money helps kids to stay fit
Penryn students get new playground equipment to grow on
By Art Campos - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Thursday, October 11, 2007
A donation from hospitals and health care providers
has enabled Penryn Elementary School to tackle the
issue of physical fitness.
Third-graders at the school have begun working out on new playground
equipment purchased through a program known as Project Fit America.
Among the outdoor equipment are a pole climb, a vault bar, pull-up
bars, a sit-up bench, step-test benches, parallel bars and a horizontal
ladder."It may resemble playground equipment, but it is not," said
Heidi Hayes, the third-grade teacher. "It is called an 'above-ground
fitness weight room.' And I have to agree."What makes it different
is that there is a distinct way of using the equipment, and the students
are being trained to use it properly and safely. The kids really like
The equipment and related curriculum are designed to
address strength and skill areas where children often fail fitness
tests. Penryn is one of nine schools in the Sacramento area to receive
playground fitness equipment from a $165,000 grant from Sutter Health
and its hospitals.
Other Placer County schools among recipients were Colfax
Elementary in Colfax, Cooley Middle in Roseville, Foresthill Divide
Middle in Foresthill, Skyridge Elementary in Auburn and Twelve Bridges
in Lincoln, in addition to Fruitridge Elementary and Hollywood Park
Elementary, both in Sacramento. Glen Edwards Middle School in Lincoln
also has been able to purchase equipment through the grant.
Teachers and students at Glen Edwards celebrated the
unveiling of the equipment in a large-scale way on Sept. 28, bringing
a helicopter to land in the field and importing Sierra College cheerleaders
and several mascots to raise spirit on the campus. Stacey Cook, executive
director of Project Fit America, said the equipment was donated because
many school districts, facing budget constraints, have cut back on
physical education and fitness-related activities. The cuts are being
made while "childhood obesity and related illnesses are at epidemic
levels," Cook said in a news release. "Our children's health
is too important to sit idly by, which is why we applaud Sutter Health
for taking this leadership role to bring programming to Sacramento
and Placer counties," she said.
Robin Montgomery, a spokeswoman for Sutter Roseville
Medical Center, said the federal government has estimated that 6 million
children are now overweight enough to endanger their health. "Ten
years ago, the medical community found that Type 2 diabetes did not
occur until after 40 years of age," Montgomery said in the news
release. "Now, it is regularly found in pediatric patients."
Hayes said the children at the Penryn school are improving their physical
fitness at their own levels. "In the old days, you had goals which
some children could not meet because they were not physically mature
yet," she said. But the new program encourages teachers to bring
all children, whatever level of fitness they start at, "to a state
of greater physical fitness," Hayes said. If a student is unable
to climb the pole, the new equipment is designed to at least get them
started, she said. For a student who easily climbs to the top of the
pole, his next goal may be to climb the pole again and possibly multiple
times, Hayes said. "This pushes the fit kid to a greater challenge
and helps him achieve a peak fitness," she said. Hayes said the
new equipment provides variety that keeps the kids interested. "It
makes PE fun again because the activities change daily," she said.
Nationwide, health care providers have contributed more
than $6 million to Project Fit America, Montgomery said in the news
release. The schools are selected through a local grant program in
the service areas of the sponsoring organizations.
Project Fit America's program is used in more than 500 schools in more
than 250 cities in 42 states, the news release said.
Article in Lincoln
Print Date: Thursday, October 4, 2007
Project works to keep kids fit
By: Cheri March, The News Messenger
In a generation known more for virtual video game marathons than
actual physical activity, P.E. is managing to make a comeback.
Project Fit America kicked off at Glen Edwards Middle and Twelve
Bridges Elementary schools on Friday. Sponsored locally by
Sutter Health, the nationwide program aims to promote healthy living
and fitness at an early age. "P.E. classes have dropped out of
a lot of schools," said Robin Montgomery, spokeswoman for Sutter
Health. "The goal of Project Fit America is to get kids healthy
Sutter recently provided $165,000 for nine area schools to purchase
playground equipment needed for the program. Both Glen Edwards and
Twelve Bridges Elementary now have outdoor sit-up and push-up benches,
aerobic step-ups, a horizontal ladder, parallel bars, pull-up bars,
a vault bar and a climbing pole. Along with using the equipment, kids
also perform exercise drills and dance routines as part of the project
- anything to keep them moving. "This is a new kind of P.E.," said
Stacey Cook, executive director of Project Fit America. "It's
not just about changing kids' physical looks but about their attitude.
Plus, it's just a blast."
The timing couldn't be better. Approximately 85 percent of American
children can't pass a basic fitness test, Cook said. "This is
the first generation of children who are less healthy than their parents," she
said. But the program is about more than physical fitness.
"Research has shown daily exercise is great not only for health,
but for attendance, attention, and confidence in school," said
Michael Doherty, Glen Edwards' principal. Doherty said the school switched
to a period schedule to accommodate daily P.E. Former Glen Edwards
principal Mary Boyle, now the local school district's assistant superintendent
of education, had just returned from running the Boston Marathon when
she addressed students Friday.