Families from six Cedar Rapids elementary schools are taking part in a program designed to create healthier lifestyles by spending less time in front of the t-v. David Walsh is the president of the National Institute on Media and the Family which is behind the program called “Switch.” He says the goal of the program is to switch down screen time, switch up physical activity and switch over to fruits and vegetables. Walsh says this is a demonstration project to try make a difference for kids. He says the health and fitness of kids is a growing concern across the country. He says everyone is “real good at identifying the problem, but not real good at identifying the solution.” Walsh says third, fourth and fifth grade families volunteer for “Switch.” There’s a public service campaign in the local media to promote the program and then each family get a packet of information materials to help them. He says the materials have ideas and strategies to help them switch down screen time, switch up physical activity and switch over to fruits and vegetables. Each of the activities has a point value so the kids gather points as motivation to get healthier and fitter. Walsh says it’s important to help kids learn how to have a healthy lifestyle. He says the research shows that if a 12 year old struggles with weight then there’s 75-percent chance they’ll struggle with their weight as an adult. The program kicked off Tuesday and will run for eight months.
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