Combining Fitness and Fun: Fighting Childhood Obesity
In 2001, a small daycare opened in Ontario, California, which was co-owned by Krista Davis-Morelos. In 2003, Little Promises Playhouse Daycare moved to the Santa Barbara area. Krista’s facility boasts a healthy and loving environment for children with a focus on the development of a child’s individual learning program. However, what makes Little Promises a unique facility is its attention to physical fitness.
For 30 minutes every Wednesday, the children of Little Promises Playhouse Daycare take part in yoga classes, where according to Krista, they “do actual yoga poses and rally around specific animals. [For example,] we may say they are crawling under a rock and they would do downward dog [a yoga pose]. We incorporate it into an animal so that it is entertaining for them.”
Their physical activities don’t stop there, because every Tuesday Krista hosts a program for the kids called Stretch ‘n Grow. “It’s a 30 minute activity that helps to develop their muscles and teaches them their muscle groups. It’s like a fitness course, and they theme it. One week it will be fish and underwater swimming.”
With statistics that reveal a staggering number of obese children in America, reaching 60%, where 40% of those children become obese adults, it is clear that Krista’s programs will help to benefit their future health. Krista sees her facility as necessary for her kids as “children ages five and under don’t get enough outdoor exercise. I know a lot of the kids in my program don’t get picked up until 4:30 or 5:30 where the parents just go home and fix dinner… so the kids don’t get out besides the stuff they do here. I know with the obesity problem in the US right now it is important to establish an exercise routine at a young age so that it becomes a habit for them in their future.”
As parents know, it is often very difficult to encourage children to exercise. However, Krista
solves this problem by making fitness fun and relatable, resulting in a positive response from the kids. “The kids love it, they really do! They don’t see it as a task – they just love to do it. And if we just dance for half an hour or relate poses to animals they don’t realize that they are doing squats and lunges – they just think they are dancing and they absolutely love it.”
Krista Davis-Morelos has no fitness background and was always lean as a child but states, “I did know some people that were heavy, and at a young age it is hard for people who are heavy.” She understands that those who suffer from obesity “have lots to overcome and they are always at a disadvantage. Exercise is one of the ways to help them overcome that adversity.” She opened this daycare facility in order to promote a healthy lifestyle for children. Her experience and love for children is magnified as a result of being one of five brothers and sisters.
Little Promises Playhouse Daycare is located in Santa Barbara and is open Monday through Thursday from 7:30am to 5:30pm and Friday from 7:30am to 4:30pm.