Health Team

Durham program helps children develop healthier habits

Posted July 8, 2009

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— The Durham Striders, a youth track club, has developed a program to help children develop healthier habits.

“You’re getting discipline and it’s building character,” Striders runner Jeremy Griffis said.

Durham program helps children develop healthier habits Durham group aims to help children get healthy

The Durham Striders promise results if each member pursues a disciplined lifestyle.

“You can translate that into the way they control what they eat and therefore how healthy they are,” said Dr. Brenda Armstrong, a pediatric cardiologist at Duke University Medical Center.

Armstrong has rules for the children on and off the track. Runners must have 64 ounces of water a day and not eat fast food or candy or drink soda, Griffis said.

The club takes a holistic approach to health and well being.

Author Marc Bloom devoted an entire chapter to the Striders Club in his book "Young Runners – A Guide to Healthy Running for Kids from 5 to 18."

Bloom said the group is a great example of taking something kids love to do and using it to improve every area of their lives.

“It helps you in shape and stop sitting around all the time,” Striders member Sheri Owens said.

To join the Durham Striders, children have to be on the A/B honor roll at their schools .

Many children are overweight and have elevated blood pressure and heart rates when they start the six-month program, Armstrong said.

“Their blood pressures are normalizing and their heart rates are down about an average of 20 points,” Armstrong said.

And other numbers are dropping too – like the seconds off their race times.

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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jul 10, 2009

    Healthier habits do not include soft drinks. It's just liquid dessert and does not belong in developing children. Parents, just say no...and it helps to lead by example. :-)