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WORLD FIT

General Description

World Fit is a walking and exercise programme for elementary and middle school students, which also includes teachers, family and friends. Olympians and Paralympians visit schools to mentor and teach the importance of lifelong fitness and the Olympic values of perseverance, respect, and fair play.

This year, the World Fit Walk will take place in over 25 states, reaching 50 communities in 2 countries, the United States and the Cayman Islands. The latter is the first country outside of the United States to hold the World Fit Walk and will involve 10 schools.

Schools aim to find 40 minutes of walking time each school day over a period of 40 consecutive days. During this time, students can log and track their miles on the World Fit website.

Six weeks of sustained exercise is enough time to form a habit. Once the 40 days are over, it is likely that participants will sustain this activity as well as a healthy active lifestyle.

Background

The World Fit Foundation began with the United States Olympians Association desire to use the approximately 8,000 Olympians and Paralympians living in the United States to try to make a difference in the epidemic of childhood obesity in America. As a physician and an officer of the USOA, Gary Hall, Executive Director of World Fit, was given the task of developing a fitness programme directed at schools. After nearly two years of programme design, collaborating with the Miami-Dade Public school district, the World Fit Walk was inaugurated in spring 2009.

The World Fit Walk is a simple programme that is free for schools. Each spring 100% of the students are registered for the Walk. The Walk occurs on the campus of the school and always under supervision of staff. Schools are asked to find 40 minutes of walking time each school day. It continues for 40 consecutive days, where students log and track their miles on the World Fit website. All forms of exercise and sports count and are converted into equivalent walking miles. Schools in each community compete with one another to see whose students have walked the furthest. The website enables all students in a community to see how all other schools and students are doing during the Walk. Students are awarded with certificates and medals for reaching milestones and schools earn gold, silver or bronze level status.

On one of the first days of the Walk, an Olympian comes to the school to speak to the students in an Assembly about the importance of daily exercise and of living a healthy lifestyle. They also share an Olympic story relating the Olympic values such as hard work, respect, fair play and perserverance. These athletes are powerful role models and have a profoundly positive impact on the students. The Olympian signs the certificates that the students earn at the completion of the milestone (60 miles in 6 weeks).

Any teacher, parent, family member or friend can also participate in the Walk as a World Fit Buddy. Buddies log their walk or exercise miles and have the option of donating half of their miles to any World Fit school of their choice to help in the competition. They don’t even need to know a student. The software will randomly pick one for them or they can select their own. In this way, World Fit hopes to bring the entire community into the 6 weeks of augmented activity.

Using the website and social media can help our cause. We provide inspirational blogs from Olympians for all World Fit students on our site to read. We have a photo page for the students to upload pictures of themselves during the Walk. We link to facebook and twitter for students to communicate World Fit activity and encourage one another.

Six weeks of sustained exercise is enough time to form a habit. Once the 40 days are over, students and Buddies can continue to log in their miles on the website for an entire year. When schools have established their walk time and log in time, it is easy for them to continue the programme year round.

Mission Statement

The World Fit mission is to promote a culture of health and fitness for children. World Fit strives to eradicate both childhood obesity and the enormous toll obesity has taken on families, society and healthcare systems.

Through Olympian and Paralympian participation, World Fit pairs these mentors with schools to inspire their students about the importance of health, fitness and Olympic values of perseverance, respect and fair play. By providing a community-based, school exercise initiative, World Fit will achieve its mission, while also unifying Olympians and promoting Olympism worldwide.

Objectives

  • Promote physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle to children in schools.
  • Olympian and Paralympians encourage students to walk and to connect these children to the existing Olympic Sports programmes in their area.

The World Fit programme will help connect the Olympians and Paralympians to the Olympic movement.

 

Dr. Gary Hall

Executive Director of the World Fit Foundation

Dr. Hall is a retired ophthalmologist and three-time Olympic medalist swimmer from Mexico City (1968), Munich (1972) and Montreal (1976). His greatest honor was being selected in the 1976 Olympic games by his teammates as the Standard bearer for the Opening Ceremonies. He served as co-captain for the men’s Olympic swimming teams in 1972 and 1976, helping lead the teams to two of our country’s most successful team efforts in history. He was raised in Southern California and graduated salutatorian from Rancho Alamitos High School in Garden Grove with a 3.98 cumulative grade point average. He attended Indiana University majoring in Zoology and received the Fernandus Payne Scholarship with a minor in languages (Spanish and German). He swam under the legendary coach, Dr. James Counsilman, and helped Indiana win six consecutive NCAA championships, contributing to the last four of those victories with seven individual NCAA titles. During his collegiate career, he was twice named World Swimmer of the Year in 1969 and 1970 and received the Helms Foundation Award for the Outstanding Amateur Athlete in North America in 1970. He was later inducted into the Indiana University Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame, the Academic All-America NCAA Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Dr. Hall attended medical school at the University of Cincinnati and interned at The Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati. He completed his residency in Ophthalmology at the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis. He practiced clinical ophthalmology in Phoenix, Arizona from 1982 until retiring in 2006. He received the Silver Anniversary Award from the NCAA in 1998 for his years of medical service. At the time of his retirement, Dr. Hall was elected Vice President of the United States Olympians Association and helped found the World Fit Foundation, using Olympians to inspire students and combat childhood obesity. Today, Dr. Hall works as both the technical director for The Race Club, Inc, in Islamorada, Florida, teaching swimming technique to athletes from around the world, and as the Executive Director for the World Fit Foundation.

Coordinator

Dr. Hall is a retired ophthalmologist and three-time Olympic medalist swimmer from Mexico City (1968), Munich (1972) and Montreal (1976). His greatest honor was being selected in the 1976 Olympic games by his teammates as the Standard bearer for the Opening Ceremonies. He served as co-captain for the men’s Olympic swimming teams in 1972 and 1976, helping lead the teams to two of our country’s most successful team efforts in history. He was raised in Southern California and graduated salutatorian from Rancho Alamitos High School in Garden Grove with a 3.98 cumulative grade point average. He attended Indiana University majoring in Zoology and received the Fernandus Payne Scholarship with a minor in languages (Spanish and German). He swam under the legendary coach, Dr. James Counsilman, and helped Indiana win six consecutive NCAA championships, contributing to the last four of those victories with seven individual NCAA titles. During his collegiate career, he was twice named World Swimmer of the Year in 1969 and 1970 and received the Helms Foundation Award for the Outstanding Amateur Athlete in North America in 1970. He was later inducted into the Indiana University Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame, the Academic All-America NCAA Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Dr. Hall attended medical school at the University of Cincinnati and interned at The Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati. He completed his residency in Ophthalmology at the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis. He practiced clinical ophthalmology in Phoenix, Arizona from 1982 until retiring in 2006. He received the Silver Anniversary Award from the NCAA in 1998 for his years of medical service. At the time of his retirement, Dr. Hall was elected Vice President of the United States Olympians Association and helped found the World Fit Foundation, using Olympians to inspire students and combat childhood obesity. Today, Dr. Hall works as both the technical director for The Race Club, Inc, in Islamorada, Florida, teaching swimming technique to athletes from around the world, and as the Executive Director for the World Fit Foundation.

Gary HALL, Executive Director of the World Fit Foundation

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