ICQ 2003/1



Working out a School Fitness Program

"It's in direct response to the 'epidemics' of obesity and diabetes in American youth," says Mary Bentley, chair of the Department of Health Promotion and Human Movement. She's talking about two new, school-based initiatives in which HPHM faculty and students are working with children in the Ithaca City School District to increase physical activity and promote nutritious food choices. Thanks to a collaborative teacher education initiative with local schools and a one-year, $188,000 PEP (Physical Education for Progress) grant from the U.S. Department of Education in collaboration with the Department of Health, several IC health education, physical education, and community health classes are working with students at Boynton and DeWitt Middle Schools and Ithaca High School to assess their fitness and advise them on making healthy food choices.

ICSD's Jane Holcomb Bryant '78, M.S. '92, works with a student on fitness assessment.

First, as an outgrowth of the All-College Teacher Education Committee work, the school is working with Boynton faculty to create professional development programs tailored to the middle school. The School of H&S will join in some of this work; faculty members Gary Fountain in English education and Zenon Wasyliw in history are working with HPHM to develop curricular and faculty research initiatives in collaboration with Boynton teachers. Students from six HPHM courses have field classes at Boynton; nearly 100 students in total will be involved in working to influence middle school students' nutritional choices through assignments, projects, and joint activities.

"The idea is to promote an increase in physical activity and fitness levels, particularly targeting sixth-graders," says Bentley. "The Ithaca students will conduct health and fitness assessments and discuss the results with individual students. We're creating other activities to support students in adopting new health behavior. We're also adding a component on harassment this semester. Our mission [in health, physical, and community health education] is to follow best practices in disease prevention and health promotion. Primary to this goal is fostering lifelong fitness and nutritional choices that will lead to a longer and better-quality life."

The PEP grant grew from an initial collaboration between IC faculty members Deb Wuest and Kim Fontana and the Ithaca schools' physical education teacher Jane Holcomb Bryant '78, M.S. '92, director of athletics and physical health education Bill Bryant '76, [former Boynton principal] Craig Evans '84, and HPHM chair Mary Bentley. The grant was written by Wuest and Holcomb Bryant, who were professor and student when Holcomb Bryant was a student at Ithaca College many years ago. The grant funds a comprehensive program called PACE (Physical Activity in Community Education), which, says Bentley, "is to assess students' current levels of health and fitness and provide the instruction and skill development necessary to develop and maintain lifelong behaviors that promote health. It will eventually be a K-12 program using pedometers in elementary school and the tri-fit (battery of health and fitness assessments) in middle school and high school."

All the HPHM faculty are now involved in the program, and Ithaca College students from many classes will be working in it as well. "It's truly interdisciplinary," says Bentley. "For example, family and consumer science teachers from the schools are working with IC professors, who are working with middle school math teachers. It integrates the curricula, both here at IC and down in local schools. It's a great example of best practices at work."

Golfing Despite Disability

Golf inspires passion. And having a disability shouldn't preclude anyone from playing the game, as participants in a fall semester HPHM-cosponsored "Learn to Golf" clinic learned. Assistant professor Christine Hopple's Adapted Physical Education and Sport class cohosted the clinic for individuals with disabilities, interested professionals, and students from the Departments of HPHM and Therapeutic Recreation and Leisure Services. The all-day workshop attracted more than 30 IC students from both majors, as well as rehabilitation professionals, people involved in developing prosthetic devices, and clients from both IC's interdisciplinary Center for Life Skills and Rehabilitation Center in New Hartford, New York. Cosponsors were the Department of Therapeutic Recreation and Leisure Services and Access to Independence of Cortland County, an independent living resource center.

Led by Bob Buck, executive director of the Eastern Amputee Golf Association (EAGA), the workshop introduced participants to the sport of adapted golf. Buck demonstrated a variety of adaptive equipment available to individuals with disabilities and gave participants the chance to try this equipment out on the grass.


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A. Ozolins, Ithaca College Office of Publications, 25 April, 2003