Due to budget cuts and stagnant education funding, many kids in Eagle County Schools (ECS) do not have access to alternative, affordable physical fitness activities outside of school. Meanwhile, during the school day, ECS students receive an average of 50 minutes of physical education during the week, or just 22.5 hours of structured activity per academic year. The results are startling. As a result, the obesity rate continues to steadily climb; one in four children in Eagle County is now overweight or obese.
While low-income families face the same challenges as higher-income households when combating sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy food choices, they must also overcome additional obstacles of restricted time, fewer resources, and limited access to health and wellness opportunities. Although the child poverty rate is 14 percent, the cost of living in Eagle County is more than 300 percent above the Federal Poverty Level. YouthPower365 works every day to remove the barriers to health and wellness for families and children, especially at-risk, disadvantaged youth.
Since 2009, KidSTRONG has offered additional physical activity opportunities as an enrichment portion of an after school program spanning 21 weeks during the school year. KidSTRONG recreational opportunities include organized gym time, soccer leagues and archery among many others. In the 2015-2016 school year, YouthPower365 partnered with Vail Rec District to offer Nordic Skiing within KidSTRONG. The program successfully provided access to a snow sport for 34 students who would not previously have had the opportunity. All recreational activities are required to deliver at least 45 minutes of physical activity, half of that being moderate to vigorous intensity. In addition, a one week nutrition curriculum created by a certified nutritionist is a requirement of the program.
KidSTRONG’s success is due in large part to a grant from