Start A Healthier Life

January 18th, 2013 by Live Well Omaha Kids

Healthy Families Now Recruiting
by Kay Grant

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeing a healthy family can be a little overwhelming at times – how do you get the kids to eat the healthy snacks? How can you take time for yourself and work your favorite exercise into your busy schedule everyday? How can you put all these things into perspective and not add more pressure and guilt to be the healthiest you can be? All these questions can be quite overwhelming especially when one of your kids is struggling to reach a healthier weight and may even experience bullying at school.

We’re here for families dealing with these issues. And, being a healthy family just got a little easier- the Healthy Families program is here to help. I am proud to say that I am the new Healthy Families Program Coordinator. Although I officially started in November 2012, I’ve had a history with Healthy Families back during my grad school days…. Now you know, Healthy Families has been around!

Our team was very excited to revamp the entire curriculum, and give you some official details about what Healthy Families is all about and how to get involved.

Our instructors are key to this amazing community partnership. They are caring and supportive experts in the fields of behavioral health, physical activity and nutrition, and have been able to facilitate an evidence-based/best practices program that allows families to work together to set achievable goals related to making healthier physical activity and nutrition choices. Adults learn how to help their family become healthier, and kids learn healthy skills that will last a lifetime!

Funded by CHI Health, Healthy Families is staffed by partners, including the Metro YMCA, Hy-Vee, OneWorld Community Health Center, Charles Drew Community Health Center, Lakeside Hospital, and the Council Bluffs YMCA and Hy-Vee. They are registered dieticians who provide nutrition education; behavioral health specialists who help with psycho-social skills related to behavior change such as goal-setting, improving self-efficacy for meal planning and budgeting; and physical activity specialists who provide recommendations, fun games and exercises families can do together. Healthy Families doesn’t focus on “weight”. Instead, “quality of life” and more positive attitudes toward physical activity and nutrition are the heart of education and tools provided to the families.

How do we do this without kids feeling like they’re back in school, and at a time that parents can work with? It’s all about the fun factor. Families meet once a week for eight weeks from approximately 5-7pm (depending on the site). The first 45 minutes are spent playing fun games and being active as a family. These are activities you can do at home too!  A hefty, nutritious and easy to replicate snack such as “10 minute Winter Soup” is then served and families talk with the experts on topics such as recommendations for physical activity and how to overcome your barriers to being more active, how to make a meal budget, and compile some easy and tasty recipes. Families learn skills that help them turn what they “should do” into what they “can do.” Each site is a little different, but the families and instructors all form their own unique support group, which many times continues beyond the eight weeks!

This program is free for families. In addition to education and support, they receive a $50 food card, and a free YMCA membership to use during the eight-week program.  After they graduate, the YMCA can work with the families on a continuing membership price.

Classes start this February at our five sites, conveniently located across the metropolitan Omaha area. Two sites are even facilitated entirely in Spanish! We’d love to have your family join us! To learn where classes are located and how to qualify, click here.

We are also interested in VOLUNTEERS who have some experience in either physical activity, nutrition, education, counseling, or working with health behavior change. If you are a student interested in public and/or community health, a health care professional interested in sharing your expertise with local members of your community, or other concerned and supportive individual who would like additional training in healthy living, we’d love to have you volunteer with us!

If you are interested in being a Healthy Family or volunteering, contact me at 402-517-8767 or We can’t wait to meet you!

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