Kinesiology students from Cal State Fullerton are helping promote fitness in low-income communities in north Orange County.
The students are teaching residents from Placentia, La Habra, Buena Park and Fullerton how to use outdoor exercise equipment installed at 14 parks through St. Jude Medical Center’s Healthy Communities Initiative and the Move More Eat Healthy Campaign.
About 25 students donning orange T-shirts have been visiting parks in the four cities since mid-February to encourage physical activity.
“Our main goal is to draw attention to the equipment so residents know about it and we want to educate them as to how to properly use the equipment,” said Brittany Kato, a kinesiology graduate student.
Placentia has partnered with St. Jude Medical Center to create programs targeting obesity in low-income neighborhoods. Over the past three years, the hospital has given the city $276,400 in grants to improve existing outdoor activity spaces and incorporate health and wellness into city initiatives.
Outdoor exercise equipment has been installed at McFadden, Kraemer and Parque De Los Niños parks in Placentia, giving families that may not have access to or cannot afford a gym membership a place to work out. Santa Fe Park is also slated to have exercise equipment installed this year.
“We see so many people that come into the hospital that have obesity-related medical conditions, “said Tracy Bryars, manager of St. Jude’s Healthy Communities Initiative. “We need to be proactive and reduce the obesity rates through preventive measures.”
Bryars said the focus is on increasing opportunities for people to be physically active and reduce obesity, which leads to increased risks of chronic disease such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
Kathleen Wilson, CSUF assistant professor of kinesiology, said the partnership has been positive for residents, who are learning how to work out, and for her students, who are learning how…