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Armstrong Kids Get in Step with Good Health
Date:9/24/2007

Community Initiative Combats Obesity with New Curriculum

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Andrew Rea is not your typical 6-year-old. The Armstrong County first grader is a devotee of the new food pyramid and frequently quizzes his parents on their portions of protein, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables. Andrew recently took up swimming and soccer to stay in shape while his 11-year-old sister regularly hops on the treadmill after school.

It wasn't always this way in the Rea household. Jennifer Rea, Andrew's mother, said the family was more sedentary, watched a bit more television, and certainly wasn't thinking about healthy portions.

"I can't say we had awful habits but we just weren't cautious about health," said Rea. "Since the HEALTHY Armstrong program began, we've really started to focus on getting in our five fruit and vegetable servings every day. We've all started walking more and my husband has even lost 60 pounds. There is a new focus in our family."

The Rea family is one of the most visible success stories of the HEALTHY Armstrong program, which stands for Healthy Eating and Active Lifestyles -- Together Helping Youth. The HEALTHY Armstrong program is designed to create a countywide approach to rising numbers of overweight children and their related health risks. Spearheading the effort are program partners Armstrong School District, ACMH Hospital (Armstrong Center for Medicine and Health), ACMH Hospital Foundation, Children's Community Pediatrics-Armstrong, and UPMC Health Plan.

The kickoff of the program will be held at 10 a.m. on Sept. 27 at West Hills Intermediate School near Kittanning. A community wellness walk will be held at 8 a.m. on Sept. 29 on the ACMH Hospital grounds, also near Kittanning. The walking event will feature representatives from the HEALTHY Armstrong project and America On the Move in Pittsburgh, a nonprofit initiative designed to promote active living and healthy eating across the
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SOURCE UPMC Health Plan
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