Operation Fit: Improving Health and Wellness in Schools
Operation Fit is a healthy community initiative that was initiated due to high obesity rates and the high level of students on free and reduced lunch.
The goal of Operation Fit is to decrease childhood obesity while inspiring kids to be more active.
A pilot Mileage Club program was launched in one local school, with the goal of inspiring kids to be more active and reduce obesity. After the initial success of the pilot program, additional programming was added to the Mileage Club and it was expanded to additional schools.
The key priorities of Operation Fit are to:
To increase physical activity for students at school, Operation Fit provides morning movements, structured morning activity on playgrounds, brain breaks, active play at recess, and the Mileage Club.
Operation Fit improves nutrition and lunch environments in schools by collaborating with school administration, staff, and community health partners. The program educates schools on healthy options, creates access to fresh produce, and provides sample tastings of healthy food.
Additionally, school staff and student wellness teams were created to improve support among teachers and students to improve the communication in disseminating health education peer-to-peer and gaining feedback. Student wellness teams help staff distribute and promote wellness challenges by making posters and getting the word out to fellow classmates.
School staff and student wellness teams participate in monthly challenges including:
Operation Fit has supported a school environment that has a positive influence in the development of healthy behaviors by encouraging a healthy lifestyle and encouraging parents to continue the message at home.
Operation Fit engages both participants and the larger community in its efforts. Students and teachers are engaged through the wellness teams which help to define each school’s activities and provide feedback to Operation Fit.
Operation Fit also engages the larger community by partnering with local organizations. One example is a partnership with Fire Keepers, Bronson Battle Creek, and Schweitzer Construction, who started a Food Cart program at three Battle Creek sites. Every week food is donated to the schools and to New Level Sports Ministries, an afterschool program serving underprivileged children.
Angela Stewart, Community Initiate Officer
Battle Creek Community Foundation and BCVision