Washington girls 'step' to healthier lives

VIDEO - The Washington School for Girls' seventh-graders are 'stepping' their way to healthier lifestyles...

From NBC Washington:

The Washington School for Girls’ seventh-graders are ‘stepping’ their way to healthier lifestyles. For decades, obesity in children has grown significantly.

The Center for Disease Control says 20 percent of children between the ages of 6-11 are obese.

Dr. Yolanda Hancock, Children’s National Medical Center, coaches the seventh-graders.

Hypertension, Diabetes, Heart Disease and problems with joints are health problems children face today.

“I have several patients that have presented with several of those issues as early as 7 years old,” Hancock said.

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Hancock – once an elementary school teacher – started the Step Up to Help program. She felt it would take more than just using the classroom to help children prevent health problems.

She started the program as a fitness sisterhood of sorts. In Washington DC, 40 percent of people are obese. According to an expert, lack of access to healthier foods is a reason.

In the low-income southeast area, there is not a lot of places to get healthier foods – with only two grocery stores. There are places where the food is more convenient: cheaper and faster. But the food is inconvenient to people’s health.

“If it’s much easier to choose the high dense, high calorie food because of economic reasons. Then, it makes sense that’s what they’re going to do,” Hancock said.

The girls burn about 300 calories per workout through stepping.

Hancock spends time after school to teach the girls what is healthy to eat – the girls are ‘stepping’ their way to healthier futures.

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