About the Mayor's Youth Fitness Initiative
The Mayor’s Youth Fitness Initiative—a public/private partnership led by City of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and community and business leaders—is ready to make long-term improvements in the way Dallas children eat, play and live.
The statistics surrounding children and obesity are alarming. When children are obese and inactive, they are much more likely to develop early onset of one or more of 20 chronic diseases. These health problems have a significant impact on a child’s physical and emotional well-being and their ability to learn and lead productive lives.
Despite these discouraging facts, there is good news and hope for Dallas children—the Mayor’s Youth Fitness Initiative. Through this first-of-its kind program, MyFi is uniting government with local leaders to evaluate and leverage existing projects, and design and implement new activities supportive of healthy eating and active living.
A unique aspect of the program is its commitment to ongoing assessment. The program will utilize a consistent measurement tool to chart each participant’s progress and success, and create an individualized health action plan for every child.
Another element that makes MyFi distinct is its collaboration with organizations that share its high standards for youth health. One such partnership is with the Dallas Park and Recreation Department. With its robust system comprising 43 centers and more than 18,000 children enrolled, the recreation centers will become the primary distribution vehicle for MyFi’s programs.
In 2010, the City of Dallas experienced budget deficits, and some of the City’s Recreation Center programs were in jeopardy. Oncor stepped forward to help with funding to assist with the gap and develop a new initiative for long-term sustainable change. Oncor CEO Bob Shapard joined City leaders Tom Leppert and Mike Rawlings in forming the Mayor’s Youth Fitness Initiative, using Oncor’s $1 million contribution as the seed money for the program.
The Facts about Dallas Children
An unprecedented number of children in our communities are overweight and at risk for a range of significant health problems. Consider these facts:
Out of every four Dallas-area high school students, one is obese or overweight.
Only one in five of Dallas third-graders passed the Texas-mandated FITNESSGRAM® in 2008, compared to about one in three statewide.
More than 80 percent of Dallas high school students reported eating fewer than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
Only one-third of high school students get the recommended levels of physical activity.
It is likely that one in three kids born after 2000 will develop Type II diabetes.
More than ever before, Dallas children need our help in their fight against obesity.