Taking Action against obesity

Taking Action against obesity

SPRINGFIELD -- Teachers have a new tool to help students stay healthy.
SPRINGFIELD -- Teachers have a new tool to help students stay healthy. Matheny-Withrow Elementary School has added to its playground. The changes will put fitness equipment at their fingertips. WCIA-3's Alex Davis shows us how the school is Taking Action.

This isn't your ordinary playground. There's a sit-up station, pull-up bars and a pole climb. It targets deficient areas where children fail fitness tests.

The message to make healthy life choices is one 3rd grader, Tytiana Shepherd-Roof, is familiar with.

"Being healthy is a great part of how long you live and how you want to live."

So familiar, she wrote a poem about her school's new fitness pilot program sponsored through St. John's Hospital and Project Fit America.

"Carrots are a veggie, tomatoes are a fruit. These foods are healthy and good for you, so when you eat these foods, strong and tall you'll get. Keep exercising and don't stop yet."

Now students at Matheny-Withrow have the equipment to make fitness a regular part of their everyday lives.

"You can climb up the poles, you can step on the steps."

While students like Tytiana may think it sounds fun to play on, Principal Diane Motley knows PFA's equipment will do more than entertain them.

"This equipment is going to motivate. They're going to learn how to use it. They're going to learn how to be, how to use it as a team."

Motley says the program calls on kids to get fit and active.

"Hopefully the things they learn here, they'll carry into their own community and daily lives."

The school's P.E. teacher will train students how to use the equipment. They also received indoor equipment to use during P.E. class.

The pilot program is also available through Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System in Mattoon. Elementary schools in Tuscola, Mattoon, Charleston and others are eligible to apply.
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