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Department of Sport, Exercise, Recreation, and Kinesiology

College of Education

Fit Kids


egg huntThe Fit Kids program was developed with the realization that concepts and attitudes are formed at a very early age and if any real progress is to be made in fitness education it must begin with our children. With the support of parents, teachers, and administrators, the future of our area can be improved by contributing to the growth and development of our children.


The Fit Kids was conceived in May 1987 by The Paty Company and East Tennessee State University. The program was designed to improve the physical fitness of elementary school children, as well as educate teachers, parents and students in healthy ways to achieve life-long fitness.

The Fit Kids was initially implemented in the Fall of 1987 at South Side Elementary School in Johnson City Tennessee. The program's overwhelming success at South Side prompted expansion to all nine Johnson City elementary schools in 1988.

With the slogan "It's Hip to Be Fit", this innovative fitness program involves the parent, child, homeroom teacher and healthcare/fitness professionals in activities designed to improve the children's physical well-being for life. The Fit Kids Program is designed to supplement each school's existing Physical Education program.

Children (grades Kindergarten - 5th grade) are evaluated and educated each year to help identify fitness areas that need improvement. Evaluations are made on basis of cardiovascular endurance, body composition, abdominal strength, hamstring flexibility and upper body strength. Areas of focus include motor skill development, healthy habits, cooperation, and fun.

Activity guides are given to each homeroom teacher in order that selected daily activities can be performed to help children achieve and maintain a high level of fitness. Fit Kids sponsors also provide recreational equipment to be used with program's activity guides.


The long-term goals of The Fit Kids Program are to enhance existing Physical Education classes in the schools, by helping children develop a better understanding of overall fitness and motivating students to take part in regular physical activity. Providing students with various levels of healthy play and competition while incorporating cardiovascular endurance, body composition, adequate muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility that will encourage students to live a life of quality and good health. Also to promote yearly health fairs that provide information to students on habits that affect their overall health including nutrition, smoking, bike safety, and seatbelt safety.


  • Since 1987 The Fit Kids program has grown to include over 8,000 East Tennessee School students in fun fitness.
  • In 1989, The Fit Kids, Inc. gained tax exempt status as a non-profit organization.
  • During 1992 The Fit Kids, Inc. served as a national model for grants, expanding the Fit Kids concept statewide as well as nationwide.
  • The Fit Kids is serving as a model program for the State of Tennessee and is endorsed by the Tennessee Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Health.
  • In 1993 "Fit Seniors" an intergenerational training program involving Seniors 50+ began.
  • In 1995 The Fit Kids program received national recognition as an Outstanding Health Promotions Program sponsored by The United States Department of Health and Human Services.
  • In 1997 East Tennessee State University took full control of the The Fit Kids and The Fit Seniors programs.
  • The Fit Kids program includes over 4,000 students from the East Tennessee Area involves in fitness and fun.
  • The Fit Seniors program was conducted at over eight different locations throughout the East Tennessee area.
  • In 2004-2005, more than 1000 students in four area counties benefited from the Fit Kids program.


Graduate students are employed to teach in the Fit Kids program, working 20 hours per week, usually teaching in two to three schools approximately 3-4 days per week. Graduate students must provide their own transportation to and from their assigned schools. Each graduate student must enroll in at least nine credit hours per semester to be eligible to serve as a graduate assistant in the Fit Kids program. Each Fit Kids Graduate Assistant earns a waiver of tuition and monthly salary. A teaching license is preferred, but not required to be considered for a Fit Kids graduate assistantship position A total of eight graduate assistants are employed each year for the Fit Kids program. An assistantship is available for two consecutive years.

If interested, please contact:

Amy E. Greene, M.A.
Coordinator, Fit Kids Program
Department of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation Management
Box 70671
East Tennessee State University
Johnson City, TN 37614
(423) 439-6714


Fit Kids Sponsors

  • Johnson City Medical Center
  • Children's Hospital
  • Washington Co. Department of Education

Sponsored Schools

  • Washington County
    Boones Creek Elementary
    Sulphur Springs Elementary
  • Carter County
    Range Elementary
    Little Milligan Elementary
    Keenburg Elementary
  • Unicoi County
    Unicoi Elementary
    Rock Creek Elementary
    Love Chapel Elementary
    Temple Hill Elementary




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