Lufkin students walk it off

LUFKIN, TX (PRESS RELEASE) – Child obesity rates in America continue to climb. To put a stop to the increasing waistbands, Woodland Heights Medical Center and Lufkin Middle School launched a walking program called "Walk the Earth."

This program will have students and teachers competing to walk the farthest distance, with a total combined goal of walking around the earth at the equator – approximately 24,900 miles.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the obesity rate for adolescents aged 12-19 years has more than doubled over the past three decades, and it has more than tripled for children aged 6-11 years.  In addition, overweight adolescents have a 70 percent higher chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.  And, experts agree that inactive lifestyles and poor eating habits contribute to obesity.

"We hope this will be the first of many community partnerships that encourage healthy living," said Dan Jacobs, Woodland Heights Medical Center spokesperson.  "We have also been discussing ways to integrate healthcare professionals, such as registered dietitians, into the classroom to teach children how to make healthy choices."

National guidelines recommend 150 minutes of physical activity each week for elementary children and 225 minutes for older children. Because of the academic demands placed on Texas schools, not all children at Lufkin Middle School get the recommended amount of exercise.  This program supplements the existing physical education and sports programs, as well as encourages students to take their health and wellness education home to their parents.

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