In northwest Connecticut, the Fit Together NWCT public health initiative is working to build the healthiest kids, families, and communities by helping to identify policy changes and environmental improvements in the cities of Torrington and Winsted that will help make the healthy choice the easy choice.
Recently, Fit Together announced its first GOLD Partner recognitions honoring 10 sites in Torrington and Winsted for their positive impact on children’s health. Seven recipients are child care centers who are proactively implementing evidence-based strategies to increase daily healthy habits. These include Brooker Memorial, ED Advance Head Start Programs in Torrington at St. John’s Place, Torrington East School, and Winsted Batcheller School, at Hill Top Christian Nursery School, Torrington YMCA Childcare, and Winsted Area Childcare. The final three honorees were health care practices who are initiating conversations to reinforce the importance of healthy habits including Litchfield County Pediatrics, Litchfield Hills Pediatrics, and the pediatric practice of Drs. Michael Curi and Dr. Jessica Magda.
These gold level sites were identified because they instill a positive relationship with food and enthusiasm for healthy choices by promoting evidence based strategies such as limiting or eliminating sugary drinks, promoting water as the drink of choice, prohibiting the use of food as a reward, limiting unhealthy choices during snacks and celebrations, and providing opportunities for physical activity outside of recess on a daily basis. They also offer practice specific, obesity prevention program components that include providing consistent 5-2-1-0 messaging in offices, calculating BMI for all patients aged two and older, and using a Healthy Habits Questionnaire to have a respectful conversation about lifestyles with their patients.
“Fit Together is working with 30 sites and to see 10 sites already make it to gold status is truly impressive. All our partners work hard, every day, to help kids make the easy choice the healthy choice. At Fit Together we believe healthy habits make happy kids, and that’s why we’re dedicated to decreasing childhood obesity.” said Fit Together Executive Director Carla Angevine, MS, RDN. “Our dream is that Torrington and Winsted will be recognized as the healthiest communities in Connecticut. Our future is held by our children and our challenge is to give them the best chance to live long, healthy and productive lives.”
Fit Together adopted “5-2-1-0” as a central message for all of its initiatives. Let’s Go!, a childhood obesity prevention initiative in Maine, originally developed the 5-2-1-0 message, which stands for five or more fruits and vegetables a day, two hours or less of recreational screen time a day, one hour or more of physical activity a day, and zero sugary sweetened beverages. Let’s Go! uses a six sector approach to reaching youth and families where they live, learn, work and play to reinforce the importance of healthy eating and physical activity. The six sectors are: early child-hood, schools, after-school, workplace, healthcare, and communities.
Fit Together, a community collaborative, was formed in 2011 with the initial purpose to identify and implement environmental and social improvements in Torrington and Winsted that help make healthy choices for individuals, easy choices. Their mission is to build the healthiest kids, families and communities through sustainable strategies that foster healthy eating and active living.
Visit Fittogethernwct.org for more information on Fit together and the initiative.