Growing up obese, with obese parents, sparked my passion for fitness education. Through my summer experience as a Haney Fellow, I was able to act on this passion. When researching for my topic, I found that in the U.S over 40% of all 5th graders are obese. This number is far higher in low income families rising to 53%. Food insecurity results in far more childhood obesity as well as hinders children's endurance to complete important day to day tasks. I know that it is imperative for this problem to be fixed in low income communities because being healthy can truly change the mindset and culture of people. This hit me really close to home. Both of my parents exceeding 275 lbs I knowhow this can affect the child. I know that my parents didn't intentionally feed me poorly, just that they didn't know how to be healthy on a diet. Later on in life I realized that we got unhealthy food because we didn't have very much money and thought the healthy food was too much money. It’s completely false, Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive. The misconception that healthy= expensive was stressed in my documents I gave to people. Spreading this message was clearly something that I was very passionate in pursuing and was able to accomplish in my Haney Fellowship.
To touch on the nutrition education part of my projects. I specifically wanted to target already obese mothers. I believe the 2 main things to gain from nutrition education in low income communities, is to understand how to get healthy food on a budget, as well as resisting the temptation to get a quick meal at Mcdonalds or the Gas station which are readily available. My aunt who is a certified Diabetes Instructor (Nurse) agrees and has devoted her life to spreading awareness on how to put the right things in your body as well as resisting temptations. My mission started here. I wanted to create a gift basket with a ton of resources regarding my project. To start I got pamphlets on dieting on a budget. My aunt hoped to help me get them from a good source and get them laminated. This is the most important part, because education on topics like this is huge .To truly make a lasting impact, I wanted to teach mothers stuff. I succeeded in this, in the fact that My aunt was able to distribute these gift baskets and teach her clients about nutrition education in the process. The nutrition education aspect of my project went very well. Not just this, Many of the anonymous recipients texted me regarding the nutrition aspect of my gift basket and applauded it.
Next, my fitness education part. To start I had to bargain with atlantic fitness to get gift certificates for the recipients. My passion forthe gym came when I was 13 and started lifting weights. This became a way to lose weight as well as increase my mental health. Both of these benefits could be again crucial in the culture change of low income families. I was able to get atlantic fitness down to 28$ for the month rather than the usual 38$ per month because the owner loved my cause. I included this in the gift basket. I was able to supply 8 of these gift baskets and some of the families said they invested in another month because they enjoyed the gym. To get these people kickstarted on their fitness journey was the goal, and it was achieved. I also provided a gym bag, and stretching bands to these families. Though I offered to watch their kids, I was never taken up on this. Though I was asked to make workouts. Me and my trainer worked for hours on the perfect workouts. These were actually super fun to make!
In my project I was able to target low income families that go into my Aunt's office. I was able to give them Gym memberships, informational pamphlets, stretching bands, workout bags, and water bottles. I asked them to fill out a short survey where I determined that. Having access to the gym increases their chance to go. My time creating the gift baskets, and the time I spent making gym workouts hopefully left a lasting impact on their lives. I really enjoyed my summer of doing this. I was able to help out the majority of families from Fall River, which is near my house. I’m very glad I became a Haney fellow. I am extremely gracious of the opportunity I was given. I would like to thank Mr. Haney, Mrs. Haney, Ms. Brzys, and the Portsmouth Abbey community. This experience permanently affected my life and I'm extremely happy I had this opportunity.