September 2, 2011
Professor Dan Tripps, Director of the Center for the Study of Sport and Exercise and its Human Performance Laboratory, has developed a pilot program to combat childhood obesity. Funded by United Health Foundation, the program combines physical fitness, nutritional information, and lifestyle coaching. The Hall County School System in Atlanta, Georgia, is the first site chosen to implement the pilot.Tripps has teamed up with award-winning chef Ethan Stowell, Andrea Riggs, personal trainer for Hollywood celebrities, and Kathy Johnson Clarke, 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic gymnastic gold medalist. On September 15, they are presenting the program to parents, children, and personnel of Hall County schools. It is estimated that by 2030, 75% of the U.S. population will be overweight and 41% will be obese. “The problem of childhood obesity has a solution,” Tripps said. “With support from parents, school personnel, and the healthcare community, we can change dramatically the lifestyle and health of our children.”The school system’s nursing and certificated staff will play major roles in implementing the program with Minnesota-based United Health Care’ Optum Health division. Post-program initiatives for children, parents, and school personnel include a sustainable garden at the school and a virtual challenge walk around Georgia (using pedometers). The United Health Foundation is supporting the program with technology and funding to develop the pilot. If the program is received well, it will be repeated nationwide beginning in 2012. Tripps, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon, has been a coach for world-class swimmers and triathletes, President and Executive Director of the Olympic Scientific Congress held in conjunction with the 1984 Olympic Games, and U.S. representative to UNESCO's Sport For All project to bring sport science to the developing world.Tripps joined the College of Arts and Sciences faculty in 2006. His teaching and research focus on the science of elite human performance, sport science and technology, and the psychology of leadership and achievement.
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