In an age when fast food and video games often replace home-cooked meals and playing outside, health consciousness can't start soon enough. And thanks to the United Way of Western Connecticut and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, Stamford kids at the Childcare Learning Centers will get off on the right food. 

“Can you imagine being this age and developing chronic diseases?” the Himes said of the children at CLC, an agency that offers early childhood education and care, plus health, nutrition and family services. 

The United Way and Himes awarded $150,000 to the centers via a Strong Heart, Healthy Children grant. The money will be go to the centers' Healthy Bodies program, which teaches parents, teachers and children about eating healthy and exercise.

“They’re finding out they really like vegetables,” Barbara Garvin-Kester, head of the Learning Centers, said of the children.

The money will help support the program at eight centers and provide services to over 1,000 kids and their families. The United Way of Western Connecticut launched its campaign against childhood obesity in 2010, joining with other local organizations.

The presentation of the grant ended with a surprise dance performance from several students as a way of thanking Himes and the United Way.

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