Back to School: TTUSD, Tahoe Forest B-Fit program focuses on student health | SierraSun.com

Back to School: TTUSD, Tahoe Forest B-Fit program focuses on student health

Kelli Twomey
Special to the Sun
Cutting down on sugary drinks will be the fous of the February 2016 B-Fit program.
Courtesy Thinkstock.com | iStockphoto

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — B-Fit is an intervention program targeted at elementary students in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. The program was created to increase physical activity at school, to prevent and reduce childhood obesity, and to improve academic performance.

B-Fit incorporates physical activity into the classroom with daily “activity bursts” and provides monthly wellness challenges.

Teachers implement activity bursts from a Fit Deck within their school day as a quick energy release. Sometimes the burst is integrated into what they are learning. For example, they may work on a math problem and incorporate that into the jumping jacks they do.

Each month, there is a wellness theme and educational material to teach the students and their families the importance of good nutrition and physical activity. A (trained) parent volunteer comes into the classroom for 15 minutes each month to promote the wellness theme. Students enjoy the activity bursts and it helps them re-gain their focus to concentrate in class.

One third grade teacher stated, “The activity bursts really help! The students are more motivated knowing that in a few minutes they will be able to move. We all feel a great release of pent up energy during these times as well. When we get back to work, the students have much more focus than before. We now do our activity bursts before testing or after any long stretch of time.”

B-Fit is unique in that it combines both physical activity and nutrition education, and teaches life-long healthy behaviors. The kids have fun with the activities and see the positive difference activity makes in their lives. Students bring home handouts on the wellness theme and share the activity bursts they have learned at school.

Themes for 2015/16 are:

October: Team Health — being an active family

November: Breakfast — getting 3 or more food groups

December: Brain Breaks

January: Marketing and media — are they looking out for your health?

February: Rethink your Drink — limit sugary drinks, and dental awareness

March: Know your body — muscle mass

April: Eat Real — lose the label!

May: 10-2-1-0 — 10 hours of sleep, 2 hours or less of screen time, 1 hour of activity, 0 sugary drinks

B-Fit is a collaborative program that partners with the Tahoe Truckee community and its families. Tahoe Forest Health System developed the program and has collaborated with TTUSD to successfully implement B-Fit in our elementary schools.

TFHS takes the lead to recruit and train volunteers and provides the monthly wellness themes and educational materials. They also provide fitness decks for the activity bursts and conduct fitness testing. Parent volunteers come into the classroom and implement B-Fit.

Corine Harvey, Executive Director of Student Services shared, “The B-Fit Program is a great example of what community partnerships can accomplish. B-Fit’s combination of physical activity and nutrition education helps kids be healthier and sets them up for success in the classroom.”

To measure the effectiveness of the program, fitness testing (FITNESSGRAM) is conducted at the beginning and the end of each school year at one site.

With the B-Fit program in place, there has been an increase in the number of students in the healthy zone for Body Mass Index (BMI) and a decrease in the number of students in the needs improvement zone.

In addition, the results from the 1-mile run improved, with more students in the healthy fitness zone and fewer students in the needs improvement fitness zone.

Kelli Twomey is Coordinator of Parent & Community Relations at the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. Visit ttusd.org to learn more.