North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Committing to a healthy lifestyle

 


February is American Heart Month, and a great time for our local community members to commit to living healthy lifestyles that involve lots of physical activity and eating right.

Heart disease is a leading cause of death for men and women. According to the most recent Community Report Card, 27 percent of Snohomish County adults and 11 percent of Snohomish County children are obese, putting them at a greater risk for heart disease. Among our youth, only 23 percent are meeting the recommendations for physical activity, and only about a quarter of adults and youth consume the recommended amount of fruits or vegetables a day. The news is daunting, but by being proactive community members and community organizations, we can start to reverse these local trends. Here is how the City of Marysville, Tulalip Tribes and Marysville School District are working to shift our trajectory.

City of Marysville

Public classes and activities: When it comes to mind and body wellness, Marysville Parks, Culture and Recreation has something for you whether you’re a beginner or a pro. The city offers sports, fitness and dance classes for youth and adults. There are many other activities, too, including Geocaching for Beginners on March 11, a “Real Adventures in the North Cascades” presentation on March 28, and an Essential Oils/Essential Wellness class on March 30. Get details and sign up today atwww.marysvillewa.gov or call 360-363-8400.

Healthy Communities Challenge Day: Mark your calendar for Saturday, June 3, and get started on healthier living. Now in its ninth year, Challenge Day brings an array of free family activities and events including fitness information and demonstrations, kids’ arts and crafts, giveaways, healthy food vendors and more. The city presents this popular event with multiple community partners and supporting sponsors. It’s a great, healthy way for families to kick off the summer season. Join us from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., June 3, at Allen Creek Elementary School, 6506 60th Dr. NE.

 WSU Extension Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden: The one-acre demonstration garden at Jennings Park includes a mix of garden beds and practices for ideas you can use in your own home garden. Come see what’s new in the Vegetable Gardens. From May through September, volunteers are available to answer questions, explain techniques and help solve your home garden problems. Learn more at http://extension.wsu.edu/snohomish/garden/master-gardener-program/demonstration-gardens.

Marysville School District

With childhood obesity a challenge in our community, the Marysville School District Physical Education Department is committed to the fitness and health of our students. Staff members meet weekly to develop strategies to help improve the health of our students and help combat barriers to students living healthy lifestyles. Developing student fitness at the elementary level involves the Five Components of Fitness: cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. Instructors help students set goals based on their pre-test measurements and work to improve them throughout the year.

Thanks in part to the voter-approved technology levy, elementary P.E. instructors have access to an online software called Welnet (www.focusedfitness.org). Through Welnet, instructors collect and track student fitness data and provide parents of fourth- and fifth-grade students with fitness reports. These reports help parents be active partners in their child’s progress and help them achieve their fitness goals.

Tracking and monitoring fitness levels is also helping at-risk students. Reports created in Welnet and shared with parents provide health details to help qualify students for free nutrition, activity and self-improvement support. One of those opportunities comes from our local YMCA’s “Actively Changing Together (ACT) Program”. Learn more at http://www.ymca-snoco.org.

At the high school level, disease prevention education is everything. High school P.E. instructors’ number one goal is to teach students how exercise and nutrition increase their chances of living a healthy, high-quality life. Staff has made it a mission to educate students on reading labels and knowing how many grams of sugar the average male and female should intake daily. They also focus on sodium intake and the importance of hydrating with water. Chromebooks and district Wi-Fi are also tools helping high school students connect to their health like never before. Students are using their Chromebooks and free phone apps to set monthly goals related to their cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility.

As parents and as a community, we can be help combat youth obesity and prevent the rise of heart disease. Talk to your child about their health and inquire about the tools and opportunities available for students who need help. Encourage kids in your life to get more active, and advocate for more physical education opportunities in and outside of the school system.

Tulalip Tribes

We raise our hands to those who are making heart health a priority. The journey begins with a prevention plan that includes healthy food choices and exercise, but as the latest prevention studies suggest, lasting change requires us to also address the stress in our daily lives.

One way to de-stress is to engage in pursuits that bring about relaxation and the sense of accomplishment. Our ventures into community gardening at Tulalip support this claim.

Our first tribal garden opened at the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve in 2013. Since then, we have also added another at the Tulalip Health Clinic where gardening is an important part of our diabetes care and prevention program. The WSU Master Gardeners Program has been an important ally and partner in building a sustainable program.

Working together to plant, weed, and finally harvest lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and kale has been a healing endeavor. Last autumn our youth helped to plant winter vegetables and have since seen their handiwork at various community events. We invite the public to see our garden at the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve in the coming months. Please call 360-716-2600 or visit our website for more information at http://www.hibulbculturalcenter.org.

 

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