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Do Good: Roosevelt Park Family Fiesta kicks off healthy eating and active living campaign

Thanks to a $333,321 National Community Transformation Grant (CTG) from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Kent County Health Connect (KCHC) and 18 community partners are hosting the Roosevelt Park Family Fiesta on Saturday, June 7 from 1-4 p.m. The kick-off to a countywide health initiative promotes healthy living and better healthcare access, and advocates for smoke-free living. Kent County is one of 61 communities nationwide to receive the grant.

On Saturday, June 7 at Roosevelt Park, Kent County Health Connect and 18 community partners will kick off a healthy eating and active living pilot campaign with a free fiesta. The organizers hope that it will become a sustainable event to support physical activity, healthy eating, and smoke-free/tobacco-free parks and recreational spaces.
“It was a long, cold winter, so we’re encouraging families to get out and enjoy the warmer weather,” says Adam London, Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department. “Children should be getting 60 minutes of physical activity a day for good health. When kids and parents play together, families can be healthier.”

This initiative is no small undertaking. According to the CDC, more than half of American adults have at least one chronic disease. The result: lost productivity, reduced quality of life, and premature death. Chronic diseases in the United States cause seven out of 10 deaths each year. That’s roughly three quarters of the $2.5 trillion spent annually on health care. Another way to put it: Seventy-five cents of every dollar spent on medical costs in this country is being used to treat chronic diseases and associated risk factors. Source.

KCHC’s CTG is now entering its third year. The initiative strives to build community partnerships to shape health policy, promote healthy living, and improve quality of life for those who live, work, and play in Kent County. Nationally, the program is expected to run for five years and improve the health of more than four out of 10 U.S. citizens – about 130 million Americans. The program is funded by the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund.

Locally, “the Roosevelt Park Family Fiesta is just one example of several events, outreach and efforts that the Kent County Health Connect will be promoting in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood,” says Erin Inman, director of Spectrum Health Healthier Communities and head of KCHC. “As part of our commitment to promote healthy living and improve quality of life for those who live, work, and play in Kent County, we are starting that effort in Roosevelt Park, and hope to make it a countywide initiative.”

Inman says that KCHC will collect baseline data and measure the impact of the initiative on the Kent County population. KCHC is also partnering with the YMCA Veggie Van to bring fresh fruit and vegetables to the Roosevelt Park neighborhood, beginning in June and continuing throughout the summer. Organizers chose Roosevelt Park as the location for the Family Fiesta because although there is a high number of children in the area, the park is underutilized. The hope is that events like this one will encourage families in the community to get out and enjoy the space.

The free festivities all happen on Saturday, June 7 from 1-4 p.m. at Roosevelt Park. The entrance to the park is off of Van Raalte Dr. SW in Grand Rapids (map here). Get ready for live music and dance, yoga, Zumba, snacks, bike games, the YMCA Veggie Van, and more.

The Family Fiesta is organized by the following community organizations:
Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association
Roosevelt Park Ministries
Cook Arts Center
Cook Library
Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities
Habitat For Humanity
Hispanic Center of Western Michigan
Roosevelt Park CRC
The Spoke Folks
The Navigators (2862 Clydon Ave. SW)
The Edge
Voluntarios Unidos GR
Plaster Creek Stewards
Wellspring Lutheran SRVS-PAILALEN

KCHC helps make healthy living easier in Kent County by connecting resources and developing initiatives that focus on Healthy Eating & Active Living, Tobacco-Free Living, and Clinical Preventive Services. (http://www.kentcountyhealthconnect.org/) Made possible by the national CTG program from the CDC, this program gives communities the opportunity to develop and implement initiatives to prevent chronic diseases, the leading causes of death and disability.

Get involved:
- Bring your family to the Roosevelt Park Family Fiesta, have fun, and learn how to eat and live healthy
- Encourage your entire family to get active this summer
- Visit the CDC’s website for a variety of health resources
- Follow KCHC on their Facebook page
- Visit KCHC’s website
- Learn about Spectrum Health’s ‘Healthier Communities Programs

Victoria Mullen is the Do Good editor for Rapid Growth Media.

Photos by Adam Bird
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