WVSOM’s Fit Kids program promotes nutrition, health and fitness | State & Region

The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine’s (WVSOM) Center for Rural and Community Health (CRCH) is working with a group of WVSOM students to host a series of Fit Kids events aimed at promoting nutrition and fitness among area children ages 6 to 11.

The Fit Kids program began with a pilot event in May and continued with a welcome event on Aug. 22. Each session includes games and opportunities for education centered on a particular theme. Masks are required, social distancing is observed and parents must remain with children during the events. WVSOM students and CRCH staff will oversee the activities.

Joyce Martin, CRCH program and outreach coordinator, said students envisioned the Fit Kids program as a way to connect with area young people and ensure they remain physically active.

“Going through a pandemic, our youth were ready for some normalcy in their lives,” Martin said. “In working with medical students to offer this program, we’re educating youth about making healthy choices, encouraging physical activity and promoting socialization while focusing on the osteopathic principles of mind, body and spirit. The program is not only educational, it’s also about building relationships with youth and their families, and most importantly about having fun.”

Matt Parsley, of WVSOM’s Class of 2024, said he and three other students designed Fit Kids to have a positive, long-lasting effect on the communities surrounding the osteopathic medical school.

“We recognized a need for safe activities that focused on the well-being of our community’s youth,” Parsley said. “Programs like Fit Kids help provide the universal benefits that education about nutrition, stress and physical activity can bring. Preventive interventions allow us to give kids stimulating, fun, age-appropriate activities that double as a sturdy foundation for healthy choices across their lifespan.”

All events begin at 9 a.m. Those who would like to register or learn more may email Brooke Seamans at [email protected].

If changes to the program occur as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, they will be noted on WVSOM’s social media channels.

Upcoming Fit Kids dates::

· Sept. 18: “Gardens and Growing,” at the Clingman Center for Community Engagement in Lewisburg, will allow children to see hands-on gardening activities and learn age-appropriate information about nutrition.

· Oct. 2: “Wild and Wonderful,” at the Greenbrier River Trail in Caldwell, will involve a nature walk, including information about outdoor physical activity and foraging.

· Oct. 16: “It’s Spooky Season,” at the Marvel Center in Rupert, will incorporate Halloween themes into health education.

· Oct. 30: “The Great Pumpkin,” at the Clingman Center for Community Engagement, also will incorporate Halloween themes.

· Nov. 6: “Let’s Be Yogis,” at the Clingman Center for Community Engagement, will teach attendees about the effects of stress on health and explain physical practices that can help.

· Nov. 20: “Turkey Trot Time,” at the Clingman Center for Community Engagement, will focus on cardiovascular fitness.