Today, it is estimated that 1 in 5 American children aged 6-19 struggles with obesity, often as a result of malnutrition. This epidemic can have a damaging impact on a child’s life—including a higher risk for chronic diseases such as asthma, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and increased risk of heart disease, and diabetes. Obesity is only one of many issues Optimum Health Solution, a public health grassroots non-profit, addresses within our community.Your donation will go a long way to help us fulfill our mission of preventing obesity, chronic disease and malnutrition, through the Real Kids Real Food (RKRF) program—serving preteens (8 to 12 years of age) and their parents during our 10-week, evening course on healthy living habits.
“It tastes like a rainbow!” exclaimed 9-year-old Carlos. His smile, framed by a green mustache from his freshly-made kale, straw- berry, banana smoothie, broadened in delight. “Think it might be good with spinach too?”Carlos and his family lived in Mystic Public Housing, a low-income housing development with a great after-school program. With limited funds, they relied on cheap, starch-based foods to keep them full, but not energized.“I was always tired so my mom took me to the doctor,” Carlos explained. “When the doctor told us what was wrong, she couldn’t stop crying.” The pediatrician discovered that Carlos was pre-diabetic and at-risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, Carlos and his mom found Real Kids Real Food at the Mystic Learning Center, where for one hour a week, he got the chance to learn how to prepare healthy food and gain a better understanding of good nutrition in a fun, interactive environment. “You should see the things I can make now!” Carlos says proudly. “Linguini with marinara sauce is fun—especially making the noodles out of zucchini.” Because it was so vital to his health and entertaining, Carlos learned to love preparing fresh healthy meals. He went home from Real Kids Real Food each week with nutrition tips and recipes, eager to expand his family’s knowledge of healthy eating. Together they learned how green vegetables could help change his prognosis and where they could procure affordable or free vegetables. Three months later at his next doctor’s appointment, Carlos heard the good news. “All my tests came back clear, and the doctor said I was really healthy!” Carlos beamed. “My mom cried again, but because she was so happy this time.”