150 children from Kids in Action afterschool program learn about food and nutrition
ARLINGTON, Va. – On Friday, Oct. 24, Arlington County’s FitArlington held an apple-themed Food Day event at Walter Reed Community Center where over 150 elementary-aged children in our Kids in Action program learned about the importance of good nutrition while having fun. Activities included interactive fitness games, cooking demonstrations, taste tests, a live DJ and an “Apple Crunch” activity. State officials Alfonso H. Lopez and Barbara A. Favola attended the event to show their support for childhood obesity prevention
Food Day is a nationwide celebration and movement created by the Center for Science in the Public Interest for healthy, affordable and sustainable food. Now in its fourth year, Food Day is an event that organizers hope will inspire many Americans to improve their own diets and work toward solving food-related problems at the local, state and national level.
The children received healthy messages all week leading up to the event and made their own apple artwork, which were featured as decorations for the event. The participants received “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” reusable shopping bags to take home and share with their families to spread the health education.
Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation has joined the National Parks and recreation Association’s national campaign, Commit to Health, to improve the nutrition and physical activity in our afterschool programs. Food Day is just one example of how Arlington is embracing this commitment by providing an educational and interactive experience around the importance of proper nutrition. “The event was a huge success. Seeing 150 children bite into an apple at the same time reinforced the messages they have been learning at school about the importance of eating fruit as part of a balanced diet,” said Jennifer Fioretti, Parks and Recreation Deputy Director
This event was a collaboration between different departments in the County, community partners, and would not be possible without the generous donations from INOVA Health System and Harris Teeter Supermarkets – all to help reach our children. Virginia Cooperative Extension, Arlington County 4-H, Junior League of Northern Virginia, FitArlington Healthy Community Action Team, and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation donated staff to help in the planning and led the activities. In addition, the following County departments assisted: Department of Parks and Recreation’s Creative Resources, Kids in Action, Teen Office and the Office of Community Health. FitArlington’s initiatives are supported in part through funding from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth.
Arlington has a culture of fitness
In 2008, Arlington County Board Member J. Walter Tejada started the FitArlington initiative to encourage a Culture of Fitness in our community. Since that time, Arlington has developed a number of innovative programs that support wellness, including incorporating fitness and nutrition goals in summer camps and after school programs. The County also provides only healthy vending options in parks, schools, community centers and libraries. It also asks community members to refrain from smoking in County parks and playgrounds. The County has offered a number of training programs and resources for professionals who work with children, so that they, too, can include opportunities for the kids in their programs to learn about healthy choices through nutrition programs and fun physical activities.
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation’s Capital. It is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency’s highest award for “Smart Growth” in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world – including the Pentagon – Arlington stands out as one of America’s preeminent places to live, visit and do business.