The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company hosted a “Healthy Kids Summit” at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, R.I. with help from community experts, including PawSox infielder Tony Thomas, the Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket, Dr. Marjorie Nasin, Director of Clinical Pediatrics & Pediatric Education at Memorial Hospital of R.I. and the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.
The fun-packed free event, which drew more than 300 local residents and customers, inspired and educated parents, caregivers and children about the issue of childhood obesity and how the community can come together to ensure kids lead healthy lives through staying fit, healthy eating habits and balanced lifestyles.
“As a grocery chain with close ties to New England, Stop & Shop is committed to fighting childhood obesity by encouraging small, simple changes in fitness and eating habits that make a big impact,” says Julie Menounos, nutritionist for Stop & Shop New England Division. “Today’s Healthy Kids Summit provided relevant information on nutrition; exercise and balanced lifestyles that will help families make better decisions. We’re thankful for our dedicated panelists and partners that help make these fun, inspirational and educational summits a possibility.”
The Healthy Kids Summit, emceed by WJAR’s Alison Bologna, included a panel discussion led by community leaders and experts discussing their advice and perspectives on how the community can come together to keep kids healthy. The panel included:
- Tony Thomas, Pawtucket Red Sox Infielder
- Dr. Marjorie Nasin, Director of Clinical Pediatrics & Pediatric Education at Memorial Hospital of RI
- Nicollette Russell, Teen Member, Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket
- Andrew Schiff, CEO of the RI Community Food Bank
- Julie Menounos, MS, RD, LD-N, in-store nutritionist at the Stop & Shop Chelmsford, Mass. store, who moderated the panel
As part of the discussion, children and families participated in a short trivia game which challenged audience members to test their listening skills and showcase their brainpower on the importance of nutrition, exercise and a balanced lifestyle. The trivia was followed by a tour of the field, a high-energy obstacle course challenge, run by the Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket and Citizens Bank, a Healthy Kids Summit partner, provided tips and information on “healthy” finances. The event also featured a mini health fair and light refreshments.
“The Pawtucket Red Sox are thrilled to host the Healthy Kids Summit at McCoy Stadium with our friends from Stop & Shop,” says Lou Schwechheimer, vice president & general manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox. “It is vital to the development and well-being of young kids of all ages to create a foundation of exercise and healthy eating habits. It is our goal to assist in building this foundation.”
Recent studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have exposed concerning statistics around childhood obesity: Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years, and the prevalence among children ages 6 to 11 years has increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% today. In the state of Rhode Island, less than half (42 %) of youths in grades K-7 are meeting current physical activity recommendations, according to the state’s Department of Health. Through its Healthy Kids Summits, Stop & Shop aims to inspire children and families to eat healthy and increase physical activity levels while having fun in the process.
“At the Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket, we believe in the importance of nurturing kids’ well-being through developing healthy habits at a young age,” says James R. Hoyt, Jr., CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket. “Towards that end, Stop & Shop has been an incredible partner and we are pleased to be working with them on this event; it is a great opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise with the community at large.”