BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – A new study ranked Ohio and Pennsylvania among the 10 worst states for teen obesity. Now, local schools are doing their part to help.
According to a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the national obesity rate for children ages 10 to 17 is 15.3%, or 1 in every 6 kids. In Ohio, that rate is 17.1% and the rate in Pennsylvania is 17.4%.
“So that makes me wonder what’s going on in this area, this general area that makes it so high compared to other areas,” said Boardman Glenwood Junior High School gym teacher Danielle Siembida.
Siembida said those numbers disappoint her. She believes middle school is the time to develop lifelong healthy habits.
So, she has started teaching students about outdoor games to get them used to exercise.
“Things that they can go out with their families to picnics throughout the rest of their lives and know what they’re doing and feel confident in their ability to play those games,” Siembida said.
Scott Lenhart is a science teacher with a special interest in the NFL Play 60 challenge.
The initiative was started by the NFL to encourage at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
To ensure students get their 60 minutes, the school hosts a one-hour fitness session before school every Friday.
“Kids, a lot of time, don’t get the opportunity. Then in the classroom, it’s hard to find time during the day to get kids up and moving. So this helps provide that,” Lenhart said.
As the national child and teen obesity rates increase, teachers here hope they can teach some healthier habits.