September 10, 2012

Family Fun Day to kick off events to fight childhood obesity

By Amy Calder
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE — A year-long series of events to help encourage healthful family activity and fight childhood obesity will start Saturday, Sept. 15, at Inland Hospital off Kennedy Memorial Drive.

2010 Maine Obesity Profile

Today’s youth may be the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
In the past 30 years, the percentage of overweight children ages 6-11 has nearly tripled.
Adults 18 and older:
    62.9 percent were overweight
    26.8 percent obese
Children in grades 9-12:
    15.1 percent were overweight
    12.5 percent obese
Children ages 2-5:
    17.1 percent were overweight
    14.3 percent obese
source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention most current data available

Let’s Go! Family Fun Day

  • When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 15)
  • Where: Trailhead behind Inland Hospital Waterville
  • Admission: Free
  • Activities: Hikes, climbing wall, bike rodeo (must bring own bike), geocaching, scavenger hunt, story walk, children’s musician, food
  • More information on event and yearlong program

Four healthful habits for every day

  • 5  servings of fruit and vegetables
  • 2  hours or less of recreational screen time
  • 1  hour or more of physical activity
  • 0  sugary drinks, with an emphasis on drinking more water and low-fat milk


Let’s Go! Family Fun Day is free and will include trail hikes, a bike rodeo and chance to win a new bike, climbing wall, geocaching, a story walk, a children’s musician and educational activities related to healthful eating.

The event will be at Inland Woods Trail head behind the hospital and is geared toward families with children ages 3 to 13.

It is the first event of many aimed at connecting families to local resources and activities that can help them stay active, learn about nutrition and  discover that healthful habits can be the easy choice, according to Sara Dyer, Inland’s director of community relations.

“One in three kids nationally are overweight or obese, and it’s really an epidemic. This is one way that we’re trying to address it,” Dyer said.

Inland is working with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and Alfond Youth Center to present scheduled monthly events that are free and open to families including hikes, a pool party, a snow shoeing adventure, winter carnival, skating party, boat paddle, biking day and kids’ health and safety fair.

Children are given passports for the year-long program, which will be stamped as they attend events. Then they become eligible to win a $500 gift card to L.L. Bean at the end of the program in August.
“The more times they have participated in these events, the more chances they have to win that gift card ,” said Ellen Wells, Inland’s community wellness coordinator.

A list of program events and recommended additional activities is available at
Saturday’s event falls during National Childhood Obesity Month.

The program grew out of the 5210 Let’s Go! initiative, which focuses on helping children and families eat well and be active. Schools, health care facilities, and community organizations are involved in the initiative.

The numbers in the title represent four healthful habits for every day: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 hours of recreational screen time, 1 hour or more of physical activity and 0 sugary drinks, with an emphasis on drinking more water and low-fat milk.

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