Program aims to get kids moving

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Program aims to get kids moving

7:50 p.m. PST February 9, 2016

A program that has helped Beaverton students get more physical activity could be coming to the Salem-Keizer School District.

As part of the Oregon Kids Move with Heart campaign, Beaverton School District students and teachers have partnered with the American Heart Association to find ways to increase physical education and activity opportunities throughout the school day.

Through the partnership, the district has brought in experts to train teachers on activities students can do during the day. Additionally, the program has introduced activity breaks for the middle schoolers to get moving between classes, and “brain boosts” for the elementary students.

Brain boosts are movements young students can do before or during a class that help get more blood flowing to the brain.

The idea is to provide districts with the resources and training they need for about a year so they can sustain and grow on their own in the future.

A recent award given to the Salem-Keizer School District is part of the second round of funding provided to the American Heart Association.

This work is part of the center’s Partnerships to Improve Community Health program.

Additionally, the work in Oregon is in accordance with House Bill 3141, which was signed by the Governor in 2007 and will need to be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year.

The bill requires that K-5 students receive physical education for 150 minutes per week and students in grades 6-8 receive 225 minutes per week.

At least 50 percent of the physical education class time is to be actual physical activity with as much time as possible spent in moderate physical activity.

The funding amount for Salem-Keizer has yet to be determined, and the discussions are in the preliminary stages. However, should the district decide to partner with the association, they will be one of 15 new markets around the country.

These newly added markets join 15 communities that have already been supported by the initiative since April 2015.

Salem-Keizer was selected for a few reasons, including its existing partnership with the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation and the Awesome 3000 event, its large, diverse population, and its proximity to Beaverton.

Sarah Higginbotham, director of advocacy in Oregon for the association, said Salem was close enough to Beaverton to exchange best practices and resources.

She said the association looks for districts where they can do “the most amount of good for the most amount of people.”

The goal of these partnerships is to help reduce tobacco use and exposure, improve nutrition, and increase physical activity.

Each partnership will run differently, depending on the resources and goals of each district.The Salem-Keizer School District would likely focus specifically on increasing access to physical activity.

“Lack of movement is a huge contributor to chronic diseases,” said Brittany Badicke, regional campaign manager for the association. “If they get in the habit of doing these (exercises) often, and have fun with (them), there is early prevention of these diseases.”

Jay Remy, a spokesperson for the district, said a handful of district workers have been in communication with the association about the potential partnership.

“We are excited about the possibilities of partnering with the AHA, but we don’t yet know the specific details,” Remy said. “The schools have an important role along with our community in making sure that kids have healthy bodies so they can grow and learn to meet the great potential that every student has.”

According to the association, cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, accounting for 17.3 million deaths per year, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined and affecting families across the country every day.

The factors leading to increased risk include tobacco use, physical inactivity and poor diet.

By 2020, the American Heart Association wants to improve the overall cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent, while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent over the next decade.

npate@StatesmanJournal.com, (503) 399-6745, or follow on Twitter @Nataliempate or http://www.Facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist

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