AvMed and Miami-Dade Parks Go The Extra Mile For Kids' Fitness

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According to eMedicineHealth.com, more than one in five children between the ages of 6 and 17 are now considered overweight. The Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department and AvMed Health Plans joined forces to introduce the Morning Mile program to area camps last summer.

“Healthy habits should be learned at an early age,” says Ed Hannum, President and COO of AvMed Health Plans.

According to eMedicineHealth.com, more than one in five children between the ages of 6 and 17 are now considered overweight. The Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department and AvMed Health Plans joined forces to introduce the Morning Mile program to area camps last summer.

Over 1,200 campers logged an average of three miles a week as part of the program. With support from AvMed, Miami-Dade Parks incorporated Fitzness International’s Morning Mile program into its already successful Fit-to-Play, Green-it-Up summer camp program. Campers, ages 6-14, were provided with a physical fitness, nutrition, and overall wellness program.

Campers from 20 Miami-Dade Parks participated in a morning run as part of the Morning Mile Program. Combined, the campers ran 26,079 miles, averaging three miles per week.

“Healthy habits should be learned at an early age,” says Ed Hannum, President and COO of AvMed Health Plans. “With childhood obesity being so high, the Morning Mile is an excellent program. It allows children to harness their energy into running so they started their day fit and ready.” Last year, AvMed teamed up with the Gainesville-based creator of Morning Mile, Fitz Koehler, to provide the program in select elementary schools in Gainesville.

“The Morning Mile program is a perfect fit for our Fit-to-Play, Green-it-Up summer camp program, where we teach children early in life of the importance of keeping fit and leading a healthy lifestyle through nutrition, physical activity and prevention,” said Jack Kardys, Director of Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department. “We want to thank AvMed and the Morning Mile for their support in helping us in our mission to provide excellent health and wellness programming to the children of Miami-Dade County.”

Health and wellness are an integral part of AvMed’s culture of community service. AvMed will be the presenting sponsor of Miami-Dade County’s fourth Great Park Summit April 18-19, when representatives from 34 area municipalities will gather to discuss the important role parks play in creating greener, healthier, more vibrant communities.

“Thanks to the children who participated, to the amazing staff of the Miami-Dade County Parks and to AvMed Health Plans who sponsored the programs down south,” said Koehler, Morning Mile founder. “The adults made aggressive decisions to ensure these children had the opportunity to become more fit and the children literally RAN with it. We’re oozing pride!”

About AvMed Health Plans
AvMed has been providing health care coverage to Florida citizens and businesses for over 40 years, serving large and small employers in most major markets around the state. AvMed provides Medicare Advantage products in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, and Individual coverage in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. For more information about AvMed, visit http://www.avmed.org.

About the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department
Nationally accredited, a three-time winner of the NRPA National Gold Medal Award and winner of the 2009 Florida Governor’s Sterling Award for excellence in management and operations, Miami-Dade Parks is the third largest county park system in the United States, consisting of 263 parks and more than 12,848 acres of land. It is one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the world. For information about Miami-Dade Parks, visit http://www.miamidade.gov/parks.

About the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade
The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization that supports the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department’s effort to further develop Miami-Dade County’s world-class parks system for residents and visitors. Its mission is to create a healthier, more livable and sustainable Miami community by ensuring the implementation of the Parks Open Space Master Plan and the development of year-round park and recreation programs for local children, adults and people with disabilities.

About the Morning Mile Program
Developed by Fitzness International in Gainesville, FL, the Morning Mile program provides participating schools or parks with a program guidebook and everything they need to bring the exercise program to their students. The Morning Mile is now in 77 schools and camps nationwide. To learn more about the program, visit http://www.MorningMile.com.

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Conchita Ruiz-Topinka
AvMed Health Plans
(305) 671-7306
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