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United Way helping to fight obesity in children

| June 28, 2016

Good group croppedCOSHOCTON – One in three children in Ohio is overweight due to lack of exercise and eating unhealthy.

The United Way of Coshocton was able to pilot a program called Crunch Out Obesity in all of the county schools this past year. It is a program designed to teach students about the need for activity and healthy eating.

Every fourth grade student in the county received a free exercise ball and nutrition journal and was taught through their physical education classes how best to use the balls and how to make healthier eating choices.

The county PE teachers all felt that the balls and journals fit into their existing curriculum very well and were excited to see how the students received the program.

“Students were really excited about the new program and being able to keep their exercise balls,” said Lisa Berry, River View PE teacher. “They started to take ownership and understand the importance of exercise and living a healthy lifestyle. After taking their balls home, many students came back to physical education class extremely excited about how their mom, dad, or siblings were getting involved in exercising and using their exercise ball. The students were ecstatic to teach their family how to use them.”

After the program was complete, students were asked to write essays telling what they learned from the program and winners were given day passes to Kids America and Lake Park pool.

“I have learned that healthy living means to be stronger and live longer,” said Dannan, Sacred Heart student, age 9.   “With Crunch Out, I have eaten more healthy foods. To me, eating healthy makes me strong. When I am strong it makes me feel like a new person. When I first started Crunch Out, it seemed like I was beginning a new life. The exercise ball made working out fun. Crunch Out made me more aware that I am responsible for my food choices. In the future I pledge to eat healthy and stay in shape.”

This program was made possible through grants from the Simpson Family Foundation, Kiwanis, and McWane Ductile.  For the next school year, 2016-2017, grants from Muskingum Valley Health Center and Family and Children First will provide the balls and journals.

The United Way focuses on Health, Education and Financial Stability in the programs it supports.

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Article contributed to The Beacon.

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