According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “More than one billion people worldwide are obese – 650 million adults, 340 million adolescents, and 39 million children. This number is still increasing. WHO estimates that by 2025, approximately 167 million people – adults and children – will become less healthy because they are overweight or obese.” Here in Vermont, we are no stranger to obesity rates, lack of exercise, and access to healthy foods. More than 15% of Vermont’s children age 10 to 17 are obese, according to data from the State of Childhood Obesity, a research project from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). That’s compared to less than 12% two years before. RWJF also states on their website, “Children who have obesity are at greater risk for diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which have a significant impact on health and healthcare costs. Obesity can also increase the risk for severe symptoms of COVID-19, even among children. Additionally, decades of data show that children of color and those growing up furthest from economic opportunity are at greatest risk for obesity.”

These aren’t just numbers; these are warning signs about the future health of our state. If we take into account that obese children can become obese adults with a multitude of poor health concerns, we should all be concerned about the future of our state. Weight might not seem like it’s a risk to all, but it is. Overweight and obese people are often some of the sickest. Just as a sick body can’t function to its optimum capacity, a state filled with sick people also can’t thrive at the level it should. In 2018, in Vermont, there were about 30% of adolescents who are overweight or obese and over 30% of our toddlers (ages 2-4) are overweight or obese. So, what do we do? We act now!

One way we can act towards a healthier tomorrow for our kids today is to welcome them to learn more about their health and wellness in a way that meets kids where they are, with fun and non-intimidating opportunities. This summer The Wellness Center is excited to help plant some seeds of health into our kids, in hopes it might help them grow into healthier adults.

Our first big opportunity for Kids is our 9th Annual Kids Free Wellness Day on Saturday, June 4th , 9:30 am-Noon, at The Wellness Center (1734 Crawford Farm Rd. Newport). It’s our mission to try to break the barriers to health and wellness for our kids by hosting a FREE Kid’s Wellness Day that is all about fun and learning with lots of free stuff! There will be many fun activities with lots of options to try new ones, learn healthy habits and play. Our hope is that while participating in a safe and fun atmosphere we can help kids learn to enjoy all aspects of health and wellness. If kids love tie-dying their own shirts, but then go learn about healthy flossing and brushing with a free cool toothbrush, maybe they will correlate the fun and learning into better daily practices.

We will have a variety of fun and educational activities including tie-dying station, face painting, obstacle course, license plate making, lawn games, healthy handwashing with our fun glow in the dark machine, the smoothie bike with free smoothies, outdoor safety, and tick information, Cabot® cheese, free backpacks, sunscreen, toothbrushes, jump ropes and more! Our Kid’s Wellness Day is all about learning different ways to reach our youth and share in healthy habits that can last a lifetime. The hope of Kids Day is to present healthy lifestyle choices in a universal language every child understands — fun!

Consider this your invitation to bring your kids, nieces and nephews, grandkids, or even your neighbors to a totally FREE and Fun event for kids of all ages. Here at The Wellness Center, we believe that investing in our children is an investment in the wellness of our future. So grab the kids and meet us at The Wellness Center (1734 Crawford Farm Road, Newport VT, 802-334-5566) this Saturday, June 4th from 9:30am-Noon, for a morning surrounded by fun, health, and fitness, at the 9th Annual Kids Free Wellness Day!


Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center