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World Fit Gets Students Walking to Reverse Effects of Obesity

Guest post by Gina Cairney

Some 38,000 students from nearly 50 schools throughout the United States began logging miles this week in the annual World Fit Walk, a program inspired by Olympic athletes focused on reversing the effects of childhood obesity, according to a press release.

Every day for six weeks, students and their Olympic mentors will log the number of miles they have walked (or exercised), which will be totaled so students can compare their results with their counterparts and schools in their area.

At the end of the program, students will be awarded with medals and certificates for reaching milestones, including the President's Active Lifestyle Achievement Award for those who log 120 miles.

The program "has the right combination of fitness and friendly competition that motivates students," said Dr. Gary Hall Sr., an Olympic medalist who founded the program.

Last year, more than 28,000 students were registered for the walk and logged 2 million-plus miles.

Obesity affects about one-third of children in the U.S., and if left unresolved, can lead to serious health complications later in adulthood such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and possibly early death.

With warmer temperatures and the prospects of summer activities, there are plenty of opportunities for students to get active, whether it's through participating in summer youth-sports programs, just spending time outside, or even walking and biking to school.

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