UA's College of Public Health encourages youth fitness with wellness camp

UA's College of Public Health encourages youth fitness with wellness camp
(Source: UA College of Public Health)
(Source: UA College of Public Health)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Snack foods sold in schools are getting a nutritional overhaul for the first time in more than 30 years. New federal rules, released today set limits for fat, salt and sugar in school snacks.

This includes treats sold in vending machines. Snacks must be limited to 200 calories, while increasing protein, whole grains and nutrients. It's meant to help curb childhood obesity in the United States. Today's announcement coincides with a program happening now at the University of Arizona designed to help kids make better, healthier choices starting at a young age. This is the first year the UA's College of Public health is hosting the "Healthy 2 B Me" Wellness Camp. It caters to under-served youth from all over the Tucson area.

Thursday's camp was all about health eating but the weeklong camp touches on topics like skin cancer prevention and sun safety, understanding germs, and preventing diseases like diabetes and heart disease through healthy living.

The camp is open to children all across the community and 99 percent of them are here on scholarship. To qualify, parents have to prove their child gets free or reduced price lunch at school and has an interest in healthy living.

"I wanted to come to this camp because I am athletic and I like cooking," Alexis Carreon, a 9-year-old camper said. "I thought it was pretty cool making it {the omelet campers made today}. I never tried it, but it was fun."

"They are young enough but they're also old enough to understand the empowerment of what they can do for themselves and that they are now able to make those kinds of decisions and choices for themselves as well, and teach them to their families about how to be healthy, too," Sabrina Plattner, the camp's director said.

Organizers say parents of some of the children here have their own health concerns, things like Type 2 diabetes, so they want their kids to start learning a healthy lifestyle from a young age.

Healthy 2B Me" offers campers a chance to learn about wellness through nutrition, cooking, physical activities such as, Yoga, Zumba, dance and swimming, according to a release on the UA Public Health Web site.

The camp takes place at the U of A Recreation Center at 1400 E. 6th Street. The cost for the camp is $345 per student with free scholarships available.

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