The Nutrition and Fitness for Life Program (N.F.L.) is changing the way families make healthy life choices. The program focuses on teaching children and their families how to make healthy choices with food and exercise.

Beth Olenchek, an N.F.L. health educator, says the program was created to get kids on the path to a healthy life, "as opposed to treating all the illness that happens if they don't."

Families who join N.F.L. learn to work together as a team, find fun ways to exercise, prepare meals at home and reduce time spent watching TV and playing video games. Within the program, parents share ideas with each other, and kids who struggle with weight issues learn they are not alone.

The N.F.L provides families with tools to evaluate their eating habits, like this "Tummy Hunger Scale".  

N.F.L. is open to anyone, attendance as a family is encouraged. Allison Broadgate participated in the program along with her husband, mother, and 3 children. Her family adopted several strategies they learned about in the class:

  • "Back to Nature," informs the family regarding how to make healthy choices by eating foods that are close to their natural state, rather than processed foods. For example, an apple vs. a fast food apple pie.
  • “Hunger Cues” help the family to distinguish between actually being hungry, mouth hunger or just being bored.

Allison's family even developed their own game around trying new vegetables to keep the children interested and motivated as a result of the program.

Emphasizing these healthy habits in young children is more important than ever as we face more processed food, a less active culture, and more weight-related diseases.

The The Nutrition and Fitness for Life (N.F.L.) Program is offered at no cost to ramillies and is organized into 5 sessions. Once a week for five weeks. At least one parent is required to attend with children. Classes are offered year-round at the Virginia Mason University Village, Issaquah and Federal Way Medical Centers.

The story was sponsored by Virginia Mason.