Archive for Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Future of program battling childhood obesity uncertain

July 30, 2008

The future of a program to help curb childhood obesity in the Tonganoxie Elementary School is still up in the air.

Surveys from the 24 schools that participated in Red Shoelace Project have been tabulated and schools are waiting to see if they will be able to order another box of shoelaces for their students next year.

"We found out about the program at our last [Kansas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance] convention in October," Ursula Kissinger, Tonganoxie Elementary School physical education instructor, said. "That's when we got the red shoelaces. It may be about that time when we find out if the program will continue."

Joella Mehrhof, a physical education professor at Emporia State University, who started the program, tabulated the survey results and said there was great participation from the schools. She wrote that 23 of the 24 schools rated the event as, "somewhat to highly effective."

In February Mehrhof said her goal was to put childhood obesity on the forefront of people's minds because, to her, obesity was an epidemic.

Even after the program was finished, the survey reported that 62 percent of the schools said at least half of their students continued to wear the shoelaces as a visual reminder to stay physically active.

Even if the Red Shoelace Project doesn't continue for the 2008-2009 fourth-graders, both Kissinger and TES principal Tammie George said they want to continue helping kids be more active and encourage parents to participate in activities, both physical and academic, with their kids.

On Aug. 16, the Tonganoxie School District will be sponsoring a fun run at Tonganoxie Middle School to help raise money for climbing walls for TMS and another wall at TES. Kissinger said the 5K run/walk would be another way for parents and children to exercise together. There will be a $15 fee for a single runner. Family fees have not been finalized. Each participant will receive a t-shirt.

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