Girls seeking to develop healthy eating and exercise habits this summer are encouraged to join the In the Healthy Chicas Program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. The program is aimed at helping young Hispanic girls improve their overall health and create better nutrition and exercise habits.
Led by the Food and Nutrition Department at Nicklaus Children’s in conjunction with the Department of Adolescent Medicine, the four- to five-week program is designed to introduce young Latina girls and their mothers or guardians to healthy eating and physical activity practices.
Stephanie Quirantes, Community Dietitian at Nicklaus Children’s, said Healthy Chicas is a great way to provide information in a way that is easy to understand and can be quickly put into practice. “The idea is to get the girls motivated to eat nutritious foods and exercise and remind them that getting fit can be fun.”
The program, offered at several South Florida community locations, consists of hour-long, interactive sessions with registered dietitians, occupational therapists and physical therapists. During the first hour, the girls participate in physical activities with fitness experts, including salsa dancing and boot camp exercises. During the second hour, the girls receive nutritional instruction through hands-on activities such as meal preparation and grocery shopping.
The girls' mothers (or a family member) are asked to take part in the program to ensure they play a key role in incorporating the healthy habits in all aspects of life, especially at home.
“Many of our former participants have returned to tell us that they now feel more confident after participating in the program. That’s what it’s all about, making a positive difference in the lives of these young women,” said Quirantes.
The Healthy Chicas program is offered at no charge and open young Hispanic girls between the ages of 12-18 who have been diagnosed or at risk of becoming obese. Programs are currently open for enrollment at the Nicklaus Children’s Outpatient Centers in Doral, Miami Lakes and West Kendall. For more information, please call 305-278-5963 or visit www.nicklauschildren’s.org/healthychicas.