Flint, MI—In response to rising child obesity during the COVID-19 pandemic a local organization is looking to provide more access to exercise opportunities and educate families about nutrition. 

Harambee Wellness, a Flint-based organization centered around health, wellness and nutrition, will be hosting its fourth annual Active & Healthy Kids Day. Scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 9, the event will invite families to come and try out yoga, field games, receive cooking and nutrition tips and more. Active and Healthy Kids Day will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. inside the Coolidge Park Gymnasium.

Marquita Adams, owner of Harambee Wellness said she started Active & Healthy Kids Day as a way to educate parents on ways to bring health and fitness into children’s households.

“Sometimes parents don’t really know what to do with their kids in a way that is physically active other than going outside to play. So I wanted to make sure that there was an opportunity to not only exercise but also have a nutrition component this year,” Adams said.

To help with the nutrition aspect, community partners like the Crim Fitness Foundation will be present to provide nutrition demonstrations for parents looking to make healthier meals for their kids. 

In the spirit of educating families on ways they can be healthier at home, Adams explained how many of the activities being taught the day of the event were designed to be easily replicable at home.

“I want to show families how we did it back in the day when we didn’t have access to exercise tools. Something like using an extension cord as a jump rope can make a difference for example. We want to show ways of exercising using things that are easily found at home or can be found at the dollar store,” Adams said.

In addition to this, she mentioned the event will also feature giveaways for exercise tools. 

“It was important to make sure that the type of physical activities we are exposing families to can be easily done at home,” Adams said. 

This year, Active & Healthy Kids Day will also be featuring two new instructors aside from Adams. 

One of these instructors will be two-year-old Cadie Wilson. 

Essence Wilson, Cadie’s mother, said seeing her daughter pick up on her and her husband’s exercise habits made it clear to her that consistent physical activity at home can play a large role in defining a child’s exercise habits. 

“I definitely think good exercise habits can be a result of what kids see in the home. When Cadie was born, I felt it was very important to regain my healthy habits so I started doing basic exercises in the living room like walk and stretching while she was there with me. One day, after seeing me do that for most of her life, she joined in while I was listening to one of my walking tapes,” Essence said.

Pretty soon after learning how to walk, Essence said Cadie started asking for her mom to exercise with her. Not long after that, Cadie started leading lessons at home for her and her mom. She would stand in front of a mirror and watch herself as she exercised while giving instructions to her mom on what was next. 

“It’s extremely important for families to embrace fitness as a whole. It’s best to start kids early if possible so they develop healthy habits so rather than having to actively exercise to fight obesity for example, they can exercise to prevent it,” Wilson said. 

Santiago Ochoa is Flint Beat's Latinx Community reporter. He is always looking to write about anything Flint or Latinx. He especially enjoys investigative reporting and human-interest stories. A communications...