Posted by Kaitlyn McConnell on Dec. 21, 2016

In an effort to improve the lives of area kids, Kohl’s donated $35,074 to CoxHealth for its Kohl’s CARDIAC (Coronary Artery Risk Detection in Area Children) Kids program. The program, implemented four years ago, helps tackle the issue of childhood obesity through health screenings and education.

“CoxHealth’s Kohl’s CARDIAC Kids has been working to fight childhood obesity in the Ozarks by spreading the message of a healthy lifestyle through school-based and community events,” explains Lauren Holland, CARDIAC Kids coordinator. “We’re working closely with children and their families to help them understand the connections between food, activity and overall health.”

The donation was celebrated with a kick-off event on Monday, October 17th at Nixa Espy Elementary School. The event consisted of an assembly where kids learned about heart health, fitness activities and how much sugar is in certain food products.

But CARDIAC Kids offers much more: In addition to assemblies in local schools, the organization also reconnects with families through CARDIAC Kids Family Fun Nights for information on things like exercise and kid-friendly healthy recipes.

Health screenings are also a part of the program, which have determined that 34 percent of local kids are at risk for being overweight or obese, 25 percent have elevated blood pressure and 13 percent have abnormal cholesterol.

There is good news, however: 69 percent of students with abnormal cholesterol during the 2014-15 school year improved their cholesterol during the 2015-16 school year. “We’re working with these families to help them change their child’s health and future,” says Holland.

Since 2011, Kohl’s has donated more than $200,000 to CoxHealth to support the CARDIAC Kids program.