Sparrow FITKids program promotes healthy attitudes

Published: March 22, 2013

Sparrow has found that its FITKids program successfully improved healthy attitudes and knowledge among students and its research will be presented at Michigan State University's Pediatric Research Day today.

The Fitness Initiative Targeting Kids (FITKids) program is designed for K-8 students and incorporates classroom and afterschool lessons to promote physical activity and nutrition. Data collected during the 2011-12 school year found significant improvement in students' perceived ability to participate in physical activity at home, to become a role model for physical activity and to eat recommended servings of fruits and vegetables.

"The FITKids program demonstrated it improves healthy attitudes and knowledge among middle school students," said R.J. Gibbs, Sparrow Health and Wellness FITKids coordinator. "While we did not directly measure behavior, these healthy attitudes are important for sustaining physical activity and nutrition behaviors that promote health in children."

Melissa Gomes, School Counselor at Lansing Sexton High School, said the program was creative and unique, and the afterschool events were in such high demand that there was a waiting list.

"The classroom lessons not only provide valuable information about making healthy choices but also incorporate content area of core subjects, including math, English and science, through hands-on application," said Sexton 7th grade math teacher Dawn Hardin.

Pediatric Research Day is hosted by Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine Department of Pediatrics and Human Development.