Group fighting obesity

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A new study found 12 percent of low income preschoolers in Ohio are obese, a number that stayed consistent between 2008 and 2011 while 18 other states saw improved results during the same time period.

The Center for Disease Control study highlights why a local group has decided to implement new intramural sports programs for Youngstown elementary school students.

“Except for football, whatever sport is going on in middle schools and high schools will also be going on in elementary schools,” said Finer Things Academy president Kathy Hammond. “We have seven of them.”

Hammond said Finer Things was created in order to set up the intramural program and is state certified.

Students in grades three through six will be able to play basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball and track and field, Hammond said.

“Studies show that kids’ behavior patterns are already learned by the time they’re in the sixth grade,” said Finer Things Sports Program Coordinator David Hight. “So what we’re doing is we want to teach them etiquette, good study habits along with volleyball, basketball and track.”

The students will also be required to attend study tables and tutoring sessions. Signups for the first sport— girls’ volleyball— will take place Saturday at the Let’s Move Block Party in downtown Youngstown.

They will also host a volleyball camp starting Aug. 15.

“I think it builds self-esteem and it makes them a better child,” Hammond said. “It makes them work harder. It makes them more excited to come to school.”

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