The University of California at Los Angeles Health's Sound Body Sound Mind program is helping children and teens in underserved areas achieve better fitness, according to a press release from UCLA Health.
One in 5 school-age children is obese, which poses serious health risks, according to the release. UCLA's program has installed fitness centers in more than 130 middle schools and high schools in California, Florida, Massachusetts and Colorado.
A number of Los Angeles schools adopted the program last school year, serving 15,000 students. Research by UCLA showed that more students were able to pass the state-mandated fitness test because of the program.
Before the equipment was installed in 12 schools, only 37.8 percent of students passed the fitness exam, the release said. In just eight weeks of the program, 57.3 percent of students passed. In one school, the passing rate went from 38 percent to 81 percent. Researchers tested 100 students at each school.
“Our population, and especially our young people, are getting heavier, and it’s extremely troubling,” Dr. David McAllister, a UCLA orthopedic surgeon and a member of the Sound Body Sound Mind academic advisory council, said in the release. “Obesity leads to chronic diseases that require medication and can have major health consequences. In many cases, these are preventable with diet and exercise.”