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10,000 STEPS A DAY

Goal is to encourage kids to exercise

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10,000 STEPS A DAY

Kaiser Permanente’s Andrew Mendoza and Lincoln Elementary fifth-grade teacher Jonya Meyer stand with students showing off the new pedometers donated to help promote healthy lifestyles to elementary...

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin


POSTED May 18, 2011 1:51 a.m.

The signs are everywhere that Manteca Children’s Foundation board member Chuck Crutchfield looks.

The physical activities he used to observe when he was executive director of the Boys and Girls Club have been replaced by video games and cable television. Today he sees less and less kids come through the Give Every Child a Chance program that actively spend time outdoors with their friends.

It’s that sort of sedentary lifestyle, Crutchfield said, that prompted the non-profit foundation – which just recently incorporated healthy living into its list of goals – to partner with Kaiser Permanente and distribute 800 pedometers to students at Lincoln Elementary School.

The goal? Take 10,000 steps each and every day.

“Right now we’re hoping that Lincoln can kind of be a pilot program and then we can take this program from school to school to help promote healthy living,” Crutchfield said. “We realized the best way to promote something like this was to get a healthcare provider like Kaiser involved. We sent them an email and four hours later Kaiser said that they’d do it. That’s the kind of community partner that they are.”

For the students in Jonya Meyer’s fifth-grade class, the pedometers are an opportunity to gauge how many steps they take in a given day, and how far they have to go to reach a target that will ensure that they stay healthy and active as they mature into young adults.

And with a teacher that has finished three marathons and runs upwards of 10 miles every day, her students have somebody that they can turn to for tips on how to stay active.

“The biggest thing that I want these students to realize is that eating well, exercising and staying active are the most important things they can do for their health,” Meyer said. “We’re always trying to encourage them to stay active, and this is a process that will force them to examine how active they are in their daily lives.”

Getting the opportunity to partner with a non-profit like the Manteca Children’s Foundation – which has helped provide scholarships for youth in the community for almost a decade – is something that Kaiser Permanente’s Andrew Mendoza says is a great way to make sure that the young people get the early education they need to stay healthy as they get older.

“This is part of our community benefit program, and it helps us address childhood obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes,” Mendoza said. “It’s about prevention at an early age and promoting a lifestyle that will keep these kids healthy.”

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