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CHP Champions Program Celebrates Year 4

Note: This article is over 60 days old, and may contain information that is out of date, or has been superseded by newer information.

In the fall of 2004 the Leon County School District completed the first-ever study of body mass indexes (BMI) in grades K, 1 and 3-8. The results showed 36.2% of the children were either overweight (18.9%) or at-risk for overweight (17.4%).

Capital Health Plan recognized that the future health of our community depends on the lifestyle choices offered to our children today. In partnership with Leon County Schools, Titus Sports Academy, the Chamber of Commerce’s World Class Schools and Capital Health Plan, the CHP Champions program was launched.

Four years later, CHP Champions is in every elementary school and middle school in Leon, Gadsden, Jefferson and Wakulla County. Participation has increased from 1,151 children in its first year to over 8,800 participates last school year. Working with the FSU Medical School to implement a K-2nd grade program in 12 elementary schools, CHP Champions has a target goal this school year of 12,600 participants.

The focus of the program is to provide students with developmental physical activity by incorporating the basic level of sports performance training principles. Initially offered as an after-school program, it is now offered before school and during the day in a large portion of schools. CHP Champions is currently working to incorporate program lessons into the standard physical education curriculum.

A key element of this initiative is a well-designed set of evaluations. Each student is given a pre-test and post-test each semester to track their progress. The test gathers data including BMI, hip-to-waist ratio, and performance in a number of physical fitness activities.

An independent analysis conducted by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst found significant correlation in students’ participation in the CHP CHAMPIONS program and their overall improvement in health and fitness. An indication of this correlation is the downward shift of CHP Champions pre-BMI compared to CHP Champions post-BMI. The study looked at data collected from the 2006/2007 school year including weight, BMI, and improvement in the following performance tests: 40 Yard Dash, Pro Agility, Broad Jump, and 300 Yard Shuttle Run.


Healthy Weight 53 % 57 %
Overweight 33 % 25 %

*Includes 242 participants with at least 40% participation Rate who were enrolled in both Fall 2006 and Spring 200.

If you would like more information on the CHP Champions Program please email or visit the website at



Sedentary Kids? Not These Champs!

Note: This article is over 60 days old, and may contain information that is out of date, or has been superseded by newer information.

The CHP Champions program is off to a thriving start for 2009. Hearing the Champions buzz for several years, and seeing more children involved, the community wants to learn more. Parents are asking: “What is the Champions program? Where is it offered? How can my child get involved? Is it really free?” CHP loves those questions.

Already 6,000 Students. CHP Champions, in a nutshell, offers children the opportunity to experience a healthy lifestyle today and tomorrow—while having fun—through regular fitness activities. The program began in August 2006 with voluntary, free physical activities before or after school in nine local elementary schools. Our goal was expanding the program to all students in Leon, Gadsden, Jefferson, and Wakulla counties by fall 2010. CHP Champions is now in all local counties: 54 sites, well over 6,000 regularly participating students, and more than 150 coaches. These men and women not only lead energetic, enjoyable activities, but also set positive role examples for our children. With the support of community partnerships, Champions is well on its way to meeting that 2010 goal.

Community Involvement. The program’s success stems from the key support of area school districts and community organizations. Wakulla County Senior Citizen Council, working with Wakulla County Schools, offers Champions in after-school programs of four elementary schools. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Jefferson County conduct Champions for elementary and middle school students. Gadsden and Leon counties’ school districts offer the program in all after-school elementary programs, as well as in part of the middle-school physical education curriculum. Leon County Schools has expanded Champions to ninth-grade high school students taking the required HOPE class.

Alex Stemle, vice-president of CHP Champions, says, “The collaboration of the Champions program and middle and high school teachers has allowed the schools an opportunity to creatively address the Sunshine State Standards for Florida Department of Education, while increasing the quality of workout sessions through moderate to vigorous physical activity.”

For More Information. Each school and community organization participating in CHP Champions has a “Champions contact.” This staff member can provide all enrollment information, program times, and dates. You can also contact Alex Stemple at 850-671-3278 or The goal of CHP Champions is to offer this free and fun program to all children who want to join in.