Healthy For Life
Building Healthiest Communities
In striving to build the nation’s healthiest communities, St. Joseph Health (SJH) is committed to promoting health improvement and supporting social initiatives that eliminate health disparities, improve access to care and protect the environment. Investment in wellness is key to solving health problems, such as childhood obesity which has become increasingly prevalent in our nation.
SJH launched the Healthy For Life campaign in 2008 to fight childhood obesity, beginning in Orange County, California. This comprehensive social and health care outreach initiative was designed to fight the childhood obesity epidemic that plagues an estimated nine million American children, with Hispanic and Native American children having the highest rates of childhood obesity than other ethnicities. The campaign focuses on getting kids and their families to develop healthy lifestyle choices by incorporating both physical activity and a responsible diet.
The Healthy for Life campaign’s goal is to provide children, youth, schools and communities with the tools and resources to help them maintain a healthier lifestyle with a multi-tiered approach includes fitness and nutritional and lifestyle components.
As part of the campaign, SJH partnered with American Academy of Pediatrics to launch a school based program, Healthy For Life/PE4Me. More than 1,500 students at nearly 50 Orange County schools participate in this program, which was developed by pediatrician, Dr. Mike Weiss. It's a free, curriculum-based physical education program designed to instill the importance of fitness and nutrition to obtain optimum and long-lasting healthy results. Students enroll in physical activity intensity lessons, strength training sessions and kickboxing classes at the elementary, middle and high school level and learn healthy nutrition education information from SJHS hospital physicians and dieticians. The program helps fund supplemental activities to enhance physical education in schools that lack adequate resources to provide an appropriate curriculum.
Another campaign component focuses on nutrition. Eating habits starts in the family kitchen. SJH commissioned nationally renowned chefs Jaime Martín del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu, owners of the award-winning La Casita Mexicana restaurant, to develop the Healthy For Life Recipe series for children and their families. These healthy, easy, quick and affordable recipes with the nutritional facts were made available for download at healthyforlifeonline.org along with videos featuring the chefs making the dishes. The educational videos highlighted the many benefits of healthy cooking for families and showed how the recipes were quick, easy, tasty and even affordable.
In addition, SJH partnered with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with a back to school program and public service campaign on childhood obesity.
SJH developed useful tools to help parents, schools and communities including an interactive website, www.sjhshealthyforlife.org with an online resource guide featuring campaign toolkits, fact sheets, recipes, healthy lifestyle tips for families, educational videos on fitness and nutrition, family medical timeline, video cooking demonstrations with the Healthy for Life chefs, useful links and much more. In addition, the Web site provides resources on developing healthy environment for schools, communities and businesses.