Monday, September 24, 2012


The President of the United States has issued a proclamation declaring September National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.  

Here are facts every parent should know
  • ·         obesity rates have soared among all age groups, increasing more than fourfold among children ages 6 to 11;  
  • ·         31.8 percent or 23 million children and teenagers ages 2 to 19 are obese or overweight, a statistic that health and medical experts consider an epidemic; 
  • ·         the financial implications of childhood obesity pose a financial threat to our economy and health care system, carrying up to $14 billion per year in direct health care costs, with people in the United States spending about 9 percent of their total medical costs on obesity-related illnesses; 
  •           obese young people have an 80-percent chance of being obese adults and are more likely than children of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults, and therefore more at risk for associated adult health problems including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis; 
  • ·         due in part to the childhood obesity epidemic, 1 in 3 children (and nearly 1 in 2 minority children) born in the year 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes at some point in their lifetime if current trends continue;   
  • ·         some consequences of childhood and adolescent obesity are psychosocial and can hinder academic and social functioning and persist into adulthood; 
  • ·         participating in physical activity is important for children and teens as it can have beneficial effects not only on body weight, but also on blood pressure and bone strength; 
  • ·         proper nutrition is important for children before birth and through their lifespan as nutrition has beneficial effects for health and body weight, and is important in the prevention of chronic diseases; 
  • ·         childhood obesity is preventable, yet does not appear to be declining; and
  • ·         public, community-based, and private sector organizations and individuals throughout the United States are working to decrease childhood obesity rates in the United States through a range of efforts including educational presentations, media campaigns, websites, policies, healthier food options,  and greater opportunities for physical activity.

Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. has been working for the past four years to halt, reverse, and prevent childhood obesity.  We have taught thousands of children and adults in educational programs and healthy cooking workshops.  We have documented success stories as we have watched kids learn to make choices that put them on the path to a healthier life instead of one filled with the painful consequences of obesity-related diseases. 

THEREFORE, in support of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Growing Healthy Kids proudly  announces the release of Nourish and Flourish: Kid-Tested Tips and Recipes to Prevent Diabetes featuring the ideas that get kids screaming for more vegetables and whole grains on their plates. 

Written by Nancy Heinrich, an epidemiologist who founded the Growing Healthy Kids movement to prevent obesity-related diseases like diabetes in America’s children, this book teaches parents how to make simple changes that move kids away from the bad foods high in sugar, salt, and fat.  According to Ms. Heinrich, “When you engage kids in the garden or the produce market and then “play” with them in the kitchen to create a fun recipe together, they make better choices.”  Nourish and Flourish is filled with the same tips Ms. Heinrich uses in the "Growing Healthy Kids in the Kitchen" educational programs.  Included in the book are shopping lists for busy parents to make it easy for the whole family to eat healthy.  Best of all, many of the recipes make delicious, healthy, and economical school lunches for the kids AND  work lunches for moms and dads. 

If you are concerned that your kids are eating too much sugar, then you’ll get answers in a brand new book called Nourish and Flourish.  Reading this book will give you a clear and concise approach to put your kids on a path to healthier eating. 

Nourish and Flourish is available at com and at the Growing Healthy Kids Variety Store, 3300 43rd Avenue, #4, Vero Beach, Florida, 32960.

To order bulk copies for your school or parent group or to book the author to speak to your organization, please send an email to

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. is a nonprofit organization which educates principals, parents, and pupils that we all play a role in providing healthy choices of food and fitness for America’s children.  Our mission is to halt, reverse, and prevent obesity-related diseases in children. 

To support our core educational programs (see for descriptions), we rented a room at Born Again Consignments two years ago.  Then, two months later, in December 2010, the Growing Healthy Kids Variety Store was born when we took the leap of faith and moved into our own space at 3300 43rd Avenue in Vero Beach, Florida.  The store is run by several volunteers dedicated to the mission and vision of Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.  Our mailing address is: 3300 43rd Avenue, #4, Vero Beach, FL 32960.  

Nancy Heinrich at the Growing Healthy Kids Variety Store.

We depend on you to get the word out about our work.  We are not like other nonprofit organizations top heavy in salaries for executive directors, fancy buildings, and plush furnishings.  Some of the larger thrift stores in this area send many of the donations to their organization outside of the country.  That does not happen when you donate to Growing Healthy Kids.    

