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Event promotes physical activity for kids

May 05, 2013 8:15AM

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Amber Qualls, a senior physical education major from Baxter Springs, Kan., leads third graders in an activity center at Kansas Kids Fitness Day, Friday.

Friday’s cold and rain couldn’t keep 900 third graders from jumping, running and learning some life-long lessons about the benefits of exercise. The students, from schools in Crawford and Cherokee counties participated in Kansas Kids Fitness Day, which was held at Pittsburg State University’s Weede PE Building.

PSU’s Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation sponsored the annual event, which is coordinated by HHPR Instructor Shelly Grimes.

“The way we live the first one-third of our lives often determines how we live the last one-third of our lives, such as increased chance of heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome,” Grimes said. “It’s important that kids realize they need to have daily physical activity if they want to be healthy adults and eventually, healthy seniors.”

The third graders participated in a number of physical activities including karate, dance, basketball and relay races. Each station was led by a PSU physical education major.

The 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted in Kansas High Schools reported that almost 25 percent of students surveyed were either overweight or at risk of becoming overweight.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommeds 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 stress. In 2009, only 49 percent 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.

Kansas Kids’ Fitness Day is a statewide project of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, sponsored by the Governor’s Council on Fitness, on the first Friday each May. Students are expected to participate at 40 sites across the state this spring. For more, visit the Kansas Kids’ Fitness Day website at http://www.kdheks.gov/kkfd

©2013 Pittsburg State University