By Amanda Luevano, Downers Grove Patch
Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove is partnering with a local organization to offer free programs for children struggling with unhealthy weight.
The Wheaton-based ProActive Kids (PAK) Foundation announced its partnership with the hospital Tuesday, making Downers Grove its fourth site location in DuPage County.
Together, with Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, the foundation will bring the ProActive Kids programs to the Downers Grove community and surrounding municipalities to fight the growing childhood obesity epidemic.
"We are very excited to be working with Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital as it extends our reach to children and families across DuPage County,” said Nicole Klinkhamer, executive director of ProActive Kids. “Together, we have an opportunity to help educate, train and energize kids and families in the community, and get them comfortable with fitness and nutrition in a safe environment. We also will be introducing participants to a state-of-the-art fitness facility that we hope we will become a part of their daily lives for years to come.”
ProActive Kids will implement their results-oriented program at the Advocate Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center, collaborating on staffing, funding, physician referrals, engagement of the participants, and overall delivery of the comprehensive, three-days-per-week program. Together, the partnership will deliver PAK’s three-tiered childhood obesity intervention program, delivering fitness, nutrition and lifestyle training to children ages 8 to 14 struggling with unhealthy weight, which is classified as 85th percentile and above.
“Childhood obesity is one of the most pressing public health issues we face,” said Laura Taylor, Director of Community Health at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital. “ProActive Kids and leading hospitals in DuPage County and Chicagoland are joining together to fight obesity with a united approach."
ProActive kids are engaged in a variety of PAK PLAN activities on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for eight weeks: PAK Fitness, PAK Nutrition and PAK Lifestyle. Each educational lesson and fitness activity is designed to motivate kids to make healthy choices, while instilling positive behaviors they can use for life.
On Fridays, PAK reinforces the importance of family by inviting members of the child’s family to show support by participating in the three PAK PLAN activities to learn how they, too, can benefit from and make healthier lifestyle changes.
"Together, we can offer this proven program to the families we serve and confront this issue head on," Taylor said. "We look forward to expanding our existing fitness and nutrition programs for kids to offer this unique intervention program for kids who are already struggling while maintaining our many prevention programs.”
ProActive Kids offers a winter, spring and fall program and is currently enrolling kids for its winter sessions, scheduled to begin on Jan. 28 at each of the five locations—Wheaton, Woodridge, West Chicago, Oak Lawn and now Downers Grove. Kids and families are encouraged to enroll in the program at www.proactivekids.org.
A referral from the child’s primary care physician is required.
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