Now we need your help.  We depend on you for quality donations of art, furniture, garden tools, and household items which we can feature in our Growing Healthy Kids Variety Store.  We are creating sustainable education programs that are not dependent on grants.  We depend on you to shop at our “secret gem of a store”.  Many people who come into the store say, “This shop should be over on the beach.”  We don’t want to be a beach shop.  If we were, we’d miss the chance to reach the children who come to the store with their parents or grandparents.  Our educational displays throughout the store teach the kids and more importantly, their parents. 
Sea turtles LOVE our store - "Not Your Usual Thrift Store"

Share this with someone who is downsizing their home or clearing out a room because they are redecorating.  Tell them about our work.  Tell them about our thrift store.  We can pick up furniture (call 561-379-7886 to schedule a pickup).  You receive a tax-deductible donation receipt.  Your donations benefit our educational programs in Indian River County.  

We are working to reverse childhood obesity – BECAUSE FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION.  

Thank you,

Nancy L. Heinrich, M.P.H.
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.
Improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one child and one garden at a time

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Saying "thank you" does not cover how grateful I am for the support  you gave to Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. at last Thursday's (September 13, 2012) Educational Extravaganza at Jetson Vero Beach.  Our event goal of raising awareness about childhood obesity and preventing obesity-related diseases in children has been met and exceeded --- BECAUSE OF YOU.  

When we collaborate with others to achieve a common goal, we can achieve great things.  When we collaborate to improve the health - and lives - of America's children, we will achieve great things.  Thank you to each and every one of you!
Anthony Villafane, participant at the Growing Healthy Kids Educational Extravaganza, learning about aromatherapy

A special thanks...

To Susan Harris, thank you for inviting Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. to partner with Jetson.  Susan, you are absolutely amazing.  Thank you for the invitation to use your company's Vero Beach store to connect with the community.  

To Barbara Petrillo, thank you for the many hours you invested in a 2-1/2 hour event on behalf of Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. and our work to prevent, halt, and reverse childhood obesity in Indian River County and beyond.  From the outside, this kind of event looks so simple.  On the inside, there are hours and hours of work, writing, phone calls, and meetings that go on behind the scenes.  Thank you for the beautiful Growing Healthy Kids limited edition Petrillo Collection jewelry you created using the colors of the rainbow which also represent the chakra.  Thank you for the work to create the educational scavenger hunt for the alll the children enjoyed!  You see the vision of our work.  Thank you for taking care of the details before, during, and after our Educational Extravaganza.  

To those who helped Barb and Susan plan this event, please accept my sincere thanks for the time and work you invested in this event.  Your investment in the health of our children will pay dividends. 

To everyone who was part of our Growing Healthy Kids Educational Extravaganza, you have my respect.  I am honored to know that, with your help, we are working together to improve the health - and lives - of America's children.  
Terrence Lee, Jr, was absolutely enthralled with the Pampered Chef  device that peels, cores, and twirls an apple.  Tara Mc|Farlane with Pampered Chef was happy to teach him how much fun it is to eat fruit!

Now for the update.  The day after the Educational Extravaganza, I met with the principal of the brand new GREEN Vero Beach Elementary School, Mrs. Bonnie Swanson, about our new Growing Healthy Kids project to create a school-wide Wellness Champion project. The project will launch on Thursday, November 1.  

If you are 18 or older, we are in need of adults age 18 and older to help at the Saturday morning Growing Healthy Kids with Youth Guidance educational programs planned for the 2012-2013 school year. If you belong to a service organization or church that will partner with us at these events for the "unmatched" kids enrolled in Youth Guidance Mentoring & Activities Program, please contact Barb Petrillo (772-205-7133) or me.  At these events, we teach kids about healthy foods and physical fun AND introduce prospective mentors to the great kids in our community who can benefit from having a mentor in their lives.   It is always a memorable morning with friends, fun, fitness, and food.  

