Baptist Memorial Health Care, along with Shelby County Schools (SCS), the Pink Palace Museum, the Shelby County Health Department, Healthy Kids & Teens and B5210, started Commit to Fit in 2019 to help address childhood obesity and encourage students to establish healthy habits. A total of 24 schools participated in the inaugural Commit to Fit health challenge, and six won: Grahamwood Elementary, Westside Elementary, Memphis School of Excellence Middle, Sherwood Middle, Northwest Prep Academy and Southwind High.
Each winning school received a $1,000 grant to enhance an approved existing wellness or fitness program, create a new program or purchase wellness equipment.
Northwest Prep purchased exercise bikes, which have been very effective for counseling sessions and to help students relieve stress. Grahamwood Elementary used its funds to add structure to its physical education courses, creating highly effective activities that keep students engaged during the whole class. Westside Elementary bought tennis balls and a deluxe parachute to use during physical education.
Southwind High bought a Bluetooth audio speaker and cones to improve the delivery of the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) test, a multistage shuttle run that measures aerobic capacity. The speakers provide music for fitness stations and aerobic activities. The school also added a mobile scoreboard for Ultimate Frisbee, kickball and Wiffle ball games.
Sherwood Middle purchased items that focused on the social, physical and emotional health of its students. “Emotional health in a jar” sets, “choices in a jar” and character education have helped students use their words to describe how they feel and how to handle their emotions in a healthy way. They purchased items like jump ropes, bean bags and heart rate monitors, as well as dietary card games to help teach students to look for hidden sugars and healthy eating swaps.
To participate in the challenge and qualify for one of the winning spots, schools had to participate in one SCS Coordinated School Health event, Pink Palace Museum’s Learning Labels, and Shelby County Health Department’s School of Walk and Run and #weDONTpuff.