Needy Local Families Get Chance To Fight Obesity

Heart disease and cancer claim the lives of over 22,000 Cuyahoga County residents yearly, according to the Cleveland Department of Public Health. If given good health otherwise, the American Heart Association says that being obese increases oneʼs risk of heart disease. Obese parents are the number one cause of obese children. The poor families of Greater Cleveland are at the highest risk of increasing obesity levels as they already lack access to safe outdoor playgrounds and have more access to convenience and fast foods than to fresh food and produce.

With those statistics in mind, about a dozen near West Side Clevelanders participated in an awareness-building event to fight obesity and get motivated to change unhealthy habits during the “Training by Liz Cleveland Family Fitness Outreach” on January 7, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at Iglesia Hispana del Nazareno, a church on West 89th St. From grandparents on down to little kids, everyone moved like lizards and crabs and performed a host of other exercises to make getting in shape fun. At the end of the free fitness session, families learned about the five nutritional mistakes to avoid.

“I am very, very excited about this program,” said Birgit Hilliard, Safety/Program coordinator for MyCom, a youth development initiative funded by Cuyahoga County and the Cleveland Foundation. Hilliard adds, “The feedback from the people was wonderful.”

I was particularly moved during the event when a grandmother, who brought along her 11-year-old granddaughter who weighs 200 pounds and is diabetic, discussed her lack of options to help improve the girlʼs health. The families who came learned that exercise can be fun and they left with knowledge to keep their families healthy. The “Training by Liz Cleveland Family Fitness Outreach” is tailored for parents and kids to exercise together and then, with the help of sponsors, neighborhood children will be able to receive a whole foods supplement to help fill in some major nutritional gaps in their diets.

As part of an effort to aid the children of these families with whole foods nutrition, sponsors are needed to support the children's supplements. For more information or to support the fitness or nutrition program contact 440-623-0957 or 

Liz Donnelly is the Owner and Family Fitness Specialist for Training by Liz, LLC and can be reached for comment at

Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 8:52 PM, 01.26.2010