Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
AIEA — Ever since school started back up last August, Webling Elementary School, here, has set a goal for its students to eat better, get more exercise and generally live a healthier lifestyle.
In keeping with this goal, the school implemented the Presidential Fitness Test. Set for the end of the school year, with the help of Soldiers from the 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, the Presidential Fitness Test helps people of all ages increase their physical activity and improve their fitness.
“Today more than ever, students need help leading active, healthy lives,” said Spc. Quinton Booker, command team driver, 8th STB. “That’s where we come in. We’re on the front lines of fitness, working to teach our kids the fundamentals of healthy living.”
Booker was just one of many 8th STB Soldiers who have been coming out to the school, twice a week, and doing physical education with the students since August, said Sheryl Sakuma, parent community networking facilitator and a parent of two students who attend Webling Elementary School.
“They have been working towards this physical fitness challenge, trying to get the kids more in shape and have them exercise more,” Sakuma said. “The activities not only help them with their physical fitness, but it gets their brain-firing and improves their focus and their learning capacity.”
Teachers and administrators have set benchmarks for their students to measure their progress and success in every level of their school, but this school year, nutrition has really come to the forefront of the nation’s focus.
“Everything is going towards nutrition nowadays, because of the obesity problem in our schools,” Sakuma said. “Besides the physical fitness challenge, we held a Webling Wellness Week, where we emphasized good nutrition and staying away from drugs.”
Sherrylyn Yamada, principal, Webling Elementary School, said the push to battle childhood obesity began at the presidential level.
“First lady Michelle Obama is an advocate of fighting obesity in our schools,” Yamada said. “This year we want them to learn about nutrition and exercise, and we want them to practice the 5-2-1-0.”
The Greater Rochester Health Foundation’s 5-2-1-0 initiative is an easy way to remember the steps kids need to take every day to be healthy:
•Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables;
•Spend no more than two hours watching TV, playing video games or surfing the net;
•Get at least one hour of active play; and
•Drink zero sugar-sweetened beverages.
“Having our military partners, the 8th STB, come out here to help has made things so much easier for us and a lot more fun, too, for the kids,” Yamada said. “Since their involvement, the children have improved in every section of the (Presidential Fitness Test).”
Sakuma agreed that having the military around has been a great thing for the kids.
“The kids love the military involvement,” Sakuma said. “They know a lot of the Soldiers by name. … The military is part of our family here at Webling Elementary School, and always will be.”