Valley kids step out for good health

GRANADA HILLS, Calif. The students are sporting pedometers on their shoes or on their waistbands as part of the YMCA's "America on the Move" week. Their goal is to take 2,000 more steps a day.

"I like the walk around the track. Sometimes run around the track with my friends. And after school I play football with my friends Joey, Anthony and Justin," said student Savannah Rey.

About 8,000 kids in the San Fernando Valley are taking part in the program. Principal Barbara Cohen says her students are motivated to get moving.

"The kids have been coming into the office making sure the numbers on the pedometers are working properly. And, 'Oh, I've walked a whole lot more than it says.' And we're just encouraging them to continue to walk and to exercise," said Cohen.

The program also encourages kids to eat 100 fewer calories a day.

"I walk, I do pushups," said Andrew Ji, a student.

Andrew, 6, is on the right track at an early age. His parents have also instilled good eating habits.

"They make me drink plenty of water and eat really healthy stuff," said Andrew.

The YMCA says the program aims to counter increasing childhood obesity rates. But healthy choices begin at home.

"I think a lot of families are really looking at it and becoming more active. But I think we're just making small steps and we all need to be aware ... all the adults that influence children's lives of really pushing this as that it could be a crisis. And it's getting out of control," said Mac Johnston, North Valley Family YMCA.

The students can keep the donated pedometers. Educators hope they will be put to use every day.


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