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Brownsville school district initiative combats childhood obesity

An elementary school at Brownsville Independent School District continues their part in fighting childhood obesity.

An elementary school at Brownsville Independent School District continues their part in fighting childhood obesity.

For the past 13 years, students at Burns Elementary have participated in a running club which was started to decrease childhood obesity, promote physical activity and enhance student performance in the classrooms.

Gloria Gomez, an avid runner, leads the group.

“We do have many of our kids who are obese for their age and for their height, and so that’s really inspiring for me to be able to help them because they have made the commitment to come in at 7:30 in the morning,” Gomez said. “They wake up a little bit earlier just to come to practice, so it’s been wonderful to help them.”

The Rio Grande Valley has the highest percentage of child obesity, according to a survey conducted by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

This month, the Texas Department of Agriculture required schools to provide appropriate portions of food for students, depending on their age group.

“In any given day, the child is expected to receive a wholesome, nutritious meal that includes whole grain items, fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat milk,” said Region One Food and Nutrition Director Carmen Ocanas-Lerma. “Also, low calorie items so it is a well-balanced meal.”

Brownsville ISD has partnered with the UT School of Public Health for a program aimed towards students and their families. The program called Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do It! is offered at some campuses and teaches healthy cooking, exercises and more ways to get the family physically active.

For more information on the locations, visit www.bisd.us.

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