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      McAllen ISD tackles the growing obesity

      Scientists are beginning to better understand why Hispanic children have close to double the rate of obesity as white children.A new study finds early risk factors play a key role.They include: low rates of breast feeding, lack of sleep, and high consumption of fast food and sugary beverages.And of course with the majority of the Valley being predominantly Hispanic the childhood obesity issue hits close to home.But we do have a school district who is really hoping to tackle this epidemic with a new funded government program called the Federal Physical Education Program (PEP) that received about $2 million dollars in grants.Mario Reyna and Dr. Wendy Guess with the McAllen Independent School District came by our morning show Thursday to explain.Through McAllen ISD's PEP Grant, the district has "adopted" the Peaceful Playgrounds program. The goals of the program are to: improve physical activity; decrease negative behavior: implement a consistent "district-wide" conflict resolution for students; and, beautify playgrounds with new floor designs.This year, six elementary schools have begun to implement the Peaceful Playgrounds program.Within the next two years, it is the school TMs intent to utilize the Peaceful Playgrounds in all 20 of their elementary schools.