Chesterfield schools battle obesity with new programs

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - The Chesterfield County school system is going the extra mile to keep your child healthy.  This year there are extra programs set to change the latest national statistic, that one in five children is obese.

This year Chesterfield County Public Schools has several programs to help kids make healthy decisions. The new saying is a grapple a day keeps the doctor away.

It looks like an apple, but it's actually a "gr-apple" or "grape-le." An apple soaked in grape juice.

Nelsy Aguilar is one of 700 students at Falling Creek Elementary that's learning about the fruit.

"It's really healthy," says Nelsy Aguilar as she takes a bite of the grapple.

Three days a week fruits and veggies are carried to class.  Administrator Karen Rinehart says kids love it. "Lets get them thinking about a snack as being healthy," said Rinehart.

Students as young as 6-years-old are now aficionados of the healthy, raw stuff.

Across the county, Greenfield Elementary School students are sweating before school.

"Well it seems like a great way to start the day -- with exercise," said 5th grader Sam Thornhill.  "You know it wakes me up because normally when I get to school I'm still half-asleep."

Eleven-year-old Thornhill comes to campus an hour early to exercise.

Have you gotten faster? Have you lost some pounds? Have you got some muscle? What have you noticed? "I've done all of those," explained Thornhill.

They run up to five miles. Dr. Doug Cutter with Chippenham Hospital is impressed.

"If you can get them started now and make this a habit and not a chore, I mean that's the whole thing," explained Dr. Cutter.

"Calories burned," said 5th grade student Luke Varley-Twyman.  "Fat burned. And it's just really enjoyable."

Falling Creek and about four other Chesterfield schools are participating in the veggie-a-day program which is federally funded. As for the running programs, they're funded through the community and PTA's.

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