I Can Do It, You Can Do It
Click on the link for program video by UAB…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfX6hP5GqDY
The I can do it, You can do it program was developed by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. It is designed specifically for children with disabilities toencourage healthy eating choices and to increase physical activity for overall health. Children with disabilities have a 38% higher rate of obesity than children without disabilities. Adults with disabilities have a 57% higher rate of obesity than adults without disabilities (according to the government website for this program). This is a significant factor in the health of people with disabilities. The program is designed to implement changes to hopefully bring these obesity rates more in line with the population of children and adults without disabilities. The “Play 60” program has been promoted widely for children without disabilities. The I can do it program is just getting started. The American Physical Therapy Association is encouraging Physical Therapy (PT) schools to participate in this program as a community service project. The University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) program is the 1st PT school in the country to implement the program. AIDB Physical Therapist, Melanie Haigood, worked closely with UAB faculty to coordinate this effort for our students at HKS. Both HKS PE coaches were also very involved in and supportive of the program.
The program was set up as an 8 week program where a mentor was paired with a mentee (child) in the school setting to promote awareness of healthy eating choices and to mentor the child in fun physical activities that can be incorporated into their lifestyle. The second year PT students at UAB (doctoral program) came to HKS once per week for the duration of the program to meet with their mentee. They met with the child during PE class and worked one on one with them to encourage the children to try new activities, play games, and talk about making good choices with food. These discussions were kept basic for each child’s level of understanding. For example, they talked with kids about choosing water over soda, or eating fruit instead of candy, eating dessert as a treat once or twice a week instead of every day. A communication sheet was sent home each week to the parents with a summary of the activities the child tried and liked, along with suggestions for healthy eating.
The PT students included this program as part of their Health Promotion and Wellness class. It was a very hands on experience for them and was also their first experience working directly with clients. They will begin their clinical work in February. With their experiences at HKS, maybe some of them will now consider working in pediatrics and remember AIDB as they enter various work settings across the state after they graduate.