The following item appeared in Jane Charmelo’s “Out and About” column in the Lombardian on Jan. 14, 2021.

Since 2009, Jay Wojcik has remained a steadfast and committed supporter of combating childhood obesity; and has found a way to work around the current social distancing and isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With help from her Healthy Lombard board, Wojcik has come up with the Frosted Apple Fitness Program to keep children moving and engaged, in part because of pandemic, but also during the winter months when playing outside is not always an option.

Wojcik explained that when the board met recently, board members talked about ways to help kids stay active in light of the weather and coronavirus obstacles, noting that last year, they came up with their own take on the “I Spy with My Little Eye” game to keep children moving and engaged during the winter months.

“We’ve tried different things” over the years, she continued, adding that one of her board members, Angela Mullins, commented, “Why don’t you build on what you do for the summer?”

The summer program is called Flat Apple, in which kids record the number of minutes they participate in activities, and then are entered into a drawing for a prize.

Mullins came up with the name Frosted Apple, which she said was “a way to spin off” on the Flat Apple fitness initiative.

Just as with the summer program, it is designed “to make sure kids stay active,” she added.

Wojcik and Mullins described that the program, which begins Jan. 17 and runs through March 28, is for children ages 6-14, and encourages them to engage in physical activities—inside the home or outside with social distancing in mind—and keep an online log of those activities to earn prizes.

Mullins related the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that children ages 6-17 participate in a physical activity for 60 minutes a day, and she believes this is a good guide for Frosted Apple, which by the time it ends, will be “long enough to create a habit.”

Wojcik gave as examples doing jumping jacks, practicing yoga, bringing in the groceries, taking out the garbage and going for walks (weather permitting) as just a few ways of engaging in a physical activity.

Frosted Apple activities are meant to “fit a family’s lifestyle,” she emphasized, so even children who live in an apartment can find a way to stay active, such as walking up and down stairs or in the hallway.

And, when the parents participate as well, they are “setting a good example,” Wojcik added. “You’re the role model.”

The Healthy Lombard website will be offering a variety of activity ideas, as well as separate nutrition challenges, cooking videos and recipes, Mullins said, and she is hoping to introduce some familiar faces with local physical education teachers “outlining and demonstrating activities children can do at home.”

She added that she hopes to have at least 10 such activity videos available during the course of the program, and weekly emails to parents will also offer ideas and links to resources.

“Parents don’t have time to sit there and sift through resources,” Mullins pointed out. Unlike a ticket drawing for a prize with Flat Apple, Mullins outlined that Frosted Apple is like an “arcade model,” with prizes for varying levels of participation.

Frosted Apple will award prizes in several increments, starting with a minimum of 600 minutes throughout the program to 4,200 minutes. Each minute of activity equals one point, and activity tracking will be completed online. Prize winners will be notified in April.

A partial list of prize donors for Frosted Apple, as of press time, includes Orangetheory Fitness, Helen Plum Library, local park districts in Lombard and Glen Ellyn, Goldfish Swim School, UFC Yorktown, Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo and School of Rock.

With so many businesses participating in the initiative, this is “an opportunity to be a big community effort,” Mullins believes.

With kids sitting in front of a computer screen for remote school learning, and in the midst of the cold weather, “We have to change our way of thinking about things” when it comes to keeping kids moving, she continued.

Mullins said that as of press time, over 20 kids have signed up, and Wojcik hopes “they’ll tell their friends” to help get the word out.

“I’m really pleased” at how the Frosted Apple Fitness Program will provide resources for staying active and healthy during the pandemic, Wojcik commented. “I have high hopes.”

And, a program like Frosted Apple “gets the kids through the worst part of the winter,” Mullins summed up.

Registration is now open and parents can also register their child(ren) after the program begins.

Visit healthylombard.com/frosted apple to register, and for more information about Healthy Lombard, visit healthylombard.com.

 

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