Baptist Tipton’s Get Fit program, designed to encourage children to adopt healthier eating and exercise habits, recently was chosen as a finalist for a Hospital Charitable Service Award.
“I feel really honored,” said Cyndi Roberts, public relations director at Baptist Tipton and one of the program’s creators. “I was just really proud.”
The award recognizes hospitals with innovative, sustainable and collaborative efforts to improve community health. Organized by Baptist Tipton, Munford Parks and Recreation and Walgreens – Munford, Get Fit’s goal is decreasing obesity in 8 to 13-year-old children. Its inaugural run was 10 weeks long, from July 11-Sept. 12.
Roberts said parents had to attend the program with their children. “It wasn’t just for the children,” she said. “We wanted the parents to work with the child to stay physically fit, and we wanted them to work together for a common goal. They were very committed to that.”
On Thursdays, they met to discuss topics like nutrition through classes led by the local University of Tennessee Extension office. Parents were taught how to eat healthy on a budget and read labels; children made plates that showed them appropriate portion sizes for their ages and learned how to make healthier snacks. On Saturdays, Atoka Fitness instructors taught the children about exercise.
By the end of the program, results showed the children had taken it seriously and made big changes. Some children had lost weight and, overall, the group had lower blood pressure readings and body mass index percentages.
“We really feel like we gave them the tools to continue living a healthy and productive life,” Roberts said. “We’re not trying to say, ‘You can’t have chips!’ What we’re saying is, ‘It’s okay to have chips here
and there, it’s all about portion size and control.’”
The Tipton Get Fit program was one of 178 nominees and 40 finalists for the award. The hospital was the only finalist from this region.
“Baptist Tipton being chosen for this is huge,” Roberts said. “We’ve accomplished something in Tipton County with this program. Usually hospitals from larger areas win things like this, so this is a huge accomplishment for a rural area. We need it just as much, if not more.”
Ten winners will be announced in February 2014 and will share $100,000. The next Tipton Get Fit class will begin in early 2014.
Last year, Baptist Operation Outreach won a Hospital Charitable Services award for its efforts to treat Memphis’ homeless population.