FORT LAUDERDALE — The Boys and Girls Club of Broward County and the American Diabetes Association have partnered to launch a Healthy Families Initiative program that will focus on obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes among those most at risk, including African Americans, blacks from the Caribbean and Hispanics in Broward County.
Being overweight during childhood and adolescence increases the risk of developing high cholesterol, hypertension, respiratory ailments, orthopedic problems, depression and Type 2 diabetes as a youth. One disease of particular concern to health officials is Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to overweight and obesity and has increased dramatically in children and adolescents, particularly among African Americans and Hispanics.
This initiative is the brainchild of Alan Goldberg, a member of the boards of the American Diabetes Association and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County.
“There is a critical need to address healthy eating and exercise within those populations which are most at risk for developing diabetes,” Goldberg said in a statement announcing the initiative. “These are the children who make up the Boys and Girls Clubs in Broward. Connecting these two organizations seemed a natural fit.”
The objective is to raise awareness about the critical role played by proper nutrition and physical activity
in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
During five workshops at designated Boys and Girls Club centers in July, families will have a chance to learn about healthy food choices and food preparation skills. They will also be asked to develop their own healthy menus and the family with the most nutritious menu at each center will receive a gift card from Publix Supermarkets, one of the companies funding the program. They will also have an opportunity to prepare an item from their menu at the American Diabetes Association “Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes” Health Fest on Oct. 22.
Other companies funding the initiative are Aetna, AutoNation and Wells Fargo.
Physical activity will be a key component of the program and participants will be encouraged to engage in activities such as a “10,000 Steps a Day” contest. Each person will receive a pedometer and incentives will be offered to those meeting this challenge.
Along with wholesome nutrition tips and a few energizing exercises, the Healthy Families Initiative will be administering Body Mass Index screenings for children and their families. Results will be recorded and progress will be monitored. The significance of the BMI screening is to see reduced body mass and to minimize the risk of obesity.
The workshops will be held at the following Boys and Girls Club locations: Thomas D. Stephanis, William E. Slaughter/S. Robert Levine Campus, Nan Knox, NFL-YET Center/Lester H. White, and Marti Huizenga. They will begin in July and are expected to reach more than 500 people.
For more information on the Healthy Families Initiative, call Dawn Seay at the American Diabetes Association, 954-772-8040 ext. 3053.
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