Fighting Childhood Obesity:
A Walk for Children’s Health, just one step in educating parents, kids

If you’ve ever wondered what a fast-food burger looks like after a year or seen what different kinds of fat really look like, you might think twice before hitting the drive-thru. That’s exactly what the coordinators for the Bon Secours Richmond Walk for Children’s Health are hoping for.

All winners

A day dedicated to helping parents and their children learn about good nutrition and healthy activity, A Walk for Children’s Health, held in the spring at Byrd Park, makes sure everyone was a winner. In our last walk more than 150 children participated in 20 fun-filled activity stations and a 1-mile walk received a medal, a T-shirt, a pedometer, a kids’ cookbook and a lot of individual prizes.

“We had a great time, and the weather was perfect,” said Irene Zolotorofe,administrative director for the Metabolic Center of Excellence and Community Services. “We’re going to do it again next year.”

This was the second year for the event, which received a certificate of recognition from Gov. Tim Kaine. A collaborative effort between the Good Life Center, Bariatric Department, Bon Secours Foundation, Women’s and Children’s services, Mission, and the Henrico County School Nutrition Department, the event also had the backing of numerous community sponsors.

Kids on the move

The different organizations involved ran tables that helped kids move — and learn — and have fun in the process. Just a few of the participants included:

  • The Bon Secours Richmond dietitians hosted a “fear factor” test table.
  • Henrico County Schools Nutrition Services led activities to help children choose healthy school lunches.
  • Southern Health Care Management ran a basketball station; South River Compounding Pharmacy managed jump rope, and American Family Fitness demonstrated exercises.
  • The American Heart Association held a healthy picnic and displayed samples of different kinds of fat.

Beyond the walk The Bon Secours efforts to combat childhood obesity reach far beyond the one-day walk. Concern has grown around this issue because the numbers of children considered obese have risen since 1976. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that obesity in children aged 2-5 has risen from 5 to 12.4 percent, for those 6-11 years from 6.5 to 17 percent, and for those 12-19 from 5 to 17.6 percent. 

The Metabolic Center of Excellence, along with Mission, will begin a pilot program with Richmond City Schools this fall. Through their afterschool program, nutrition and fitness will be promoted.  

Zolotorofe said the center is also working with Henrico County Schools to create a local cookbook for kids. She hopes this will be given out at next year’s walk.