What We Do
Healthy Moves is a nonprofit organization bringing movement, fitness and fun to elementary students. Due to school budget cuts, many physical education programs have been eliminated. Healthy Moves trainers work with students and their teacher to demonstrate fitness activities and provide a model for the teacher to use in future PE classes. Healthy Moves provides fitness formats that can be used by all teachers of grades one through five.
Physical activity supports healthy social, cognitive, and physical development in children. National experts recommend that elementary-age children get 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day. Yet, research shows that children are failing to reach even minimal benchmarks for age-appropriate physical activity. Among kids that are age 6-11, 13 percent are now obese, and this unhealthy number has been increasing.
Healthy Moves for Kids provides fun ways for kids to get the physical activity that they need to be healthy.
How We Started
Healthy Moves was set in motion by Denise Thomas, a fitness specialist wanting to get involved with the national Let’s Move campaign (www.letsmove.gov) on childhood obesity that is led by First Lady Michelle Obama. “I felt that the crucial attention that was starting to be given to children about not being physically active was so critical,” says an enthusiastic Denise, “and that people were blaming the kids, and at the same time not giving any aid to support the children in getting more active!”
“In response to the continued concern from the public about childhood obesity rates, I thought, let’s get into the schools. With the help of Dr. Larry Smith, we found that in the Bethel/Springfield school districts there were no physical education teachers at the elementary school level. And PE teachers were becoming extinct not just in the Eugene/Springfield area, but across the country!”
Denise, the director of Healthy Moves, continues: “With the help of Bethel Superintendent Colt Gill, former Eugene 4J Superintendent George Russell, and Springfield Curriculum Director Paul Weill, Healthy Moves started on a path to help local kids get more healthy. We began gathering fitness instructors, coaches, retired teachers, University of Oregon students and athletes, students from Lane Community College’s Fitness Specialist program, and people who have had experience with youth in physical activities into the Healthy Moves program.”
So now, Healthy Moves can assist teachers in teaching a variety of physical activities to youth. And the kids benefit in ways that can make them more healthy now and throughout their lives.
For more about why we care so much about kids being active, see the Healthy Facts page. It contains great information from scientific studies on the multiple ways that kids benefit from physical activity.
Healthy Moves CEO/Director, Denise Thomas is the owner of Let’s Move Fitness and earned a bachelor’s degree in dance from the University of Oregon. After college, she studied dance in New York at the Alvin Ailey Dance School and Steps on Broadway and taught aerobics at Molly Fox Studio and at Crunch. She pioneered Double Funk, a cardio-intense workout set to funk music, and she is currently a fitness instructor and a practitioner of the Alexander Technique.