More than 90 community leaders gathered at the Stillwater Historic Courthouse earlier this week support Lakeview Health’s launch of its new PowerUp community initiative to encourage families and children in the St. Croix Valley to eat better and become active.
PowerUp hopes to help inspire community change, make it easier for children and their families to eat well, be active and stay healthy. Lakeview made a long-term commitment to this initiative after considering the staggering statistic that the children of today will likely live shorter and less healthy lives than we do as adults today.
“We recognize that change is needed, and that is what PowerUp is all about,” said Jeff Robertson, CEO of Lakeview Health. HealthPartners is a strong supporter in this joint effort. Mary Brainerd, HealthPartners’ President and CEO, affirmed the importance of this partnership and the opportunity for Lakeview to “lead the way” on this important issue.
Why PowerUp? Big changes in calorie intake, activity levels, screen time, and sugar consumption over the last 20 to 30 years have resulted in a rapid rise in chronic disease and obesity in children and adults.
“Today, the numbers of youth with Type II diabetes is growing rapidly, and is directly related to lifestyle and weight,” said Dr. Brian Cress with Stillwater Medical Group.
“Making simple changes like less screen time, more fruits and vegetables, family meals, more activity throughout the day and skipping sweetened beverages can make a big impact on kids,” he said.
Nico Pronk, PhD, nationally known health researcher, adds that “making even small changes in lifestyles has a huge payoff in individual lives and health care costs.”
PowerUp has been more than a year in planning by a Health and Wellness Advisory committee with representatives from area businesses, schools, health care, food service and more. The PowerUp team has already reached out to hundreds of children and families at local community events and fairs and provided free vegetables and recipes at Stillwater Medical Group clinic locations.
The continued focus will be on reaching preschool and elementary age children and their families through community and school-based programs, including the PowerUp School Challenge for elementary schools beginning in the fall.
Clinics will receive new resources to help support lifestyle change for families they serve. Partnerships with grocers, schools, preschools, childcare, restaurants, parks and local business are being formed. All are welcome to participate.
“PowerUp is an opportunity for the entire community be involved in taking making better eating and active living easy, fun and popular, throughout the Valley,” said Marna Canterbury, MS, RD, Lakeview’s director of community health and wellness.
The community is encouraged to join the PowerUp movement by attending the second kick-off event at Somerset High School from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday. To RSVP to the event and learn more about the movement, or to get recipes and resources, visit www.powerup4kids.org .