MSU Sports Medicine Fights Michigan Childhood Obesity with Fitness Finders Club

EAST LANSING, Mich. — MSU Health Care Sports Medicine is excited to announce its sponsorship of the Fitness Finders Mileage Club in nearly 50 mid-Michigan schools for the 2023-2024 school year. As the leading running program for elementary schools in the United States, the Fitness Finders Mileage Club has consistently proven its effectiveness in encouraging physical activity among young students.

“Physical activity plays a crucial role in shaping a child’s future health,” stated Seth Ciabotti, CEO of MSU Health Care. “It aids in maintaining a healthy weight, benefits heart health, and enhances social interactions, which are essential aspects of a child’s development. MSU Health Care is committed to the well-being of our community’s youngest members and the cultivation of healthy habits that will last a lifetime.”

The Fitness Finders Mileage Club motivates students to stay active by tracking their running or walking progress during recess and physical education classes. At each milestone, participants earn Toe Tokens, foot-shaped plastic tokens, which they can proudly display on a chain or shoelace as a symbol of their achievements.

“Engaging in regular physical activity not only lays the foundation for a lifetime of health but also fosters critical life skills like discipline, teamwork, and resilience,” noted Micah Lissy, MD, MS PT, ATC, CSCS, interim chairperson of the Department of Orthopedics and orthopedic surgeon at MSU Health Care Sports Medicine. “At MSU Health Care Sports Medicine, we are dedicated to nurturing the physical well-being of our youngest community members and empowering them to lead healthier, happier lives through the joy of movement.”

This sponsorship complements MSU Health Care Sports Medicine’s ongoing community outreach efforts, which already include on-site school pre-participation physicals, injury clinics, and medical coverage for high school and community sporting events. MSU Health Care Sports Medicine is dedicated to delivering comprehensive care to athletes of all ages, encompassing prevention, osteopathic manual medicine, surgical and nonoperative treatment, and rehabilitation.

In the spring of 2023, a total of 5,061 children from 13 mid-Michigan elementary schools, including Bath Community Schools, East Lansing Public Schools, Fowlerville Community Schools, Holt Public Schools, and Okemos Public Schools, took part in the Fitness Finders Mileage Club. Together, they covered an impressive distance of 35,435 miles, showcasing the program’s effectiveness in promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles among young learners.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that childhood obesity remains a pressing concern, with 20.7% of children aged 6-11 in the United States affected. Responding to this alarming statistic, MSU Health Care has taken on the sponsorship of the Fitness Finders Mileage Club as part of its commitment to combat childhood obesity in Michigan.

“We are honored to have MSU Health Care Sports Medicine as a sponsor for the 2023-2024 school year,” said Rich Fairbanks, President of Fitness Finders. “With their support, we can reach even more schools and empower countless children to embrace physical activity as a lifelong habit. Together, we will make a lasting impact on the health and well-being of our community’s youth.”

MSU Health Care Sports Medicine welcomes additional schools to join the Fitness Finders Mileage Club program and actively participate in the fight against childhood obesity. Schools interested in participating can contact Scott Sundberg at (800) 789-9255 to sign up and take a significant step towards promoting healthier and more active lifestyles among their students.


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