San Antonio Sports and its Fit Family Challenge is helping city families become active, eat healthier and reduce diabetes and obesity rates with support from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.
Launched in 2010, Fit Family Challenge is 12-week summer program offering adults and teens more than 100 weekly fitness events at no cost. Additionally, classes are available for families with children 4 to 12 years old to increase activity and eliminate need for childcare.
Participants earn points by attending weekly classes like Zumba and yoga, participating in health screenings and attending the Fit Family Challenge 5K races. Those who earned 50 points during the session may be eligible for a $1,000 prize drawing.
“San Antonio Sports’ mission is to transform the community through the power of sport,” says Dorsena Picknell, senior director of sales and development. “We hope by offering Fit Family Challenge we can provide families the opportunity to be active and bond through the shared goal of getting fit.”
With help from a $45,000 BCBSTX Blue Impact℠ grant, the nonprofit helped about 5,000 San Antonians increase their physical activity. Hundreds of participants also got health screenings. San Antonio Sports Foundation is among several BCBSTX grant recipients statewide working to address social determinants of health, including nutrition, physical activity and economic opportunity and stability.
“Since 2014, we have worked in close collaboration with San Antonio Sports, leveraging its knowledge, experience and talents on a local level to help support healthier communities,” says Sheena Payne, BCBSTX community investments director. “We remain committed to creating optimal health outcomes and making a meaningful difference in the lives of those who need it most.”
In Bexar County, more than 13% of adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, according to the City of San Antonio Health District. That’s higher than the state rate of 12.6%.
Fit Family Challenge targets Bexar County families and neighborhoods at highest risk for health-related issues. It offers accountability and helps participants have fun while reaching fitness and health goals.
“We get the same group of people from year to year that come back,” says Sara Tovar, director of youth and community programs. “They look forward to seeing each other at the end of the day, and I think that’s really created a community.”
Health screenings are held at the locations of the in-person classes to make it easier for participants to get blood pressure and blood sugar level checks.
“Some of our participants don’t have a primary care doctor,” Tovar says. “They don’t have any idea of their health goals, so this really gives them the opportunity to kind of establish a baseline. We’re providing this resource to anybody, so there’s no barrier to participation. There’s no barrier to getting healthy.”