“When we come back (following the week off), we’ll have an opportunity to discuss what kinds of things worked and what we need to continue working on.
“We don’t expect everybody to change their (lifestyle) patterns overnight,” she added. “We hope to see a steady increase in healthy activities and a decrease in unhealthy activities.”
Mandy Snay, a pediatric dietician at the Health Department, will be on hand during the sessions to stress the nutritional component of the program, but improving physical activities will also be a key focus.
Erin Pangdorn of the Town of Plattsburgh Recreation Department will lend her expertise in physical activity to the program.
“In today’s world (of Internet access and video games), there is a lot of disconnect within families,” LaBorde said. “We’ll spend a lot of time on cooperative play time, how families can play together.”
The program will also identify resources throughout the community that will be beneficial to children and their families in achieving healthier lifestyles.
The first session, which starts Jan. 15 at the Imaginarium Museum on Route 9 south of Plattsburgh, will be open to children ages six to nine. Each session lasts about two hours and includes information, snacks and games.
Class size is limited to 12 families per session, and the fee for the entire session is $35.
The Health Department hopes to hold a second session in the spring for children ages 10 and 12 and is looking to hold a third session later in the year.
To qualify for the F.L.A.S.H program, a child has to have a body-mass index above the 85 percentile based on the child’s age or have a weight-related chronic condition.
Children can be referred to the program by a pediatrician, or the family can contact the Health Department directly to determine if eligible.