Finding new ways to get children interested in being physically active and eating healthy continues to be a challenge for parents and educators around the nation. Kids at Killip Elementary School in Flagstaff, Arizona, may have a jump on their peers, as they recently got a surprise visit from an unlikely crew promoting well being, the Arizona Daily Sun reports.
Students got the surprise visit of a lifetime from the "All for Orange" Express Tour put on by the Phoenix Suns. The event brought out a variety of players and other members of the Suns roster including broadcaster Tom Leander, former Suns player Mark West and the Solar Squad Dancers. However, the real treat for many of the kids was the visit from the team's furry mascot - the Suns Gorilla.
During the fun-filled day, students filed into the gymnasium getting high-fives from players before the dancers performed a few routines set to fun pop music. Erica Conde, a community health worker at North Country Health Care, believes the visit from the team could really help to improve the attitudes kids have on being fit.
"We want to change the culture of our schools
," Conde told the publication. "One in four children in Flagstaff are obese or are on the verge of being obese. We want to promote healthy choices."
Leander agrees with Conde and added that the Suns can show children what exercise and eating well-balanced diets has done for them. The message may resonate more when it comes from professional athletes or famous dancers. Leander even took the stage to discuss the struggles he has trying to get his own kids outside engaging in outdoor play
. He hopes the kids will take away the important messages the team is trying to promote.
"We have two important messages: exercise and eat healthy," Leander told the news outlet. "We talk about how it's important to eat from the major food groups and to stop drinking the high-energy drinks. If that's combined with exercise, our kids have a fighting chance."
There are a variety of ways parents can help encourage their kids to be physically active every day including going for bike rides together or even taking up jogging as a family, The Guardian reports. Another trend popping up is the "green gym" in which people participate in outdoor workouts while working on environmental projects. Families could try this by hiking in the woods and cleaning up any trash along the way, or going to the local parks to look for any garbage or problems on their local commercial playground equipment