SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake City elementary school received national recognition Tuesday for the emphasis it places on physical fitness.
Students at Crestview Elementary School were visited in their physical education classes by Olympic athletes who helped honor the kids as they received national recognition by the Champions for America's Future Foundation.
Crestview is among other elementary schools in the Granite School District that are trying to do something about a troubling statistic out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: One in three children in the U.S. are obese.
Every elementary school in the district has certified physical education teachers. Now teachers have more classroom prep time, and kids work directly with fitness specialists. And they were excited Tuesday not only because of the award, but because of those who brought it: free-style skier Emily Cook, soccer player Jaqui Rimando, para-olympic athlete Chris Waddell and gold medalist speed skater Derek Parra.
"Most people in America don't get to do that," said student Nic Pingree. "They just get to watch them on TV."
Most people in America don't get to do that. They just get to watch them on TV.
–Nic Pingree, student
At Crestview, students devote 45 minutes a day to physical activity — and educators say the benefits are seen in the classroom as well as outside of it.
"It's great for academics," said Principal Vernita Hunt. "Kids learn a lot, and when they're feeling good and sharper, their mind is sharper, too."
Parra and his fellow athletes are dedicated to getting kids active. Parra said seeing the increasing number of obese children in the country is troubling.
"You can't put a price tag on the health and wellness of kids," he said.