PROMOTING A CULTURE OF HEALTH AND FITNESS FOR CHILDREN
World Fit is a walking programme for elementary and middle school students, which includes teachers, family and friends.
|Organisation||World Fit Foundation, Inc.
||2009 – ongoing
|Target group age
||8-13 years old
||Approx. 30,000 students in 2012
||A combination of national and community corporate partners, Foundation grants and individual donors including Sanofi Aventis, Platinum Performance, United Health Group, and Dole Foods
||In 2012, 68 schools participated in the programme in the USA. Collectively, they logged in 2.2 million miles in the six-week competition. Some 75% of those miles were attributed to sport and exercise, while 25% were recorded from the daily school walk.
The World Fit Foundation is an independent non-profit organisation based in Florida. World Fit is a fitness initiative targeting students in schools from ages 8 to 13. An Olympian is assigned to a school to help motivate and inspire the students. At the heart of the World Fit programme is the World Fit Walk, a six-week competition among schools each spring (April/May) to determine which has the fittest students. All sports and exercises are converted to equivalent walking miles (km) and count towards the competition. The objective of the Foundation is to make World Fit a global programme.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
Participation of Olympians and Paralympians
Olympians/Paralympians “adopt” a middle school, speak to the student body about personal fitness and kick off the first day of the World Fit Walk. Each Olympian/Paralympian may adopt up to three schools in the region where he or she lives and will return to each school to give a 15-minute presentation every year.
The World Fit Walk
Every year for six weeks, students participate in a daily walking programme, where the numbers of miles walked (or jogged, or run) is logged each day and totalled. All walking occurs on the school campus on a measured course and is supervised by teachers. On the organisation’s website, schools and students can read inspirational stories about Olympians and their student peers, register for the Walk, log their daily miles throughout the Walk and the remainder of the year and post photos for other students to see.
World Fit Awards
At the completion of the World Fit Walk programme, students who reach a minimum of 60 miles receive a World Fit certificate for their achievement signed by the Olympian or Paralympian, the Athletic Director and the Principal of the school. Students that reach 120 miles logged during the six-week Walk receive President’s Active Lifestyle Award certificates. Twenty-five Olympic-style medals are given to each participating school to award to their top students. The Olympian may also choose to present the awards to the students, depending on availability.
World Fit Foundation, Inc.
SPORT FOR ALL OBJECTIVES
Promote sport and physical activity
The World Fit mission is to promote a culture of health and fitness for children. Specifically, World Fit is concerned with the reduction of childhood obesity. The programme strives to eradicate both childhood obesity and the enormous toll obesity has taken on families, society and healthcare systems. In 2012, 68 schools participated in the USA including a total of approximately 30,000 students.
Foster Olympic legacy
World Fit also aims at connecting Olympians and Paralympians to the youth and to further the Olympic values and awareness through role models and inspirational messaging. Through Olympian and Paralympian participation, World Fit pairs mentors with schools to inspire their students about the importance of health, fitness and the Olympic values of perseverance, respect and fair play.
HOW IS THE PROGRAMME COMMUNICATED?
Communication is achieved through a mix of different channels and relies on a strong social community around the programme that facilitates the involvement of Olympians, families and students, helps community leaders’ work more effectively, and acts as a repository for exercise data and survey information tied to the ongoing research of the programme’s effectiveness.
HOW IS THE PROGRAMME EVALUATED?
Annual surveys of each participating school are conducted on line and ongoing research of programme efficacy is being planned.