Fitness Anywhere is a program dedicated to developing healthier
lifestyles in all children, even those who may be limited by income,
safety concerns, time constraints, long commutes or weather. It
is a partnership between the Duke American Medical Association Student
Section and the non-profit Fitness Forward. The core element of
the program is disseminating basic information about healthy lifestyles,
and facilitating physical activity. The FitJUMP! component of this
program seeks to encourage jump roping as physical activity that
is inexpensive and can be enjoyed in any location.
Goals of FitJUMP!:
1. Educate patients and parents about the benefits of a physically
2. Provide the instruction and equipment for physical activity that
can be conducted anywhere.
3. Encourage patients to maintain a regular schedule of physical
activity and to take responsibility for their well-being.
FitJUMP! is a partnership between primary
care providers and student volunteers. The primary care provider
identifies children with a BMI in the 85th percentile or higher;
where resources permit, all children should be engaged in the program.
Students meet with these patients while they are in the office for
a routine physical. They distribute jump ropes and instruction booklets,
discuss with the patients the benefits of physical activity, practice
jumping rope with the patient, and teach them to keep a log of their
activity. Ideally, students track patients and meet with them again
at another visit, or, if permission is given, call the patient at
home to record progress and encourage continuation.
Medical and pre-medical students are
trained prior to their involvement. Training is conducted by medical
students, under the guidance of faculty mentors and the primary
care physicians that participate. The instruction booklets, both
electronic and paper versions, will contain advice for physical
activity, such as how long to jump, what to wear, different jumping
techniques, tips for making jumping rope more enjoyable, and more.
This program can also be used to earn
points for the Coach K Drive to Fitness,
another program that will pilot in Durham Public Schools in September
2004, and encourage elementary students, parents and teachers to
be active, sleep well, watch less TV and drink healthy beverages.
There is potential for giving small rewards such as water bottles,
which are requested as donations from local businesses.
The Fitness Anywhere concept extends
beyond just jump roping, which may not be an ideal form of physical
activity for all children. The general goal is to help children
and parents learn about simple, yet consistently fun ways to stay
active regularly, in any setting, regardless of barriers to physical
activity. We are also developing a set of ‘body circuits’
for children called PediAerobics—a combination of calisthenics
and stretching put to different types of music which can also be
done in the safety of one’s home, free of charge. AutoAerobics
is being developed to help children stretch and learn about their
muscles using resistance techniques, during long car rides and commutes
There is already significant data that
indicates that physical activity, including jump roping specifically,
increases self-esteem of children. In addition, the success of Reach
Out and Read and smoking cessation programs led by physicians indicate
the value of having doctors recommend certain behaviors to patients
and/or their parents. Try FitJUMP! in your practice; we hope that
it will make a valuable difference.
E-mail us with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org