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Program encourages kids to exercise

A new program developed by a University of Calgary kinesiology researcher is aiming to get Canadian kids to be more physically active.

The Physical Activity Challenge for Kids (PACK) was designed to help children explore the concept of being more active outside of gym class. The 30-day challenge uses tools and technology to make children aware of their activity level and to motivate them to do more.

"We live in an age where kids are almost never told to just 'get outside and play,'" said PACK founder Larry Katz. "As a result, exercise has become a structured activity that you do at school with gym teachers or sports teams. This challenge was created to try to change kids' attitudes towards exercise, and to get them thinking about being more active at home, at recess and even when they're in the classroom."

Fourth graders at the St. Elizabeth Seton school are taking part in the PACK program. They were taught about various ways to be active, and were given log sheets and pedometers to track their activity. Additionally, team leaders coordinated the recording of the students' activities each day to give the classes a snap-shot of their weekly activity levels.

While those involved hope the program changes the way the kids think about exercise, experts say parents everywhere can help their own youngsters become more active. Ways to achieve this include setting a good example, exercising with kids and providing them with new or used sports equipment to use whenever they'd like.
 

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