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American Heart Association Launching Healthy Futures Program in Santa Barbara

The American Heart Association’s Healthy Futures Program will launch Friday to empower students and their families to make healthier lifestyle choices.

The first workshop will take place at Adams Elementary School from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m.

In Santa Barbara County, only 51.5 percent of children ages 2 to 11 and 16.9 percent of teens ages 12 to 17 ate the recommended five or more servings of fruit and vegetables daily. And, 64.8 percent of local children ate fast food one or more times per week, and 83.5 percent of teens ate it at least once per week.

The American Heart Association has joined forces with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, A-OK Program, local sponsors including Santa Ynez Chumash Band of Indians, Mentor Worldwide LLC., Montecito Bank & Trust and local schools to reach hundreds of students through the Healthy Futures Program.

The after-school program will consist of four one-hour interactive workshops and one parent session. Students will learn nutrition basics, including: how to read a food label, how to prepare healthy snacks, and how to make healthier choices when eating out.

The students will also be tasked with homework assignments that will engage their families in healthy activities. The parent session is designed to encourage parents to support their children as they make the changes needed to lead healthier lives.The American Heart Association will also provide children with a recycled tote bag to take home fresh vegetables from the Foodbank’s Kid’s Farmers Market Program, which will be part of the course. The award winning Kid’s Farmers Market provides fresh produce and nutrition education to low-income children and encourages active, healthy living.

Healthy Future Workshops

» Adams Elementary — 4:15 to 5:15 p.m., April 5, 12, 19 and 26

» Franklin Elementary— 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., April 5, 12, 19 and 26

» McKinley Elementary — 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., April 5, 12, 19 and 26

» Cleveland Elementary — 4:15 to 5:15 p.m., April 5, 12, 19 and 26

For more information, call 805.963.8862.

— Belinda Gordillo is the director of communications and marketing for the American Heart Association.

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