can participate in the next Families Fit Together program, please contact your child’s pediatrician for a referral.

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Fit Together Hosts Healthy Celebration and Workshop For 5-2-1-0 Childcare Centers

October 27, 2015

Fit Together hosted a healthy celebration and workshop for all of the childcare centers that participated in our 5-2-1-0 initiative. The purpose of the event was to celebrate the centers’ achievements and to reward participants with certificates, as well as to host a workshop on how to introduce healthy celebrations in each center. During the first year of the initiative, the most common feedback from the centers was that healthy celebrations were one of the most challenging policy changes, and they were often the single obstacle preventing a center from reaching the 5-2-1-0 gold level of recognition.

Principal of East Elementary School Sue Fergusson was the guest speaker of the evening and kicked off the workshop by sharing her experiences with the implementation of healthy celebrations. Fergusson shared that the minute there is a ban, there is likely to be backlash and she provided helpful tips such as using personal stories to connect to families and encouraging subtle awareness through public avenues like the press or newsletters. She also explained that it is important to emphasize that these are events and not a lifestyle, and that it is in the interest of the children’s safety and a lifetime of healthy choices to help them make these decisions starting in early childhood.

The evening concluded with groups rotating to four tables that focused on the different aspects of a healthy celebration, including sugary drinks and oral health, cupcake calculations and healthy substitutes, non-food alternatives, and effective strategies to talk to parents. Several members from the Fit Together Steering Committee and Youth and Families Committee helped to facilitate the tables and event. The evening was designed to allow childcare centers an opportunity to meet and collaborate with those from other centers and also to show the centers the support and resources available from the Fit Together team.

 

KiDSMARATHON Participants Complete Final Mile

On June 13, 2015, over 300 students from 14 local elementary schools completed the final mile of the KiDSMARATHON program. To support the event and add to the celebration, Fit Together and the Northwest CT YMCA hosted booths that promoted healthy eating and active living. Fit Together’s booth featured their sugary drink display, which attracted many curious and subsequently shocked kids and their parents. They also educated about the 5-2-1-0 message and provided boxes of raisins as a healthy snack. The Northwest CT YMCA further promoted the active living message by setting up a practice obstacle run to foster interest in their upcoming fun and challenging WYLD obstacle run.

For more information and pictures from the day, visit Litchfield.bz and for more information about the KiDSMARATHON program in CT, check out their website here.