Granite State FitKids
2300 southwood drive
Nashua, NH 03063

(603) 577-4400

Drchuck@granitestatefitkids.org

 
June 30th, 2004
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Nashua Pediatrician Dr. Charles Cappetta was recently honored as the 2004 Pediatrician of the Year.

The Pediatrician of the Year Award is presented by The New Hampshire Pediatric Society, which is the state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, to a physician who has provided outstanding dedication and service to the children of New Hampshire. This award was presented by the New Hampshire Pediatric Society Executive Committee at their quarterly meeting in June.

Dr. Cappetta was nominated for his overall support toward improving children’s health including the creation of his award-winning school wellness program Granite State FitKids™. FitKids is a seven-week interactive health awareness program for fourth graders in Southern New Hampshire. The program teaches children about their bodies and how to take care of them, addressing the issues of nutrition, good choices about food and healthy snacks along with messages about the harmful effects of smoking and chewing tobacco. The FitKids curriculum also includes "body workshops" that engage students to learn about their cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, muscular, skeletal and nervous systems, as well as the importance of physical activity and exercise. In 2003, FitKids reached more than 1,200 Greater Nashua students in 14 elementary schools.

Dr. Cappetta joined the Pediatric Department at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Nashua in 1993 and currently serves as the Chapter President for the New Hampshire Pediatric Society. He is board certified in pediatrics.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Nashua provides convenient, local health access and is part of the largest multi-specialty physician group practice in the region. This integrated system includes over 600 physicians and the nationally recognized resources of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, which includes Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, the state’s only teaching hospital, the VA Hospital in White River Junction, VT, Dartmouth Medical School, and a multi-specialty academic group practice.


June 2nd, 2005
Granite State FitKids was recently honored with a Silver rating by The Cooper Institute for its efforts in reducing childhood obesity.

The Cooper Institute is one of the world's leading independent research institutes for the study of exercise physiology and sports medicine and their work is highly respected among medical professionals. They established the Children's Healthy Bodies Initiative (CHBI) to evaluate and score 150 programs created to help reduce childhood obesity. Programs had to focus on weight management for children and were scored based on design, implementation and distribution of information. Of the 150 programs scored, 47 received a gold rating, 51 were silver rated and 52 were bronze.

Granite State FitKids was created in 1997 by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Nashua pediatrician, Dr. Chuck Cappetta, who stated:

"As a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, I am honored by The Cooper Institute's recent designation of Granite State FitKids as a silver award winner for its program content and materials in the campaign to reduce childhood obesity. It is so exciting for me to think that a "home grown" product from NH - like Granite State FitKids - was chosen as a model for others to emulate."

Granite State FitKids is a seven-week interactive health awareness program for fourth graders, funded primarily by Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Southern New Hampshire Medical Center. The program teaches children about their bodies and how to take care of them, addressing the issues of nutrition, good choices about food and healthy snacks, along with messages about the harmful effects of smoking and chewing tobacco. The FitKids curriculum also includes "body workshops" that engage students to learn about their cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, muscular, skeletal and nervous systems, as well as the importance of physical activity and exercise. In 2005, FitKids reached more than 1,700 students in 23 elementary schools throughout southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts.


June 5th, 2007
GSFK Teaching Youngsters How To Maintain Their Health -
by Ryan Foley

    A fourth-grader named Mitchell seated to his left, Dr. Chuck Cappetta asked the students seated before him to hold two fingers approximately one inch apart. “Now bring your hand up to your face,” Cappetta instructed. “When I take off Mitchell's shoe, pinch your nose really quick!”

    The students laughed (Mitchell included) and then Cappetta began instructing the children on where they can find pulse points on the foot. This humorous yet educational demonstration was part of Cappetta's Granite State Fit Kids (GSFK) program. Founded in 1997, GSFK's goals are simple: to give youngsters a lifelong understanding and appreciation of their own body; to teach youngsters how to maintain their health, as well as encourage participation in aerobic and non-aerobic activities that promote movement.

    “I never use the word 'fat,'” Cappetta said. “The message for these kids is that body type isn't the issue here; movement is, and that means exercising and getting your heart pumping. You only have one body, we tell them. You can't buy another one at Wal-Mart and so how you take care of it is very important.”

    GSFK's message is delivered through its Body Workshops, which are conducted by Cappetta and other facilitators at elementary schools throughout New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. The workshops are up to 60 minutes long, run for seven weeks, and complement the existing health education curriculum in schools. Students listen to lectures, immerse themselves in group discussions, and take part in interactive activities such as games and projects. Homework entails keeping an activity journal, which has students writing down what they do for fun, who they do it with, and how long they do it for.

    The scene described above was from a workshop at Green Acres Elementary in Manchester, NH. When GSFK kicked off a decade ago, its programs were featured in three elementary schools in the greater Nashua, NH, area. Today, it's at 26 schools in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts, reaching over 2,100 fourth-graders.

“Fourth grade is the perfect age,” said Cappetta,a Dartmouth-Hitchcock Nashua pediatrician and president of the New Hampshire Pediatric Society. “Many schools start life science classes in fifth, so this is a good warm-up. The kids are also at the right age to learn about this topic. They really eat it up.”

    Cappetta is the main reason why. His passion is infectious, his sense of humor always evident. His mantra reads, “Fun while learning, fun while laughing.” He often tells students to refer to him as Dr. Chuck since, “Chuck rhymes with duck and I often quack a lot.” Peppered with his trademark “bad jokes,” Cappetta's presentation for the Green Acres fourth-graders rehashed the previous week's lesson on circulation before diving into the respiratory system. Topics like tobacco and nutrition awareness will follow.

    The hands-on projects included building a set of “Jolly Green Giant-sized” lungs from tubing, and constructing individual ones from items like plastic bottles and balloons. According to Cappetta, this aspect of the workshops is key, as it strengthens the GSFK curriculum. Other projects include showing the path of food as it travels through an intestinal tract that runs the length of the classroom and making an edible model of the human heart from JELL-O.

    “Next year, when they're taking life science in fifth grade,” Cappetta said, “they'll be covering the lungs and think to themselves, 'I have that model we made last year. I remember this!' “It really makes the information stick.”

    Seeing how eager the Green Acre students were to participate and how enthusiastic they were doing the group projects – that's proof of how well received the program is. However, GSFK is also garnering praise from those outside the classroom. In April of 2006, the non-profit organization was one of seven in the United States selected to be in the WHO/CDC publication, “Best Practices for Physical Activity Promotion Around the World.” One year prior, The Cooper Institute in Dallas, TX, bestowed GSFK with a Silver Award as part of its Children's Healthy Bodies Initiative – all for GSFK's efforts in the fight against childhood obesity.

    “Without a doubt, it's our No. 1 health care problem,” Cappetta said. “There's an action plan to combat childhood obesity and Granite State FitKids is the vehicle we use to bring that plan to life.” 

 


   
   
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