A Day of Activity and Health in Richmond

A Kaiser Permanente staff checks the blood pressure of a Richmond student. Photo by Gene Hazzard.

More than 200 Richmond residents gathered at the Nevin Community Center Saturday, April 16 to kick off a week-long campaign that encourages children and families to do without television, computers or video games to promote physical activity and better health.
The 5th Annual Screen Free Week Community Resource and Family Fun Day is an annual community event sponsored by Kaiser Permanente in collaboration with local community non-profit groups including Brookside Community Clinic, Opportunity West, Contra Costa Health Services and Weigh of Life. The goals of the event are to increase community awareness of the effect of too much screen time on children’s health.
The event featured blood pressure and glucose screenings, health information and community resources, an “Ask the Doc” booth staffed by a Kaiser Permanente doctor, nurses and volunteers. There was food, exercise activities including Zumba, Capioera, Qigong as well as Kaiser’s Educational Theatre character, children’s activities and variety of entertainment acts.
“There’s a whole health element to this that’s extremely important,” said Cheryl Maier, executive director of Opportunity West.
“You can have a lot of community activists like me talking about the issue of childhood obesity,” she said, “but with Kaiser, the pre-eminent health provider in the community delivering that message, that carries weight.”
Obesity among children in the U.S. is an epidemic. A 2010 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that children 8-18 now spend more than seven and half hours a day to using entertainment media.
During Screen Free Week April 18-22, Richmond families and kids found alternatives to sedentary electronic media: a free water safety training at the YMCA, hiking in the East Bay Regional Parks, a walk around the Bay, and free kick boxing and Afro-Latin dance classes at the Weigh of Life, a non-profit that provides social support for healthy eating and active living.
For more information on Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit programs visit  www.kp.org/eastbay/cb or to sign up for additional volunteer opportunities across Northern California visit www.kpcares.org.