|PHOTO: THE JOAQUIN FAMILY COMPLETED
THE SPRING 2012 PROACTIVE KIDS SESSION.
ProActive Kids (PAK) is a free program that puts 8- to 14-year old DuPage County kids on the path to achieving their goal weight and a healthier lifestyle.
Edward Hospital sponsors the eight-week PAK sessions three times a year at the Edward Health & Fitness Center in Woodridge.
"What's unique about the PAK program is that it involves the whole family," says Cheryl Eck, Edward's Director of e-Health.
Sandra Joaquin of Plainfield and her 13-year-old daughter, Angelica, completed the spring 2012 session at the Woodridge site.
"Angelica was reluctant to join the program at first," says Sandra. "I told her, 'Just try it.' It turned out we loved it. Angelica made friends that she's still in touch with. And on top of that she lost 10 pounds."
The PAK program meets on Mondays and Wednesdays, 4-5:30 p.m., and on Fridays, 4-6 p.m. Parents join their kids for the Friday sessions.
Each week includes three 45-minute fitness sessions focused on increasing strength, flexibility, cardiovascular and muscular endurance, and reducing body fat.
Lifestyle Coaching is the final component of the PAK program. Licensed clinical therapists from Linden Oaks at Edward lead activities that teach valuable coping skills, build participants' confidence and encourage communication.
The family commitment also is key. Parents learn how modeling a healthier lifestyle can help their children sustain what they started at PAK.
Sandra says she has become a better informed grocery shopper. And the family has become more active. Angelica bikes more now, and she and Sandra recently participated in a 5K walk.
"The (PAK) program was life-changing, and I'm so grateful that it was free," says Sandra.
To be eligible for PAK a child needs a physician referral and a BMI-for-age (body mass index) at or above the 85th percentile.
For information or to enroll, call (630) 681-1558 or visit http://www.proactivekids.org.