Mayor proposes fitness challenge to third-graders

October 16, 2013 • Local News

Courtesy Pho[auth] to
The 521O Mayor’s Challenge kicks off in area schools. Back row from left: Mayor Del Jurney, RISD Assistant Supt. for Instruction Susan Sanchez, Principal of Del Norte Curt Tarter. Middle row from left: Del Norte third-graders Jeremiah Burrola, Haylie Parks, Carrigan Williams and Mitchell Schooley. Front row from left: Goddard FFA students Marissa Perez, Megan Pollock, Hannah Seeley and Haley Smith.

Mayor Del Jurney is challenging third-graders to take the Healthy Kids 5-2-1-O Challenge, which encourages children to eat five or more fruits and vegetables a day, trim TV and video game time to two hours a day, move for at least one hour a day and drink plenty of H2O.

The 21-day challenge combines strategies, activities and messages that are based on the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics through its Health Active Living Initiative, which provides the foundation to help guide children on the path to a healthy future from kindergarten through the fifth grade.

The Roswell Independent School District challenge will start on Oct. 14.

“Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled,” Jurney said. “Today, almost one in every three children in our nation is overweight or obese.”

The statewide 521O Healthy Kids Challenge is a New Mexico Department of Health initiative. Retta Ward, N.M. Secretary of Health, said: “Shaping healthy behaviors for our children is extremely important. this challenge gets students to eat more fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water and be physically active for at least an hour a day. Small changes in diet and exercise can have a significant impact on health.”
The numbers are even higher in African-American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40 percent of the children are overweight or obese, Jurney said.

“Without a solution, one-third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and asthma.”

In New Mexico, 15 percent of kindergarteners and 21.9 percent of third-grade students are obese. This compares to an obesity rate of 19.6 percent for 6- to 11-year-olds nationwide, suggesting New Mexico’s third-grade students have slightly higher rates of obesity than the national average.

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