Obesity in teens a growning problem
EAGLE COUNTY – All across America, politicians and school leaders are expressing their concerns about obese students. A growing number of kids and teens are overweight, and with that comes some very real health problems.Last spring, the Eagle County School District was awarded a grant that put fitness equipment in three middle school and two high schools. Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain high schools, along with Berry Creek, Eagle Valley and Gypsum Creek middle schools, are putting the equipment to good use, and students are getting stronger and healthier. The fitness rooms are used daily in P.E. and conditioning classes, as well as after school and during the summer. Teachers also are able to record fitness data – such as flexibility and body fat – and check for changes at the end of each semester. At Gypsum Creek Middle School, teachers Kevin Kottenstette and Katie Wasileski have created a fitness club. Students meet at 7 a.m., four days per week. Sixth and seventh grade fitness classes meet every other day, and P.E. classes use the room each day. “Our classes also include instruction about the effects of diet and exercise,” says Principal Steve Smith.
The school’s athletes use the equipment to improve strength, flexibility and endurance. “Several staff members and a couple community members are also using the fitness room regularly,” Smith says. “We are so thankful for the grant to purchase these machines. It helps our students develop fitness consciousness.”A “personal fitness portfolio” is used at Eagle Valley High School for students who want to get in better shape. The portfolios are meant to help students set goals and measure progress. The Centers for Disease Control’s five components of fitness are cardio-respiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. The fitness portfolio gives students specific examples of how to improve in those areas. It also informs students on the importance of drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep. “I am using the new fitness room with my freshman P.E. classes as well as my aerobics class,” says teacher Sarah Resch, who, along with teacher Eric Mandeville, supervises the fitness room after school.”The students enjoy using the new fitness room and get quality workouts,” she says.
Battle Mountain High School teacher and basketball coach Philip Tronsrue says the equipment has been great for his students.”The equipment is great for both strength and cardio-endurance. We send our classes through the cycle every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, usually twice each of those days,” Tronsrue says. Students who takes the cycles seriously are showing great improvement, he says. “All the students seem to like to work on the machines especially the students who are not into power building,” Tronsrue says. “They love the cardio machines, and those are hardly ever turned off. We have girls who would never try to workout, who will get on the cardio machines and workout for 30 to 45 minutes. “We have noticed that a lot of students show a loss of body fat and an increase in muscle size,” he says.
District spokesperson Melinda Gladitsch says many students have benefited from the equipment. “There is heavy usage by all the P.E. departments, the sports teams and almost the entire student bodies,” Gladitsch says. Vail, Colorado