Hey fifth-graders! Get ready to gear up! The 5th Gear Kids program is coming to your school!
This month, all fifth-graders in the Cherry Creek School District will receive a 5th Gear Kids card and information about how the program can help them feel good, have fun and earn cool prizes. They’ll also learn about energy balance – how to balance fun physical activity with a healthy diet – to promote energy and good health.
“The 5th Gear Kids program introduces fifth-graders to healthy lifestyle choices,” said Dr. Megan Mistler-Jackson, the 5th Gear Kids grant coordinator for Cherry Creek Schools. “Research shows that fifth-graders are at the perfect age to understand and have an opinion about health-related issues and they can impact family decisions. They are also leaders in their schools and can positively influence younger students. This is the perfect time to help them develop life-long skills for making positive choices about food and physical activity.”
Childhood obesity rates have tripled in the U.S. and one in three children in Colorado is overweight or obese. Overweight children are more likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. However, adequate physical activity and good nutrition reduce the risk for those diseases, and improve academic achievement and self-esteem.
“5th Gear could be a game changer,” said James O. Hill, Ph.D., Healthy Kids Advisor, Children’s Hospital Colorado. “The curriculum teaches fifth-graders skills that they can use throughout their lives to balance food intake with physical activity and the 5th Gear card allows them to practice being healthy consumers in their communities. I believe the kids who go through this program will have much better chance of avoiding weight gain and obesity over the following years.”
Nearly 7,000 fifth-graders in Cherry Creek and Aurora Public Schools will be able to use their 5th Gear Kids card to earn points and prizes and get discounts at participating restaurants and recreation facilities. Their families will also be able to use the card for a 10% discount on all Private Selection foods at King Soopers.
“It’s just amazing how businesses and community organizations have come together to support the health and wellness of our fifth-graders and their families,” said Lisa Reddel, director of health, wellness and facility support services for Cherry Creek Schools. “This will give more families access to healthy options and activities that fit into their busy schedules. 5th Gear Kids is a program that could really affect positive change across our community.”
The 5th Gear Kids program, privately funded by the Colorado Health Foundation with financial support from King Soopers, McDonalds and Leprino Foods, is sponsored by the University of Colorado in collaboration with Children’s Hospital Colorado, Cherry Creek Schools and Aurora Public Schools. Business and community partners include:
24 Hour Fitness
Arapahoe Parks & Rec
Aurora Parks & Rec
Colorado Chapter of AAP
Kids Running America
Professional Golfers Assoc.
South Suburban Parks & Rec
US Tennis Assoc.
Great Harvest Bread
Love Grown Foods
Woody Creek Bakery
Colorado Sports Hall of Fame
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Icelandair and Wonders of Iceland
South Suburban Parks & Rec
Fifth-graders will receive their 5th Gear Kids card and information packet at school. For more information about the program, visit www.5thgearkids.org.