By LESLIE COLLINS
October 3, 2012
Missourians’ unhealthy eating habits are on the rise, and Mattie Rhodes is hoping to nip those negative habits from an early age.
Currently, Missouri is ranked as the 13th most obese state and is on track to become the 9th by the year 2030, according to a recent study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health.
“We want to increase awareness about childhood obesity,” said Mattie Rhodes Director of Community Services Susan Garrett.
To promote healthy eating habits and the importance of exercise, Mattie Rhodes is hosting an “A+ Healthy Child Day” event on Thursday, Oct. 11, at Mattie Rhodes, 148 N. Topping. The event will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The free event will center around children and will include a variety of activities, she said.
Mattie Rhodes has partnered with Clown Zapaton, asking him to add a new twist to his act.
“We wanted him to direct his fun and all his games toward healthy eating and physical activity,” said Gerardo Martinez, Mattie Rhodes community services coordinator.
Zapaton’s routine will include educational games, including one where children will be asked to correctly fill up the “Choose My Plate,” which recently replaced the food pyramid.
Area youngsters have also been meeting with Mattie Rhodes’ Zumba instructor and will perform a Zumba routine during the event.
A number of area organizations will set up informational booths and include Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center, Kansas City Public Schools Head Start, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Medicaid, Girl Scouts and the American Heart Association. Each organization has been asked to choose a different color of the rainbow for their booth to represent the variety of colors and nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, Garrett said.
In addition, dental and vision exams for children will take place at the event, and Nick Garcia of the Northeast Sports Alliance will share about upcoming soccer activities and how children can become involved in the organization.
Other highlights will include raffles, music and the Mattie Rhodes’ farmer’s market.
Refreshments will be provided by the Mi Pueblito restaurant in Belton and will include a variety of healthy snack samples.
Martinez said he hopes the event will impact children and increase their awareness of why it’s important to eat healthy and exercise.