How an agency started a company that is leading the way in treating childhood obesity.

Activity Works

Activity Works combines movement with classroom teaching to help kids learn while they burn calories.

Problem

The CDC estimates that over 30% of kids are obese. Unless trends are reversed, by 2030, that number will rise to 40%. Obesity increases children’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and type 2 diabetes in later stages of their lives. Further, evidence strongly suggests that physical activity affects learning. Children who are inactive are less focused and more disruptive while at school.

To fight rising obesity rates, North Shore LIJ sought a partner to help increase physical activity among children in the region.

Solution

One way to combat rising obesity rates is through encouraging physical activity in schools. However, with budget cuts, overcrowding, the time impact of testing requirements and a lack of gym and outdoor space, the traditional means of getting school-based physical activity are disappearing. After extensive research, North Shore LIJ and Princeton Partners developed a program that increases physical activity in schools by merging fitness with classroom instruction. The program, Activity Works, is a series of audio and video adventures

Schools now have a fun, effective solution for childhood obesity that fit seamlessly into their programs.

Results

In three years, the Activity Works pilot program has spread to school districts throughout New Jersey and into New York City. It has been used in over 3,000 classrooms with 150,000 kids and has encouraged kids to burn over 2,100,000 hours through moderate-to-vigorous activity. The Activity Works web site now brings the experience into kids’ homes. Kids can create avatars, set personal goals, and compete with their friends to receive rewards for success. Parents and teachers can work with kids to set healthy goals and keep them on track, inspiring the adoption of lifelong, healthy habits.