Teaching kids low-cost, low-impact health and fitness tips


It's lunch time at Charles White Elementary School, and health advocate "Papa Joe" Aviance is teaching third-graders quite a lesson.

"I lost 250 pounds by walking," said Aviance. "No gym, no gastric-bypass surgery, no crazy diets."

He walked five miles a day for 18 months, proving to himself and others that slimming down can be simple to do.

"I've always been heavy all my life," said Aviance. "And this is a great opportunity to get outside and show kids how exercise and eating right is a healthy way to live. I said, 'What's the easiest exercise that I can do?' And walking was it."

So he got them on their feet for a fitness field trip, humming a tune in the process.

Aviance's fitness message is clear, but he even offers a nice show-and-tell at an inexpensive market, showing families you don't have to spend a lot to slim down.

Aviance teamed up with the 99 Cent Store to give the children a treasure-hunt list of produce to find. The kids had fun finding the food, and actually look forward to eating it.

"First I'm going to eat my carrots and then my broccoli and then my fruit," said student Briana Ascencio.

"The kids are checking out now, and they're going to see how much that they save as well," said Erin Estelle, market manager at the 99 Cent Store.

Then the kids tallied up their purchases that were paid for by the store.

At the end of the day, they left with a lot of lessons learned that Papa Joe hopes will help them lead healthier lives.

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