By JENNI VINCENT
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) _ Both Samuel Patton and Chloe DeMoulin now have a new appreciation about what’s contained in some popular, name-brand cupcakes, thanks to registered nurse Joan Starliper’s presentation at a session of Wellkids Fun in Training (FIT) – a summer fitness program that includes plenty of exercise, healthy snacks and plain old fun.
It’s also an opportunity for children – participants are 5 to 11 years old – to learn more about what they are eating and how to make better, more healthy choices by looking at product labels.
That proved to be an eye-opening experience for the youngsters when Starliper pointed out that a well-known fudge cupcake (filled with white icing) contained beef fat as well as pork gelatin.
Things didn’t get better when she offered them an opportunity to touch and smell – but not taste – some other commercially prepared cupcakes that were more than four years old, and still looked about the same due to the preservatives used in preparing them, she said.
“There was some really yucky stuff in the cupcakes. And we also found out we shouldn’t be eating stuff we can’t pronounce,” said DeMoulin, who is attending the program for the second year in a row.
“The old cupcakes smelled like play dough, and they felt really hard. I definitely didn’t want to take a bite,” she said with a grin.
Health promotions specialist Dana DeJarnett said the workouts are led by exercise specialists from The Wellness Center at Berkeley Medical Center. She said the youngsters play a variety of games including soccer, dodge ball and freeze tag.
“We also do a warmup which incorporates sports skills, but we do all of this in a way that makes it fun for them,” she said, adding that current sessions usually have five to 15 participants.
The program, which is about four years old, has been offering sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 to 11:15 a.m. But a new session has been added for Tuesdays from 5:15-6:30 p.m.
She said the program will run through Aug. 6. Cost is $2 per class for members (a $60 parent/guardian membership is available and good thru the end of the program) or $5 for nonmembers.
“Although we want all kids to come to the program, many of them are coming with a parent or grandparent who is working out at The Wellness Center. And this is an activity the kids can take part in then. While they work out, the kids also get a workout,” DeJarnett said.
Registration forms are available at The Wellness Center’s front desk. Additional information is also available by calling 304-264-1232 or emailing DDeJarnett(at)wvuhealthcare.com.