Heartland Students Walking their Way to Better Health

Heartland Students Walking their Way to Better Health
By: Wendy Ray

What would it take to get you off the couch and moving? F

or a group of Heartland students, a little device and a big incentive is all that it takes. Clearwater Middle School is one of 120 schools picked by Channel One news to participate in the Make Every Move Count Program. The program is created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human services and the CDC, the goal is to get kids moving. Students at Clearwater are wearing pedometers to record every step they take for one week. The students are in competition with schools across the country, and if they win they get a big reward.

12 year old Maggie Hill never really thought about how many steps she takes in a day, but now it's her top priority. So far she's up to 908 and counting. "I've been trying to get 10,000 a day, and I've gotten past 10,000," Maggie says. Maggie got up to 16,000 steps one day. She along with the other students at Clearwater Middle School are busy moving as part of the Make Every Move Count Program. A pedometer helps them keep track of their steps. "They put it on in the morning, wear it all day and night and the next morning they tell their home room teacher how many steps they've taken," librarian Connie Radford says. Maggie admits it's fun to get moving. "Usually I'm sitting on my bed watching television and now I'm walking and jogging," she says.

Sure, it's fun for the students to wear the pedometers, but there's an incentive for them to record every step they take. "We're participating with 20 other schools in the nation. If our school wins we get $1,500 worth of equipment from a sporting goods store," Radford says. Radford signed her school up for the contest. She admits new sporting equipment would be nice, but even if they don't win the students have learned a very important lesson.

Even if Clearwater Middle School doesn't win the grand prize, some of the students will win something. Each student in the homeroom class with the most points gets a 10 dollar gift certificate to a sporting goods store. It's important to note you really have to work hard to take 10,000 steps. The average person usually walks five to seven thousand steps.