Last week at a Congressional briefing, New York Yankees’ first baseman Mark Teixeira articulated the importance of physical activity and nutrition in the afterschool space. An article released just this month provides some backing to Mr. Teixeira’s argument that more federal funding should be available for high quality afterschool programs, especially those with a focus on getting our nation’s youth active and healthy. The article’s title, “The Impact of a 3-year After-School Obesity Prevention Program in Elementary School,” sums up its purpose pretty succinctly, and its conclusion, that a Georgia afterschool program focused on physical activity reduced participants’ body fat percentage and increased their cardiorespiratory fitness, seemed fairly intuitive once I read the article’s authors’ point that children tend to be sedentary during the after school hours.
It makes sense: Take kids who are usually sitting on the couch watching television, subtract the sitting around, add a fun, engaging afterschool program that gets them moving like the Medical College of Georgia’s FitKid Program and you’ll get a group of healthier kids.
So why aren’t more programs like Georgia’s FitKid Program or the Mark Teixeira-endorsed Harlem RBI program getting funded? Simply put: A lack of awareness for government officials.
Mark’s high-profile Congressional visits and this impactful new study are certainly steps in the right direction to make federal, state and local leaders aware of the impact of wellness-focused programs, but strong advocates and afterschool leaders can provide even more powerful voices to ensure that the successes of programs like FitKid do not fall on deaf ears. Share this new study’s findings to you federal, state and local leaders and share the successes of your program’s health and wellness curriculum.
You can find out more about the methodology, reults and conlusions of “The Impact of a 3-Year After-School Obesity Prevention Program in Elementary School” report and also why more needs to be done in the summer time to promote fitness for youth here.