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.