Promoting tips on how to live a healthier life is essential for any person, but it’s also important to ingrain these tips to children at a young age. That’s why Healthy LifeStars focuses its efforts toward raising awareness for childhood obesity, and informs families how to keep their children active and healthy in the Greater Phoenix area. 

Healthy LifeStars has been in the Valley area for the past 13 years, where they offer programs at YMCAs, Salvation Army locations, and schools.

Through the program, students are taught three key factors toward living a healthier life, which are learning the importance of nutrition, setting healthier goals and being more active.

“I feel that our goal setting component sets us apart from other similar programs,” said Benjamin Moke, program implementation manager for Healthy LifeStars. “The LifeStar Challenge teaches the kids what a goal is and how to set and achieve said goal. Having the kids continue to make healthier choices outside and after the program ends is very important as well. We frequently hear from our coaches that a parent will come to them and say how their child while grocery shopping with them points out which foods are healthy and which ones are not. They are taking it home and continuing to practice the healthy habits.”

Julie Frankel, executive for development and operations for Healthy LifeStars, said the three factors are a way for students to be engaged in being healthier throughout the day and understand its importance.

“The program that we offer is very flexible in a way that allows coaches to adapt it based on how long they have a kid,” she said.

Prior to each session, coaches are given online session plans that detail what they can go over during their classes.

Coaches are open to choose one of the three core principles, and make it the center of discussion for the class.

While coaches explain the importance of one particular principle, they also incorporate the other two principles during the session in order to fully engage each student.

“The objective really is for coaches to cover all three principles throughout each session, even though the focus may be on one particular principle,” Frankel said. “Once they have explained the three principles, coaches have a certain amount of time allocated toward physical fitness for the kids.”

Each session ends with a review and a healthy tip of the day that can consist of drinking more water or being more active throughout the day.

Frankel said goal setting is a key principle for students to learn at a young age because it allows students to start placing goals within their own lives such as replacing juice with water.

“It’s little ways to incorporate these healthy habits in the kids’ lives,” Frankel said. “This program is unique in the sense that we try to weave in that goal-setting piece and make sure that it’s part of the total program. This provides a framework for the kids to basically understand what healthy goal-setting means, and how it can affect their lives in the short- and long-term.”

For additional information about Healthy LifeStars, visit www.healthylifestars.org. They are located at 1645 E. Missouri Ave., Suite 330 in Phoenix.

• Contact writer: 480-898-4903 or dochoa@evtrib.com.

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