Charleston Town Center Tackles West Virginia’s Childhood Obesity Rate with Custom-Themed Indoor Play Area

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Charleston Town Center and Charleston Area Medical Center recently partnered to offer their community an indoor exercise resource. The new soft playground, which was created by PLAYTIME, is a direct response to West Virginia’s alarming childhood obesity rate.

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Charleston Town Center's new play area inspires healthy play in West Virginia, a state that faces an alarming childhood obesity rate.

Of course, we believe play is important for children but this Play Patch has the potential to change children’s lives.

Hoping to help the Charleston, WV community “embrace a healthier lifestyle for our children,” Forest City’s Charleston Town Center and Charleston Area Medical Center recently partnered to create a custom-themed indoor playground. The new Play Patch was created by PLAYTIME, LLC.

“There is a statewide movement to embrace a healthier lifestyle for our children,” says Lisa McCracken, Marketing Director.

According to McCracken, research shows that West Virginia has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the country. Additionally, Type II diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate among the state’s children.

“Everyone from politicians to parents and businesses are focused on creating a healthier lifestyle in our state for our children,” she says. Therefore, when Charleston Area Medical Center approached the shopping center with an idea for an indoor play area that inspires children to eat healthier and play more, Charleston Town Center jumped at the opportunity.

“Charleston Area Medical Center not only stepped up to sponsor the play area, but they designed it for us!” explains McCracken. “They designed it to look like a garden that grows fresh fruits and vegetables and we call it the ‘Play Patch.’”

There is a Twister game illustrated on the carpeting with a spinner embedded in the nearby wall, fruits and vegetables for kids to crawl over and under, and even an exercise path that inspires interaction between parents and their children.

“Parents can say, ‘Let’s follow the path! Oh, here is where we touch our toes!’” says McCracken, adding, “Research shows that the younger you can share healthy messages, the more likely they are to stick with people into a healthy adulthood."

Everyone involved believes this indoor play area is more than just good fun; it’s important.

“PLAYTIME was absolutely honored to work on this play area with Charleston Town Center and Charleston Area Medical Center,” says David O’Niones, Vice President of Sales. “Of course, we believe play is important for children but this Play Patch has the potential to change children’s lives. What a gift for the Charleston community.”

Additionally, on a huge wall behind the play area, there is a mural touting the basic tenets of the nationwide “5-2-1-0 Initiative,” in which children are encouraged to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, spend no more than 2 hours in front of a screen, get at least 1 hour of active play, and drink 0 sugar-sweetened drinks per day.

“We are beside ourselves to present this play area to children and their families,” says McCracken. “The response has been overwhelming.”

PLAYTIME’s themed soft play areas drive traffic and enhance customers' brands. Thousands of families experience PLAYTIME every day at shopping centers, restaurants, airports, stadiums, childcare, healthcare centers, fitness centers, churches, resorts, recreation centers, water parks and museums – any place that kids play.

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