Best Practice

Tackling childhood obesity in the USA

5 | 2 | 2014

A fitness scheme backed by American Olympians is leading the fight against childhood obesity across the United States.

Created in 2006, the World Fit Walk programme is a walking and exercise project seeking to end childhood obesity and improve attitudes towards health and fitness. Aimed at children aged between nine and 13, it involves 40 minutes of daily exercise over a six-week period. The miles walked by students are then logged and measured in friendly competition between participating schools.

Created by Gary Hall Snr, President of the US Olympians Association and multiple Olympic medallist, the project sees Olympians act as mentors to the participating children promoting sport, exercise and the Olympic values of perseverance, respect and fair play. Teachers and parents also take part in World Fit Walks as part of an effort to bring communities together.

In 2013, 72 schools across the US participated in the scheme and together they walked a total of 1,867,383 miles during the six-week program. So far, since the first World Fit Walk in 2009, 83,723 students from across America have logged a total of 6,901,397 miles.

Gary Hall Snr, said: “The World Fit project is something that we are very proud of and with continued endeavour and hard work we hope to grow the initiative even further.

“It’s great to also have Olympians at the heart of the project. They are the ones who provide the spark and the inspiration for young children and it’s great to see them engaging with the community.”