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live / 2016

Fighting Child Obesity Through the Transformation of Physical Education in Los Angeles

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Sound Body Sound Mind Foundation

Sound Body Sound Mind will provide Los Angeles middle and high schools state-of-the-art fitness centers, fitness curriculum, and professional development to transform P.E. and student health.

Please describe your project proposal.

Los Angeles is in dire need of quality physical education resources and training within its schools. Sound Body Sound Mind (SBSM) plans to fill this void by providing recipient schools within LAUSD a state-of-the-art fitness center, SBSM Curriculum, and professional development training. This comprehensive package gives underserved students a space to transform their physical education experience, and P.E. educators new and inventive resources to implement within their class.

Which of the live metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Self-sufficiency
  • Obesity
  • Resilient communities
  • Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?


Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to live?

SBSM commits its services to an array of student populations and needs that would otherwise go unnoticed in many communities. The lack of fitness resources is particularly acute in low-income and minority communities where safe outdoor play space is limited and an abundance of fast food restaurants has created the child obesity epidemic in Los Angeles.

According to the L.A. Department of Public Health, 42 percent of our children are obese or overweight.

Obese children have more risk factors than their normal-weight peers for what were formerly considered “adult” diseases such as cardiovascular ailments, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes. Studies also show overweight and obese children struggle with peer-to-peer socialization and exhibit lower self-esteem overall.

At SBSM, we believe that eliminating childhood obesity begins by filling the void in quality fitness resources at school. Since 1999, SBSM has provided over 100 underserved schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) with a comprehensive fitness program designed to promote lifelong confidence and wellbeing among adolescents.

Each school within our program receives a state-of-the-art fitness center equipped with commercial-grade cardiovascular equipment (ellipticals, hybrid cycles, spin bikes, and arm cycles), strength training equipment (weights and strength machines), and mobile equipment such as jump ropes and agility ladders.

In addition, each new school receives the SBSM Curriculum and professional development training. The SBSM Curriculum is an evidence-based instructional program combining circuit training, the fundamentals of movement, and methodologies for motivating students. The Curriculum provides 36 age-appropriate lessons that are structured yet flexible, and also discusses the research and theories that inform them.

Along with the tangible aspects of the SBSM program, fostering an inclusive and encouraging P.E. environment is especially important. The strength of our program lies not only in improving students’ fitness, but also in beginning to change their mindset. We strive to create a sense of emotional safety in the classroom, thereby facilitating students’ intrinsic motivation to exercise. Students learn that exercise is fun, and that they can succeed in maintaining physical fitness for the rest of their lives.

Furthermore, students can incorporate these lessons outside of school, thus enabling them to independently combat the growing issue of childhood obesity and lowering their risk factors for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Along with health risk factors, LAUSD is in critical need of exercise resources, with Physical Education budgets averaging only $500 per school. LAUSD schools are rarely able to compensate for recreational and fitness resources their neighborhoods lack. With implementation of our program model, SBSM can provide LAUSD with an impactful solution.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

Goal 1) Design, build, and open state-of-the-art fitness centers at selected LAUSD schools

Expected Outcome 1) Students and community members will have daily access to the state-of-the-art SBSM fitness centers Measurement of 1) # of students with access to fitness center on a daily basis

Goal 2) Perform professional development training for the entire P.E. staff at selected schools

Expected Outcome 2) P.E. staff will improve their content knowledge and comprehension of the most current P.E. research and theories Measurement of 2) % of P.E. staff members trained on the Curriculum

Goal 3) Implement an eight-week course on the Curriculum and analyze the impact of fitness with FITNESSGRAM testing ( California State proficiency test for student physical fitness) at selected LAUSD schools

Expected Outcome 3) Students will improve their fitness levels achieving a 25% increase in FITNESSGRAM passing rates after an eight-week implementation of the Curriculum Measurement of 3) % of students achieving an increase in FITNESSGRAM passing rates

Goal 4) Implement an eight week course on the Curriculum and analyze the impact on students’ attitudes towards P.E. with behavioral surveys at selected LAUSD schools

Expected Outcome 4) Students will report a measurable improvement in their perceptions of fitness and exercise after an eight week implementation of the Curriculum Measurement of 4) % of students reporting improved perception of fitness and exercise

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Advisors/board members
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Network/relationship support