Step Up to Health is a wellness and mentoring program for middle schoolers in the District of Columbia to engage youth at risk of being overweight or obese in the African-American tradition of stepping. When performed two to three times per week, this intense, competitive, and enjoyable form of exercise can lead to significant full-body conditioning and weight maintenance.
Video: Step Up To Health Program
Yolandra Hancock, MD, Associated Director of the Obesity Institute, explains the Step Up To Health program, that works with students from Washington Middle School for Girls.
Step Up to Health aims to promote healthy lifestyles through nutrition and health classes and encourages students to strive for higher education. The program is incorporated into a school’s existing after-school program and is divided into three sessions:
30-minute homework session
30-minute nutrition education session which follows an age- and culturally appropriate curriculum provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institutes We Can! Program (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition)
One-hour session taught by coaches from Howard University, which exposes the students to a group of successful and motivated individuals from similar backgrounds.
Step Up to Health is currently working with the Washington Middle School for Girls and hopes to expand to more schools throughout the District of Columbia.
Additionally, the team at Children’s National is studying the program’s impact on physical fitness, diet, and obesity-related indicators.