GYM: Guiding Youth Movement for Sustained, Healthy Futures

GYM: Guiding Youth Movement for Sustained, Healthy FuturesGYM: Guiding Youth Movement for Sustained, Healthy FuturesGYM: Guiding Youth Movement for Sustained, Healthy Futures

Photos (left to right): youth participants, health advocates and steering committee members pose for a picture during one of the 10 weekly youth physical activity/education sessions; health advocates teach youth about nutrition; youth participants and trainer participate in 5K Deer Run.

Community Partners

  • Pastor Will Davis - Greater New Birth Church
  • Judy Springer, PhD - Milwaukee Area Technical College

MCW Partners

  • Jeffrey Morzinski, PhD - Department of Family & Community Medicine
  • Melissa DeNomie, MS - Department of Family & Community Medicine

Funder

Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program Cycle 5 (Funding period: July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010)

Project Overview

The purpose of this project is to develop and pilot a framework for increasing and sustaining youth physical activity and health career choices within a faith community in inner-city Milwaukee. This innovative project:

  • Trains health advocates to lead physical activity and nutrition programs for at-risk youth
  • Develops organizational structures within the church community to promote health sustaining activity and career choices

Methods

Health Advocate Training
Eight adults (2 men, 6 women) from GNB Church joined the GYM team as Health Advocates. They participated in training, taught and mentored youth participants. Health Advocates attended a 6-week training. Topics included: GYM program introduction and overview, spirituality and health, human subjects protection (IRB issues), program challenges/program sustainability, importance of physical activity and nutrition and fitness in hi-risk settings.

Evaluation included a program-end retrospective pre-post- survey to determine the effectiveness of the program at meeting nine identified objectives.

Youth Physical Activity Program
The GYM Youth program enrolled 24 students to participate in ten weekly sessions, each including physical activity and educational components. Youth received support, training and instruction from a cadre of skilled adults: physical trainers, GYM steering committee members, the GYM Health Advocates and MATC students pursuing education in various health careers.

Evaluation included weekly session evaluations, a retrospective pre-post -survey and regular completion of a perceived exertion scale to determine participants' tolerance for physical activity.

Conclusion
This pilot study indicates preliminary highly promising outcomes on physical activity and nutrition for youth in a medically underserved urban Milwaukee community. Outcomes were supported by strong pastoral leadership and health advocates who strengthened skills to positively influence health. Innovative measurement tools show promise for future activity-based applications. Most importantly a promising and potentially powerful health partnership was initiated.

Program Highlights:

  • Youth were invited to participate in the 5K Deer Run following the completion of the 10-week youth physical activity/education program.
  • Youth volunteered at the Greater New Birth Church annual blood drive to learn more about health careers.
  • MATC students regularly attended youth physical activity/education sessions to teach students about health career fields of study.

Additional information about the GYM Project

MCW News Article about GYM

Poster prepared for 2010 National Wellness Conference 2010 (winner of the National Wellness Conference Theme Poster Award of Excellence)

Poster prepared for 2010 MCW Department of Family & Community Medicine Research Forum

GYM: Guiding Youth Movement for Sustained, Healthy FuturesGYM: Guiding Youth Movement for Sustained, Healthy FuturesGYM: Guiding Youth Movement for Sustained, Healthy Futures

Photos (left to right): youth participant reports back to full group about his experience helping at the Greater New Birth Church annual blood drive; youth participant participates in the Deer Run 5k run; youth participants volunteer at Graeter New Birth Church annual blood drive.

For more information about this project, contact Melissa DeNomie at mdenomie@mcw.edu or at (414) 456-8867.

Medical College of Wisconsin
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226
(414) 955-8296
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Page Updated 02/10/2015
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