Children in the University of South Florida (USF) area community will get moving soon, as they join the nationwide fight against childhood obesity.
The efforts are being led by the University Area Community Development Corporation
(UACDC), inspired by the first lady’s Let’s Move!
Initiative. Let’s Move!
supports local community efforts to increase exercise, health and nutrition among the nation’s children through leadership, community support and innovative programs.
Funded in part by a grant from Molina Healthcare of Florida, UACDC will be implementing a number of initiatives, including providing health and nutrition information in places where families typically gather, such as schools or parks. They’re also helping the local Mort Elementary School with its "Walking School Bus,'' a group of children who walk to school together under the supervision of a trained adult leader. This promotes exercise, reduces traffic around the school and reduces environmental impact.
Saturday Fitness Fun Days will feature scavenger hunts, nutrition and health-based prizes. A summer camp is being developed that will focus on physical activity.
The program is part of UACDC’s overall focus on the redevelopment and sustainability of the at-risk neighborhoods surrounding USF’s Tampa campus. They're starting with kids in the hope that the changes will have a positive impact on the entire family.
"We really wanted to reach out and make a difference to our young people, and hopefully in the process make a difference with their parents and grandparents as well," says Dan Jurman, executive director of UACDC.
The University area has high rates of malnurishment and preventable diseases such as diabetes. The goal is to increase education and nutrition in an effort to increase overall community health.
Along with the exercise programs, there will be nutrition and health-based initiatives such as cooperative community gardens and an affordable fresh produce market.
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Dan Jurman, UACDC