September 24, 2004                


On Saturday, October 2, 2004, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department will officially kick-off Project KidFIT!, a partnership with Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) and Metro, with a free Health Fitness and Fun Carnival designed to increase motivation and empowerment for youth to take charge of their health.

This four-hour event, chock-full of sports opportunities, physical challenges and lots of kid-friendly information, will take place at the Fannin Pavilion near the Playground for All Children in Hermann Park, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In addition, youth will receive valuable information on the importance of healthy living and adopting a healthy lifestyle. “We have a medical crisis on our hands,” said Dr. William Klish, a nationally renowned pediatric gastroenterologist at Texas Children’s and professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. “Children are developing adult on-set diseases such as Type II diabetes, steatohepatitis (fatty liver), hypertension (high-blood pressure), gallstones, osteoarthritis and sleep apnea. We cannot afford to point fingers and try to figure out who is to blame. We must develop programs to stop this epidemic from spreading.”

Youth will have an opportunity to register for Parks Department youth sports programs or sample the various sports activities on-site to determine which one they may want to try. All Parks Department sponsored sports programs are non-competitive and require no particular skill level to participate.

The Youth Health, Fitness and Fun Carnival is the kick off event for Project KidFIT! Project KidFIT!, created by the Parks Department, is a program designed to promote national recommendations for nutrition and state standards for physical activity in a fun and safe environment. KidFIT! instructors, led by the department’s fitness coordinator, Shadston Pittman, will track the progress of participating youth in endurance, flexibility, strength, agility and nutritional knowledge.

Project KidFIT! will begin October 4 at three community centers: Judson Robinson Jr., Tidwell and Mason. KidFIT! is a free program that targets youth ages 9 –13. This year, enrollment is limited to 50 children per site. To register in Project KidFIT! call 713.845.1019.

October 2 is also Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play, a campaign that encourages kids to get out and play. The Health, Fitness and Fun Carnival will give Houston youngsters an opportunity to join thousands of kids across the country in play and physical activity that promote healthy lifestyles.

For media inquiries contact the Communications Office at 713.845.1210