THE PRESCRIBE THE Y PROGRAM OPENS EYES TO HEALTHY CHOICES AND GOOD HABITS
Zander was prescribed this program by his doctor. While he has always been big for his age, he seemed to stay heavier due to poor eating habits and staying glued to video games. After the first couple of classes, he wanted to come to the gym instead of sitting on the couch. Learning nutrition and how it benefited his body stuck with him too. He felt challenged with the homework and always wanted to make better food choices with his new knowledge. – shared in the evaluation of Prescribe the Y, by Kimberly Kulow
When Kimberly Kulow took her pediatrician’s advice and registered her 10-year-old son Zander for Prescribe the Y (PTY), she didn’t expect one of the outcomes to be the great family time they enjoyed. “I loved everything about it. Not only did my son learn about healthy eating, we both went to classes together and we learned how to make good decisions together. Kids aren’t grocery shopping alone. We do it together. I loved that each session was about a food group. The first half of the class was educational; the second half is physical activities.”
The PTY program includes a trip to Hannaford supermarket, where a registered dietician takes PTY classes on a tour of the grocery store, showing parents and children how to read food labels and make good decisions on grocery purchases. They go over sugar content in drinks. “When you read the back of an ‘energy drink’ label, you don’t really think about how many grams of sugar are included, but when you see the actual sugar in each bottle, it helps kids make good decisions. It hits you in the face to see the sugar. A 20-ounce bottle of soda is packed with sugar. It’s a different perspective on how you are feeding you kids. I thought I was doing something ok with Gatorade. But it’s not as good as I had thought it was. Not only did the dietician tell us, she showed us.” Kimberly said. Hannaford has been a long-time supporter of Prescribe the Y.
Kimberly shared that Zander loved trying foods that their family hadn’t enjoyed at home. For instance, when it was time try yogurt, the taste tests in the PTY program included many types of yogurt. “I might never have purchased Chobani greek yogurt. Same thing with bread. If you’re used to white bread, that may not be the best option for you. We tried whole grain bread, it’s a healthier option. We know we like it now. We have more foods in our diet and learned about many more healthy options.”
“We have loved using the free Y membership. We apply what we learned in class. We worked out together doing cardio: using bikes, rowing machines, elliptical machines and treadmills. We did challenges to see who would burn more calories in 20 minutes. I think joining Prescribe the Y would be a great benefit to many families. If one child in the family is having a hard time, the whole family needs to beg involved. It’s a family effort to change habits. That’s what I liked most,” Kimberly said.
Prescribe the Y is a free 10-week program for children and their parents. This anti-obesity initiative is for children age 6-13 years old are referred to the program by their health care provider using the “Prescription for a Healthier You” form. The Welcome Center staff will register your child for the next open session upon handing in your referral. Expert wellness staff deliver a quality education and assist families in developing strategies to make healthy choices part of their daily routine. Personal trainers provide children with a caring, noncompetitive environment where they can experience the fun of physical activity and develop team-building skills while nutrition staff simplify healthy eating and help children explore options that are as appealing as they are nutritious. Children and families actively work each week to discover their path to health through balance and teamwork. Upon successful completion of PTY, families are awarded a one year free membership to the Y to continue their healthy living journey.
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