PFAWEBSTER COUNTY, Ky. (10/1/18) — Baptist Health Madisonville has joined with Clay Elementary School administrators, teachers and students to celebrate the launch of Project Fit America. The celebration includes a ribbon cutting ceremony and students demonstrating exercises on the school’s new outdoor fitness equipment called their “Fit Pit!” 9:45-10:45 a.m. Oct. 16.

“We applied for this grant to offer our students an opportunity that would otherwise be unachievable," Clay Principal Susan Owens said in a statement. "We are blessed to have this outdoor fitness equipment to assist with our students health and fitness. It is a win-win situation for us to have this youth health initiative to help us achieve our school’s mission statement of being committed to providing all students with the academic and social skills to become lifelong learners.” 

“At Baptist Health Madisonville, we’re passionate about improving wellness in the communities we serve, and we especially want to do our part in the fight against childhood obesity,” said Kristy Quinn, Public Relations Coordinator. “We’re thrilled to fund and support Clay Elementary School as together we empower these children to learn healthy habits and enjoy healthier lives.”

The grant, the 12th funded by Baptist Health Madisonville since 2014, provides the PFA program to the school that includes: state-of-the-art fitness equipment specifically designed to address the deficit areas where children fail fitness tests; indoor fitness equipment; installation of the equipment, a dynamic curriculum with games, activities and challenges for kids with the PFA outdoor and indoor equipment; the program also teaches character development, sportsmanship, team work and leadership skills, the hospital reported. The academic emphasis is to create “physically educated” children and to empower them to take personal responsibility of their health with enthusiasm. PFA also provides support to the schools for two years along with on-site training with each PE Teacher. The initiative goes beyond traditional fitness and is helping them build social skills, character and leadership skills. This is not your average gym class. The activities are both fun and intense.

“Research does show that not only is physical education important for a child’s physical development, it actually helps kids read and learn math, PFA Director Stacey Cook said. "Physically active kids are better learners. Quality fitness in education has a direct impact not only a child’s health but their academic success. We are extremely proud of our partnership with Baptist Health Madisonville, their commitment to bringing this program to their community, and for their dedication to improving the health and wellness of children.”

About PFA:

Project Fit America is a national nonprofit organization that creates sustainable and innovative broad based fitness programs in schools. PFA programming includes state-of-the-art outdoor fitness equipment specifically designed to address the deficit areas where children fail fitness tests; indoor fitness equipment; a dynamic curriculum with games, activities and challenges; on-site teacher training and in-class instruction on subjects such as smoking intervention, nutrition and understanding your body. PFA is in our 28th year of working with schools in over 1,000 schools in over 300 cities in 46 states. Schools report increased motivation, participation and physical improvements in their students, along with parents and faculty becoming more involved in choosing fitness activities over sedentary lifestyle habits.

Fast facts on the benefits of physically active children (source: American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness):

Better thinking skills. Studies show that people who exercise more are sharper mentally. The effects may be almost immediate. One study found that kids scored higher on math and reading comprehension tests after exercising for 20 minutes.

More confidence. Studies have found that kids who are physically active are more confident. In turn, that confidence may improve their academic performance, too. Active kids tend to get better grades. Though there could be many reasons for that, including brain benefits, part of it may be better self-confidence.

Better moods. Many studies have found that kids who exercise feel happier. Physical activity releases brain chemicals that are natural stress fighters. Just about any physical activity seems to help. Physically active kids are better at managing their moods and have fewer mood swings, too.

Sounder sleep. Kids who exercise regularly fall asleep faster than other kids. They also stay asleep longer. The more vigorous the activity, the bigger the sleep benefit. Getting enough sleep lifts moods, improves judgment, and boosts memory.

Fast Facts – childhood obesity in the U.S.

Since 1980, the U.S. Surgeon General reports the rates of childhood obesity have tripled. Government estimates say there are 6 million American children who are now overweight and an additional five million who are on the threshold of becoming overweight.

Doctors are seeing more children with what we typically consider adult diseases such as gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes.

Health experts indicate this may be the first generation not expected to outlive their parents due to the health problems associated with obesity.

SurfKy News
Information provided by Kristy Quinn

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