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Obesity is considered an epidemic in America. Over 34 percent of adults are considered obese. How did this happen? They didn’t turn 18 and magically gain weight. Unfortunately, a large percentage of these adults were overweight or obese as children as well.
Now, one elementary school in North Carolina has started a program to combat childhood obesity and illiteracy.
Students at Marvin Ward Elementary School benefit from the Read and Ride program. This program is the only one in the country that provides students an opportunity to read fun magazines and books while riding stationary bicycles that were donated by members of the community.
“We need to get kids more active at school,” said Scott Ertl, the guidance counselor at Ward Elementary and the coordinator of the Read and Ride program. “The goal is to give kids a way to burn off some energy and also to build enthusiasm about reading.”
The school has dedicated one room entirely to Read and Ride. There are 30 bikes in this room and teachers can bring their students to the room so everyone can read and ride. There are also 11 bikes in individual classrooms that students can ride as a reward for good behavior or to burn off extra energy. All of the bikes were donated to the school.
“We know how children thrive when they are more engaged in the learning process,” Ertl said. “This is a perfect fit for children to stay active while learning.”
For more information on how you can start a similar program in your community, check out Read and Ride’s website.