ok, let’s get serious for a minute. there is an alarming epidemic arising in this country: for the first time in history, we have an entire generation of kids who may not outlive their parents. in the past 30 years, obesity in children has more than doubled, while adolescents have experienced a four-fold increase. more than one-third of American children and adolescents are currently overweight or obese, which means that a staggering 23 million kids and teenagers are at early risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, all conditions that have historically affected only those well into adulthood.
scary stuff, but there is some good news: if we can teach children to make healthy choices and equip them with the tools to live healthy, active lifestyles from the very beginning, we can turn the tide and (literally) reshape the future of this generation and many generations to come.
luckily our schools and administrators are taking notice of the statistics and diving in headfirst to combat this troublesome trend simply by arming our children with the most powerful of weapons: knowledge.
the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program is one such Dallas-based initiative, giving local schools funding and resources to engage teachers, students and parents in a joint effort to create a school environment that encourages healthy habits and behaviors, as well as improve the health of their communities, applying evidence-based knowledge and practices to the students’ everyday lives. we are proud to say that our fit@school program is one of their preferred resources for putting these health-education endowments to good use.
what is fit@school, you ask? it’s a 12-week program that integrates health and fitness into the classroom in just five minutes a day, using our award-winning fitbook junior to help kids learn to set goals and journal about nutrition and exercise, while (bonus!) simultaneously putting into practice their basic math and handwriting skills.turns out fitbook junior is a natural fit (see what we did there?).
“the fitbook junior is so unique because it meets five standardized criteria which are required by school districts,” said Angela Mader, founding fitlosopher and creator of fitbook, “journaling, nutrition, physical activity, reading and writing.”
after recess each day, teachers lead their students through a short 5-minute lesson centered around helping the kids set goals in four key areas: making healthy food choices, physical activity and play, being helpful at home and doing their best in school, journaling about their progress toward each goal’s implementation and earning rewards upon reaching them.
in 2012, fit@school was the program of choice when a physical education grant and subsequent AIM for Fitness initiative allowed St. Louis Public Schools to incorporate more health and fitness education into their classrooms. the students ate it up, enjoying writing and doodling in their fitbook juniors each day and seeing what their teachers had to say each week. as a result, not only were their motor skills improved, but they became so focused on personal health that they often operated as catalysts for much-needed lifestyle changes within their own families as well. in fact, 86% of the parents whose children participated in fit@school noticed a marked difference in their child’s awareness of healthy food choices and daily physical activity.
Leanne White, project director of AIM for Fitness, noted this newfound awareness as well. “I like fitbook junior because it promotes several different aspects of our program and assists the student to empower them to better understand their own individual health and wellness,” White said. “An added bonus is fit@school’s support of our district-wide initiative to promote literacy.”
now fitlosophy has partnered with St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Fullerton School District in Southern California to conduct the 12-week Kids Eat Well study, using fitbook junior to assess the current state of children’s eating and activity patterns, and integrate health and fitness education into the curriculum, thereby imparting valuable life lessons regarding smart food choices and healthy behaviors that the kids will carry with them throughout their lives. we are excited to see how the study unfolds and honored to be part of such a game-changer.
these are the opportunities that fuel our passion for spreading our fitlosophy near and far, and further ignite that spark that compelled us to branch out and create both fitbook junior and fit@school. as a wise doctor (Seuss) once said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” well, we sure do care a whole awful lot, and we hope you’ll join us in spreading the word and empowering our children to right this ship, creating a happier, healthier future for all.
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