Updated: Tuesday, 02 Jun 2009, 12:10 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 01 Jun 2009, 12:25 PM EDT
New Haven (WTNH) - Health experts say childhood obesity is nearly an epidemic so with that in mind, New Haven schools launched Operation Healthy Life and held physical education classes on the New Haven Green.
It's not just fun and games on the Green, students from nearly a dozen schools are learning habits that might save their lives.
"I know the onset of Type 2 diabetes is 30 years old. When we were kids, it was 50. We're on an uphill battle and we just try to do our part throughout the year and we work collegially with the Parks Department during the summer to try and keep the kids active," said John Vigliotti, Director of Physical Education in New Haven.
"It's important for kids to get more active these days. A lot of kids play video games all day and I was excited to come here today because I would love to be more active," said 8th grader Amanda Alling.
According to the Connecticut Commission on Children, one in four Connecticut high schoolers are obese or overweight and one in 8 children between 10-17 are obese.
"Our report card from the state of Connecticut actually rated us a 'D' for fitness for our children so there's a lot to be done, especially in the health field," said David DePalma, a PE teacher.
In response to the rising childhood obesity rates, the state has put together a special childhood obesity council. Their goal - prevention and control. Meantime, local school districts like New Haven are working on new ways to make physical education more exciting for its students.
"It's just a time to try and reinforce the value of physical education, physical activity and the value of physical activity and making healthy choices," Vigliotti said.