KOTA Territory School promotes health with walking - KOTA Territory News

KOTA Territory School promotes health with walking


Obesity is at an epidemic level in the United States, and there are no signs that will change soon.

However one rural KOTA Territory school district is taking action to buck the obesity trend.

"When the little guy who was very young at the time, I think he was 5 looked at me and said he wanted to do 100 miles it captured my heart" Said Teacher, Mattie Ingram.

That's when Julie Zumpano and Mattie Ingram, teachers from Spring Creek Elementary, decided to promote good health and the journey had begun.

"Walking is something that doesn't require a lot of money. It doesn't require a lot of equipment. If you have a good pair of shoes you can go just about anywhere." Said Teacher, Julie Zumpano.

South Dakota's obesity rate rose in 2012 with 16% of kids 19 and under being reported as obese. That in mind, the teachers decided that wouldn't be the case for their class.

"We try to get in at least one mile a day and then sometimes, weather permitting two miles maybe two times a week." Said Zumpano.

The walks served more than just teaching the kids about staying healthy. Lesson plans were incorporated into the walks to teach students about other things such as weather and nature.

"What surprised me was all the lessons we were able to teach as we walked."Said Ingram

"We've seen birds, mallards, cattle."Said student, Kayla Kline.

The teachers hope their message to the kids about living healthy will stay with them as they grow up.

"It might happen tomorrow or a year but I think they look back on this with a positive way." said Zumpano. 

By promoting exercise  at Spring Creek Elementary, teachers were able to make exercise fun.

In South Dakota, obesity rates are slightly below the national average for children 5–18 years old.

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