The Y-MVP Teen Fitness Challenge is an innovative eight-week program designed to stimulate teens to increase their daily levels of Moderate to Vigorous Physical activity. Adopting game design techniques, New York City’s YMCA has created an app – combined with dynamic digital badges and fun fitness activities – that motivates, recognizes and rewards young people’s MVP levels while helping them to create life-long healthy habits.
How it works: Healthy by playing
• Teens register for an eight-week Y-MVP Fitness Challenge at their local YMCA branch,
• Y-MVP class meets for 90 minutes once a week in a safe, teen-friendly environment.
• Guided by an experienced Y-MVP Fitness Coach, teens learn how to set personal fitness goals and achieve them.
• Each class takes on different fitness “quests” following a curriculum designed to teach cardio, strength, cross training, group exercises and exercise design.
• At the end of each class, teens receive a fitness “mission” that they need to complete before the next class.
A social fitness network
• Teens use a really cool app to track their workouts, and earn prizes for completing different missions.
• There are no more than 12 teens per class. This small group experience provides the support teens need to reach their goals.
• Y-MVP also capitalizes on the popularity of social media sites to promote healthy lifestyle values, and build a community of young people that values physical activity. Participants are encouraged to share their badges and earned rewards on social media sites, while a Timeline and a Leaderboard show users accomplishments and reinforce the importance of daily physical activity.
Key findings from our 2014 formal program evaluation showed major impact on physical activity and program enjoyment:
• 100% of youth felt they are now better equipped and motivated to exercise on their own at the YMCA.
• 100% reported their Y-MVP Fitness Coaches were helpful and motivating
• 96% of youth enjoyed being active in Y-MVP
• 94% of youth felt that Y-MVP was fun and motivating
• 88% of youth said Y-MVP helped them be more active
• 80% want to share their Y-MVP successes with friends via social media
• 71% reported more motivation to be active when exercising with friends
• 67% reported digital badges motivated them to exercise
Y-MVP is possible thanks to the conscious support of the Pepsi Co Foundation, The Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust, the Aetna Foundation and American Express. Y-MVP was tested in the spring of 2013 as a pilot program at the Bedford-Stuyvesant Y, in Brooklyn, and the Harlem Y in Manhattan. The program is currently under implementation at the following Y branches:
Coney Island YMCA
North Brooklyn YMCA
Park Slope Armory YMCA
Prospect Park YMCA
West Side YMCA
Cross Island YMCA
Long Island City YMCA
Rockaway YMCA at Arverne by the Sea
Staten Island Broadway YMCA
1 New York City Vital Signs report. NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, December 2011 Volume 10, No. 4
2 New York City Vital Signs report. NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, October 2011 Volume 11, No. 2
3 New York City Vital Signs report. NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, October 2011 Volume 11, No. 2
4 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
Y-MVP is the latest addition to the YMCA of Greater New York anti-obesity effort.
In New York City, 40% of elementary and middle school children1 and 27% of high school students 2 are overweight or obese.
People who are overweight or obese (children and adults) are at a higher risk to develop serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and depression.
Living a passive lifestyle is a leading cause of obesity. Overweight and obese students are more likely than students at a healthy weight to watch television for three or more hours on an average school day.3
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day for children and adolescents.4