EAGLE RIVER, Alaska (AP) — Students at Ravenwood Elementary are fighting America's obesity epidemic one activity at a time.
The Eagle River elementary school was recently honored by the State of Alaska for winning the 2012 Healthy Futures Challenge, a state-sponsored program designed to get kids moving.
"It's super important to be active, and we know that at Ravenwood," said school principal Audrey Chapman during a Feb. 4 assembly in the school's gym.
The entire student body turned out for the high-energy assembly, which included a visit from Alaska Pacific University Nordic skiers, a student-led demonstration on how to do various aerobic exercises and even a short dance routine by the school's kindergartners.
Healthy Futures program director Cindy Norquest also presented the school with a check for $750 for winning last year's challenge. Norquist said nearly 90 percent of the school's children filled out activity logs for at least one month.
"That's awesome," she told the students. "Give yourself a pat on the back."
The students obliged Norquist by reaching back and doing just that.
Gym teacher Caela Nielsen then led a group of students through Ravenwood's own version of some familiar activities — including "flying squirrels," ''grasshoppers," ''froggers" and "caterpillars." To those unfamiliar with Ravenwood-speak, those are jumping jacks, push-ups, burpees and sit-ups, respectively.
Following the presentation, Ravenwood 5th grader Chloe White explained why the Healthy Futures program caught on so quickly at her school.
"We have kids that like to push themselves and they want to be in shape," she said.