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Marsh column: Kids get fit at school

Q. When is Fit for Motion offered in other elementary schools and other grades?
A. For our readers out there, Fit for Motion is a pilot program that the Rowan County YMCA, in partnership with Rowan Regional Medical Center and Food Lion, is running in three elementary schools’ second-grade classes. Our pilot schools are Overton Elementary, Shive Elementary and Millbridge Elementary.
It is a program that was successfully run by Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte.
As everyone realizes, obesity has become an epidemic. Lots of organizations and businesses such as Rowan Regional Medical Center, Food Lion, the Rowan County YMCA, Salisbury Pediatrics and the Rowan County Health Department, just to name a few, are trying ó and have tried in the past ó to find a way we can help our community and our children to fight obesity.
We understand that if we wait until they are in middle school and high school, we have missed the boat on most children. The children and lots of times their parents are living an unhealthy lifestyle which is not impossible, but a lot harder, to break when they are older.
Fit for Motion at this time is focusing on second graders and their parents. It is an educational program which teaches the children nutrition, very basic anatomy and physiology and includes activities like jump rope, yoga, Zumba and sports. It is held once a week for about 30 minutes during school hours, but does not take away from any of their learning time.
Quarterly, during the school year, we have a family night at the YMCA. The children come and have fun activities to do while the parents attend a workshop about nutrition, movement, and medical issues related to obesity. This is also a time for the parents to ask doctors, a physical therapist, a nutritionist and yours truly questions. Out of my personal experience and talking to the kids, this program is a great success.
Hopefully after this year, we can offer it to all Rowan County elementary schools, at least to all second graders. But as we all know it is all about funding. I do think at the end of this school year we will find that this program is extremely successful and with the wonderful support we already have received from this community and hopefully with grants, we can offer this to everyone. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Besides Fit for Motion, wouldn’t it also be great if PE would be offered once a day to the students instead of once a week?
It is recommended to exercise at least 30 minutes per day most days of the week. If we teach the children while they are young, don’t you think we have a better chance they will live a healthy and active lifestyle than when they wait to exercise until they are adults?
Gave you something to think about, didn’t I?
Contact Ester Marsh with health and fitness questions at 704-636-0111 or emarsh@ rowanymca.com.

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