In an effort to reverse the rising local childhood obesity rates, the Regional Y operates the SCRAM (Students Can Run and Move) afterschool fitness/nutrition program to get at-risk, low-income Danbury elementary school students (grades K-5) moving and to educate them and their families about good nutrition and the importance of exercise.
SCRAM was the vision and plan developed by the Coalition for Healthy Kids, a Danbury based Coalition.
SCRAM runs from October to May in conjunction with the Danbury Public Schools' after-school, Extended Learning Program (ELP). SCRAM features a daily healthy snack, weekly nutrition lessons, and 45 minutes of daily physical activities. At the end of the 26 weeks, students show improved physical fitness test scores, are more knowledgeable about good nutrition and increase their fruit and vegetable consumption. SCRAM is proven to help overweight children stabilize and even improve their BMI levels, and through quality physical activity programming. Through an effective parent education component, SCRAM helps families reinforce healthy behaviors at home. SCRAM has been recognized by the CDC as an effective health strategy. A 4 to 6 week summer variation is also offered at up to four Danbury Public School summer school sites.
During the spring and summer months, students involved in SCRAM experience hands-on nutrition projects and activities including tending to a raised bed gardens, preparing and tasting a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and taking walking field trips to the Farmer's Market located at Kennedy Park in Danbury, CT.
Children and families are taught the Let's Go health message of "5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, 2 or less hours of recreational screen time, 1 hour of play every day and 0 intakes of sugar sweetened beverages." Program outcomes include improved weight status and fitness levels, increased fruit and vegetable consumption, decreased sugar sweetened beverage intake, and decreased time spent in recreational screen time and more time playing.
Since 2010, the program has reached more than 2500 children and families.