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Get physical: Program urges kids to stay active throughout the school year

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Posted: Sunday, September 8, 2013 12:35 am | Updated: 12:38 am, Sun Sep 8, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — Students in Alaska will have another reason to get out and play this fall, as the Healthy Futures Challenge starts.

The program seeks to get elementary school students to stay active throughout the school year. Kids can participate by keeping up their physical activity outside gym class and keeping a log of their efforts.

If students log at least 30 minutes of physical activity outside gym class on three days each week for one month they will become eligible to win prizes. This year’s prizes include a beach ball, soaring flyer disc and miniature basketball hoop.

The challenge runs for three months in the fall, with three separate chances for students to win prizes, and three months in the spring. The fall portion starts today, with kickoff programs around Anchorage.

Olympic Nordic skier Kikkan Randall, from Anchorage, will kickoff the fall program with four assemblies at Anchorage elementary schools.

More than 145 schools in the state have signed up to participate in the challenge this year, the most since the program began three years ago. In 2011, 36 schools participated. Last spring, more than 10,000 Alaska students participated.

Fairbanks schools participating include, Anne Wien, Badger Road, Barnette, Crawford, Denali, Hunter, Joy, Nordale, Ticasuk Brown, Two Rivers, Weller, Woodriver and Northern Lights elementary schools. Anderson School also is participating

Three out of every 10 students in Alaska are overweight or obese according to the Department of Health and Social Services.

Health and Social Services partners with the Play Every Day program to offer the Healthy Futures Challenge in Alaska. Play Every Day seeks to encourage children and their families to be physically active every day.

Parents can get involved in the program by volunteering at school or spending time playing with their children after school. To find out more about the program at their child’s school they can contact their child’s teacher or health and physical education teachers at the school.

Contact staff writer Weston Morrow at 459-7520. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMschools.

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