Steps in the right direction Global challenge puts students on path to fitness
Northlands Primary Schools P5 physical education class came out on top of the local schools taking part in a worldwide fitness challenge for children.
Thanks to the enthusiasm of employees at Colonial Insurance to be physically active, more than 400 students were able to participate in a worldwide fitness challenge for children.
Colonial employees in the Global Corporate Challenge completed a 16-week walking challenge that began this Spring. The direct participation in that event enabled each employee to sponsor a child for free in the Global Childrens Challenge (GCC).
The childrens challenge started in September and ran for 50 days. Students participated in classroom teams, recording their daily activity levels on the GCC website. This activity was converted to an overall distance and the teams progress was plotted along a virtual tour of the world — the more active the team, the further they progressed on this virtual journey.
Physical Education teachers Desmond Mello, of Purvis, and Jay Tucker, of Dalton E Tucker Primary, said their students loved the programme.
They were very enthusiastic and especially enjoyed using the pedometers, said Mr Tucker. They were given worksheets to plot their progress and they enjoyed doing that as well, he added.
Our children loved it even on term break they kept the scores themselves, said Mr Mello. I was surprised at that and surprised that they kept it going even when I was out due to knee surgery, for over a month. When I returned I found they had been keeping track.
Our top students were averaging 20,000 steps a day, he said. They wore their pedometers all the time, even when they were doing sports, he added.
Andrea Isaac, Deputy Principal and P5 teacher at St Davids Primary said her students also made a point to wear their pedometers during football games and practices.
They were diligent about getting as many steps as they could, she said. Being involved in the programme really made them think of ways to be more active. They would take the long way and instead of sitting on the sidelines they really moved around.
The biggest excitement was in seeing their pedometer numbers at the end of the end of the day, she said.
They would say wow! Ive done 8,000 steps or 10,000 steps!
Mr Tucker said he joined in some of the excitement as he wore a pedometer himself and tracked his own progress, but he said he said more than the fun and excitement using the pedometers brought, that the programme helped educate the students in living healthily.
If we start educating them here on how to achieve this, when they get into adulthood it will be so much easier and it will save in their healthcare costs as well as a host of health-related issues that can affect us as adults, he added.
Bermuda students taking part in the challenge joined more than 120,000 other students from 27 countries from around the world.
According to Jacqueline Teunissen, Corporate Wellness Director for Colonial Insurance, children aimed for 15,000 steps each day and virtually visited over 50 locations across 23 countries.
And as though their enthusiasm in taking part in the challenge wasnt enough, Colonial helped the children celebrate their accomplishment with a Healthy Kids are Happy Kids fun day on Friday, November 23 at the National Stadium.
More than 200 children from Northlands Primary, Purvis Primary, West End, St Davids, Harrington Sound, Somerset Primary and Dalton E Tucker attended.
There was much physical activity at the event including running races, Zumba class and yoga.
Ms Teunissen said the company looks forward to sponsoring the event along with the departments of Health and Education, on an annual basis.
"As part of our Corporate Wellness Programme, we feel it is important to invest in the youth of Bermuda and promote physical activity from an early age. As in most developed countries, Bermudas rate of childhood obesity has increased over the last ten years, with nearly 19 percent of 11 to 18-year-olds considered overweight or obese, she said. By investing early on, we hope to combat preventable chronic conditions later in life, such as Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease".
Teachers from all participating schools said theyre eager to do it again next year.
Id do it in a heartbeat, said Mr Mello, Next year Im going to go down and collect the materials myself so that we can definitely start on time. Its been phenomenal our teachers were able to use the website side for social studies.
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