By Khadija Allen
Camp director Shelley Johnson has a passion for children and teaching them the importance of staying healthy in the inner city. Very often, she speaks to black and Latino children about nutrition and dieting to prevent the risks of hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.
All it took was for her was to ensure that 30 black and Latino boys were taken care of in a camp program called Project A.H.E.A.D. (Approaches to Healthy Exercise Activities and Diet) summer camp. For two weeks, the boys had classroom guidance on cutting back on sugars and fat content as well as combating gender and racial-related health problems.
Lincoln University’s National Minority Male Health Project and five other HBCUs also focus on the needs of minority children, specifically males who are largely victims of obesity rates.
As reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer:
“If we look at the mortality rate among African American men, it’s the lowest life expectancy of just about any demographic subgroup,” said Obie Clayton, a Morehouse College professor. “That’s the whole motive behind Project A.H.E.A.D.: prevention and to raise awareness.” Another part of the program involves physical activity and exercises called “Whole Grains,” “Five-a-day Focus on Fruits and Vegetables,” and Building Better Bones.”
Afternoons are reserved for physical fitness, with a focus on nontraditional activities, including running obstacle courses, swimming, and weight training. Camp athletic instructor Darrell “D-Lock” Locket said he wanted to do more than just “throw out a basketball or football.”