The Issue: Obesity Among Austin-Area Students
Nearly 65% of students enrolled in the Austin Independent School District are economically disadvantaged, according to the district’s own figures. A study published by the International Journal of Epidemiology found that these students are at a higher risk of developing obesity than other young people—compounding socio-economic hardships with issues concerning physical wellness and self-image. Further, a report in The Journal of Pediatrics discovered that low aerobic fitness and obesity can result in lower standardized test scores.
The Campaign: Teaching Austin Students the Value of Proper Diet
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by Marathon High to take a class of students on an educational field trip to a local, student-run urban farm, where they’ll learn the healthful benefits of sustainable, organic fruits and vegetables. If this Grassroots campaign raises $850, the organization can rent three vans and purchase enough snacks to take 45 students on the trip. Additional funds will go towards funding a follow-up trip.
Even with Olympic-caliber running coaches on staff and sights resolutely set on the Austin Marathon in February, Marathon High uses running as merely a means to an end. The program touts the sport—in combination with other healthy habits such as a proper diet—as a positive way for high-school and middle-school students who would not otherwise be engaged in extracurricular athletic activities to succeed on the track, in the classroom, and in life.
While the goal at the end of the free six-month program is participation in the Austin Marathon or Half Marathon, participants won’t be competing with each other—only themselves. Director Jeff Knight and head coach Chris Gowell, as well as the Olympic development running team Rogue Athletic Club, oversee each student’s training, from the first day’s five-minute walk to crossing the marathon finish line six months later. Along the way, participants meet three times per week for training and participate in field trips to local farms as a way to learn about maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle through nutritious meals.