KCKCC to celebrate Valentine’s Day with fitness challenge

by Kelly Rogge

Kansas City Kansas Community College’s Wellness and Fitness Center will once again be holding the “Have a Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day event.

“I started the ‘Have a Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day’ event a couple of years ago after brain storming about how to encourage the KCKCC employees to celebrate Valentine’s Day with heart healthy activities,” said Pam Hall, wellness specialist at the KCKCC Wellness and Fitness Center.

“The event was a great success with full KCKCC employee participation. We decided to add on by including our students and community members to participate in our ‘Have a Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day’ event.”

“Have a Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day” will be 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, at the Wellness and Fitness Center at the college, 7250 State Ave. There will be two stationary bicycles reserved for the event. One bike will be the Technogym recumbent bicycle designated for KCKCC employees only. A second bicycle, the Technogym upright, will be designated for student and community member use.

People who would like to participate are asked to sign up at the Wellness Center for a pre-determined time slot (30 minutes) to ride for that day. The goal is to complete 15 hours of cardiovascular exercise during the event as well as to encourage KCKCC employees, students and community members to team up in an attempt to ride the most miles and expend the most calories on Valentine’s Day.

Participants are asked to ride for their entire 30-minute time slot and cannot go over into a second 30-minute slot. If they complete the full 30 minutes, they will be entered into a drawing. Four to six prizes will be awarded.

Hall said the purpose of “Have a Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day” is to encourage cardiovascular exercise as a way to promote a healthier way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. She said she would like to see every 30-minute time slot filled.

“This year we will be asking for 60 willing participants to come ride for their heart health for Valentine’s Day,” she said. “We know it is a couple of days early, but we hope you will join us for this positive, fun and healthy event.”

For more information or to register for the “Have a Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day,” call the Wellness and Fitness Center at 913- 288-7610.

Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

KCKCC Campus Childcare Center encourages healthy choices

Staff at the KCKCC Campus Childcare Center spend part of each day with students engaged in active playtime. This includes time outside or inside doing activities such as movement exercises or dancing. (KCKCC photo)
Staff at the KCKCC Campus Childcare Center spend part of each day with students engaged in active playtime. This includes time outside or inside doing activities such as movement exercises or dancing. (KCKCC photo)

by Kelly Rogge
Only months after establishing a new Wellness Policy, the Kansas City Kansas Community College Campus Childcare Center is reaping the benefits.

The new Wellness Policy was adopted in March 2014 and focuses on teaching children how to make healthy choices about food and physical activity as part of their daily lives. In addition, staff models the same healthy eating and physical activity.

“The change was made after an examination of our former menu when we discovered that we were not serving our children the healthiest foods,” said Doris Holleman, director of the KCKCC Campus Childcare Center. “For example, we served chicken nuggets, chicken strips and French fries quite often. Although we did not have a whole lot of foods that were not healthy, we did feel that it is important to serve our children a wider variety of healthy options for breakfast, lunch and snack. Our previous menu had been approved through the Child and Adult Care Food Program, but we felt it important to adhere to the standards set forth by the American Heart Association, which were much higher.”

With funding provided by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fun, the American Heart Association and Nemours, launched Healthy Way to Grow in Fall 2013. The program is geared toward child care centers throughout the United States and aimed toward decreasing childhood obesity among those birth to five-years-old. In addition to direct, hands-on assistance, the Healthy Way to Grow program offers customized training, resources and tools to support healthy lifestyles within child care environments.

Rhonda Erpelding, the KCKCC Campus Child Care consultant from the American Heart Association as well as one of the trustees from the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund visited the center Monday to get an update on the center’s progress with its new Wellness Policy as well as to hear about the successes and future plans.

“The students and staff have adjusted to the changes quite well,” Holleman said. “There was a small adjustment period for the children, however, they have been enjoying the roasted chicken, roasted potatoes and sweet potato fries.”

One of the components of the child care center’s Wellness Policy is physical activity. Preschool children at the center are provided at least 120 minutes of active playtime each day, which includes 60 minutes of teacher- led physical activity and at least 60 minute of active play time. Toddlers are provided between 60 and 90 minutes of active play time every day, and screen time is limited to no more than 10 minutes a week per child. Children younger than two do not have any screen time.
Holleman said no fried or pre-fried meats, such as chicken nuggets or fish sticks, are served. Instead, meats are prepared by grilling, broiling, poaching or roasting. The rest of the menu is full of whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables, some of which are grown in raised planter boxes by the playground. Fresh drinking water is also available throughout the day both outside and in the classrooms.

For parties and celebrations, food includes fruits, vegetables and other healthy snacks. Families are provided a list of approved healthy foods and beverages as well as suggestions for non-food activities.

“The children are excited when they are asked to bring a healthy treat,” Holleman said. “They love to help their parents choose a healthy snack for parties and birthdays. The children and staff are enjoying the increased independence provided by the keeping of water in individual classrooms at a child’s level.”

Holleman said the biggest benefit that she has seen with the changes is the increased consciousness from the staff ensuring that children get their daily dose of active playtime. She said many of the staff as well as some of the children have also reported weight loss and increased health benefits from the healthier menu and increase activity.

“The staff are coming to work more energized, and the children are gaining better learning, better self-regulation and are resting much better at nap times giving their brains and bodies a chance to grow,” she said. “Another benefit I see is the children becoming more comfortable sharing the information they are learning with their parents and asking for the healthier options when they visit the grocery store. The children are beginning to enjoy the cooking projects a lot better and wanting to try them at home. The last benefit I see is a change in the culture of the college as a whole. The upcoming Staff Health and Wellness Day were inspired by the changes that the center has made since implementing the Wellness Policy.”

For more information on the KCKCC Campus Child Care Center’s Wellness Policy, contact Doris Holleman at 913-288-7615 or by email at dholleman@kckcc.edu.

Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Staff at the KCKCC Campus Childcare Center spend part of each day with students engaged in active playtime. This includes time outside or inside doing activities such as movement exercises or dancing. (KCKCC photo)
Staff at the KCKCC Campus Childcare Center spend part of each day with students engaged in active playtime. This includes time outside or inside doing activities such as movement exercises or dancing. (KCKCC photo)

Staff at the KCKCC Campus Childcare Center spend part of each day with students engaged in active playtime. This includes time outside or inside doing activities such as movement exercises or dancing. (KCKCC photo)
Staff at the KCKCC Campus Childcare Center spend part of each day with students engaged in active playtime. This includes time outside or inside doing activities such as movement exercises or dancing. (KCKCC photo)