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F.I.T. Parents Working to Improve Kids’ Health

Each month a group of diverse parents from Nash and Edgecombe counties meet at the Down East Partnership for Children (DEPC) to brainstorm ways they can make a difference in the health and well being of not only their own children but all young children and their families. The group is called Families Involved Together, or F.I.T. and they are committed to help others make positive changes to health outcomes in the Down East community.

“Parents are a child’s first teacher,” said Sydney Phillips, DEPC Healthy Kids. “They determine how and what children eat, how much play time they get. This team wants to provide information to parents that will help children get the healthiest start possible with the belief that when you know better, you do better.”

In North Carolina, childhood obesity rates are more than 30 percent, with Nash and Edgecombe counties not too far behind at nearly 25 percent. And, according to research, children who are overweight or obese are also more likely to be overweight or obese as adults.

“What’s even more disturbing is that today’s youth may have a shorter life expectancy than their parents because of the high prevalence of obesity,” Phillips said. “That’s a scary thought but we are working hard to change that.”

FIT team member Leslie Perkins is proud of the work the group created and excited to share it with the community. “A lot of people think there’s nothing to do in Rocky Mount, but there is,” said Perkins. “The map shows that there’s so much to do. There are places to go, fun things to do and many ways to get and be involved. It’s time to get to moving, get involved, get FIT & join our Team!”

Perkins also said she wanted the community to know that as a parent there’s a lot to know about being healthy and fit but you just have to be open and willing to learn. “We want the community to become educated with the WIC program, SNAP programs, the ‘Ask 3 questions’ when going to the doctor’s office and even with how to proportion their plates when it’s time to eat. The blue side of the map shows all of the above.”

The FIT team is made possible through the work of Shape NC and DEPC’s Healthy Kids Collaborative. The team also created the content for what is now the back of the new “Places to Play and Grow Map.”  Moving forward, the team will create a distribution plan and actively share the message on the importance of well-child visits and talking to your doctor.

If you live in Nash and Edgecombe, are interested in health and would like to work on issues that are important to parents of young children, the FIT team needs your help. Please contact DEPC if you would like to be a member or would like copies of the new map.