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Project: FIT

Erie County, PA
Program Year: 2018

To address the risk factors of obesity and chronic disease among youth, the Erie County Department of Health (ECDH) developed a series of basketball clinics within the city and county of Erie. Known as Project: FIT, this initiative was created in partnership with local sports team and NBA G-League affiliate the Erie BayHawks, who provided strong connections to youth within inner-city and rural communities. Project: FIT implemented five basketball clinics that taught shooting skills, speed and agility, dribbling, and passing. Children were recruited from after-school programs and local community centers, with a focus on low-income populations. Players and coaches served as mentors at each of the clinics, further promoting heart-healthy behaviors. To engage the greater population of Erie County youth, an online 4-week FIT Challenge was developed with physical activity challenges that, upon completion, were rewarded with incentives. Outreach and promotion was done in coordination with the BayHawks, which included digital billboards at home games, heart-healthy messaging via in-game announcements and activities, jumbotron facts and trivia, PSA’s, and social media accounts. Through the implementation of this initiative, greater access to physical activity opportunities have increased throughout Erie County, as over 500 children have participated in Project: FIT clinics. Further collaboration has taken place between the Erie BayHawks, ECDH Safe & Healthy Communities Program, and Northwest Pennsylvania Tobacco Control Program to sustain the initiative, with four basketball clinics scheduled for the 2018 calendar year.

Ms. Nicole Bolash
Health Promotion & Quality Improvement Manager