Forty young ladies from throughout the state of Arkansas converged on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff last week for the Arkansas Minority Health Commission's third annual Camp iRock, an all-girls fitness and nutrition camp.

Forty young ladies from throughout the state of Arkansas converged on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff last week for the Arkansas Minority Health Commission’s third annual Camp iRock, an all-girls fitness and nutrition camp.

This free residential camp, designed exclusively for girls in sixth, seventh and eighth grade, offered educational activities, workshops and exercises aimed at promoting physical activity, healthy lifestyles and self-confidence.

Camp iRock continues to explore new territories with this marking its first year at UAPB.

“Because there are definite correlations between obesity and academic performance, we chose to hold this year’s camp at UAPB and expose our campers to the college experience,” said Chantel Tucker, health initiative project manager with the AMHC.

The week included structured physical activity where the girls learned the fundamentals of sports including, basketball, volleyball and soccer. The girls were also given an option during each day to select an activity of their choice, such as water aerobics, line dancing, Zumba for Kicks/Hip-Hop.

The girls were provided a tour of the UAPB campus on Friday. For the third consecutive year, first lady of Arkansas, Ginger Beebe, participated in the closing ceremony held Saturday in the Student Union Ballroom at UAPB.

According to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, one in three Arkansas public school students are overweight or at risk for becoming overweight. These children have a higher risk of developing diabetes orthopedic problems, sleep disturbances and kidney problems. In addition, behavioral and psychological problems have been related to childhood obesity, and obese students are twice as likely to be in special education as non-obese students.

“The Arkansas Minority Health Commission is proud of the success of the last two year’s camps and our campers, and we hope to generate that same positivity and impact in 2013,” said Dr. Idonia Trotter, executive director of the AMHC. “Providing this experience to girls in minority communities is an important part of making an impact on the health disparities that the AMHC was created to address.”

Camp iRock 2013 is made possible through the collaborative efforts of the AMHC, UAPB, Cossatot Community College University of Arkansas and Girl Scout-Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

The 40 participants, 10 from each of Arkansas’s four Congressional Districts, had to meet certain criteria in order to attend the camp. The criteria included:

Must be entering the sixth-eighth grade during the 2013-2014 school year

Must be a resident of the state of Arkansas

Must be a minority and/or live in an underserved community

BMI must be at least in the 85th percentile

Physical examination including BMI from physician

Parent/Guardian must sign release for photographs

Consent form signed by parent/guardian

Campers must participate in all camp activities

About Arkansas Minority Health Commission

The mission of The Arkansas Minority Health Commission is to ensure all minority Arkansans access to health care that is equal to the care provided to other citizens of the state and to seek ways to provide education, address issues and prevent diseases and conditions that are prevalent among minority populations. To learn more about the Arkansas Minority Health Commission visit arminorityhealth.com. To get more details about Camp iRock visit campirock.com.