“CoxHealth’s Kohl’s CARDIAC Kids has been working to fight childhood obesity in the Ozarks by spreading the message of a healthy lifestyle through school-based and community events,” explains Lauren Holland, CARDIAC Kids coordinator. “We’re working closely with children and their families to help them understand the connections between food, activity and overall health.”
The donation was celebrated with a kick-off event on Monday, Nov. 2 at Nixa Espy Elementary School. The event consisted of an assembly where kids learned about heart health, fitness activities and how much sugar is in certain food products.
But CARDIAC Kids offers much more: In additional to assemblies in local schools, the organization also reconnects with families through CARDIAC Kids Family Fun Nights for information on things like exercise and kid-friendly healthy recipes.
Health screenings are also a part of the program, which have determined that 38 percent of local kids are at risk for being overweight or obese, 40 percent have elevated blood pressure and 20 percent have abnormal cholesterol.
There is good news, however: Sixty-nine percent of students with abnormal cholesterol during the 2013-14 school year improved their cholesterol during the 2014-15 school year. “We’re working with these families to help them change their child’s health and future,” says Holland.
The program is made possible by yearly grants from Kohl’s Cares. Since 2011, Kohl’s has donated more than $169,000 to CoxHealth to support the CARDIAC Kids program.