The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri: women building better communities.
By: Gina Stingley, Director of Community Impact, 2013-14
A new report published last week from the New England Journal of Medicine says one in eight US kindergarteners is obese. By 5th grade, that number jumps to one in five. And researchers say prevention may be the best medicine in helping to combat this epidemic.
To do our part in prevention, the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri is providing funds for a fitness instructor to train middle school students at University Academy this spring. Kri Chay, a certified trainer and owner of Urban HIIT FITT, will work with up to 20 students per session in a non-traditional boot camp geared toward improving overall fitness and well-being. Chay’s program was recently featured in an article in the Kansas City Star.
“The goal of this is to keep the kids moving, learning, having fun and experiencing fitness as a lifestyle and not a chore,” Chay says. “I know we can help the kids learn that.”
Using inexpensive equipment such as stability balls, resistance bands and agility cones, Chay’s classes will offer variation in cardio, balance and agility training. His program will also provide baseline and end-of-program measurements so the students can track their improvement.
The fitness programming is just one layer of a multi-tiered approach to raising awareness about the issues of childhood obesity at University Academy. As part of the Healthy U program, League members are also providing healthy eating options through BackSnacks, Family Dinners and Nutrition Club programs, classroom education and even healthy food production through an on-site community garden. With four years of programming underway, the Junior League’s efforts have proven fruitful: Superintendent Tony Kline reports a 24% reduction in obesity rates and also increased test scores in correlation with timing of Junior League involvement at the school.
We are proud of the generational change we are making at University Academy – and we will have lots more to report at the end of the semester, post Chay boot camp class, so stay tuned!