The Baltimore Fitness Academy (BMoreFit) trains and inspires elementary students and teachers to learn the value of healthy living, where the budget for physical education is underfunded. Our mission is to equip our teachers with the skills and materials needed to engage and motivate their students in physical movement, which has the added benefit of helping students to focus during their academic lessons. We work to ensure that our students understand the long-term benefits of living a healthy lifestyle, thus decreasing the possibility of long range health problems. In this way, our program goes beyond the classroom – our monthly newsletters provide entire families with information central for adopting a healthy lifestyle.
BMoreFit was founded in 2011 as a response to Baltimore’s growing obesity rates among African-American and Hispanic youth and the eradication of physical education programs in Baltimore City schools. BMoreFit's goal is to build a culture of fitness in underfunded, low-income Baltimore schools. We achieve this by providing fitness and wellness education that helps to build healthy lifestyles for underserved children and their families who are at-risk for obesity. Our intervention increases each school’s ability to promote active living by training teachers to implement ten-minute fitness breaks throughout the day in elementary classrooms. In addition to our coach led fitness breaks, the BMoreFit Teacher Toolkit was developed in order to equip teachers with the knowledge and skills to increase physical activity sessions during the school day. This scalable approach provides role models for active living, helps children meet their daily recommended physical activity minutes, and creates a sustainable culture of health and fitness.
BMoreFit focuses on kindergarten through fifth grade students, but also includes the entire family in fitness education. We instill in our students the healthy living habits that will help them become successful, healthy, and physically active adults. “The science is clear. Physical activity does more than create good health. It contributes to leadership, productivity, and innovation. It lowers depression and crime, increases education and income levels, and generates return to business. It unleashes human potential, and this is what drives economies forward” (Designed to Move, 2013). BMoreFit recognizes that inactivity has reached epidemic proportions: by the time Baltimore youth reach high school, only 45-55% report participating in sports or physical activities three times a day (Baltimore City Health Department GAP Survey, 2011). Our intervention aims to counter this trend by inspiring and educating Baltimore City’s youth on the importance of physical activity.
Our program has already been successfully implemented in several schools across Baltimore City. These schools include Holabird Academy, Arlington Elementary, John Eager Howard Elementary, Roland Park Elementary, Windsor Hills Elementary and Hampden Elementary. We are hoping that with the help of private donations and grants, we will be able to double the number of schools that we can impact. Our goal is to reach every elementary school child in Baltimore City, thus dramatically increasing the awareness for physical movement and healthy eating, so that Baltimore City can become the healthiest city in the country.