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Dr Jay Shubrook D.O., coordinator of the Take
Action 2 program.


Innovative fitness program looks for young recruits
(and their parents)

By Danaline McPhail Bryant

[This story originally appeared in the May 5, 2008 issue of The Athens News]

Are you interested in feeling better?

That is the question the organizers of an upcoming summer fitness program are asking area parents and their children. Enrollment is underway for Take Action 2, a program that can help participants lead a healthier life.

Take Action 2 is a multidisciplinary, community-based lifestyle program developed to address childhood obesity. After a successful pilot program last year, the program is expanding to include additional participants in its second year.

Program organizers are looking for children six to 17 years of age, along with a parent, to take part in the program. There is no age limit for parents. Sign-up takes place now through June 1 to gather a total of 80 participants on a first come, first serve basis. Parents may enroll more than one child, but each child must have a parent or guardian participating.

Participants will attend two-hour sessions two times per week. The program starts June 16 and concludes Aug. 23. Participants must commit to the full program.

Dr. Jay Shubrook, an assistant professor of family medicine at Ohio University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, is coordinator of the program. Co-leaders are pediatrician Dr. Andrew Wapner and Tom Murray, director of HeartWorks, the cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation program at O’Bleness Memorial Hospital. OU dietetics graduate student Melissa Lustic is the on-site program coordinator.

The program is designed to teach healthy lifestyle choices through a variety of activities. “One hour of the program will be filled with supervised play or exercise, depending on age,” Shubrook said. “For the kids we’ll have the Dance, Dance Revolution and games, such as kick ball. It will be in the Athens Community Center so participants can use the pool and the equipment.”

The second hour will be used for classroom study on healthy living and nutrition. Parents and children will “flip-flop”—while one group exercises, the other will be in class.

“Typically kids don’t want long lectures, so they’ll have fun educational activities during their class time, such as learning games and computer programs,” Shubrook said.

“For it to be successful we need people to commit to attending two times a week all summer,” he said. “Last year we did this on a smaller scale, with 25 kids as a pilot project. Typically, in these programs, there’s a high drop out rate, but we had drop outs only in the first week.”

The focus audience of the program is overweight children, and they are who the organizers are looking for. Parents or children who have health problems may be accepted, as long as their physicians approve of their participation.

“It’s important their doctors know about (program participation) and think it’s appropriate,” Shubrook said. “With their permission we’d like to share results with their physicians. If they say we can, we will send letters to their doctors, as well as their children’s doctors. We want to develop healthy habits that will last forever and will keep them healthy forever, so we want it to be as seamless as possible with their health care team.”

Those considering the program do not need to worry about their level of fitness. All activities will be individually assigned so participants can exercise at their own fitness levels. All exercise will be supervised by an exercise physiologist or athletic trainer. Physicians will also be present.

“Actually we will give them an exercise prescription based on their rate of fitness,” Shubrook said. “We don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable.”

Organizers are working to provide incentives for participation. Though arrangements are not complete, they hope to provide $10/week gas vouchers, Wal-Mart cards, iPod and exercise equipment vouchers, bowling passes and other incentives. Additionally, they are trying to secure four-times-a-week passes to the community center, so participants can make use of the facility outside of class.

Shubrook said the children who participated last year had a lot of fun while becoming healthier. “The most consistent comment we had from parents last year was how their kids just blossomed during the program and how much fun they had and how many new friends they made,” he said. “We’ve been in contact with them and many of them are still best friends with the kids they met.”

Though the program is a lot of fun, there’s a serious reason for its existence. “There is a rising problem with childhood obesity in this country, and this area is disproportionately affected,” Shubrook said. “For many people the community center is too expensive or too far away.”

One of Shubrook’s specialties is diabetes. He said it is on the rise in this country. Since diabetes can have serious consequences, it is important to live healthily.

"One in three Americans born in the year 2000 will eventually develop diabetes. Those are today’s eight-year-olds," Shubrook said. “And the numbers are even higher here. If this program can help prevent it, that would be great.”

To enroll in the program, or for more information, call Shubrook at (740) 594-2416 or e-mail

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Last updated: 01/28/2016