When prior members of Get Fit United asked for a program for their children, United Way of St. Charles responded with Get Fit Kids.
“This was a great group to start with because this idea came from Get Fit United participants, but we always knew we wanted to do something,” said United Way’s Kacy Kernan. “We call it the Get Fit Family.”
The pilot program has begun with 15 children and a parent, Kernan said. It will last six weeks with classes through mid-November.
“With Get Fit United, weight loss is the goal, but the child version is teaching healthy habits early on so they don’t end up in Get Fit United,” she said. It also includes two outdoor fitness sessions per week and nutrition education at the UW office in Luling.
UW partnered with Ochsner Health Systems to provide the nutrition classes and Anytime Fitness Luling will provide the outdoor fitness activities.
The program fits UW’s health initiative, which is why it’s also the primary grant supporter of Luling Elementary School’s Running Club and the Healthy Kids Running Series, which is throughout the parish in public schools.
Kernan said they wanted Get Fit Kids to be a family activity, which is why it’s done with a parent. They’d observed the trend in Get Fit United in which the spouse of many participants asked to join or the couple joined together, which made them more successful.
“With Get Fit United, weight loss is the goal, but the child version is teaching healthy habits early ….” – Kacy Kernan
“We’ve probably had at least 10 spouses follow and then other spouses together signed up,” she said. “We probably had 10 couples who did it together. So it’s a family deal, and it’s more supportive if this is done as a couple and as a family. They take on healthier choices and more exercise.”
Kernan said it does make a difference when everyone is on the same page.
In Get Fit Kid, participants will be shown “eating healthy doesn’t have to taste terrible,” and it’s a critical move since a survey shows children indicated they eat one or no vegetables with zero being the majority.”
Participants will get a healthy snack, including vegetables served in ways that make them tastier, and they’re learning fun activities that guide them to making healthy choices.
“We’re teaching them that exercise doesn’t have to be boring and can be fun,” she said. “Anytime Fitness will do games and challenges. It’ll be a learning experience, but we have some good things in mind for them.”