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Cooper Brings Fitness for Kids Back to Their School Programs

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Cooper Brings Fitness for Kids Back to Their School Programs

Obesity is an increasing factor in America today. But it’s not just with adults. The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Children spend most of their time in school, and making the healthy change has to start with the school districts. Don Disney, Director of Youth Initiatives at The Cooper Institute and National Program Director for The Cooper Institute’s FitnessGram® shares what The Cooper Institute is doing to help reverse the unhealthy epidemic in America’s schools.

The Problem
The number one problem with today’s school system is the lack of health literacy. There is no health education being taught on a consistent basis. In fact, it takes 22 times for a student to see a concept before they understand it. This means that steady healthy teaching has to occur for students to realize the importance.

The other major problem in schools is inactivity. You have probably seen this problem discussed recently in the news, as people are becoming more aware of how a sedentary lifestyle can adversely affect one’s health.

The Solution
There is no quick solution to the growing obesity problem in America and its schools. But while it is important for schools to get onboard with new programs, it’s imperative for parents to understand the problem and how they can help.

The Cooper Institute has developed numerous programs to incorporate regular fitness into schools.

Developed in 1982 by The Cooper Institute and partnering with NFL Play 60, FitnessGram was designed to increase parents’ awareness of children's fitness levels by developing an easy way for physical education teachers to report the results of physical fitness assessments. Students are assessed in these general areas of health-related fitness: aerobic capacity, body composition and muscle strength, endurance and flexibility. Scores are then evaluated against objective criterion standards that indicate a level of fitness necessary for health.

Once the assessment is complete, the FitnessGram report provides objective, personalized feedback and positive reinforcement. This is vital to changing behavior and serves as a communications link between teachers, parents and students.

Healthy Zone School Program
The United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and The Cooper Institute have created Healthy Zone School Recognition Program® to help promote health in schools. Designed to promote health starting at the school level, the program gives schools resources to engage teachers, students, and parents in a broader effort to improve the health of their communities.  The two-tier program honors schools for their healthy practices and assist schools that wish to establish an environment that is optimal for healthy behaviors. In 2011, Troy Aikman, United Way and The Cooper Institute recognized 13 local Dallas schools.

Through these programs, we hope to establish the knowledge and tools for parents, teachers and students alike to make healthy changes in their lives and increase activity in schools.

For more information about The Cooper Institute and its healthy school programs, click here or call 972.341.3200.

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics, Marketing and Communications.