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Salem teacher gets kids moving with new Phys Ed approach

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SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – One teacher at Buckeye Elementary School in Salem has found a fun way to get kids moving and fight childhood obesity.

The kids in Julie Moore’s Phys Ed class are having so much fun, they don’t know they’re learning.

For the next several school days, kids at Buckeye Elementary School are taking a “Drums Alive” class. The goal is to get students interested in activities they’ll come back to long after their elementary school gym classes are done.

“I try to find things that they keep with them through life and, hopefully, will use later in life to help keep them healthy,” Moore said.

She said it’s all part of a new approach to school Phys Ed.

“The new movement is kind of looking at it differently. Looking at more fitness lifelong activities, engaging children in different things so they feel confident stepping into maybe a gym dance class environment or a pick-up game of basketball.”

Childhood obesity is a major problem across the country. One in five children struggles with obesity, putting them at risk for diabetes and other health problems later on.

Classes like Moore’s are working against that.

Principal John Lundin said it’s a critical part of the school day.

“Having them be enthusiastic and engaged in our curriculum is really important, just like teaching kids how to read and write.”

Moore said teaching younger kids healthy habits is actually easier than it seems.

“They all come in and they’re eager to go,” she said. “They don’t really care what anyone else is thinking, or doing, or saying or wearing. They are just ready to move.”

The stakes are high — government studies show obese children are likely to become obese adults. They’re also more likely to suffer from asthma, sleep apnea and heart disease.

The idea is by learning to love physical activity when they are young, kids will grow up to be physically active adults.

“She gives them skills and confidence that probably, and hopefully, will last their whole lifetime,” Lundin said.

One thing’s for sure — they’re having a blast bouncing and dancing with their favorite teacher.

“I’m the rock star in the building because of it,” Moore said.

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