Heart-health Fairs for Kids
Heart disease is the nation’s No. 1 killer, but there are a number of lifestyle changes that can help reduce your risk. At the Florence Wormald Heart & Vascular Institute at St. Elizabeth, we believe healthy habits can — and should — begin in childhood.
Kentucky’s childhood obesity rate is more than 35% above the national average, and we want to change that. As part of our “25 by ‘25” commitment, we’re bringing heart-healthy education to third-grade students with our My Heart Rocks program. The program is designed to help children learn and adopt heart-healthy habits that can last a lifetime.
How My Heart Rocks Works
Heart health educators from the Florence Wormald Heart & Vascular Institute at St. Elizabeth visit elementary schools in Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati to hold a 90-minute interactive heart-health fair for kids. Educators use games, hands-on activities and question-and-answer sessions to teach kids about heart health.
Students break into groups and visit four learning stations that focus on how to protect against heart disease and lead an active, healthy lifestyle. Learning stations include:
- Nonsmokers rock on longer – How smoking affects health and how much smokers spend on their habit.
- Heart rocking anatomy – How the cardiovascular system works and how strokes and heart attacks occur.
- My heart rocks to exercise – Why regular exercise is important and how much you need to maintain cardiovascular health.
- Rocking with food to stay healthy – What the basic food groups are and how to eat a well-balanced, heart-healthy diet.
At each station, kids participate in activities that emphasize healthy behaviors and make learning fun. For example, educators have students do jumping jacks and then breathe through a tiny straw so kids feel what it’s like for someone with lung disease. And, students have an opportunity to see and feel the difference between a healthy pig’s lung and a lung that’s affected by smoking. This helps teach kids not to smoke.
And, children share what they’ve learned with their families. Their enthusiasm can help encourage parents to make heart-healthy changes.