Fit2Change, a nonprofit 501(c) organization, is committed to reversing the epidemic of childhood obesity by bringing fitness and nutrition programs to Maryland's at-risk and homeless children. We believe that every child, regardless of his or her social, economic, or environmental circumstances, deserves to live a healthy life and develop good nutrition and fitness habits.
Nearly 2,500 homeless children live in Maryland shelters and nearly 1/3 of them are overweight or obese1 Children within this vulnerable population are at increased risk of developing obesity-related conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Beyond serious health consequences, overweight or obese children likely experience social stigma that often result in developing a negative self-image. Without access to on-site volunteer nutrition and fitness programs, sheltered children develop poor or excessive eating habits and get inadequate amounts of physical activity 2.
Fit2Change is working to bring on-site fitness and nutrition programs to children living in shelters/transitional housing programs to prevent or combat obesity. Through participation in group fitness and healthy cooking classes, children can develop habits to improve their physical health and self-esteem, and reduce mental and emotional stress.
Fit2Change will partner with Maryland shelters/transitional housing programs and local, state, and federal programs to bring programs that restore a sense of health and well-being in at-risk and homeless children. Our programs integrate four key components:
Move! Home Cooking I.M.A.G.E DonationSources
Childhood Hunger and Homelessness, number, percent, and ranking: Children in the States 2014: Maryland Factsheet. Data query from the Child Research Data Publications, Childrens Defense Fund website. Retrieved 9/17/2014 from www.childrensdefense.org. http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/data/state-data-repository/cits/2014/2014-maryland-children-in-the-states.pdf
Initiatives: Fighting Obesity and Hunger, factors contributing to overweight and obesity. Data query from the Food Research and Action Center website. Retrieved 9/22/2014 from www.frac.org. http://frac.org/initiatives/hunger-and-obesity/what-factors-contribute-to-overweight-and-obesity/
Portion sizes have also exploded- they are now two to five times bigger than they were in years past. Beverage portions have grown as well- in the mid-1970s, the average sugar-sweetened beverage was 13.6 ounces compared today, kids think nothing of drinking 20 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverages at a time.