Kristin Fontaine is a pediatric outreach coordinator at the UVM Medical Center’s office of Community Health Improvement.

Kristin Fontaine is a pediatric outreach coordinator at the UVM Medical Center’s office of Community Health Improvement.

Jack’s face is flushed as he leaves the playing field, but he’s got a huge smile on his face. He high-fives a member of his team and revels in their narrow 2-1 victory over the other team. He’s just completed a game of soccer, but you won’t see this version in the upcoming World Cup.

The players completed the game doing the crab walk the entire time.

They giggled and shuffled their way through the game. “Crab-walk soccer” is just one of the fun ways PT360 athletic trainers, in partnership with the University of Vermont Medical Center, are getting this group of Colchester Middle School students moving in the Fit to Win! Program (TM). Dodge ball is also popular as is the strength training the group does with resistant bands and an exercise ball.

Finding creative ways to get students moving, reduce stress and make healthy choices was the impetus for the partnership among the University of Vermont Medical Center, PT360, and the Colchester school system. We wanted to test out a few new programs. The Fit to Win! Program (TM) is offered after school at Colchester Middle School. Additionally, an after-school mindfulness program takes place at Mallett’s Bay Elementary School.

Both programs are aimed at helping students get active and deal with stress. Fit To Win! (TM) Is targeted to middle school students who are not involved in organized sports. Middle school is a time when students might find themselves more independent – and for some, this equates to making less healthy choices: more screen time and poor food choices.

Yet another innovative program builds upon the already successful Colchester summer reading program. In this new program, children will receive a log, stopwatch, jump rope, and a few other tools to help them build physical activity into their daily lives. Five minutes of jump roping here, another 10 minutes of sprints there and you find you’ve met the recommended 60 minutes of day. Students who join this physical fitness activity program will be entered into a raffle for fun prizes at the end of the summer. Look for the launch of this program at the Colchester Farmer’s Market on June 25!

The obesity epidemic is concerning, but with fun, innovative programs like Fit to Win! (TM) and a summer activity program, we are looking for ways to help young people make choices that will keep them healthy for the long run.

Kristin Fontaine, MPH, is a pediatric outreach coordinator with the UVM Medical Center’s Community Health Improvement office, which offers programs including free blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, home safety screenings, the child passenger safety seat program, health assistance program, and much more. 

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