BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A quick glance into the Knock Knock Children Museum and you’ll see kids learning what it means to shop for groceries and potentially pick up a few healthy items to make it a part of their make-believe meal. There’s a grocery store and dance studio that keeps kids moving in the children’s museum. It’s teaching kids being fit can be fun.
Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome says one of the challenges in Baton Rouge is tackling obesity among young people. She says the key is “infusing that into fabric of their lives.”
“If we start early helping them understand fitness and healthy living and healthy lifestyle, I believe that we are infusing that into the fabric of their lives," Broome said.
“What we’re bringing to the table is a new element of body appreciation and body image,” said Tiffany Stewart, director of the Behavior Technology Laboratory at Pennington. “The workshops actually have a parent and teacher component, so adults will be able to leave about this new perspective.”
Craig Davis, a parent of two little boys, said, “Anything that gives them options to move, use their imagination, and combine those two things, I always think it’s a good thing to do.” Once a month, starting Saturday, the museum with have a health themed class that caters to showing children and adults the importance of reaching for that healthy snack.
A different expert from the health field will collaborate with the program each month. The first health-themed class was led by Ochsner Eat Fit Baton Rouge. The group taught families about the importance of introducing children to a variety of textures.
“Part of healthy eating is having food variety and if kids are limited to just certain foods, then we’re missing out on those key nutrients that can help with brain development, prevention of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and all of those chronic health conditions,” explained Vanessa Richard, a dietitian with Ochsner Eat Fit Baton Rouge.
Lucy Perera, director of learning innovation at the children’s museum, says families can drop in on the classes without signing up.
“It’s a place where you have to come with your grownup,” Perera said. “You’re teaching families together... these programs, it’s about giving sometimes parents the skills on how to continue these activities when you’re back at home.”
The mayor says this new initiative is about families. “Finding that right path for them to integrate a healthy lifestyle and healthy living into the fabric of their family," Broome said.
Just in case you don’t make it out to the program each month, families can test out the rock wall and arm pedals in the Ship Shape Learning Zone, where your heart rate will surely elevate.
The health-themed classes will be offered the first Saturday of the month from 12 to 2 p.m.