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Enemy Swim Day School Combats Obesity

October 29, 2012, 5:15 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Enemy Swim Day School Combats Obesity

In addition to healthier food in the lunchroom, one South Dakota school is teaching kids to make healthier choices at home.

Enemy Swim Day School near Waubay hosts elementary and middle high students. It's been working to combat diabetes and obesity rates among its kids. And this year that means a lot of running.

"Well, it's good for the body," third-grade student Kylie Owen said.

"It's fun because you get to run and it's like racing your friends," fourth-grade student Destiny Gill said.

Run Across the Rez is the program they're talking about. The goal is to have each student run 20 miles within eight to nine weeks.

The school has a map. The kids keep track of their miles and can see how far their running would get them across the Lake Traverse Reservation.

This is just the latest program Enemy Swim Day School has implemented to promote healthy living among its kids.

"A couple of years ago, we understood that more than half of our kids were overweight or likely to become overweight. And we took steps to combat that here at the school," wellness director Ellen Robertson said.

In addition to all the running, the school is promoting healthy food and teaching students to prepare healthy snacks. It’s also cut back on sweets given away as prizes.

Robertson says the school has had a wellness policy in place for seven years, so the idea isn't new but some of the actions are.

"It's not enough to just have the policy. We need to have the action behind it," Robertson said.

As kids run, Robertson says they're enjoying the policy in action. When we asked, the kids didn't tell us any different.

The program also translates a certain amount of time doing other activities into the equivalent of a mile run. So it's trying to promote a broad range of healthy living options.

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