New JCC wellness program starts with tots, families

In an effort to combat the national obesity epidemic that also afflicts children and families locally, the Tucson Jewish Community Center is implementing Discover: CATCH® Early Childhood — a new wellness initiative. The program has already been instituted in 19 JCCs across the country. Starting this month, children enrolled in the JCC’s early childhood education program will be taught the importance of good nutrition and exercise.

“We start with the youngest citizens of our community and seek to create good habits, rather than try and change bad habits,” says Amy DeWitt, co-director of early childhood education. “The curriculum is designed to be fun; children are exposed to healthy habits through a variety of music, stories and activities.”

Teachers at the JCC participated in a two-day training course last month to learn ways to incorporate health education, physical activity and healthy eating choices into their curriculum. Training also addressed how to reach beyond the classroom and identify opportunities to collaborate with families.