Photo by John F. Russell
Seventh-grader Erika Kipfer plays her part in a skit that focused on obesity and related health risks for her classmates at Steamboat Springs Middle School on Wednesday.
Learn about body mass index, and calculate yours, through the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute on the Web at www.nhlbisupport....>
Twelve Steamboat Springs Middle School students won a Showcase Award on April 12 at the Middle School World Health Affairs Challenge in Denver, for their skit on obesity.
Steamboat Springs Sometimes peer pressure can be healthy.
Wednesday at Steamboat Springs Middle School, friends crowded around seventh-grader Codi Coghlan at a makeshift soccer practice and urged her to join them in the latest trend. But it wasn't a kind of music, clothing style or upcoming party.
The trend was losing weight.
"There are a lot of serious health risks to being obese," one friend said, while others suggested healthier lifestyle habits such as reduced snacking, more exercise and eating fruits and vegetables rather than junk food. The conversation won Codi over, and she vowed to lead a healthier life.
For Codi, losing weight was as simple as pulling a pillow out from under her shirt. It's not nearly as easy for millions of other children in the U.S. and across the globe.
The students were performing a skit for other seventh-graders to raise awareness about obesity, which one student said impacts 22 million children younger than 5 in the U.S. On April 12, the students performed their skit - "Obesity Around the World" - at the Middle School World Health Affairs Challenge at the University of Denver. Steamboat Springs Middle School teacher Tracy Stoddard said the students were one of two teams at the event to earn a Showcase Award, which allowed them to perform in front of all the students at the event.
"The message they put together was so important for the youth in our community and the world," Stoddard said.
The students filled the skit with facts and lessons about dietary choices, the importance of fitness and the health risks associated with an excessive body mass index, a measure of body fat based on height and weight. A healthy body mass index is between 18.5 and 24.9, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute's Obesity Education Initiative.
"You can't imagine the research they did," Stoddard said of the team. "They researched it all year."