Children's Fun and Fitness Center

Children’s Fun & Fitness Center 

Awardee: Oklahoma City Indian Clinic 
Location: Oklahoma City, OK

About Oklahoma City Indian Clinic 

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC) is an Urban Indian Health Clinic located in central Oklahoma City (OKC) that provides medical, behavioral health, and dental care for over 18,000 American Indians from 200+ tribes. Our pediatric patients are some of the most at-risk youth in the nation for health outcomes with 48% classified as overweight or obese. 

About the Project

Project Goal: 

To improve the health of overweight and obese American Indian children in Oklahoma City by reversing the trends related to physical inactivity. The Children’s Fun & Fitness Center will offer a place for patients 6 – 12 years old to engage in safe, culturally appropriate, medically supervised physical activity through pediatrician referral. Trained staff will provide group and individual opportunities for physical activities tailored to the age group, instruction for proper use of equipment, information about the benefits of regular activity, nutrition education, and encouragement to keep active.

Opportunities Communities Face

  • Physical inactivity is a mindset, which is difficult to overcome
  • Fruit/Vegetable consumption seems to be an easier obstacle to overcome as basic information regarding how to grow, obtain and prepare fruits/vegetables helped to improve consumption

Adapting the CDC Winnable Battles to Our Nation's Needs 

  • Trust established as a place to receive culturally appropriate health care
  • Nutrition and fitness education specific to American Indians/Alaska Natives
  • Staff with one or more tribal affiliations
  • Program activities incorporate cultural awareness (i.e. exercise through Native dance, indigenous food preparation, Native sports, etc.) 

American Indians have a longstanding heritage of being physically active, talented farmers, and healthy eaters. Our CDC Winnable Battles strategy appealed to these beautiful, rich traditions from generations ago and encouraged families to adapt it to suit their urban lifestyles. By building relationships with local grocery stores, farmers market, and food bank, we were able to guide families in redefining how they chose to purchase and grow fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Our Impact on the Community

  • Community Involvement
    • Fit Lean and Healthy Green program hosted one grocery store tour, one farmer's market tour, one cooking class and one gardening class
    • Families will receive supplies to grow vegetables and fruits in a bucket garden
    • Created a new internal referral system so that staff were aware of this opportunity for the children
  • Children's Fun and Fitness Center 
    • Created a safe place for physical activity in urban setting
    • Children’s Fun & Fitness Center – hosted 30 after school wellness programs
    • Adapted strategy by including tours of the metro farmer’s market and provided bucket gardens that can be easily maintained in an urban area
  • Future Plans
    • This resource can now be used for all pediatric patients
    • OSU/OKC Farmer’s Market – families will redeem their vouchers for fresh produce
    • Parents provided information to help them encourage their families to continue physical activity and incorporate it into the child/family routine

Lessons Learned through Implementing this Program

  • Appreciate the flexibility of the funding organization
  • Many untapped resources for grocery store tours and garden programs
  • Buy 4 Less & Regional Food Bank of OK have offered great leadership and resources for project
  • Time allotted for recruitment should be as large if not larger than time spent to enact project
  • Recruitment maintenance should also be a significant consideration
  • Physical activity behaviors are more difficult to influence than dietary behaviors