I in 5 kids in this country is overweight, making childhood obesity a problem that continue to grow nationwide and here at home. As our children's waistline increases so do their chances for health related problems in adulthood. One Sioux Falls Elementary School is doing all it can to try and nip obesity in the bud.
St. Mary Elementary in Sioux Falls isn't taking the obesity epidemic laying down. They open their doors early at 7am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday so students have time to run and play before classes starts at 8.
Student Jack Niedringhaus says, "It's called walking club. We get to shoot baskets and play fun games."
3rd graders Korbin Clement and Jack never miss an opportunity to shoot some hoops with other school mates.
Korbin says, "My mom has to go to work very early so I come here early. It's fun."
Jack says, "I play in a basketball league and my Dad says I need to practice."
This started out as a walking club for teachers, staff and students, but it quickly evolved into open gym. Even though the kids are well mannered and always take turns shooting the ball, it's always supervised. PE teacher at St. Mary and Cathedral Julie Kolbeck takes the Wednesday shift.
Mrs. Kolbeck says, "We've always talked about integrating nutrition and exercise in any part of the day whether it's the first thing in the day or after school. So we open the door for these kids so they can have an opportunity to work out, burn off energy and keep moving."
The key to a healthy weight is easy. You have to burn more calories than you take in. The problem is most of just don't do that and the drive through is just way to convenient and way too fattening.
Dr. Bruning says, "It starts with your diet. We have to eat the right foods. Secondly, portion control. Instead of eating 3 pieces of pizza, eat just one and then get out an exercise. The whole family needs to change it's practices not just the child. Often times I see children who come in and eat as much or more than the parents do. That's too much because they aren't running it off. Instead, more and more kids are inside playing video games."
Mrs. Kolbeck says, "We really want to show them what a difference15 to 20 minutes of activity can make."
Even though it's just fun and games for the kids, teachers know the real score:
Good Health 10
Children who are obese are at high risk of becoming overweight adults and they are at risk for a number of health problems like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. That's why it's so important to reverse the trend at an early age .