CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa and Marine Corps Community Services are teaming up to hold a first-of-its-kind children’s informational fair here this weekend.

The Kids’ Healthfest is set for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Camp Foster Community Center. The event is being held in honor of Children’s Health Care Month, and the hosts hope to raise awareness about children’s health care, nutrition and exercise, according to Amanda Woodhead, USNH spokeswoman.

Representatives from the hospital’s optometry, immunizations, nutrition, pediatrics and orthopedics clinics will be on hand, Woodhead said. Present from MCCS will be representatives from youth sports; the children, youth and teen program; and the new-parent support group. Health and Wellness staff from both MCCS and the USNH also will be present to cover preventive health topics.

The Armed Services YMCA will be there too, holding a coloring contest, and the first 50 Healthfest attendees will receive free “goodie bags” filled with health care information.

“The event is a great way to get information about how to prevent childhood diseases and illnesses,” said Bert Griffith, MCCS Semper Fit/Health Promotion manager.

“This event will help us highlight the common health issues related to children in our community,” Griffith said. “For example, childhood obesity is at epidemic proportions among children and adolescents and we seek every opportunity to articulate these concerns and offer strategies for overcoming this public health tragedy.”

Healthfest was the idea of Lt. Cmdr. Sana Savage, the hospital’s pediatric clinic division officer. She wants children to have all the information they need to live healthy lives.

“Many times, health care is geared towards adults and not the children,” Savage said. “We want to create an environment that is kid-friendly that will get them excited about living healthy. We want to educate children, parents, care providers and teachers on the benefits of creating healthy lifestyles from birth.

“When you start children with healthy habits young, they develop into healthy adults. So, the Healthfest is intended to catch children young and show them the benefits of a lifetime of good healthy habits.”

Savage said children will be the event’s focus; numerous demonstrations and activities will be available for them. Griffith said things such as yoga for kids and a Silly Sibling Class — designed to give children the skills needed to interact with new siblings — are aimed at keeping the younger audience occupied.

Contact the MCCS Health Promotion office at 645-3910, USNH Health Promotion office at 645-2620, or Amanda Woodhead at 643-7294 for more information.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now