Riverside County Children Learning That Nutrition and Physical Activity Can Be Rewarding
The YMCA of Riverside County recently completed two sessions of Earn a Bike, its growing health awareness program targeted at educating underserved elementary school students in proper nutrition and the importance of physical activity. The recent graduates who received a free, brand new bike courtesy of the YMCA for completing the 8-week education program are students from Lakeland Elementary in Lake Elsinore and Tovashal Elementary students whose program was supported by the nearby Murrieta Family YMCA.
Cumulative results from previously completed Earn a Bike sessions have demonstrated the effectiveness of the program. Average times for kids in the shuttle run and mile decreased significantly from start date to end date (as much as 25%) and exercises such as curl-ups, push-ups, and sit-ups had improvements of up to 98%. Another important indicator of success for the program which aims to lower the rate of childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in the community is body mass index (BMI), or the measure of body fat based on height and weight. Participants in the program have decreased their BMI by 3% in just 8 weeks, another testament to the importance of eating right and exercising regularly.
Of course, the program would not have the desired effect of long lasting health and wellness without the on-going participation of both parents and students after the 8 week session is complete. To help support that effort, parents must also participate in the program by attending two nutrition classes and the kids who successfully graduate receive a brand new bike, helmet, and lock so they can continue to live an active lifestyle.
Take an inside look at the Earn a Bike program in other southern California communities:
The Earn a Bike program would not be able to make an impact in these underserved areas without the support of private grants from organizations like Pacific Life Foundation, Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, The Salah Foundation, Target, and Snyder-Langston. Additional funding for the program has been generously donated by the community during the YMCA’s Annual Campaign which will kick off next year on January 28th, 2016. This is a time when people can really help the most through their volunteer efforts and fundraising for many of the youth sports and youth development programs that will take place throughout the year in Riverside County.
If you would like to make a year-end tax deductible gift to this program, please click here.
Read the full press release here.