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Ellen gets energized!

Ellen* is a regular 11-year-old girl who enjoys playing soccer and spending time with her friends. Even though she loved running around having fun, she started to gain weight. When her doctor became concerned, her family joined the local YMCA and even tried a local nutrition class. Still, the family found it challenging to make time to get to the Y. And between their fondness for sodas and supersized portions they found it difficult to turn away from the foods they enjoyed. However, Ellen's weight was still a problem and she began to feel self-conscious about how she looked. Concerned for Ellen's health but unsure what steps to take, the family felt stuck and hoped for a solution. One day they received a life-changing phone call.

Around this time Ellen's doctor had heard about a new project that was given the green light in Cabarrus County where Ellen and her family lived. This project, called the Childhood Obesity Prevention Demonstration Project, would get the whole community working together to help kids eat better and get more activity everywhere they went - from schools to churches to doctor's offices and even in their own homes. Part of the project was a program called WakeMed ENERGIZE! which teaches kids how to live healthy everyday. Ellen's doctor had called the director of ENERGIZE! and recommended she enroll - the family joined as soon as they heard the good news.

Through cooking demonstrations, fitness and nutrition classes that involve the whole family, Ellen is making progress. In just one short month, Ellen's feelings about herself began to change. She's made new friends and gathers them together for racquetball games outside of ENERGIZE! classes. Ellen smiles as she says she has learned a lot - she's learned about playing and cooking and being happy with her weight. Her parents can barely keep up with her increased energy and newfound passion for cooking. Even the family is benefiting from the program - they've cut out soda and drink mostly water. They've scaled down their portions and Ellen has lost four pounds.

Ellen's father is grateful for all the program has done for his family and other families in North Carolina. He reports, "the program is just what we needed."

* Name has been changed

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