Many educational efforts by our health care system today focus on targeting obesity, giving attention to obese children and adults to help reduce their risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases. But some of these messages focusing on obesity generate negative lasting effects, as obese children and adults are singled out and often experience negative attention from their peers.
At Peppy Up, our goal is to create positive messages and resources encouraging all children and their families to be healthier, because if you Eat Your Best, you can Be Your Best, and that’s something everyone can put into practice!
By encouraging children to make healthy food and exercise choices in their daily lives, it can significantly reduce their risk of developing a chronic illness later on, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or even cancer.
Currently, many statistics suggest that 1 in 3 children will have diabetes by 2050. This epidemic would have devastating social and financial effects on the healthcare system. Our children today may not have the best health care treatments available then because of the financial burden this epidemic will have on the healthcare system. That’s why it’s so important to educate children to start making healthy choices today! It can truly have an enormous impact on their quality of life.
Here is a recent informational interview about type 2 diabetes with University of Illinois students and endocrinologist Dr. Paul Burkholder, MD.
Click Here to view an informational interview about type 2 diabetes with University of Illinois students and endocrinologist Dr. Paul Burkholder, MD.
The Peppy Up program has been facilitated for over 1,500 students. We’ve created the Peppy Up Club for younger students, the Peppy Up Academy for older students (mentors), and the Peppy Up University for trainers, teachers and health care students. Our goal is to build comradery around one healthy eating campaign that involves students of all ages as well as adults.
Peppy Up has been piloted in several organizations including faith-based organizations, school organizations, and after-school programs. It can be completed simply as an educational program or as a 30-Day motivational program to coordinate with the goal of the organization. Here is some recent feedback from a school organization:
Peppy Up has also been facilitated at a Bible camp for children and their families. Children completed the educational program at the first session and met Peppy at the second session. Bikes, jump ropes, and hula hoops were generously donated by WalMart.
The Peppy Up program and challenge was also initiated to over 50 children between 2-4th grade at a parochial school, thanks to the help of volunteers from local high schools and the University of Illinois Pharm D program. The feedback from parents, teachers, and students was excellent. Children were energized about eating healthy and exercising! They loved the story and character presentation. Students were tasked to complete a 30-Day calendar of their eating choices. 95% participated and returned the calendar. 84% switched to eating Best or Better foods for breakfast or lunch. 21% did not complete every section of the calendar but did make some positive changes. 85% of parents completed the survey and had positive feedback about the campaign.
Peppy Up has been completed with over 800 students in public schools where there is very little healthy food options available. The teachers recommended children complete a food diary with a trained mentor and add one point for each Peppy Up food. Children completed the food diary for 3 weeks and also completed a pre-program and post-program survey. As early as one week follow-up into the program, a statistically significant difference in healthy food point score was seen. (p=.039) 90% of children participated and the feedback from students, mentors and teachers was very positive.
Mentors received an award and had a Peppy Up party with the students. They were recognized for their leadership and received awards presented at Representative Joe Sosnowski’s Health and Safety fair.VIEW LEADERSHIP AWARD
The Peppy Up program was completed at Barnes and Noble to keep children healthy over the holiday season.
University of Illinois Pharm D students received IRB approval to implement the Peppy Up program within a target group – with the goal of increasing our knowledge of contributing factors surrounding Type 2 Diabetes. This research study was to help evaluate effectiveness of certain healthy choices within a pediatric population. Despite an initially low number of participants, the study showed encouraging progress not only in increasing awareness of diabetes but also in determining factors that can help prevent it. Based on the results of this study, future Peppy Up programs held meetings with parents ahead of time. Mentors implemented the programs with teachers vs the teachers and graduate students alone.