Hundreds of kids, parents, and family members joined the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association to help fight childhood obesity at a brand new event Saturday. The first-ever Walk in the Wild brought nearly 600 people to the Utica Zoo for a one-mile walk and interactive health expo. The event was presented by sponsor AmeriCU Credit Union.
The Walk in the Wild encouraged kids to get active with a one-mile walk through the Utica Zoo, including a treasure hunt. Kids got the chance to learn how animals stay healthy, as well as getting fun tips on protecting their own heart health. To complete the treasure hunt, kids had to perform activities inspired by the animals, including swinging their arms like a monkey or trying to jump as far as a lion can.
Today, about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese. That’s nearly triple the rate in 1963. Among children today, obesity is causing a broad range of health problems that previously weren’t seen until adulthood. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels. There are also psychological effects. Obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image and depression. The good news is, obesity can be prevented through healthy habits like physical activity and good nutrition.
“Childhood obesity is an epidemic facing our country and region today,” says Lori Losowski, Manager, External Relations and Events for AmeriCU Credit Union. “Families attending the Walk in the Wild are treated to a fun-filled afternoon of education and the importance of healthy eating and exercise through interactive booths and activities. AmeriCU Credit Union is proud to work with the American Heart Association and local families to reduce risk factors that our community’s youth face due to inactivity and poor eating habits.”
The Walk in the Wild also featured a costume contest, obstacle course sponsored by Hannaford Supermarkets, interactive vendor fair, and entertainment. The Walk in the Wild is nationally sponsored by SUBWAY®.