In 2004 the state of Pennsylvania mandated all school districts to measure and track students Body Mass Indexes(BMI) and develop a Wellness Policy for students. Armstrong School District, located an hour north of Pittsburgh, has taken this initiative and created a coalition to address the problem of childhood obesity in Armstrong county. The coalition, called HEALTHY Armstrong, which is an acronym for Healthy Eating Active Lifestyles Together Helping Youth, has maintained excellent health in the district schools with 35% of the students BMI measurements above the 85th percentile in the nation. In December the school will be taking their physical education activities to a new and exciting level by using a multiplayer Exergaming product called iDance. The school district purchased two 32 player iDance group fitness systems which they will be rotating between the districts schools to offer a fun engaging way for students to stay active. One of the many benefits to iDance is that it allows for 32 students to be participating in group exercise at the same time. Armstrong School District, among many other schools across the nation, are beginning to evolve traditional physical education to be more engaging and interactive, combining technology with exercise. Furthermore, the ability to track students exertion, BMIs, and heart rates is allowing physical education departments to know what they are doing right or wrong with getting kids active. As we move forward in the fight against obesity, schools will play an integral role in promoting and educating students on how to live a healthy active lifestyle going into adulthood. Where do you stand in the ongoing effort to reduce obesity? If you want to learn more about the HEALTHY Armstrong coalition, head over to their website to find out how they are benefiting their community.
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