Focus on Pediatrics: Walking program provides incentive for more exercise

Prizes given to schoolchildren and families

A few years ago, Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Browns Mills, NJ, launched a heart healthy program at a local elementary school. Called the "Feel-Good Mileage Program" grade-school-age children walked, their teachers tracked the mileage, and Deborah supplied prizes.

For a successful walking regimen, children received long, colorful shoelaces, little feet to string on shoelaces, yo-yos, Frisbees, and other toys. Their teachers decided at which mileage point children would receive a prize.

"We want to create an awareness of the importance of exercise and eating healthy at an early age," says Tom Campbell, MS, director of Marketing and Managed Care at Deborah.

Currently, the medical center and school is considering expanding the program to include entire families by connecting a Rails to Trails walking path near an old train depot to the program. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that is working to "enrich America’s communities and countryside" by creating a nationwide network of public trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Families who walk the trail will receive a pin that has the hospital logo, town logo, school district logo, and Rails to Trails logo on it. "It’s a nice incentive for families to get out and walk," says Campbell.


For more information about the "Feel-Good Mileage Program," contact:

Tom Campbell, MS, Director of Marketing and Managed Care, Deborah Heart and Lung Center, 200 Trenton Road, Browns Mills, NJ 08015. Telephone: (609) 893-1200, ext. 5843. E-mail: