I participated in a research project while I was a DPT student at USC, where we went to an elementary school and did baseline and final testing of physical parameters such as flexibility, endurance, weight, and blood pressure. During that time, the elementary students were put through specific programs during their PE classes. It was good to see kids that really wanted to exercise, but also really sad to see those that had no interest, and even worse, to see the kids that could barely run at all!
I have always been interested in helping to make a small dent in the childhood obesity epidemic and would love to eventually expand my practice (that is, once I have my OWN PT practice haha), to have programs to help overweight kids lose weight, and to help other kids not become overweight! USC’s DPT program has a great volunteer-run program that promotes fit families, and I agree with the program’s methods of focusing on educating families on being healthy and fit in order to help fight the obesity epidemic.
Here is info on USC’s Fit Families Program:
USC PT Community Clinic – Fit Families
Established as a pro-bono community clinic, the clinic is a joint effort and commitment of the Division’s faculty, staff, students, alumni, Board of Councilors, and professionals and leaders of the local communities to provide services and contribute to the health of the residents of the communities surrounding the USC Health Sciences Campus.
The clinical program offered by the Community Clinic, called FIT FAMILIES, is targeted to school-aged children (ages 10-17) and their families at risk for severe disorders such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The program provides individualized exercise programs, group exercise activities, evaluation and assessment, and nutrition counseling free of charge. In the future, other populations will be targeted and services will be expanded.
Wanted to share this post from the publication PT In Motion:
To help America’s children develop healthy habits that can last a lifetime, health care providers, parents and caregivers, educators, and community leaders are encouraged to use the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) resources available through the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health’s We Can!! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition)® program, and Let’s Move! initiative.
In addition, several new public-private partnerships are being launched across the nation to ensure that all kids experience the positive health benefits of daily physical activity and healthy eating. For example, the Partnership for a Healthier America and Olympic Team USA’s recently committed to provide 1.7 million kids the opportunity to participate in free and low cost physical activity programs offered by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USOC National Governing Bodies for sport, and others over the next year.
Over the past 30 years, the childhood obesity rate in America has almost tripled. According to the CDC, in 2010, approximately 17% of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years were already obese.
According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, children and adolescents aged 6-17 years should spend 60 minutes or more being physical active each day.
So here’s to being fit and making sure your kids are fit too!