The ShapeUp program is a 12-week nutrition and physical education mentoring program that educates high school, middle school, and elementary school students about healthy eating and physical fitness. The program utilizes a "train the trainer" approach to empower high school students to become role models and health advocates in their communities.
After the Week 1 orientation, teachers, Registered Dietitians, and adult volunteers mentor high school students during weekly nutrition lessons (for 5 weeks). ShapeUp students also participate in weekly physical activity workshops, led by a certified physical trainer. They learn how to use food diaries to keep track of what they eat, how to incorporate MyPlate recommendations into their everyday life, and fun ways to stay active.
During the next 5 weeks, these same high school students mentor younger children at a nearby elementary or middle school. Using the same curriculum, they teach the students what they've learned about nutrition and exercise, reinforcing the lessons and building leadership skills.
The last week of the program is the culmination event, where all of the participating students, teachers, and mentors at each school gather together to celebrate the students' progress and reward them with certificates. Since 2006, over 5,000 students have completed the ShapeUp program.
Research supports our strategy and shows that success is more likely if:
You focus on lifestyle changes that can result in better health.
You help kids take control of their lives, rather than focus on success or failure.
You do not focus on weight loss.
You incorporate teams of people, including: physicians, psychologists, nutritionists, and family members.
Society makes changes in terms of the quantity and quality of food we make available.
People change how they relate to obese people.
Children talk to their parents about their eating habits. Mellin et al., (2002) found that family connectedness mediated the adverse effects of obesity. Children who talked to their parents about their eating habits were less likely to be involved in unhealthy behaviors and displayed less psychosocial distress.
You participate in collective activities, such as sports and club activities, which, in turn, lead to improved social ties.