Girls and Moms on the Move

Improving Heart Health and Self-Esteem in Girls

Creating a world without heart disease is a bold proposition. But this is precisely the mission of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation. While best known for their cutting-edge cardiovascular research, the Foundation also excels at programs that create healthy communities.

For instance, this summer, approximately 75 girls aged 8-12 and their moms across Minnesota and Iowa are participating in Girls and Moms on the Move, a program funded by the Medica Foundation, that brings girls and their moms together in a supportive group environment with the goals of completing a 5K run, fostering connectedness, and learning the value of a healthy lifestyle.

Encouraging physical activity among girls is especially important as participation in daily physical education is declining and obesity in the same group is increasing. According to Jolene Otto, MHIF’s health and wellness program manager, “Pre-teens are at a critical opt-out age for organized sports, however they are also at an age where they are still interested in mother/daughter activities.”

Girls are also at risk for unhealthy behaviors stemming from low self-esteem which is why focusing on self-esteem and mother/daughter communication is so important.

One girl said, “I now feel more athletic and I eat healthier snacks too.”

For more information on Girls and Moms on the Move, or if you would like to pilot a group in your area, contact Jolene Otto at 612-863-9041 or