Challenging families in San Antonio to exercise and develop healthy habits, Councilman Rey Saldaña joined San Antonio Sports officials to kick off the 2015 Fit Family Challenge, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, at City Hall on Wednesday, May 13.
Organized by San Antonio Sports, the sixth annual Fit Family Challenge will offer fitness activities, health screenings and incentives to San Antonio families to participate in between May and August. Incentives include $25,000 in cash and fitness prizes, including sports and movie tickets, $1,000 drawings every three weeks at family-friendly Saturday Big Events, and a grand prize drawing at the end of the summer for a $1,000 gift card.
A grant from the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation supports the free family fitness program aimed at motivating families to break away from a sedentary lifestyle, get out of the house and come together for fun, fitness-focused events.
“Programs like the San Antonio Sports Fit Family Challenge are helping families get healthy together,” said Councilman Rey Saldaña. “It’s free. It’s fun. And it’s accessible to everyone.”
The San Antonio Sports Fit Family Challenge, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, is comprised of four three-week sessions that run from May 16-August 15. It promotes a healthy lifestyle by encouraging people to make changes, such as integrating a walk into everyday routines and choosing water over sugary beverages and eating more fruits and vegetables. There are weekly free fitness events located throughout the city that include Zumba® for adults and teens, and fitness classes for children three-13 years of age.
Participants are asked to 1) exercise as a family, at least 60 minutes a day, 5 days a week, 2) make healthy food choices 3) keep a fitness journal through a tracking log that can be downloaded at fitfamilychallenge.com and 4) take a health screening four times over the summer. If they attend at least three weekly fitness events during any of the four sessions and take a health screening, they are eligible for a prize drawing of $1,000 at that session’s Big Event. They also earn cumulative points towards rewards including sports and movie tickets and $1,000 gift cards.
The program is open to all families in Bexar County. However, it focuses its message in the ten zip codes in San Antonio that have the highest rates of diabetes and obesity (*zip codes listed below). Within those zip codes are seven school districts that include: San Antonio Independent School District, South San Antonio ISD, Edgewood ISD, Harlandale ISD, Southside ISD, Northside ISD and Southwest ISD. In an effort to eliminate barriers to participation, the weekly events take place at schools in the target neighborhoods.
Approaching physical activity and healthy eating as a way of life increases your chances of success in making changes and sticking with them, says Russ Bookbinder, President and CEO of the nonprofit San Antonio Sports. “Our Fit Family Challenge program is designed to get the whole family involved. We know that being active, enjoying regular family meals and finding an activity that you enjoy are all keys to influencing behaviors that will reduce the risks associated with diabetes, cancer, obesity and a lifetime of low self-esteem. The Fit Family Challenge offers free fitness activities and health screenings, along with incentives that will keep families motivated throughout the summer.”
Jessica Acosta Medina started her journey to health at the Fit Family Challenge. Over the course of three years, she lost over 100 pounds and has kept it off. Her fitness levels improved and energy levels soared. She brings her mom and children, and sometimes her husband to the weekly classes and has changed the family’s diet gradually so that now they eat differently and more healthfully. ”The Fit Family Challenge was the catalyst that got me started on a healthier lifestyle,” said Acosta Medina. “In order to change yourself, you must challenge yourself. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. We look forward to participating again this summer.”
More than 1,000 people have registered to run the Fit Family Challenge kickoff event, the D4 Heroes 5K, a free, chipped and timed race offered through the Fit Family Challenge on Saturday, May 16. The remaining sessions’ Big Events are:
· June 6
· June 27 (with City Council District 8)
· July 25 (with City Council District 3)
· August 15
Each Big Event will feature a fitness activity for families, the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Kids Fit Zone and numerous community resources for families interested in leading healthy, active lifestyles.
Weekly schedule (May 18-Aug. 15):
· SW High School-9th grade campus (SWISD) 5 p.m.
· Rayburn Elementary (HISD) 5:45 p.m.
· Martin Elementary (NISD) 5:45 p.m.
· Whittier Middle School (SAISD) 5 p.m.
· Dwight Middle School (SSAISD) 5:30 p.m.
· Emma Frey Elementary (EISD) 4:45 p.m.
· A.C.E.S Early College High School Gym (SISD) 5:30 p.m.
* Zip codes in San Antonio with the highest rates of diabetes and obesity: 78201, 78207, 78210, 78211, 78221, 78223, 78227, 78228, 78237 & 78242.
About Fit Family Challenge
Fit Family Challenge, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, is a 12-week summer program motivating San Antonio families to learn about and increase physical activity and healthy nutrition. Fit Family Challenge is a program conducted by San Antonio Sports, with funding from the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation and Medtronic Foundation and participation from sponsors, area school districts and volunteers. Key sponsors include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Valero Energy Foundation, H-E-B, Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, Mission, Community First Health Plans, Subway, Frost, Academy Sports + Outdoors, CommuniCare Health Centers, and McDonald’s. It is endorsed by the San Antonio Mayor’s Fitness Council.
About San Antonio Sports
San Antonio Sports is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform our community through the power of sport. San Antonio Sports bids on and hosts premier sporting events such as NCAA® championships, which have generated a local economic impact of more than $525 million. San Antonio Sports kids programs, including our i play! afterschool program, the Community Olympic Development Program, University Health System Go!Kids Challenge™ and Kids Rock marathon training program, annually touch the lives of more than 150,000 children in San Antonio through sports training and fitness programs. Additionally, San Antonio Sports serves as a catalyst for the development of quality recreational and athletic facilities in our community, including SPARKs. To learn more, visit SanAntonioSports.org