The Operation Tone-Up® and Know Your Nutrients® programs are offered by Accept the Challenge, a national not-for-profit organization established in Arizona in 1995 to help end the epidemic of childhood obesity and improve children’s short and long-term health outcomes.
To date, more than one million children (ages 5-15) and adults have participated in the organization’s In-School and At Home nutrition and exercise programs
Students, teachers and parents immediately are able to make better food choices based on their nutrient needs, which has a long-term impact on their health and the community.
In addition, the program boosts the students’, teachers’ and parents’ self-image, because of the results they see in themselves. The results are long-lasting, as they develop into habits that will socially change the way they choose food and exercise. This directly relates back to a community’s need for an evidence-based program that can improve health and reduce health care costs.
The Mission of Accept The Challenge is to respond to our nation's number #1 health risk, "childhood obesity," by empowering youth, with accurate nutrition and exercise knowledge, and teaching them how to apply this knowledge to socially change the way they choose food and exercise to improve their health and change their life.
Our signature health and wellness program, Operation Tone-Up® (OTU) originally began as a 4-week, supplementary PE program during school hours that reached 1 million students in schools across the country, (Phoenix, Dallas, Chicago, El Paso, Sioux Falls, Oakland CA, and Albuquerque) as well as the Phoenix Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA and the Phoenix Day School for the Deaf. However, PE programs were being cut in many School Districts, and Accept The Challenge (ATC) decided it needed to bring OTU into-the-classroom, where all students in each grade level (3-6) must participate in the program’s exercises and learn about the top six nutrients (carbohydrates, water, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals).
Major program advances for the current program format started in 2004, when ATC aligned OTU with State and National Standards, along with an emphasis on effective classroom strategies such as turnkey instructional materials (teacher’s manuals and student workbooks, plus homework assignments that involved the student’s parents). ATC also added aerobic exercise routines with innovative music on CDs and DVDs to make it easier for regular classroom teachers to implement the program, teach proper exercise form, enforce exercise time duration, and motivate the children.
The program has been continuously improved for over a decade based on real-life program experience, and feedback from students, teachers, parents and administrators. OTU was then refined even more via studies performed in school districts in five major U.S. cities, Phoenix, Tucson, Dallas, Chicago, and Sioux Falls.
In fact, OTU has been identified by U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, as a best practice, based upon implementation with 10,000 students in the Chicago Public Schools district. (Click here to see NBC interview with Duncan)
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