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Using the Wii video game system, students participated in aerobics, yoga, running, tennis and baseball.
Judith Ross, principal of Birmingham's Wylam Elementary School, had the program at her school last year. While it was supposed to be just third graders who participated, it was impossible to limit it to just them, Adidas All Star Foot Locker
"They didn't look at it as exercise and burning calories that part of it never even crossed their minds," Ross said. "To them, they were just playing games and having fun."
The year long program culminates D Rose Lakeshore Low
The one year program is in 30 schools this year, and was in 30 different schools last year. The goal is to eventually offer the program to every elementary school.
at the annual Wee Fit Challenge during the summer, where one student from each of the participating schools D Rose 7 Custom
"To me, it was just fun," she said. "I got to play baseball and tennis with other people. And bowling."
But she has no idea how many calories she burned, because she didn't really consider it exercising.
Nine year old Safiyah Muhammad, now a fourth grader at Councill Elementary, came in seventh in the competition out of 19 who participated.
Alabama public schools turn to Wii to help fight childhood obesity
What did take some brainpower, however, was figuring out how use that fondness for electronic games to get some of the same benefits as running. class.
"Once the other children found out about it, they wanted to be involved, too," Ross said. "So we let them, and began using it as a behavior modification tool because kids knew if they didn't behave well, then on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, they couldn't participate."
Councill Principal Steve Brown said the program was a great start to fighting childhood obesity.
The program sponsored by the Alabama Department of Education, Alabama State University, the Governor's Commission on Physical Fitness and the Alabama Sports Festival requires each student to be measured and weighed at the beginning of the year and again at the end of the year. Each student's Body Mass Index, or BMI, also is calculated.
Ask most third graders whether they'd rather run laps in hundred degree temperatures or play a video game, and it doesn't take a genius to correctly predict their answer.
"We know that childhood obesity leads to a shorter life expectancy and we've got to do something to combat the problem," he said. "This program is definitely in tune with curtailing childhood obesity."
the one Mens Adidas Climacool 1 who burned the most calories during the year is chosen to compete. This June, the challenge included two Birmingham city school children from the schools that offered the program Wylam and Councill elementary schools.
Alabama public schools are using the system to fight childhood obesity. (AP)
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