Date: 5/13/2013

Homework leads to Healthier East Chicago students, families

Healthy Families Night in East Chicago was sponsored by Take 5 for Life staff from Community Hospital Fitness Pointe, Communities in Schools and St. Catherine Hospital.

Healthy Families night closed the school year with a fitness, nutrition and health event for the more than 100 elementary students enrolled in the After School Take 5 for Life program. Take 5 for Life is the exercise-nutrition program that Community Hospital Fitness Pointe® first introduced to Northwest Indiana elementary schools some nine years ago to get them on track for a healthier future.

“Take 5 for Life’s fitness/nutrition curriculum aligns with State of Indiana education standards,” said Debi Pillarella, Med, CPT, education/fitness program manager for Community Hospital Fitness Pointe. “The five components of the Take 5 program are to eat healthy; be active; manage your mind (abstain from drugs, alcohol and tobacco); be well-rested and feel good about yourself.”

This academic year, the ‘After School Take 5 for Life’ program in East Chicago finished with “Healthy Families’ nights. For these events, Take 5 for Life staff from Community Hospital Fitness Pointe partnered with Communities in Schools and St. Catherine Hospital for a ‘grand finale’.

At each of the participating schools — Carrie Gosch Elementary, Lincoln Elementary and Franklin Elementary in East Chicago - parents and students had an opportunity to visit THREE stations, participating in healthful activities. The first station was called Get Healthy Together, where families can perform a ‘physical activity’ — led by their child. The second station was Eat Well Together with parents and students tasting fruits and veggies, and after, receiving an insulated lunch bag full of fruit/veggie snacks. Finally, the last station was called, Be Healthy Together with St. Catherine Hospital staff offering a health screening to families as well as providing more information about the hospital’s upcoming community health events, services and programs.

After completing the three stations, parents and students completed a brief post- program survey (so changes that have been implemented in the homes due to the Take5forLife program could be measured for results). Upon turning in their survey to the event coordinator, the parent(s) received a $30 Strack & VanTil gift card to be used toward the purchase of healthy foods/beverages.

Since implementation, the Take 5 for Life program has reached more than 3,000 students in East Chicago, Hobart, Hammond, Whiting and Lake Ridge. Take 5 for Life has been supported with funding from The Foundations of East Chicago, Inc. Founded in 1997, the Foundations of East Chicago provides monetary support to churches, schools, and other nonprofit organizations with programs designed to benefit the health and well-being of the citizens of East Chicago.

For more information about Take 5 for Life and Community Hospital Fitness Pointe, watch this YouTube video:.