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Third-grade fun emphasizes lifetime fitness

Nearly 1,000 third graders from 16 southeast Kansas schools will run, jump, kick and twist at Pittsburg State University on Friday, April 29, in an annual celebration that focuses on fitness and safety. Kansas Kids Fitness and Safety Day, which is hosted by PSU’s Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, begins at 10 a.m. in Carnie Smith Stadium.

Nearly 1,000 third graders from 16 southeast Kansas schools will run, jump, kick and twist at Pittsburg State University on Friday, April 29, in an annual celebration that focuses on fitness and safety. Kansas Kids Fitness and Safety Day, which is hosted by PSU’s Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, begins at 10 a.m. in Carnie Smith Stadium.

The statewide observance is held each year on the first Friday in May, but because PSU’s commencement exercises are scheduled for that weekend this year, the event was moved up one week.

Shelly Grimes, an instructor in HHPR, said the third graders will rotate among a number of stations at which they will perform various physical activities. PSU students will run each of the stations.

Across the state, about 18,000 youngsters are expected to participate at 40 sites in Kansas Kids Fitness and Safety Day. The goal is to encourage a lifetime of healthy activities and habits.

In 2009, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted in Kansas High Schools reported that 13.1% of students surveyed were at risk for becoming overweight and 12.4% of students were overweight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that children and adolescents participate in 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week, preferably daily.

The benefits associated with regular physical activity include: weight control, increased muscular strength, improved bone mass, improved cardiovascular fitness, decreased blood pressure, improved self-esteem, reduced anxiety and reduced stress.

In 2009, only 49% of Kansas High School students reported being physically active for a total of 60 minutes per day on five or more days of the past seven days.

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