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