ARTICLE

Get children moving for healthy community

By Dr. Peter Wallace

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Get Moving for Healthy Kids is the annual walk/run event with a dual purpose — as its name implies.

Participation promotes Healthy Kids Community Care, our area school-based health clinics. These clinics provide basic health care for children without adequate access to the health care most of us take for granted. More than 1,200 children have been served since the clinics were started five years ago.

And the generous sponsors of Get Moving for Healthy Kids 2012 — scheduled for Aug. 26 — have donated more than $50,000 to the Mercy Hospital’s endowment fund at the Community Foundation of Johnson County this year alone. Proceeds from this fund, with the generous support of United Way of Johnson County, provide the operating budget for our clinics along with many local health care providers who donate their time and services.

The second purpose is to promote activity and exercise for our children. We are all too aware of the increasing problem with overweight and obese children (as well as adults). This event, with a 5,000-meter walk and run, youth mile, and 800-, 400- and 100-meter runs, and other youth activities, stimulates exercise for children and their families.

West and City High school cross-country teams come to encourage participants and serve as role models. Youth participants are given pedometers so they can monitor their activity throughout the year. There are local professionals with display tables offering ideas and suggestions for beginning and sustaining healthy lifestyles. Progressive Rehab will be on-site teaching warm-up exercises.

Join us Aug. 26 at West High as we welcome families, individuals, runners, walkers, young and old. You can download the registration form or register online at Community Foundation of Johnson County (www.community foundationofjohnson

county.org) or at www.unitedwayjc.org right away (to ensure getting a remarkable T-shirt).

The event opens at 7:15 a.m. for walk-in registration and packet pickup with events beginning at 8. Several of our sponsors have provided registration scholarship funds for those needing it. Call the Community Foundation at (319) 337-0483 to request a scholarship.

A long time ago, Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave who became a noted abolitionist, said: “It is easier to build strong children than to mend broken men.” Get Moving for Healthy Kids and Healthy Kids Community Care both address the building of strong children, by different means. You can participate, helping them, yourself and our community.

Dr. Peter Wallace resides in Iowa City. Comments: pdartwallace@gmail.com

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