Problem Statement: Colorado children need a way to increase physical activity levels and improve nutrition so that they can live healthy lifestyles free from health-related problems.
The state of Colorado has a reputation for being the “healthiest state,” yet we also suffer from what is often called the Colorado Paradox: our state’s great quality of life attracts healthy, educated adults yet we struggle to provide that same healthy environment for many Coloradans, including children born and raised here. A lack of exercise and movement as children translates to inactive adults leading to health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
About a fifth of Colorado kids are overweight or obese. The figure for poor children is closer to a third, and even higher for African American students and Hispanic students, according to the Colorado Child Health Survey. Obesity is connected to higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, and poor self-esteem.
At STEM Launch K-8, we struggle with these issues in our community. The majority of our students walk to school from the surrounding trailer parks. Our school is in a "food desert" with a lack of healthy options nearby. We are close to a Little Caesar's and 7-11. Our students have identified that they also have a lack of options for fitness and that money and time are factors which limit their parents from exercising. Recently our local councilwoman came to talk to the students and shared that while we live in the most populated section of the city of Thornton, we have the least amount of parks and open space, which also hinders physical activity levels. These are just a few components of the problem that students have already identified, but we believe there are more. Our fourth-grade students will take an inquiry-based approach to determine how our school community can improve our nutritional intake as well as increase physical activity. The students hope to interview families and hold a Family Fit Fest where we will connect them to partners who can offer advice and resources. They also proposed developing interactive and fun brain breaks to play on announcements, especially during the high stakes test season which is coming up soon.
We will know our campaign is successful if we are able to run a consistent communication campaign which informs and motivates our community to make healthy choices. We will collect qualitative and quantitative data on the choices students make in the cafeteria as well as the activity minutes that students are logging. In addition, we will base our success on how many families come to our Family Fit Fest on May 2nd, 2019.
We will also know this campaign is successful based on the partnerships we are able to make and strengthen. So far we have partnered with our district nutrition department, who came out to talk to the kids. We have also partnered with Fuel Up to Play 60 and have an assembly scheduled for the Bronco's mascot to come out and talk to the kids about the importance of movement.