Family Health

Commit to Fit Challenge Helps Students Improve Health and Wellness

Jan 14 • 2019
Commit to Fit Challenge Helps Students Improve Health and Wellness

Shelby County Schools’ Students Commit to Fitness

Childhood obesity is a growing health concern among parents in the United States. To challenge obesity and overweight and encourage healthier behaviors among children, Baptist Memorial Health Care is partnering with Shelby County Schools and other not-for-profit organizations.

Schools can enroll in the Commit to Fit challenge—an initiative designed to promote physical activity, healthy eating and first aid skills.

“Commit to Fit is a community-wide health and fitness challenge that is open to schools in Shelby County,” said Cynthia Allen, system community involvement manager for Baptist Memorial Health Care. “The goal is to engage school leaders, our children and their families in fun wellness activities.” 

Sponsors include Baptist Memorial Health Care, Shelby County Schools’ Coordinated School Health, the Shelby County Health Department, the Pink Palace Museum, Healthy Kids and Teens and B5210. The program aims to motivate students to get healthy and track their yearlong progress.

“Schools can participate in friendly competition to improve student wellness,” said Allen. “At the end of the school year, there will be six winners. Each winning school will receive a $1,000 grant to enhance an approved existing health and wellness program, create a new program or purchase equipment for the well-being of students.”

Learning About Food Labels

“One of our Commit to Fit programs is the Learning Labels initiative, in which 25 classes come to the Pink Palace Museum to learn about healthy eating and nutrition,” said Allen.

Funded by Baptist, the interactive classes help students learn about good and bad fats, simple and complex carbohydrates, portions and serving sizes, proteins and more.

While children in grades 4–6 learn to make healthy food choices, teachers walk away from the program with curriculum information and ideas from Pink Palace Museum educators. According to Allen, community members benefit too.

“We also have four toolkits at the Pink Palace Museum that are available for checkout year-round at no cost,” said Allen. “Individuals, community groups and schools can check out a toolkit to learn or better understand the components of nutrition labels.”

Running, Walking and Staying Smoke-free

Students participating in the Commit to Fit program must also get out and stay active. With support from the Shelby County Health Department, the School of Walk and Run of Tennessee challenges children to start walking or running clubs at school.

“Participating schools receive a pedometer and a map to help students track their steps during physical activity,” said Allen. “The map showcases community landmarks, parks and the locations of colleges and universities. It not only promotes fitness but also local history and college readiness.”

As part of their enrollment in Commit to Fit, students also take an anti-tobacco pledge to help make this generation the first smoke-free generation in history. The Shelby County Health Department initiative #WeDontPuff educates students about the health risks associated with tobacco and nicotine.

“Tobacco is harmful for children, teens and adults,” said Allen. “Through Commit to Fit, this partnership educates Shelby County youth about the life-long consequences of smoking and vaping.”

Valuable Skills for Students and Families

Beyond physical activity, nutrition education and encouragement for living a smoke-free lifestyle, students who participate in the Commit to Fit challenge can get CPR training and learn first-aid skills. Sponsored by Baptist, this segment of the program teaches valuable skills early in life.

“We want to empower students with life-saving skills and the training to take action in an emergency,” said Allen.

While Commit to Fit gives students the opportunity to learn about safety and wellness at school, it also provides health-related events and activities for the whole family, such as family fitness nights, a Commit to Fit conference and wellness lectures.

“Shelby County Schools’ Coordinated Health program will also host an event for families to get involved and support participating students,” said Allen. “Attendees can learn how to make health a priority for the family. When we come together, we can make a greater impact on the lives of our children.”

To learn more about the Commit to Fit Challenge or to register your school, visit the Commit to Fit page. Learn more about pediatric services at Baptist, or find a doctor by visiting the Find a Physician page.