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A New Beginning

Carrie Smith* was worried about her boys. For years the busy Smith family struggled with finding time to eat right and exercise. Carrie herself has struggled with her weight her entire life and did not want her sons to have the same fate - but the boys kept growing bigger. Carrie knew that if something did not change they would be on the path to big health problems in the future. The opportunity for change came one morning when Ms. Smith heard about a new program that was coming to Watauga County.

Ms. Smith works with Healthy Carolinians, an organization whose mission is to improve the health and well being of all North Carolinians. While at work, she heard that the state had allocated some money to the county to fund a program called the Childhood Obesity Prevention Demonstration Project. As part of this project, Healthy Carolinians would be one of many groups all over the community - including schools, hospitals, workplaces and churches - working together to make healthy living possible for everyone. One part of the project included Wake Med ENERGIZE!, a program that teaches children how to live healthy everyday. Ms. Smith knew it was just the change her family needed. After calling a family meeting and talking things over with her sons, the family enrolled.

The change Ms. Smith has seen in the boys has been incredible. Her youngest son has decided to cut down his computer time and asked the family to help set the computer up with a password so mom and dad are the only ones who can sign-in. He says it helps him stick to his plan. The Smith Family has also set up a timer on the computer - when thirty minutes is up, its time to get up and be active. Less computer time is not the only way the Smith family has changed their ways. The family learned to read food labels, eat smaller portions and spend time together as a family getting exercise.

Excited about their progress, the Smith family decided to get other families involved. They decided to donate a Wii game station to their church. They, and other families, are now able to check it out to bring home and play vigorous games such as bowling, tennis, baseball and boxing to spice up their active time.

Because of the ENERGIZE! Program their lives will forever be changed. Carrie Smith has already lost 11 pounds and her sons are seeing results too - their clothes are fitting better and they have made healthy changes to last a lifetime.

* Name has been changed

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