Education

Shape Up US promotes healthy living through Education!

Shape Up US directly addresses the troubling health epidemic of childhood obesity by delivering programs that reach America’s children right where they spend most of their day – in the classroom. These children are perfectly positioned to learn skills to combat their risk of contracting diabetes and heart disease, or that alleviate the heartache of social and psychological problems associated with childhood obesity. Acquiring these healthy habits can also lower their chance of becoming adults with heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and several types of cancers.

Shape Up US educational programs, like its Hip Hop Healthy Heart Program for ChildrenTM, make health information accessible to children, offering our children the chance to prevent obesity and build the essential foundation for a healthy life. One teacher who used the Shape Up US’ program describes the benefits received by her often economically disadvantaged students:

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“I have been using the Hip Hop Healthy Heart Program in my class. I incorporate it with our Science program, where we have been studying the heart and digestive system, so it fits in beautifully. My students in Globe are more economically disadvantaged, so the study of nutrition has been all the more beneficial. Thank you for a great program.”

What Research Shows

In 1980, federal funding for school nutrition programs and school food was slashed, diminishing access to health education in school classrooms and healthy food in cafeterias across the country. Unfortunately, as is stated in the 2008 report “Overview of Federal Child Nutrition Legislation,” funding levels have never been restored since this cut. Instead, according to recent research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, funding for and access to subjects like physical education and health continue to dwindle as schools focus on achieving high test scores in core subjects. In fact, this report indicates most states in the US require less than one credit of health education during all four years of high school and no credits in middle school or elementary school.

In response to the growing obesity epidemic among children, however, the Centers for Disease Control suggests schools bolster nutrition and physical education programs, and the general public agrees. The Los Angeles Times reports 90 percent of Americans believe schools should take a role in addressing obesity. School personnel agree. In a 2011 study, more than 70 percent of teachers, nurses, administrators and other school personnel elementary, middle and high schools said there is a lack of nutrition education, physical education and physical activities within their schools. This is a particular challenge in low income schools where funds for wellness programs are even scarcer.

These recommendations are reflected in research. A 2012 study published by the American Society for Nutrition found nutrition education vital to effective in-school interventions, and similar studies demonstrate how nutrition education positively impacts children’s diets. In one study, even just two nutrition sessions resulted in increased nutrition knowledge among children in the third grade.  According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, comprehensive programs that incorporate many aspects of health, including physical, social and emotional health, and work to promote “health literacy” are greatly needed.

The Shape Up US programs like the Hip Hop Healthy Heart Program for ChildrenTM fill the void where funds fall short, providing a fun, enriching wellness program that meets the needs of children, and fulfills the recommendations of health experts and the general public.

Module 1: Meet Dr. Beat!

Module 1: Meet Doctor Beat…Your Fascinating Heart has been made possible by St Luke’s Health Initiatives Generous Donation.
Thank you St Luke’s Health Initiatives!