ORLANDO – Dozens of children gathered on the lawn in front of the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children for a unique exercise activity with Hall of Fame golfer Annika Sorenstam, ambassador for the Healthy 100 Kids program. Annika led the kids in a fun and energizing stretch routine, just like the routines professional golfers do to warm up for a round of golf. But beyond the fun and games, the event celebrated the success of the Healthy 100 Kids program at Florida Hospital and the strides it has taken to help kids in Central Florida get healthier.
“When I first came to the Healthy 100 Kids program, I was glad I was not going to be alone on this journey,” said 12-year old Marisa Medina. “Now, my whole family has gotten involved and we are all more active. We go on walks for an hour as a family. But what I have learned most is portion control.”
Florida Hospital for Children is celebrating one year since the launch of Healthy 100 Kids, a one-of-a-kind health initiative. Since its commencement in June of 2010, Healthy 100 Kids has helped more than 300 families like Marisa’s gain the tools needed for healthy living. Not only have Marisa and her family lost weight, but they have made significant life changes to improve their overall health. The program is designed to teach both children and their families how to stay active, improve eating habits and live an altogether healthier life. In fact, data from the first year of the program shows that 60 percent of patients reduced their Body Mass Index (BMI).
“We are so excited to see that families are embracing this program and making positive changes in their behaviors,” said Dr. Angela Fals, medical director of the Healthy 100 Kids program. “Not only are patients reducing their BMI, 55 percent of our patients increased their intake of vegetables. We have also seen dramatic decreases in a variety of health risk factors. For example, 40 percent of our patients reduced their total cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease among other medical problems.”
The Healthy 100 Kids team consists of four medical professionals specializing in pediatrics and weight management, nutrition, exercise and psychology. The team works together to develop a plan for each family in the program.
“Because of the Healthy 100 Kids team, our whole family has been inspired to get healthier,” said Elizabeth Medina, Marisa’s mother. “There was so much information about health and wellness that I didn’t know. I am so grateful that I now have the tools to make healthy decisions for my family.”
Annika and the ANNIKA Foundation, the Martin Andersen-Gracia Andersen Foundation, Orlando Magic Youth Foundation, PCL Construction and other donors have helped to make the Healthy 100 Kids program possible over the last year. As the number of families and children in the program grows, so does the number of healthier lives.
For additional information on the Healthy 100 Kids program, please call 407-303-KIDS (5437) or visit www.healthy100kids.org.