United Way helps families instill healthy habits
by FWD>DFW | December 27, 2018
With three boys ages 12, 5 and 3, Jennifer Sanchez was looking for a way to ensure they grow up strong and healthy. So she enrolled the family in YMCA’s Fit For Health, a United Way-funded program that teaches healthy eating and exercise habits.
“They’re eating way more fruit as a whole,” Sanchez smiled. “Vegetables? Vegetables we need to work on.”
The family is also learning the benefit of reading labels.
“I was surprised to see that one of the whole-grain cereals they brought in has as much sugar as a soda,” Sanchez said. That’s when she realized she should to be paying more attention to the labels on the foods they eat.
YMCA Lifestyle Coach Sandra Hernandez says the goal of the program is to get the families together in the classroom and teach them how they can eat better together, exercise and have fun at the same time.
“We do games,” Hernandez said. “Instead of calling it exercise, we say let’s do the game. So they enjoy games versus exercise.”
According to the Institute for Urban Policy Research at the University of Texas at Dallas, 35 percent of children in Dallas County are obese or overweight. So United Way funds programs like Fit for Health that promote healthy living.
The Sanchez family is just one of hundreds across North Texas taking advantage of programs from United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. With a focus on education, income and health — the building blocks of a thriving community — these programs help them reach their full potential.
“Exercising can be kind of boring when you’re by yourself,” Sanchez says. “I really like the camaraderie — being with other people and doing activities. It was just fun for the health of it. And I enjoy that.”
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