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School district, Fort HealthCare, Tomorrow's Hope team up to fight childhood obesity

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects nearly 10 percent of Wisconsin children and adolescents. It occurs when a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height and is particularly troubling because the extra pounds often start children on the path to health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol that were once confined to adults. Childhood obesity can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression.

One of the best strategies to reduce childhood obesity is to improve the diet and exercise habits of your entire family. Treating and preventing childhood obesity helps protect the health of your child now and in the future. Fort HealthCare, the School District of Fort Atkinson and Tomorrow’s Hope have teamed up to offer a wellness challenge to any family with children in the Fort Atkinson school district, including parochial and home-schooled students. PLAN, which stands for play, leisure, activity and nutrition, is a free five-month program beginning in January.

As part of the challenge, family members will work together to tackle obesity through proper nutrition, stress reduction and increased activity. Fort HealthCare’s skilled nutritionists, nurses and other healthcare professionals will teach families strategies for improving wellness at monthly meetings, which include a healthy dinner option. The program continues through May.
Families will be competing to earn points which can be earned through food and fitness activities, as well as by attending Fort HealthCare wellness classes. Upon completion of the challenge, winning families from each school will be awarded a family vacation to a water park and resort in Wisconsin Dells.

At the kickoff meeting on January 13 at 6:00 p.m. at Luther Elementary School, family members will receive a packet of information and materials for charting progress on daily fitness, meal information, stress relief and time spent playing. There will also be baseline screenings performed at the initiation of the program as well as at the end of the challenge to record progress. Improved numbers result in additional points toward prizes like passes to the Fort Atkinson Family Aquatic Center and Wii systems. In addition, some families will receive free pedometers thanks to a $500 donation from the Fort HealthCare Giving Circle.

Families, within the Fort Atkinson school district, interested in participating in the PLAN Fort Family Challenge should contact their child’s teacher. Sign-up is currently taking place now and will continue through the kickoff meeting. Advanced registration is preferred so supplies are available for all participants.

Questions can be directed to Lisa Jensen at (920) 563-7805. More information can be provided by contacting the school your child attends.