Operation Fit- Battle Creek, MI

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Project at a Glance

  • Issue Area Education and youth, Health equity
  • Engagement Approaches Engaging traditionally marginalized groups, Youth Engagement
Project Description

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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.

Project Summary:
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:

  • Increase physical activity of kids;
  • Improve the nutrition and lunch environment; and
  • Cultivate health support systems in schools and in the community.

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:

  • Fitness: by incorporating increased physical activity among teams
  • Mental health: by sharing and practicing different methods for managing or relieving stress, and effective coping methods
  • Nutrition: challenging teams to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables in their daily lives.

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.

Engagement Strategies:

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. 


  • Operation fit has served six local elementary schools with 1,684 students participating in the program. Of these students, 70% were eligible for free lunch.
  • Since 2018, all schools evaluation scores have increased by an average of 78.75-point improvement which includes positive improvement in: physical testing (PACER), student exercise and eating habits and teacher support.
  • Operation Fit and Mileage Club concluded 2018 with 20 participating schools with a total of 6,341 students involved and a combined total of 28,023.77 miles or 4.42 miles per student.
  • Over 18,022 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, and 1,221 cases of healthy snacks have been handed out to students and their families.
  • Over 2,967 students, families, and friends have attended educational cooking demonstrations with sample tastings and take home ingredients.

Additional Resources:
Operation Fit website
Battle Creek, MI- 2019 AAC Winner: Presentation

Local Contact:
Angela Stewart, Community Initiate Officer
Battle Creek Community Foundation and BCVision
[email protected]

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