Press-Republican

Lifestyles

January 1, 2013

Health Department program to focus on family health

PLATTSBURGH — A new program geared toward helping young children and their families practice healthier lifestyles begins in two weeks.

The 11-week program, titled Families Learning About Staying Healthy, or F.L.A.S.H., is hosted by the Clinton County Health Department to replace a longstanding Kid Shape federally supported program that is no longer being funded locally.

“The goal of Kid Shape was to work with families, both parents and child, to promote healthy activities on a daily basis,” said Suzanne LaBorde, a registered nurse for the Health Department. “That is what we will also be doing with the F.L.A.S.H. program, but it has been created locally by Health Department staff.”

Those staff members have collected ideas from a variety of similar concepts across the country, utilizing techniques that work the best and eliminating those that were not as successful, she added.

“We want to concentrate on nutritional information, learning about My Plate, reading labels, and understanding the significance of drinking high-sugar beverages,” she said in summarizing the highlights of the program’s nutritional format.

My Plate is the new U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food grouping recommendations that has replaced the Food Pyramid. The concept uses a plate rather than a pyramid to emphasize the need to fill half of the dinner plate with fruits and vegetables.

The F.L.A.S.H. program will actually consists of eight working sessions over the 11-week- period, allowing participants to have “at home weeks” where parents and children can practice the techniques they have learned.

“We want to give families the tools they need to make healthier lifestyle choices,” LaBorde said. “We’ll come together for five weeks and then take a week off as a practice week for families to work on what they’ve learned at home.

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