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San Diego School Incorporates CrossFit Kids Into Curriculum

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A new San Diego school is making fitness a priority for its students.

Empower Charter School, which opened in Linda Vista last year, has built the CrossFit Kids Program into its regular curriculum.

Students are required to take four physical education classes a week — as opposed to many schools where students exercise only once a week. The school's founders said it's an attempt to change unhealthy trends among children.

More than one-third of U.S. children and adolescents are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also reported that only 48 percent of high school students attended physical education classes in an average week.

"Our focus is trying to play a role in the obesity issue that's happening in our country," Demi Brown, the school's executive director, told KPBS Midday Edition on Monday. "We wanted to create a school where fitness is woven in."

But CrossFit Kids isn't a scaled down version of the popular CrossFit some may see on television. CrossFit is a high intensity interval workout that includes Olympic weighlifting, gymnastics and cardio.

Lura Poggi, a coordinator for CrossFit Kids, said it's an exercise program that was designed specifically for children.

"CrossFit Kids is designed to inspire kids to join in functional fitness and pair that with fun," Poggi said.

A typical class includes a warm up, practicing a movement (like an air squat or plank), a workout and a game.

"The emphasis is that we end every single class with fun so kids leave that experience having had fun," Poggi said.

Brown said teaching children about health and fitness isn't the sole responsibility of the school. The school also works with parents to ensure the values are taken home.

"It takes multiple players to do something about childhood obesity," Brown said. "It can't just be schools, it can't just be companies, it can't just be parents. It takes all three together."

CrossFit Kids

Video shows kids participating in exercises and games at CrossFit Kids Program, July 2012.


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