Dr. Yolanda Quam is hitting the pavement in order to bring home the message of the importance of exercise and good health.

She will be running in the yearly Huntington Beach half-marathon on Sunday to raise money for Kids Come First Community Clinic in Ontario. But she's also running to show that an active lifestyle is important and will add years to your life.

"If I don't walk the walk, no pun intended, then who is going to take me seriously when I talk the talk about the benefits of exercise and making healthier choices regarding their nutrition and lifestyle?" said Quam, who is the nonprofit clinic's medical director.

"I prefer not to use the word diet because that is mentally a short-term goal, but instead I speak of incorporating healthy eating/healthy meals, snacks, hydration as part of their day meal plans. I encourage the patients and parents, when presented with unhealthy food choices to say I don't eat that which empowers them mentally as it gives the feeling of being their decision, rather than I can't eat that which seems to have a negative and restrictive impact upon us mentally."

Quam is a doctor so she knows the professional tack to take with her patients, but she's also a person who has her own medical challenges. She has been an insulin dependent diabetic for 30 years. She decided three years ago to practice what she preaches. She began exercising more and running.

"The benefits for myself that I have noticed as a result of exercising include improved blood pressure, improved blood glucose control and decreased insulin use. I have a feeling of being energized after a work out. I have increased muscle mass (muscle continues to burn calories even at rest), increased stamina and an overall feeling of wellness," she said.

Healthy lifestyles also help decrease the risk of morbidity and illness associated with being obese which include high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease.

"For kids in particular it is important to eat right and get an hour a day of activity to optimize growth and development both physical and intellectual," she said.

"And if you can't run, then walk or dance or hop or skip and jump."

Again this year she is heading an effort to raise money for the Kids Come First Community Clinic, which serves children who either are underinsured or not insured at all.

"I was hoping that it would become a yearly fundraising opportunity for Kids Come First because we did not have a previous recurring fundraising event organized by the clinic," she said.

"After the initial year when I ran the event solo, my hope was to inspire and encourage others to run/walk in this race for the cause, our cause."

It worked. The first year she raised $10,000. Last year, she was joined by friends, family and colleagues and together they raised $8,000. They're at it again this year.

The 2013 team includes Beverly Speak, Kids Comes First chief executive officer; Leilani Ligans, a clinic volunteer; Jennifer Quach, a UC Riverside student and clinic volunteer; and Lisa Tjan and Anette Keagy, teachers.

The clinic needs financial help. Quam suggested having individuals or organizations host "mini" marathons for children who get pledges and then donate to the clinic.

For information about donating to the clinic or to the clinic's running team, call 909-673-9125.