If you know someone who believes in the power of collaboration and can help us take the Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. organization to the next level, please contact me via email at

In gratitude, 

Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH


Hi Everyone,
I'll start by thanking Susan Harris for the opportunity to use the Jetson Vero Beach location for the Educational Extravaganza.  Susan looks out for everyone, wants us all to succeed and is great with connecting people with one another and good things happen.  Thank you Susan for the door prize for the drawing.
Cori McWillams and her mom enjoyed their first HERO POPS outside the Jetson Vero Beach store in downtown Vero Beach and got to meet  the Chief Pop Creator, Michael Haggerty, at the Growing Healthy Kids Educational Extravaganza in downtown Vero Beach.  

To the committee who planned this event, it could not happen without you.  As you know, every event takes a lot of effort and with all of you on board it went very smoothly. 

To the vendors who participated, we thank you very much for being a part of this event and hope your evening was a success and thank you for your door prizes for the drawings.

Thank you to TD Bank for furnishing the great bags and pencils. 
Thank you to Nancy Villafane & AnthonyDiane Dzadony and Cindy Hejlik for your help in directing the attendees to the vendors and helping to keep everything flowing.

Door prize winners:  Electrolux Hand Held Vacuum-Lisa Lopez; Overnight Stay at VB Resort-Lori Bender; Lunch for 2 @ Costa d'Este: Karen Kozdren; Tupperware storage containers & GHK Apron-Diane Dzadony; Wood carved Manta Ray from Growing Healthy Kids Variety Store, Gift Certificate to TriVita and Gift Certificate to Vittorio's Pizza-Anthony Villafane.

It was my privilege to work with you on this event.  I am sure great things will come to each of you.  As you give, you receive.


Nancy Heinrich

Monday, September 10, 2012


Free Educational Extravaganza for Parents and Kids

This Thursday, September 13, you are invited to join us for an Educational Extravaganza when Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. partners with Jetson TV and Appliance Center to highlight great food, nutrition, and physical fitness at home, school, work and play.   

If you want new ideas for delicious, easy, healthy lunch boxes and tips for cutting back on sweets, sodas, and calories, then bring the kids to this event or come alone.  

Here's a sample of Thursday's menu:
  • Meet Michael Haggerty, founder of Hero Pops, and learn about his healthy frozen delights made from locally grown fruits. 
  • Kids will learn to read food labels from The Nutrition Detectives.   
  • The new limited edition Growing Healthy Kids jewelry line, created by The Petrillo Collection, will be shown for the first time.  A portion of sales will be donated to Growing Healthy Kids. 
  • Pick up your autographed copy of Nourish and Flourish, the just-released book for parents from Growing Healthy Kids project founder, Nancy Heinrich.  

The Educational Extravaganza takes place at the Jetson Vero Beach location at 1231 20th Street (corner of 12th Avenue and SR 60, across from the main post office in downtown Vero) from 4:00 to 6:30 PM this Thursday, September 13.   Admission is free.  A donation of a gently used household item for the Growing Healthy Kids Thrift Store is appreciated.  

Adults will be entered in a chance to win door prizes donated by companies including Vero Beach Hotel and Spa, Coste d’Este, Vittorio’s Pizza, and Electrolux.  Event parking is plentiful.

Additional companies participating in the Growing Healthy Kids Education Extravaganza include:
  • ·         Florida Outdoor Center (meet Kristin and Mike Beck and learn about kayaking and paddle boarding for kids and families)
  • ·         Quality Health Care (meet Diane Kingsley-Weir from the office of Dr. Deepti Sadhwani)
  • ·         Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company
  • ·         Pampered Chef (demos for making healthy snack for kids)
  • ·         Organo Gold (organic beverages)
  • ·         24/7 Fitness (with information about their new free fitness programs for kids)
  • ·         Tupperware (storage ideas)
  • ·         Lisa Tylutke (clinical aromatherapist)
  • ·         Juice Plus (get all your fruits & veggies)
  • ·         Tri Vita Works (products to help with inflammation)
  • ·         Chair Massages by Sean Holland
  • ·         Local author Lynn E. Mueller, with her first children’s book, Herbert the Hedgehog

For more information, contact Barbara Petrillo at 772-205-7133 or email her at

Growing Healthy Kids, Inc., is a nonprofit organization based in Vero Beach creating solutions to improve the health and lives of kids through collaborations with organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs of Indian River County, Youth Guidance Mentoring & Activities Program, The Willow School, and Vero Beach Elementary School. 

Thank you for helping us GROW HEALTHY KIDS!  

See you this Thursday!
Nancy Heinrich