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270 base youths join FitFactor program

By James Coburn | 37th Training Wing Public Affairs | Nov. 20, 2006

Lackland Air Force Base, Texas — About 270 Team Lackland youths are winning prizes as they improve their fitness
through the FitFactor program sponsored Air Force-wide by USAF Services.

The program began for youths 9 and older last October, and the Air Force is
expanding FitFactor this October to include 6-, 7- and 8-year-olds, plus adding
incentives for youths who have already advanced through most of the prize
levels.

Youths can earn up to 100 points a day by participating in sports, exercising,
doing chores around the house and eating healthy foods or avoiding sweets.
Participants receive prizes as they achieve each of six point levels, plus those
who achieve 300 points in a week are entered in a monthly drawing for special
prizes, such as tickets to SeaWorld or Schlitterbahn.

"I think it's a very beneficial program, and it reflects the Air Force's
commitment to kids to get out and get fit," said Ruben Rodriguez, a Lackland
youth sports and fitness director at the Youth Center who manages the FitFactor
program on base.

Mr. Rodriguez sends group e-mails to participants advising them of the latest
prize winners and notifying them of upcoming events and sports opportunities to
earn more points.

"I like (FitFactor) because I get rewarded for being fit," said Christopher
West, 11, one of two Team Lackland youths who have achieved the fifth level,
"Endurance," by scoring 25,000 points. He has scored the most points, 32,100,
and won a silicone Endurance bracelet, an Endurance pin, a T-shirt and a cooler
packed with miscellaneous prizes.

Lackland's program won a $1,500 grant because more than 50 percent of
participants quickly advanced to the 1,000-point level, "Energy," and another
$1,500 grant for a FitFactor video made by Teen Center teens directed by Tom
Lynds. Mr. Rodriguez said the grants are being used to buy more prizes.

The program is "going great, and it's only going to be better once it expands in
October to include 6-year-olds and up," said Lackland Youth Programs Director
Lucy Forcum. She said the expansion would include more challenges for FitFactor
veterans.

Youths tally their points on a Web site, http://www .afgetfit.com/login.aspx.
The site provides the rules, how many points are awarded for each activity and
the prizes awarded for each level attained.

The other youth achieving the fifth level is Mr. Rodriguez's son, Ruben Jr., who
has tallied 25,910 points.

Mr. Rodriguez said youths also can earn points by activities during new family
hours at the Warhawk Fitness Center.

In a related development, a Fit Kids program will be offered from 9 a.m. to noon
on Saturdays at the Health and Wellness Center if enough youths sign up, said
Katia Heard, a HAWC health education specialist. The program begins with 45
minutes of health education and is followed by exercises in four sessions that
the youths later can list for points on the FitFactor site. Four youths have
signed up so far, and Ms. Heard said a few more are needed to call her at 671-
1997 and she will start the sessions.