HAP donates bike helmets to support annual bike giveaway, promote fitness

FLINT — More Flint students will get to bike safely this summer thanks to bike helmets donated by HAP as part of Krystal Jo’s Diner 4th Annual Bike Giveaway. HAP donated bike helmets to supplement the 1,000 bikes collected by Tony Tucker, Krystal Jo’s owner.

On June 9, from 12-4 p.m., students who pre-registered online picked up their bikes and helmets at Neithercut Elementary School and Holmes STEM Academy. HAP employees were onsite at each location to help with distribution efforts. Attendees enjoyed the carnival-like atmosphere that included free food, entertainment and games at each location.

“Supporting physical activities to offset sedentary activities is vital to reducing your child’s chance of developing chronic illnesses like diabetes or obesity,” said Tom Spring, director of wellness and community programs for HAP. “Getting kids to bike more often can be the best way to set healthier exercise and safe biking habits for life.”

For nearly 60 years, HAP has partnered with leading doctors, hospitals and community organizations to enhance the health and well-being of the lives of local communities. Giving time and energy to improve the health of children is a primary goal.

Stats about Michigan children are troubling. According to the “State of the State: Childhood Obesity in Michigan Report,” nearly one in three children in Michigan, ages 10-17, are overweight or obese. Obesity in children ages 6-11 years has increased almost five-fold in the last 30 years.

HAP recommends families follow the American Academy of Pediatrics 5-2- 1-0 strategy to combat chronic illnesses like diabetes and obesity. The guideline encourages children to eat five fruits and vegetables per day, spend two hours or less of screen time per day, one hour of physical activity per day and zero sugary drinks. These small lifestyle changes can increase wellness.

“I started this program four years ago because it seems like kids don’t know how to socialize anymore. They spend way too much time indoors,” said Tony Tucker, Krystal Jo’s owner. “A bike may help force kids to go outside. When I was a kid, I was always on my bike hanging out and riding with my friends. It was just a fun way to get exercise and build friendships.”

Tucker is dedicated to Flint and uses community work to show his love for the city and the region. In addition to managing the bike giveaway, Tucker oversees the Fenton Road Clean Up. He is heavily involved with many other community organizations. — G.G.

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