Pediatric Healthcare helps kids get active outside the office

A recently developed fitness program, organized by Pediatric Healthcare of Sterling Heights, Mich., is bridging the gap between doctors’ visits and pediatric wellness. The program, which started in just February of this year, holds fitness classes for kids every Wednesday at Joe Dumars’ Fieldhouse in Shelby Township.

The weekly meetings hold activities geared toward kids ages 6-13 and healthy eating tutorials. Programming is typically one hour of group play including tag and relay races as well as the provision of different fruits and vegetables for participants to try. Recipes are also frequently offered for participants to take home and make with their families. Sessions typically host 10 to 15 kids and last one hour.

Pediatric Healthcare, or PHC as it is sometimes known, doctors Sharon McManus and Mark Deprez started the program as a way to connect with patients who have elevated body mass indexes. It has since grown into a way to improve the total wellness of the enrolled kids and engage with families who attend the practice.

PHC medical assistant and fitness program coordinator Kelly Palazzolo said the initiative is meant to “help raise self esteem, boost confidence to try new things, encourage good goal setting and promote a healthy lifestyle.” The playful atmosphere and diversity of  the program also “gives the kids a safe, judgment free environment where they can participate in a variety of physical activities, learn new games that will challenge them, make new friends and have fun all while exercising,” said Palazzolo.

On April 19, some of the kids, along with their families and PHC staff, even participated in a one mile bunny hop fun-run in Washington Township.

“Over the past 3 months I have really enjoyed participating in this program and working with these kids,” said Palazzolo. “It is very rewarding to see such positive changes in them, they have really opened up!”

The office’s spring program wrapped up on Wednesday April 30th, but a fall program is already in the works. Participants must be PHC patients referred by doctors at the practice. Visit Pediatric Healthcare’s website for further details.

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