Local News

Kids Taking Great 'Strides' To Be Healthy

Posted June 14, 2002 4:36 a.m. EDT

— A group of kids in Durham are taking great "strides" to be healthy.

The Durham Striders run, jump and hurdle three hours a day, three days a week.

Dr. Brenda Armstrong, a pediatric cardiologist at Duke, joined the Striders 18 years ago. She said she was surprised at what she saw on the kids' physicals.

"Seventy-five percent of them are at or above the 95th percentile for blood pressure for their weight and body surface area which is frightening. Most of them are not overweight," she said.

However, the kids were at risk for heart disease, so the Striders took on another mission -- to develop heart-healthy habits. Coach Frank Davis said it is paying off.

"These kids drink 64 ounces of water a day. These kids are in good shape," he said.

It is a big change from the kids Dr. Armstrong usually sees.

"I take care of kids who have terrible heart defects and are very sick, so it's one way for me to understand that there's balance. There are really healthy children who have a different set of needs," she said.

Students said the exercise and motivation helps them both on and off the field.

"It helps me stay on my toes and I'm able to strive for things I really wasn't able to strive for in high school," student Demetria Powell said.

With healthy minds and bodies, these athletes are on the right track to success.

The Striders travel to Charlotte this weekend for a meet. Their biggest event will be an international track meet in July at Duke's Wallace Wade Stadium.