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More About Hearts N' Parks--Virginia

Following the national launch on July 18, 2000, the Arlington County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Resources introduced Hearts N' Parks program activities to children, youth, and seniors at summer camps, and park and recreation centers throughout the county.

Seniors in the Recreation, Education, Access to services, Celebrating community, and Health education (REACH) program attended the Hearts N' Parks launch where they participated in the seated exercise class and enjoyed healthy snacks. During the summer, a local nurse gave a successful presentation in Spanish on heart-healthy behaviors to the Spanish-speaking population. To reinforce the presentation, senior center staff prepared healthy snacks of fruits and vegetables for the group.

Elementary and middle school age children, including those with special needs, participated in a number of summer camp activities. In addition to traditional activities, camp staff utilized resources from the Wellness Lending Library to teach the kids about heart-healthy behaviors. These resources included NHLBI materials on heart-healthy eating and physical activity, heart models, a food guide pyramid model, and equipment such as parachutes, jump ropes, and exercise bands to encourage exercise and play. In addition, camp staff prepared heart-healthy snacks for the kids, such as low-fat English muffin pizzas, and discussed healthy food choices with them.

Arlington County will continue heart-healthy program activities throughout the year. Recreation and leisure classes will include those focusing on healthy lifestyles. Interest in the classes and the facilities at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center and Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center was generated by a show that Channel 31, County Line produced on Hearts N' Parks. In addition, Hearts N' Parks will be part of after school programs reaching over 250 children in Arlington, VA.

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