07:38 AM

Graduating to a Healthier Life

Healthy Kids U teaches better choices

Healthy Kids U graduation

As an adult, looking back on our formative years, how many times have you said to yourself, "If I only knew then what I know now?" 

Often that refers to the way we treated our bodies. Did we get enough exercise? Did we eat the right foods? 

That's why Live Well Streator (IL), as part of the rural health care initiative now underway and led by OSF HealthCare, has identified obesity as one goal being addressed for a healthier community.

In part, that was the impetus for the development of "Healthy Kids U", a collaboration with the Streator Family YMCA, a partner with OSF on the rural health care initiative. 

Weight loss and control is only one aspect of the program. Aimed at children ages 7 through 13, "Healthy Kids U" encourages the entire family to learn and implement multiple health and wellness changes. 

Part of the excitement for the kids is using the Y's Action Arcade - made possible by an OSF HealthCare donation - that gets them exercising, accidentally.     

"You get them playing and having fun and they don't even realize they're burning calories and being healthy," says Lori Snell, Manager of Physician Offices for OSF HealthCare in Streator.

OSF's Lori Snell on use of Action Arcade

Recently the first "Healthy Kids U" graduated its first class. The kids reviewed what they learned and how they plan to use that knowledge going forward. The ceremony included a diploma, a gift and celebration.  

Snell also celebrated, deeming the first class a success. 

"We do some surveying from the beginning of the program to the end of the program," Lori Snell, Manager of Physician Offices for OSF HealthCare in Streator. "So, we're going to look at those results while we have a meeting next week to kind of go through it to hear the voice of the kids that attended and their families. We want to see what they feel. I mean, our assessment is one thing, be we wanted their feedback. So, we're anxious to look back through all of the surveying that we did to see what benefits they felt like they had and what they came away with." 

OSF's Lori Snell on Healthy Kids U follow up

Participation in any curriculum of "Healthy Kids U" is voluntary. Enrollment of families may come at the recommendation of a primary care provider, the YMCA or other social service organizations.   

"They've enjoyed being together and having these conversations," Lori Snell, Manager of Physician Offices for OSF HealthCare in Streator. "They've - what we've encouraged and what they've been trying is to change their habits at home as far as with healthy recipes and things. Getting the kids involved. I think as news spreads of this program in the community I think that people are really going to - it's going to pique some interest."

OSF's Lori Snell on why families should enter Healthy Kids U

To learn more about 'Healthy Kids U" at the Streator Family YMCA visit https://www.osfhealthcare.org/locations/streator/community-health/healthy-kids/

Healthy Kids U graduation b-roll
Streator Family YMCA b-roll