By: Leah Uko
OMAHA (KPTM) – It removed all sugar-sweetened beverages from the facility. Now a local organization is encouraging its staff to get physically active—all as a way to motivate the kids to live healthy lifestyles.
Girls Inc. in Omaha formed a health committee to bring staff together twice a week to workout. Employees would exercise, share healthy eating tips with one another and draft ways to incorporate the girls who attend the after school programs into this effort.
The program started with full-time staff. It later grew to include part-time employees.
One activity they already have incorporated—Tae Bo fitness for 45 minutes.
A group of about 50 girls filled the facility's gym to do the famous Billy Blanks Tae Bo fitness routine. The class was lead by Teen Specialist, Stacee Justus.
"They not only can see it on the screen, but I'm someone they know and see everyday and respect," Justus said. "So if I'm jumping in and I'm getting fired up, in turn the girls will see the moves or the technique and get excited as well."
This concept was successful for Anaia Mosley. The 8-year-old said she enjoys physical activity when adults join in.
"It's a good influence on how to work out better and stay healthier," Mosley said.
In 2010, 703 students from 16 public high schools in Douglas County took a Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Results showed 25.2% of them were overweight or obese.
Girls Inc. wants to help lower—if not completely eliminate this number. Since it took away sugar-sweetened drinks nine months ago, more employees and girls have started drinking water with little hesitation.
The center's director of health access Carolyn T. Green said because the program is still in its early stages, she won't know how effective the push for eating healthy and exercising is—just yet.
The national estimate of overweight or obese kids is 27.8%, according to the CDC. Some doctors said sugar soft drinks and potato chips are the leading causes of obesity in America.
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