The Leon County Health Department hosted a “Family and Community Fitness Fun Day” on Sunday, from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. The event was located at Jake Gaither Community Center, at 801 Tanner Drive.
“The purpose of this event is to raise awareness to minorities and help individuals change their behaviors so that they can live a healthier lifestyle,” said Kathy Lewis, nursing supervisor for the Office of Minority Health.
The lack of exercise and healthy eating have been overlooked and taken for granted by society. In addition, minorities are most at risk of health issues because they are not aware about the facts of healthy consummation and exercise or health problems. However, one simple event can make a significant change.
“One of the major health risks for minorities is obesity. Statistically, 59.1 percent of African Americans are overweight and 75.2 percent engage in no vigorous physical activity,” said Dr. Homer Rice, administrator of Leon County Health Department.
The event started off with breakfast being served, which included muffins and healthy fruits and vegetables. Afterwards, the attendees gathered into the gym to hear speaker Dr. Homer Rice welcome everyone to the event and briefly discuss some of the issues in health for minorities.
“This is one of the problems that needs to be addressed and people should be aware of,” Rice said.
Dr. Cynthia Harris, co-director of Tallahassee Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition, was also one of the speakers at the event. Harris explained how obesity affects the African American youth, and discusses methods that can be done to reduce the risks of obesity in the younger generation.
“The national average for childhood obesity, ages 10-17, is 0.6 percent. The Florida average for childhood obesity 10-17 is 32.5 percent,” said Harris.
“In order to reduce these percentages children should practice and embrace the 95210 rule which is 9 hours of sleep, 5 portions of fruits and vegetables, 2 hours of screen time (internet and TV), 1 hour of moderate or vigorous exercise, and cut out sugary foods and tobacco.”
Harris also explained that good health begins with the parents and the way they live with their children; if the parents eat healthier and engage in physical activities then the children will be able to follow. Harris added that parents leading a healthy lifestyle and teaching their children to do the same will transform into a cycle that will help the community.
Harris mentioned different meeting that will help people be more engaged into being healthier: health education workshops, being more active, participating in biking teams, and cooing demonstrations that will show people alternative ways to cooing healthier foods.
Miaisha Mitchell, of Greater Frenchtown Revitalization, spoke to the crowd about community gardening and how it contributes to improving the health of the African-American youth.
“Community Gardening provide the children with leadership skills, and help them to understand the values of healthy food and the role that it plays in life. Also, it benefits them economically and physically,” said Miaisha Mitchelle.
After the speaking portion of the event came to an end, the physical part of it began with an intergenerational activity of family line dancing. Zumba dancing and Wii demonstrations were done for both children and adults to interact in. Attendees also had the opportunity to get up and look at the different exhibits that organizations had.
There was also free screening for weight/height and glucose done, as well as free HIV testing.
The event ended with a cooing demonstration, presented by Sadiqa Williams, on how to incorporate healthy snack food in your daily diet.
“Instead of buying fast food or eating sugary snacks, there are ways that you can eat fruits and vegetables that are more healthier for you,” said Sadiqa William, 33, chef consultant.
William also gave out important magazines and pamphlets from New Leaf super market that will help people purchase healthy foods.