Delighted third-graders at Valley View receive apples and oranges during a visit by the mayor, Goddard FFA students and dignitaries from the 5-2-1-O Physical Fitness and Nutrition Challenge, Tuesday morning. Mark Wilson Photo
Mayor Del Jurney visited Valley View Elementary School Tuesday to encourage third-graders to participate in a statewide effort that promotes healthier lifestyle choices for young children.
The 5-2-1-O Challenge invites kids to adopt better habits, such as eating fruits and vegetables daily and getting more physical activity, said Tamara Fresquez of Chaves County’s Healthy Kids program.
The organization’s 2011 New Mexico Childhood Obesity Report found that 15% of kindergarten and 21.9% of third-grade students are obese. “This early onset of obesity makes it increasingly difficult for a child to later return to a healthy weight,” the report said.
Throughout the week, Jurney will visit Roswell Independent School District elementary schools and present the 21-day challenge to students in the third grade.
He will be joined by a group of young adults, including members of Goddard High School’s FFA, who will perform skits and marches about the importance of a healthy diet and exercise.
Students also will be given a piece of fruit to get them started on the path to fitness. Participants will track their progress in a booklet available on the organization’s website, healthykidsnm.org.
Along with the mayor, Gov. Susanna Martinez also is involved in the effort this year. At the end of the challenge, both the mayor’s and governor’s offices will reward successful participants with a special coin created just for the program.
While the focus is mainly on children, Fresquez said people of all ages can participate, especially parents. “The children are dependent on them,” she said. “They’re the ones feeding them.”
Jurney also invited older members of the community to make the commitment.
“This isn’t just for third grade students; this is for everybody,” he said. “Regardless of what age you are, we hope everybody understands how important it is to be healthy.
“It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing.”