Children's National Medical Center Kicks Off Partnership with We Can!®

Girl running while flying kite

Posted January 12, 2011

This fall, the Children's National Medical Center kicked off its We Can! partnership with an event that attracted over 100 youth and adult participants.

The DC Family Wellness Day and Day for Kids took place on September 25 in Ward 8, a section of Washington DC that—according to an Obesity Report published by the District of Columbia's Department of Health—has the city's highest rates of obesity. The purpose of the event was to equip youth and parents with skills they need to maintain healthy lifestyles.

Children Working OutThe morning started off with an address from Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who spoke to the youth and their parents about National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Shortly afterward, the youth participants watched a live show from Kaiser Permanente called The Great Food Detective, and then went to a gym area where different physical activity stations were set up for them, including a yoga workshop and an African drumming station.

"The children really enjoyed rotating through the activities," said Dr. Yolandra Hancock, MD, Associate Director of the Children's National Obesity Initiative at the Children's National Medical Center. "Many of them even said they didn't even feel like they were exercising because they were having so much fun."

Meanwhile, while the youth engaged in a variety of physical activities, the adult participants received an abridged version of the We Can! Energize Our Families Parent Program.

"We chose the We Can! Parent Program because it is so strong," said Hancock. "And we wanted to use it in an abbreviated version to provide great information to families in only a few hours."

Partners of the Children's National Medical Center were also involved with the event, and ran different stations that modeled concepts from the We Can! program. For example, one station demonstrated just how much fat and added sugar certain foods contain.

After attending this demonstration, one participant told Dr. Hancock, "I don't even want to eat ice cream anymore!… Actually, I do want to eat ice cream, just not as much as I used to eat."

To promote the event, the Children's National Medical Center distributed flyers to all of their DC-based health centers, sent announcement to providers, and even worked with the Boys and Girls Club to distribute promotional materials to their constituents.

Because this year's kick-off was such a huge success, Dr. Hancock is already looking forward to planning next year's event, and hopes to include more hands-on activities for parents, including cooking demonstrations and physical activities for adults. In addition to planning next year's event, Dr. Hancock is staying plenty busy with We Can! and is implementing the curriculum in January for a new health education program, titled Step Up To Health.

Last Updated: February 13, 2013

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