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With poor diet and physical inactivity being the second leading cause of preventable death, the YBH (Youth Becoming Healthy) Project was created in order to reduce the burden of childhood obesity in this community. This program was created in memory of Bernard Green, my only brother, who died in February 2004 from the effects of obesity-related illnesses. Obesity is the #2 cause of preventable death in the U.S.

This program is designed to remove all barriers to increased physical activity in middle school students and their families. The lack of education about the health risks involved in making unhealthy choices, unsafe neighborhoods that prevent children from playing outside, and the lack of neighborhood sidewalks will no longer be an excuse for sustaining this epidemic. With an estimated 129.6 billion Americans being overweight or obese and the estimated annual costs in Georgia exceeding $2.1 billion dollars, it is no wonder that this epidemic is killing us. Over 6700 Georgians died last year from obesity-related illnesses.

The YBH Project addresses this issue with students in their daily school environments. With funding from various corporations, local businesses and individuals, fitness centers have been placed in four of the six middle schools in Dougherty County. YBH programs exist at Merry Acres Middle School, Radium Middle School, Albany Middle School and Southside Middle. Dougherty Middle School is currently being revamped. YBH is planning an expansion to the one remaining public middle school by the end of 2007. Cafeteria managers are still being asked to change their menus and provide healthier choices such as salads, baked foods, and more vegetables. A successful campaign to remove unhealthy items from vending machines was implemented last school term.
YBH is now an integral component of the federally mandated school wellness policy in Dougherty County Schools.

We are also addressing the need to educate the students, teachers, and parents on proper food choices and creating an environment where local pediatricians and nutritionists are able to educate and encourage lifestyle changes in students and their families.
Certified fitness instructors serve as supervisors and train-the-trainers. Health and P.E. students from Albany State University and other volunteers and staff are presently working with approximately 350 students at the four area middle schools in an after-school fitness program. Students at Merry Acres and Albany Middle who are not part of the after school program utilize the fitness centers as part of their PE classes.

All students are taught the basics of working out in a gym environment, proper use and techniques of fitness equipment, a walking club for those who choose not to use weights, and aerobics classes for others. With additional funding, more programs and incentives will be offered, including a 6-week summer camp for a select group of participants. We firmly believe that through education, incentives, and fitness alternatives, we will see a reduced number of overweight or obese children that will also affect their families and the community as a whole.

Your support of this project will assist us in reducing this epidemic in our local youth and their families.

For more information, please visit our website: www.ybhproject.org.


Pamela Green-Jackson
Founder & CEO
P.O. Box 181
Albany, GA 31702-0181
(229) 869-6422 or 894-2953

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