OCDE teams with Kaiser Permanente, St. Jude to bring Fit Kid Centers to schools (video)

Chris Corliss wants kids to move more and eat healthy.

And that’s precisely why he started the Orange County Department of Education’s Move More Eat Healthy at School initiative, which aims to make both choices a little easier for students across the county.

Developed by the OCDE’s Center for Healthy Kids and Schools, the MMEH intervention model is based on national research that recommends daily classroom breaks for physical activity, regular fitness-based physical education sessions and the consistent reinforcement of healthy eating messages.

To accomplish these goals, the center has distributed about 400 classroom Fit Kits that can be used by elementary school teachers with little to no prep time, engaging students in brain-boosting physical activity breaks and other learning activities that focus on health and fitness.

Meanwhile, with the help of sponsors Kaiser Permanente and St. Jude Medical Center, Corliss and his staff have also installed 18 Fit Kid Centers at area schools, transforming empty classrooms into teacher-friendly student fitness centers that require little in the way of preparation or set-up time. Each one is scheduled, allowing all classes to use them two to three times throughout the week, similar to a computer lab. Corliss says Fit Kid Centers deliver 30 minutes of fun and engaging DVD-based exercise sessions, rotating small groups through six student-centered, self-directed stations.

Each station promotes standards-based learning that requires students to interact with informational text, practice new motor skills and perform health-related fitness activities like those measured on the state’s Physical Fitness Test.

“Our goal is to help kids get at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity and make better food and beverage choices, before, during and after school,” says Corliss, an OCDE program coordinator. “The evidence is clear that when kids eat healthy and get enough physical activity, they have better overall health, and they benefit from improved on-task behavior, reduced absenteeism and increased academic achievement.”

To see the Fit Kid Centers that recently opened in La Habra schools, check out the brief video above. To learn more about the Move More Eat Healthy at School program, click here, or contact Corliss at ccorliss@ocde.us.