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Feature Article

Kids Learn to be Healthy Heroes

Samaritan Pediatrics Registered Dietitian Kim Iszler saw a need for a group of patients to have more exposure to activity and exercise, nutrition and group support. And so, in collaboration with Samaritan Pediatrics, Samaritan Mental Health and SamFit, Healthy Heroes was born.

Healthy Heroes aims to improve overall health statistics, including lowering BMI scores and improving lab results. The five-week class includes 30 minutes of supervised activity lead by a SamFit certified personal trainer in the conference room at Samaritan Pediatrics. The second half of each class focuses on education about nutrition, positive behavior and social support.

The program features a steps challenge, with children tracking their steps using pedometers provided through a grant by the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation. The focus is to get the children moving outside of class and teach them that walking can make a big difference in their health.

Each participant also chooses a Mission Card for the week. These cards include challenges that take the children outside of their comfort zone. Missions include:

  • Try a new fruit or vegetable.
  • Take a family walk.
  • Replace all beverages with water for one day.
  • Bring three things you love about yourself to the next class to share.

“The response to the class has been overwhelmingly positive,” Iszler said. “The participants, ages 7 to 15, have connected and engaged better than anticipated. They are responsive to every aspect of the class. They are asking questions, laughing — it is really fun to watch them interact with one another and be excited about their weekly missions and step goals.”

While the short-term goals for the class are to get the participants excited about exercise and expand their knowledge of healthy food choices and positive thinking, the hope is that the program will establish lifestyle habits that they will carry on long after Healthy Heroes is over.

For more information, call Samaritan Pediatrics at 541-768-4900.