The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

June 2, 2014

Kids get BIG boost for fitness

JOHNSTOWN —  It’s not every day you get to do the “Macarena” with a Pittsburgh Steelers player, but on Monday pupils at Central Elementary School did just that.

Offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum made a surprise visit to the school to encourage pupils to eat healthy and get active and play as part of Fuel Up to Play 60, an initiative from the National Football League and the National Dairy Council to fight childhood obesity.

During Beachum’s visit he talked about good nutrition, getting in 60 minutes of exercise every day and what it takes to play in the NFL.

He also led the school in physical fitness activity that had them all dancing.

“I started doing this program two years ago when I was learning about being healthy and eating right,” Beachum said. “This program embodies what I’m about. I love interacting with the kids. It’s something I enjoy and am willing to do.”

Joining Beachum was Jessica VanGilder of Berlin, a dairy farmer who has been working with the school’s fifth-grade students through the Fuel Up to Play 60 Adopt-A-Farmer pilot program.

Through Skype sessions with VanGilder and an on-farm visit, the pupils learned about dairy farming.

Janis Stratton, the school’s physical education teacher, said the school has been participating in the program for five years. Each year it works to reach certain healthy living goals such as making the most out of breakfast.

“It’s a fun program with educational activities to get kids moving and eating better,” she said. “Hopefully, he (Beachum) will inspire them to be healthy.”

The program is sponsored locally by the Mid-Alantic Dairy Association, a regional affiliate of the National Dairy Council.

Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/ KellyUrban25.

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