The Moose Tracks Across America program, a collaborative effort between Alamosa Elementary and Valley-Wide Health Systems, is tackling obesity through movement and healthy behaviors. The programs goal is to motivate “Mini Moose” students and teachers to participate in a daily 60 minutes of physical activity during school hours as a means to combat childhood obesity, which is a concerning medical problem for many Colorado youth. According to LiveWellColorado.org:
“One in four kids in Colorado is overweight or obese. While Colorado remains the leanest state in the nation for adult obesity, our childhood obesity rate continues to be among the fastest growing. Childhood obesity rates have sharply increased in the past several decades. Nearly one in four children in Colorado are either overweight or obese and Hispanic children are much more likely to be overweight obese, 35.2%, compared with 19.6% of non-Hispanic white children.
Valley-Wide Health Systems Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Phillip Mendoza, started the Moose Tracks Across America program in April of 2014. The program integrates the walking program into the curricula and implements a tracking system to collect specific data. Valley-Wide Health Systems and Alamosa Elementary are also working jointly to develop a non food awards program to recognize student achievement.
Last summer, Valley-Wide purchased 2,000 pedometers for Alamosa Elementary students, but many were lost or broken. The pedometers that weren’t lost or broken provided some data which was collected from August through December 2014. Since then Dr. Mendoza and Jason Romero, an Alamosa Elementary physical education teacher, adjusted the program and acquired Fitbits for third grade teachers to help improve student and staff engagement. Dr. Mendoza will analyze the Fitbit data next month and looks forward to growing the program through participation and nutrition-based learning opportunities.