Fit Kids Day is a non-profit campaign started by Miami area students, created for kids by kids with the aid and assistance of the Pinecrest Parks and Recreation Department, to focus awareness on childhood obesity and to help encourage healthy lifestyles among a youth population that has exhibited rising rates of health issues associated with poor diet and lack of exercise. Fit Kids Day events will be taking place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at Evelyn Greer Park, 8200 SW 124 St. in Pinecrest, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 24, 2014, at Village Green in Key Biscayne.
At both events, children of all ages can participate in a variety of fun activities and sports such as karate, soccer, baseball and basketball. Entertaining dance performances and other fitness demonstrations, like Zumba, will also be presented for those attending. Healthy food treats and samples from sponsors will be available for kids to try with the goal of introducing them to alternatives to junk food. The planners of the Pinecrest event report that the schedule for this year’s Fit Kids Day includes tennis drills, soccer training, martial arts, baseball games, lacrosse demonstrations, Zumba and relaxation techniques. Nutritionists will be available with information about healthy eating and giving cooking demonstrations.
Fit Kids Day was created in 2012, when then Carrollton School sixth grader Sofia Victoria de la Peña was dissatisfied with existing children's health programs and alarmed by the growing rates of juvenile diabetes and childhood obesity. As a result, she sought to create a special day full of outdoor activities kids could participate in, in the hopes that they would take home the message that exercise is fun.
"Many kids think of exercising as a chore. It shouldn’t be - exercise should be fun. Whether it’s finding your passion in a sport, or simply biking, kids should be outdoors enjoying the weather and parks that we're fortunate to have," says Sofia.
In its first year, more than 500 kids attended the event at Evelyn Greer Park in Pinecrest. After that successful beginning the event has expanded to Key Biscayne and other cities in Florida in its third year. Fit Kids Day, a nonprofit organization, enables kids to act in the role of "ambassadors" who reach out to businesses to help sponsor recreational activities and provide healthy snacks. Fit Kids Day adds to the growing national effort to reverse the trend of declining youth fitness, an effort that has been highlighted by First Lady Michelle Obama with the "Let's Move" campaign.