Health, exercise camp helps girls fight obesity
Dozens of middle school girls met with volunteers Monday in Farish Hall for a four-week journey in enhancing their health.
Behavior Opportunities Uniting Nutrition Counseling and Exercise, a summer camp specifically for Hispanic and African-American pre-adolescent girls from the ages 9 to 14, was awarded as “one of the best nutrition and activity practices” by the Texas Public Health Association in 2006.
In 2010, BOUNCE was recognized again and received an honorable mention in the Texas Cardiovascular Health Promotion Awards from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“We work with girls in this age group because puberty is a difficult time for them, so we like to support them before those changes occur,” said Norma Olvera, the executive director of BOUNCE.
Olvera received her doctorate from UH in developmental psychology with a concentration in child health. She is also an associate professor for the UH Department of Health and Human Performance.
“I have eighteen years of experience with healthy life programs,” Olvera said.
Since 2005, BOUNCE has taught young girls how to reach healthier lifestyles though nutrition, exercise and counseling.
“The girls meet with a dietitian to understand how to read food labels, portion sizes and reduce fat,” Olvera said. “We also give them a healthy lunch each day with some healthy snacks.”
Throughout the week, the girls have learned about fun ways to be active. Each day, they learn a new exercise to stay active such as Zumba, yoga and core training.
The girls also receive counseling to understand what a healthy weight is and how to achieve self-acceptance with their body image.
“We like to bring the parents on Friday, especially the mothers, so they can be supportive for the girls,” Olvera said. “This helps them work together as a family.”
Gabriela Berrones, a student in the BOUNCE program, attended for her second year in a row this past week.
“I love everything about BOUNCE, but my favorite part is that my family can get involved with me,” Berrones said.