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Get Fit Riverbank: A community in action

The Issue

Obesity continues to be a major concern in Stanislaus County. In 2010, 63 percent of adults in Stanislaus County were overweight, compared to 57 percent statewide. Obesity is directly linked to many chronic health concerns such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease. To address these concerns, a group of concerned Riverbank residents and community stakeholders came together and organized Get Fit Riverbank, a family-focused summer of free, healthful activities and healthful eating education. The eight-week event included nutrition classes and weekly activities such as swimming, yoga, pilates, Zumba and karate.

What Has ANR Done?

UC Cooperative Extension's Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences program helped develop Get Fit Riverbank, along with other community stakeholders from local governments and schools. UC Cooperative Extension faculty and staff provided guidance and expertise in the nutrition-related aspects of the program. Dennis Carrasquilla, UC CalFresh nutrition educator, taught a new family-centered curriculum called, "Let's Eat Smart and Play Hard Together" with great success. The program brought parents and children together to learn about nutrition and creating healthy meals.

The Payoff

Riverbank community members dropped inches, gained healthful habits

More than 330 residents of Riverbank spent the summer biking, walking and learning to eat better as a community. This was shown to be a highly successful community project. Pre- and post-program waist measurements were taken of adults by nursing students from California State University, Stanislaus, with an average of 2 inches lost and a maximum of 6 inches lost. Oak Valley Hospital donated pre- and post-program cholesterol and blood sugar screenings. Results showed adult participants dropped more than 9 points in their cholesterol levels and more than 10 points in blood glucose levels on average. In a survey of the participants at the end of the program, 60 percent of respondents participated in the nutrition classes and 95 percent participated in the physical activities offered. When asked if they will continue with the healthful activities they had learned, 60 percent said they would. A majority of respondents (60%) also said they would participate again next year.

Clientele Testimonial

"I really liked everything, especially the Zumba class and the gym. My children liked the karate classes." - Laura Martinez, who dropped several inches from her waist during Get Fit Riverbank


Supporting Unit: Stanislaus County

Theresa Spezzano, Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences advisor, 209-525-6825, tmspezzano@ucdavis.edu