With childhood obesity being an epidemic in America, schools and districts around the country are looking for ways to fight a dangerous problem.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 17 percent of American children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese. And statistics reveal that this trend is increasing. Obese children are more likely to develop health risks later in life, according to the CDC.
To offset the obesity problem, one local school is making strides toward a more health conscious student body. Administrators at Hawks Rise Elementary have implemented programs to create a more physically active learning environment.
“We want our kids to be as healthy and physically fit as they can. The steps we’re having the students take now will help them later on in life,” said Hawks Rise principal, Evy Friend.
The school, located on the county’s north side has become the forerunner in instituting the importance of health in its students. Initiatives like the “Mileage club,” allows students, in grades 2 through 5, to get a hearty walk or jog in on the school’s track before class.
“It’s important to have very active P.E. classes, where the teachers develop plans that allow for physical exertion,” said Friend, who is a staunch advocate for physical education.
The school also implemented numerous other physical activities for the children that provide incentives for a healthy, active life.
“The obesity crisis is dramatically increasing, due to the fact that children just aren’t getting enough daily activity,” said Susan Reid, the school’s physical education teacher. “It is so important to create a planned activity that allows the kids to enjoy what their doing,” Reid added as she pointed towards a large room containing all of the P.E. equipment.
Hawks Rise has created other extracurricular activities that focus solely on getting healthier. They offer “Champions,” which gives the students an energetic workout that allowing them to release their pent up energy from the day, as well as yoga, Zumba, and multiple sports activities such as volleyball, basketball and rugby in their extended day program.
“Parents are extremely delighted with the activities that Hawks Rise creates,” said Tamara Blyden, whose son, Jai, attends the school. I am so proud that this school believes in the importance of physical activity. So many kids are obese and sadly nothing is being done to cease this problem,” said Blyden.