- The Miami-Dade County Department of Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces (MDPROS) is the third largest park system in the nation.
- Between 2009 and 2019, several thousand children from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds participated in Fit2Play, an MDPROS park-based afterschool health and wellness program promoting healthy weight and cardiovascular health.
- The White House chose MDPROS as their site for Michelle Obama to announce her “Let’s Move” program’s partnership with national parks because of Fit2Play’s success.
- Fit2Play was developed through an academic collaboration with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Parks and faculty experts developed program content, outcome measures, and evaluation tools to complement local communities and cultures.
- Results show that community parks play an integral role in the physical health of youth.
- Fit2Play participants maintain healthy weight, blood pressure, and fitness levels, and also improve nutrition knowledge throughout the school year. Children with disabilities equally benefit.
- Fit2Play has been disseminated to organizations across Florida as the gold standard of park-based afterschool models.
- Results are published in over a dozen peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts.
- Next steps include scaling and adapting the program in other park systems around the nation based on population and community-specific needs.
- The successful implementation of Fit2Play led to the development of Fit2Lead which is focused on behavioral and mental health needs among high risk youth in particular. Early results have shown that park-based programs may have the potential to promote mental health and resilience and to prevent violence among at-risk youths. Click here for more details.
In efforts to foster a healthy community, the Miami-Dade County Department of Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces (MDPROS) created visionary and evidenced-based health and wellness programming that targets Miami-Dade’s most vulnerable and at-risk youth.
Through an academic partnership with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, the Fit2Play afterschool health and wellness program was developed over a decade ago. This team-science approach produced evidence-based results that show participants aged 6-to-14 were able to maintain healthy weight and blood pressure, improve body composition, fitness levels, as well as nutrition knowledge over one school year. These effects were amplified with additional years of participation.
Fit2Play has been disseminated to the Florida Surgeon General’s Office, Florida Parks and Recreation Association, and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation as the gold standard of park-based afterschool models. Additionally, results have been widely disseminated locally, nationally, and internationally.
The culmination of these efforts was realized in February 2014 when the White House chose MDPROS as their site for Michelle Obama to announce her Let’s Move program’s partnership with national parks because of Fit2Play’s success.
Fit2Play continues to be offered to hundreds of children in over 30 parks throughout Miami-Dade County after the school day ends.
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