According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 42% of children are obese or overweight. The problem is particularly acute in low-income, high-minority communities which regularly lack safe outdoor play space and recreational facilities. A recent study by the Children’s Defense Fund found adolescents who live in low-income neighborhoods were nine times more likely to be overweight when compared to their peers in better-off areas. Unfortunately, with average Physical Education budgets of only $700, schools can rarely compensate for the fitness resources their neighborhoods lack.
For more than 20 years, UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind has contributed to the health and well-being of our nation’s youth by providing state-of-the-art fitness centers, fitness education curricula and educator training to schools across the country. With 140 fitness centers in the Los Angeles area, and more than 154 nationwide, we are proud to be serving over 186,000 students every year.
Over 74% of our partner schools are located in low-income communities, where students have limited access to safe fitness resources.
In 2015, SBSM partnered with UCLA professor and Associate Dean Dr. Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools (RKF) to study the effectiveness of the Sound Body Sound Mind Curriculum. The comprehensive study examined the curriculum’s effect of student fitness levels, as well as student, parent and teacher perceptions of exercise. The study came back with overwhelmingly positive results that highlighted increases in participation after implementing the SBSM curriculum. Increases in pass rates of the California-mandated physical exam, FitnessGram also soared.
In 2018, UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind installed fitness centers in 10 new schools in Los Angeles, providing fitness resources to nearly 12,000 additional students. Schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District participate in a state-mandated fitness exam in 7th and 9th grades. This test (FitnessGram) determines improvements in physical health.
Schools that implement the Sound Body Sound Mind program into their physical education program are required to complete the FitnessGram and a behavioral survey. After eight weeks of running the SBSM program, both tests are administered again for comparison.
The following chart represents student responses from the behavioral survey questions after just eight weeks of participation in the SBSM program. Not only do students typically improve their FitnessGram performance, but they also experience improvements in self-image and experience a higher engagement in healthy habits to take care of themselves. More than 1,400 middle and high school students across 10 schools participated in this survey.
Study About the SBSM Curriculum Published in The Journal of Education and Training Studies. Read article