"I liked wearing the pedometers and seeing how many steps I did each day."
4th grade student
How many steps does a child need daily to stay healthy and fit? Third through fifth grade students at several Baltimore City Public Schools know, thanks to Get Fit Kids. Get Fit Kids is a 12-week, pedometer-based walking program which teaches children the importance of daily physical activity.
With over 60 percent of our nation's adults and 20 percent of Maryland children overweight, obesity is one of the nation's top health priorities. To prevent the spread of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer, UMMC joined with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Merritt Athletic Clubs to launch Get Fit Maryland™ 5 years ago. Get Fit Maryland originally targeted adults and encouraged them to get 10,000 steps a day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The program also advocated a healthy diet and offered monthly incentives to motivate participants.
The adult program was so popular with over 10,000 adults participating over the early years, that a children's version was launched in 2008. In 2009, the program was offered in 5 public schools in Baltimore with over 400 children participating. Healthy snack ideas and "shopping" for healthy food choices was an integral part of the children's program as well. By partnering with the Ray Lewis Foundation, children who completed the program were rewarded by attending the annual Ray Lewis' Fitness Clinic, where children had a chance to work out with the famous Ravens linebacker. Children logged in over 90 million steps in the Get Fit Kids program, most of them well over the recommended 13,000 steps per day target.