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"Biggie" Sizing Affecting the Health of our Children

Pediatric cardiologist Michael Schaffer, MD, sees his share of ill children. Most are born with heart conditions like faulty heart valves, abnormal heart rhythms or holes that do not close, but some of the children he sees have developed coronary artery disease because of lifestyle choices.

“Fast food and video games will shorten the lives of our kids,apostrophe says Dr. Schaffer.

In the 33 years since he received his medical degree, he has seen a consistent increase in children with cardiac problems due to lack of exercise and poor diet.

“It’s so sad to see -- kids with clogged arteries, high blood pressure and cholesterol. My fear is that more and more children will present with adult-type heart disease at age eleven – not because they’re born with it, but because of lifestyle choices – and as a consequence will not live a full life,apostrophe says Dr. Schaffer.

That’s why Dr. Schaffer, together with his wife, Lyn, is chairing this year’s First American State Bank Fitness Festival on September 12th in Crescent Park. “The Festival focuses on learning to live healthy by incorporating healthy attitudes, lifestyles and choices into your daily routine. We know that if we teach our kids about health and wellness and model those behaviors on a daily basis that they end up living them as well,apostrophe continues Schaffer.

Most of the risk factors that affect children can be controlled early in life, lowering the risk of heart disease later in life.

To reduce the risk of fatty buildup in arteries, your child should:

  • Eat foods low in cholesterol and fat. Breads, pasta, vegetables and fruit
  • Control portions and have them eat fewer calories.
  • Do not use food as a reward for good behavior or good grades
  • Limit snacking
  • Substitute fruit for candy or pretzels for potato chips
  • Eat meals as a family so it’s easier to know what and how much your child is eating
  • Limit the amount of time your child spends watching TV and playing on the computer
  • Get plenty of exercise and find fun exercise activities you can do as a family

The Fitness Festival is a perfect way for families to get out and get active in a less structured and fun environment. The morning includes the officially timed Kaiser Permanente 5K run/walk, a 1-mile fitness walk, aerobics warm-up, live music, children’s entertainment, a great silent auction and giveaways. The event is billed as the “Best After Party in the Nationapostrophe with 13 restaurants serving fantastic food. The Festival attracts thousands of area residents, students throughout the Cherry Creek School District, their parents and area businesses. This year’s Grand Marshal is Gold Crown Foundation CEO and former Denver Nugget, Bill Hanzlik.

The Festival raises funds for the community asset project, a non-for--profit and partner of the Cherry Creek School District. CAP emphasizes building healthy skills/attributes in kids like exercise and nutrition, which in turn build responsible adults. During the past eight years, the Festival has raised and donated in excess of $500,000 to CAP.

Entry fees are $15 for children 17 and younger and seniors 60+ prior to Race day and $20 on Race day; $27 for adults prior to Race day, and rise to $35 for those registering at the event. A special family 4-pack is available for $75, and includes registrations for two adults and two children. The family 4-pack is $100 on the day of the race. All registrants will receive a 2009 FASB Fitness Festival T-shirt, as well as admittance into the post party featuring free food, live entertainment, a silent auction and giveaways.

For more information about the First American State Bank Fitness Festival or to register, visit http://www.fasbfitnessfestival.com/.