News: Local

Posted on Aug 19, 2015

South Bend becomes the first city in Indiana to reach five gold medals!

By Robin Vida, Director of Health Education, St. Joseph County Health Department

The City of South Bend is the third city in the Midwest and the first in the state of Indiana to reach gold medals in all five Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC) goals. For the City of South Bend and its partners, it’s been an incredible collective effort with a key focus on community engagement, especially with children and youth.

The St. Joseph County Health Department, in collaboration with Mayor Pete Buttigieg and the South Bend Community School Corporation, got the city moving with a kickoff event in January 2014. The students at Madison Primary Center were so excited that they choreographed and performed a special dance to Beyoncé’s “Move Your Body.”

A month later, focusing on the LMCTC Goal III: Smart Servings for Students, Mayor Buttigieg joined Madison Primary Center’s Principal Deb Martin to serve breakfast. They emphasized the importance of eating a healthy breakfast and increased awareness of the South Bend Community School Corporation’s free breakfast program.

Since becoming a Let’s Move! City, South Bend has started a “walking school bus” program. A walking school bus is a group of children walking to school and back with one or more supervising adults. South Bend now has families taking turns walking children to school. Low-cost, creative solutions that are safe and fun have been instrumental in helping South Bend families change behaviors and become more physically active.

Mayor Buttigieg also joined high school students for lunch to informally discuss new government nutrition standards and the importance of going outside their “culinary comfort zone” to try a variety of fruits and vegetables and discover more healthy foods they enjoy.

In conjunction with local physicians, the St. Joseph County Health Department started a “Walk with a Doc” program where doctors walk weekly with young participants to discuss health-related issues. The goal is to illustrate how an hour of moderate-to-vigorous activity every day helps maintain a healthy weight.

On September 11, South Bend will celebrate its success as Indiana’s first all-gold Let’s Move! City at the annual ROC UR BODY Family Fun Fest. University of Notre Dame student-athletes will join community members for physical activities and cooking demonstrations to help instill positive habits during National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

And we won’t rest on our gold laurels. South Bend is working toward becoming a Let’s Move! All-Star City. And we’ll continue to celebrate our city’s commitment to common-sense strategies that put children on the path to a healthy future.

To learn more about South Bend’s efforts, contact Robin Vida at rmeleski@co.st-joseph.in.us.