Live Well Kids credited by LA County study for reducing obesity in Redondo schools

Students learn about healthy food during a class at the school's garden. Photo by Chelsea Sektnan
Students learn about healthy food during a class at the school's garden. Photo
Students learn about healthy food during a class at the school's garden. Photo

Redondo Lincoln Elementary students learn about healthy food during a class at the school’s garden. Photo

In 2005, a California Physical Fitness report showed one in five Redondo elementary school students were overweight. The figure was higher than that of neighboring school districts and higher than the national average. The following year, at a cost of $25,000, the Beach Cities Health District launched what would become known as the Live Well Kids program. Twice a week, all 500 students at Lincoln Elementary School in Redondo Beach participated in a 40 minutes exercise program at lunchtime. After five months, the students Average Body mass index showed a .26 percent improvement. Though a small number, it went against the nationwide trend. At the time, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has quadrupled over the previous 25 years.

The BCHD Live Well Kids program has since expanded to all eight Redondo Beach Unified elementary schools. 

At a Beach Cities Health District Board meeting scheduled for last night (after press time), Dr. Paul Simon, Chief Science officer of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, was to recognize the Live Well Kids program for having reduced Redondo’s elementary student obesity rate from 20 percent to 6.4 percent between 2007 and 2019. The finding is based on a recently released case study titled “Recent Trends in Childhood Obesity Prevalence in the Redondo Beach Unified School District.”

The  LACDPH analysis covered the period from the 2008-2009 school year to 2018-2019, using BMI data calculated for each RBUSD student, based on their measured height and weight.

“These findings are particularly impressive because they were sustained and observed across all public elementary schools, grade levels and demographic groups.” Simon said in a statement.

Notably, he added, similar improvement was not found in neighboring cities or the county overall, according to data from the California Physical Fitness Testing Program.

The LiveWell Kids curriculum is delivered in classrooms and school gardens by 500 trained parent docents. It blends in-class nutrition lessons, mindfulness practices and garden education to introduce and instill healthy habits at an early age.

In addition to LiveWell Kids, BCHD supports nutrition and exercise in RBUSD schools through 8-Minute Morning Exercises, School Wellness Councils, Walking School Bus, Walking Wednesdays and Youth Bicycle and Pedestrian Education. International Walk to School Day, held the first Wednesday in October, saw 1,723 RBUSD students participate in 2019.

“When we partnered with BCHD and instituted their LiveWell Kids program, we all had lofty goals. Staff, parents, kids, the board of education as well as BCHD have all contributed to a program that continues to exceed those goals,” Dr. Steven Keller, RBUSD Superintendent said in a statement, following the release of the County case study. Additional reporting . ER


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