With obesity on the rise in many states, Roger Rodriguez, physical education and health coordinator for the San Antonio Independent School District, decided to do something about it.
After viewing results of Fitnessgrams, yearly assessments of weight and fitness required by Texas students in grades 3 through 12 he knew something had to be done.
Jen Ohlson, of Interactive asked Rodriguez if she could shoot a documentary focusing on a teen and detailed the effects of childhood obesity. To do so, Rodriguez was told to find students with a body mass index of at least 40, categorizing the students as obese. Thinking she would have around 20 or 30 students to choose from, Ohlson was shocked when she discovered the school had 440 kids who were classified as obese.
After talking to the superintendent, Rodriguez and Ohlson started working together to create a program for physical education classes that would target the obese students. This course, PE 3 is a unique and original class. With few healthy food options and little focus on exercise, schools with obese students started taking interest in the course.
By motivating students to form a healthier mind set and body, the class offers more than a traditional PE course. Students work out as they wear heart monitors. They are taught lessons in nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits. They are even introduced to new forms of exercise like yoga and Zumba that are not traditionally offered in schools today.
Students are already noticing changes in weight loss and have started motivating their families to exercise and eat healthier, too. They are eating better, sleeping better and overall feeling better about themselves. The schools hope to take this program statewide and eventually nationwide. By showing students that a healthy lifestyle can be easy and fun to attain, they will hopefully learn that it is the only lifestyle to achieve.
Picture By: Shutter Stealth Photography