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Campers Learn About Food, Fitness

Teaching "skills that last a lifetime" is the goal of the Healthy 2 B Me Wellness Camp, which brings children to the UA hosted by the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

Courtesy of University Communications

Courtesy of University Communications

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The Healthy 2 B Me Wellness Camp, designed for children ages 7-10 and in grades 2-5, teaches aspects of wellness that include nutrition, cooking and exercise.

The annual camp, sponsored by the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, is conducted at the UA Recreation Center in three one-week sessions. Students from the college work as camp counselors, giving them the real-world experience that is the focus of the UA’s 100% Engagement initiative. Campers engage in yoga, Zumba, dance and swimming, and they hear from experts on sun safety, dental health and hygiene while participating in team-building experiences. They also prepare their own healthful food.

The idea to start a wellness camp for children was a mission for Dr. Iman Hakim, dean of the College of Public Health.

"The camp is designed to teach kids at an early age the importance of proper nutrition and physical activity while having fun at the same time," Hakim said. "My hope is that the children will learn skills that will last a lifetime. Like how to cook and to identify tasty vegetables, and how to keep good oral hygiene.

"Maybe the children will pass along these good habits to their children someday. Instilling healthy lifestyle practices at an early age is one more approach toward fighting childhood obesity."

The University of Arizona