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FitTogether is a partnership of the UNC Center for Public Television, The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation's (BCBSNC Foundation's) and the NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund. The FitTogether approach is a unique community action approach to fight childhood obesity. FitTogether connects resources in fitness programs, exercise facilities and counseling on nutrition and health care to the people who need them.
The FitTogether workshop integrates the National Kids Count Data, Piaget theories of child development, numerous lesson plans integrating the Read-View-Do model, receipt of a full kit which includes: videos, Max's Magical Delivery Fit for Kids DVD, Sesame Street Healthy Happy Monsters DVD or VHS, stickers, Frisbee, jump rope, a book, PBS Families magazine, Read-a-Roo plush and hand or finger puppets. Reference is made to Be Active Kids and Color Me Healthy curriculum.
Partners: Fit together grant: Health and Wellness Grant Highlights
In 2004, UNC-TV became one of twenty-one organizations funded by the North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission as part of the Fit Together initiative. UNC-TV was awarded $450,000 over a three-year period to create and broadcast social marketing messages about healthy lifestyle choices that can be viewed across North Carolina. Work to date included:
Between 2004-2006 UNC-TV created twenty-four short segments that are aired between programs. These spots, called interstitials, direct viewers to the FitTogether and UNC-TV Web sites and promote healthy lifestyle changes. Several of the interstitials have received national recognition, including two Emmy nominations, a ProMax award, and a Bronze Telly Award. In 2007, we produced another 11 interstitials to bring the total to 33. The spots are aimed at diverse audiences, including children, parents, caregivers, and policymakers. They can be viewed on all of our digital and analog channels.
The Ready To Learn outreach coordinator and trainers developed five original, interactive workshops and won the approval of the Division of Child Development to offer childcare contact hour credits to those attending the workshops. The approved courses include:
Twenty-nine workshops were held in 2005 where over 700 teachers, childcare providers, and parents learned the importance of fitness and good nutrition. We were overwhelmed by the response to our work at the 2006 NETA annual meeting, particularly to the orange, adjustable wristband with the slogan “Commit To Be Fit Together” that we created specifically for the health initiative. Public television stations in South Carolina, Florida, New Hampshire, and Minnosota asked us to share our success and come train their staff.
UNC-TV has utilized its reading mascot, Read-A-Roo, to promote healthy lifestyles. We built a car for Read-A-Roo that is fueled by fruits and veggies to show children how our bodies perform better with healthier foods. We also have built a traveling Roo Kitchen to use in conjunction with the UNC-TV's DVD entitled "Let's Go Shopping With Roo." The goal of the DVD is to teach parents and children how to select healthy foods at the grocery store. The DVD is being produced with cooperation from Earth Fare.
North Carolina Now Segments:
Each year in 2004 and 2005 we devoted two North Carolina Now segments to issues concerning the state’s childhood obesity epidemic. In 2006 we highlighted other Health and Wellness grantees in three North Carolina Now segments.
We participated in three events in 2004: the North Carolina Mountain State Fair in Fletcher, NC; the Scuppernong River Festival in Columbia, NC; and the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh, NC. At each event we distributed materials on the importance of healthy nutrition and physical activity.
In 2005, we had a booth at the North Carolina Mountain State Fair in Fletcher, NC; the North Carolina Seafood Festival in Morehead City, NC; and the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh, NC. We handed out healthy lifestyle information plus gave away 40,000 wristbands, 13,000 Frisbees, and 7,000 bookmarks. We also made laptop computers available to fairgoers so they could take an on-line health risk assessment. Participants received a print out of the results so they could discuss the findings with their physicians. They also found out their Body Mass Index (BMI) and received other helpful tips on how to incorporate more physical activity and healthy eating into their lives.
In February 2006 another Health and Wellness grant recipient, Avery County, invited us to two elementary schools, Banner Elk Elementary and Riverside Elementary. We distributed Frisbees and “Commit To Be FitTogether” bracelets along with a booklet of monthly diaries where youngsters recorded the number of fruits and vegetables they consumed, the glasses of water they drank each day, and how many minutes they engaged in physical activity.
In April we hosted a booth at the annual Azalea Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina. A month later we participated in a Wild about Wellness event held by another grant recipient in Richmond County. We distributed Frisbees and bracelets to children from nine different schools.
In June 2006, we traveled to High Point to take part in the Celebrate Our State event. September marked a 10-day stay at the North Carolina Mountain State Fair in Fletcher and in October we will host a booth at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh. We conducted an event at each of the twenty-one other Health and Wellness grantee sites. We featured Read-A-Roo and her new, specially designed car and kitchen. Reflectors for walking shoes and walking logs were distributed to encourage families to walk for fun and exercise.
We will continue to offer workshops in the community and work with partners to promote fitness and healthy eating. Just recently, we developed the new Read-a-roo's Fabulous Edible Garden app, designed for both iPad and iPhone.
UNC-TV has taken an active role and responsibility in educating the people of North Carolina about the very real epidemic of childhood obesity and how they can improve their lives through healthy choices in nutrition and physical activity.