Buffalo, NY—Former Buffalo Sabre, Rob Ray visited Elma Primary School today to talk with children about the importance of making healthy eating and physical activity as part of Univera Healthcare’s Fun 2B Fit® program.
Former Buffalo Sabre, Rob Ray said, “I am glad to have an opportunity to talk to the children at Elma today about healthy habits.”
Fun 2B Fit is a school-based initiative encouraging children in grades two, three and four and their families to make healthier food choices by trying new foods, increasing their level of physical activity, grocery shopping and preparing healthy meals together.
Seven out of 10 upstate New York adults eat fewer than five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, according to a report commissioned by Univera Healthcare in 2009. https://www.univerahealthcare.com/wps/wcm/resources/file/ebbbaf0c60816a9/Fruits%20and%20Vegetables%20FS%20UN.pdf and the prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 more than doubled in the past 20 years to 17% in 2006, according to the Center or Disease Control.
“The Fun 2B Fit program is an innovative, engaging, and interactive program that teaches children important lessons about fitness and healthy eating. Reaching children with these important messages at a young age is critical in helping them develop healthy habits that will carry through to adulthood”, said Univera Healthcare’s associate medical director, Matthew F. Bartels, MD.
Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as poor self-esteem. Obese young people are more likely than children of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults, and are at increased risk for associated adult health problems. http://www.cdc.gov Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases.
Fun 2B Fit is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the New York State Learning Standards.
For second graders, Fun 2B Fit offers a taste testing program called It’s Fun 2Try Healthy Foods where students try a different healthy recipe weekly for 12 weeks. Students receive laminated recipe cards to take home so they can make each recipe with their family and also a lime green, kid-sized chef apron to encourage them to cook with their parents and help with food preparation. Schools can then incorporate the children’s favorite choices from the taste testing onto the school breakfast, or lunch menu. Parents can also receive a portion control plate for their child for completing a pre and post survey.
Third grade students can participate in a physical activity lesson entitled Why it’s Fun 2B Fit. The students, along with a fitness instructor from Body Shaping by Sandy, take part in a 45-minute workout developed especially for kids that incorporates easy, fun dance moves and stretches. During the workout, students learned various muscles of the body and their function, and discussed the importance of physical activity and how these activities can be done at home with family members.
Parents of all students participating in Why it’s Fun 2B Fit receive a backpack full of tools to help them make healthy choices for their families. Each tool kit contains a magnetic grocery pad for the refrigerator with pre-printed healthy items on each tear-off page, a magnet with everyday tips on how parents can keep their kids healthy, a Healthy Family Pledge to be signed and displayed in the home, and the tool kit itself is a sling-style backpack that can be reused as a gym bag, or to take on family outings.
The final program component is a shopping and food preparation food tour to a local Wegmans store. Fourth grade students participate in the Wegmans Eat Well. Live Well. Tour. It is an interactive 2-hour tour of Wegmans based on the Food Guide Pyramid. The tour is intended to be the first step in developing good eating habits by introducing children to a variety of healthful foods in a fun and interactive way.
More than 35,000 Western New York students at 110 schools have participated. Fun 2B Fit is being offered to local schools after a successful pilot program was conducted in 2005. http://www.fun2bfit.univerahealthcare.com
In 2008, Univera Healthcare’s Fun 2B Fit program received the prestigious Community Leadership Award from America’s Health Insurance Plans. The Community Leadership Award showcases an organization that demonstrates excellence in community outreach by identifying a specific problem in their community, establishing creative paths to address the problem, and successfully leading community partnerships toward collaborative solutions.
Fun 2B Fit program partners include Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., Body Shaping by Sandy and Lifetime Health Medical Group.