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New Program Aiming for More Active Kids

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RALEIGH — If you are a parent, chances are better than average that your children may be out of shape. North Carolina kids are in poor shape compared to the rest of the country.

According to recent reports, kids in North Carolina are two to three times more likely to be obese and they have a higher percentage of body fat than kids in other areas of the country.

But a new program spearheaded byBlue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, along with fitness and nutrition experts, is aimed at turning those numbers around.

A recent study by the North Carolina Prevention Partners gave the state a D+ in physical activity. So a new program called "Be Active Kids" is a step in the right direction.

"Hopefully we'll get that report card up from where it is now to an A+," says Dennis Wicker,N.C. Lieutenant Governor.

The program targets preschool children and organizers say it is more than just song and dance.

Child care centers across the state can receive free kits packed with activities for kids. The only condition is a four hour training class teachers must attend.

Many Wake County centers are already involved in the program.

The goal is to get centers in all 100 counties to join in the next five years.

"Please get the kit, use the kit, because our children need to be healthy these days," says Cynthia Edwards, a child care counselor. "Healthier children make healthier adults in the future."

The public-private venture has support from many state and community leaders. N.C. State Basketball Coach Kay Yow is one of them, and admits she has her own motives.

"Yes I recruit people from North Carolina," says Yow.

Yow says it is important to start good nutrition and physical activities at a young age because the habits follow them for the rest of their lives.

"Physical activity and proper nutrition need to become a way of life, it needs to become a way of life," says Yow.

Wake and Guilford counties were the first to initiate the program in their preschools, but preschools in at least nine counties have already signed up for training.

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Ericka Lewis, Reporter
Gil Hollingsworth, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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