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Fit Kids 360: Helping families create healthy lifestyles

Update: June 20, 2023

Among the country’s 50 largest cities, Detroit has the highest rate of children living in high poverty areas, at 72%. When households are struggling to afford the basics— sneakers, affordable sports opportunities, and safe, open neighborhood space are necessities for daily exercise a child can only dream of having.

Kids Health Connections understands the need to help Detroit youth and their families overcome barriers and develop healthy lifestyles by increasing physical activity, decreasing screentime and choosing whole foods like fruits and vegetables.

In 2022, The Children’s Foundation supported Fit Kids, their families, and mentors in Fit Kids on the Move, a 5K race — the culmination of 10 weeks of well-being classes and fitness training. For the first time in three years, this event enabled 90 participants to run for miles in the beautiful scenery of a Southeast Michigan recreation area with the proper shoes and socks they needed—without these funds they would not have been able to run freely.

The Children’s Foundation awarded $80,000 in grant support to Kids’ Health Connections in 2022 for youth development programming serving 140 children from Metropolitan Detroit.

Original article: May 22, 2022

According to the CDC, in 2018 obesity impacted 19.3% of adolescents aged two to 19. Childhood obesity is a serious problem the United States and puts children and adolescents at risk for poor health that could last into adulthood.

As with many aspects of life, childhood is when foundational habits for nutrition and physical activity are established. Kids Health Connections (KHC) understands the importance of this, providing health education to families and acting as a voice for issues affecting children’s health.

Their Fit Kids 360 course exists specifically to combat childhood obesity. This intervention program targets kids ages five to 17 who have a Body Mass Index in the 85th percentile or above. Children and their families learn about nutrition, physical activity, and behavioral health topics from social workers, registered dietitians, and fitness experts. Between sessions, families are supported by mentors, touching base three times per week to set goals, and answer health related questions.

In 2021, with nearly $80,000 in grant support from The Children’s Foundation, Fit Kids 360 helped nearly 40 children and their families improve their physical health and daily habits! Over the span of eight weeks, each child worked hard to try new foods, engage in new hobbies, and meet their goals.

“We saw participants make significant strides towards their measurable goals of increased activity, improved diet, reduced screen time and, increased reports of behaviors from parents and caregivers that support longer term healthy lifestyle changes for the whole family,” said Krista Siddall, director of Operations and Programming, Kids Health Connections.

One of the highlights of the program was an outing to Eastern Market where families and KHC nutrition staff toured the market and kitchen areas, getting their steps in while meeting the various farmers and vendors. After the tour, families engaged in a one-hour yoga class and received storage tips for produce, recipes to try, and $25 to purchase produce at the market.

“Our Eastern Market trip was a fun way to support our families and check in on how they are doing,” said Siddall. “Outings like these encourage families to have fun with their healthy lifestyle and embrace the changes they’ve learned to make through our programming.”

Help us improve the health and wellness of more children and families.

You can help us reach more children and families by making a gift to The Children’s Foundation. Click here to make your gift.

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