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"Fit Families Rock" encourages families to get healthy together

By Margo Spann,
Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:15:51 AM CST
Updated On: Aug 26 2013 08:30:40 PM CDT

Researchers speculate that unlike previous generations, today’s generation of young people may not outlive their parents.

Why? Because of questionable – or downright unhealthy – eating habits.

St. Mary’s Janesville Hospital, Dean Clinic, and other groups are hoping to change all of that by teaming up to give families the tools they need to make healthier decisions.

The new initiative is called "Fit Families Rock."

The goal of the program is to help families with overweight children gain the skills they need to collectively lose weight, get fit, and change behaviors.

Behaviors like snack time at the Baumann’s home in Edgerton.

There daughters Haley and Hanna are helping their mom Kalynn prepare apple slices.

Dad Dan admits their family hasn't always had healthy eating habits.

"I've struggled with weight my whole life," said Dan Baumann. "So I'd like them to keep active if they can so they don't have to deal with all the issues."

The Baumanns are one of several families who've signed up for the "Fit Families Rock" program.

Doctors say the obesity problem has reached nearly epidemic proportions.

"It's about 1 in 5 kids that are overweight or obese," reported pediatrician Julie Waraksa. "In the state of Wisconsin, that’s actually closer to 25 or 28 percent."

"We've got the YMCA providing trainers for the kids, we have psychologists coming in to discuss behavior, chefs coming in to talk about different diet plans," continued Waraksa. "Every meeting is a little bit different."

"Fit Families Rock" is designed to help everyone in the family increase their activity, find good nutrition, and get healthier.

"The whole family is involved," said Waraksa. "It's not a punishment for the child or we're taking things away from the child, we're making it a positive plan that we're going to do this as a family."

Kalynn Baumann has already changed her eating habits, and as a result, she’s lost more than 160 pounds.

She said this program will help her continue to improve her families overall health.

"They like to cook with me, they like to add the different ingredients, and they know about what flaxseed is, whole wheat flour, and they’re seven and three," reports mom Kalynn Baumann.

"What better way to reinforce those tools with her and being able to have that resource right here in Rock County was just amazing," continued Kalynn.

Each family in the program also gets a three-month membership to the YMCA. Organizers said once the program wraps up, they'll assess what worked and what didn't and hopefully expand to help more families.

“Fit Families Rock" starts September 23 and runs for 11 weeks. Anyone interested in taking part should call the UW-Extension Office at 608-757-5689.

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