12345 Fit-Tastic! Children's Mercy Hospital launches regional health initiative

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Children's Mercy Hospital and Clinics is launching a health initiative to encourage the entire Kansas City community.

It's called 12345 Fit-Tastic! It's an effort to reach out to individuals and families that want to take the first steps toward healthier living.

"It doesn't matter where you are in life," said project coordinator Sandy Seitz. "It doesn't matter what your past has been. You can start whenever. This morning, tomorrow, whenever you feel ready."

Through research, the initiative established five healthy habits for people to incorporate into their lives:

1 hour of physical activity a day
2 hours of screen max of screen time
3 servings of low-fat milk or yogurt
4 servings of water
5 servings of fruits and vegetables

"We're asking the Kansas City community to go out there to take that pledge, which means ‘I'm going to do one thing Fit-tastic today,'" said Seitz. "That could be, ‘I had a glass of water, instead of that diet Coke.' That's it. It could mean, ‘I took the stairs instead of the elevator, that's Fit-tastic.'"

Children's Mercy Hospital has already taken steps to support healthier lifestyles within its own walls.

Recently, the hospital joined the Partnership for a Healthier America and made the Hospital Healthy Food Commitment.

"The first step was to eliminate all of our sugar soft drinks," said Bill Barkley, General Manager of Food Service.

Barkley said the hospital had a significant number of staff members who were overweight.  So in an effort to help people in the hospital lead healthier lives, the hospital started dramatically changing its menu. 

Everything is designed to be low-fat.  In the Classics Café Express, there is no fryer.  In fact, the hospital is moving toward removing all fried foods from its menu.

"We're the example for the whole community," Barkley said. "So by taking this step, we encourage the community in general to reduce its weight, to eat healthier and do a better job of preventing disease."

First setting an example through its own food offerings, Children's Mercy Hospital is now reaching out directly to the community through the 12345 Fit-Tastic! initiative.

To learn more about 12345 Fit-Tastic! or to take the pledge to healthier living, visit http://www.12345fit-tastic.org/

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