Super Kids get active in C-K

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Keith Hopkins of the Salvation Army, left, and Mayor Randy Hope prepare to race a cluster of kids on bouncy horses as part of the launch of Super Kids CK Tuesday in Kingston Park.
Keith Hopkins of the Salvation Army, left, and Mayor Randy Hope prepare to race a cluster of kids on bouncy horses as part of the launch of Super Kids CK Tuesday in Kingston Park.

Dozens of children morphed into Super Kids on Tuesday afternoon in Kingston Park, as the municipality launched its Super Kids CK program.

The program, part of the provincial Health Community Challenge (HCC), is a three-year plan designed to get our children up and moving.

The concept is if you educate the kids about the need for being more active, eating better and getting the proper amount of sleep, the adults will follow.

Chatham Mazda from Chatham Voice on Vimeo.

Chatham-Kent is one of 45 communities in Ontario to receive provincial funding as part of the HCC. The municipality is to get $825,000 over three years to fuel the project.

April Rietdyk, general manager of health and family services, said the funding will be used to educate children on the importance of eating healthy, being more physically active, and getting a good night’s sleep.

“We have to impress upon the kids and superhero adults the need to be active,” she said. “This is the first generation of kids whose parents have a chance to outlive their kids.”

Rietdyk said the need is to get kids away from electronics and back playing with one another physically.

“Children who spend all their free time in front of a TV, a computer screen or with their phone are at a disadvantage. Spending that amount of time sitting is not healthy,” she said.

Increasing physical activity with the family is not a huge hurdle.

“It can just be taking a hula hoop and some balls for the kids to have a great time,” Rietdyk said.

Mayor Randy Hope embraces the Super Kids CK program. He believes in the need for a healthier community, and sees educating and empowering the children as being a key way to create change.

“If we bring this mentality home with the kids, they will educate their parents and maybe they will get more active with their kids,” he said. “Just go out and do a little physical activity each day.”

Hope said overall improved health translates to less stress on the health-care system. Chatham-Kent Essex MPP Rick Nicholls agreed.

“The biggest cost to the provincial government is health and long-term care,” he said.

Nicholls also sees the impact going beyond the kids targeted in the program.

“From newborns to age 12 and beyond, children can educate parents on activity, eating and proper rest,” he said. “Hopefully it will rub off. It takes a while to cultivate new habits.”

Rietdyk said getting kids-related organizations to sit down and work out a plan for Super Kids CK was quite easy, and the groups deserve a pat on the back.

“Everybody came together for the benefit of the kids. All these agencies became superheroes,” she said.

While Super Kids CK launched Tuesday, regular healthy activity events and education will not roll out until the fall.

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