A healthy step at OES

Published 10:18 pm Wednesday, February 19, 2014

If America is ever to overcome the obesity epidemic that threatens the health and the very lives of tens of millions of people, it will happen one step at a time.

The same is true, on a somewhat smaller scale, right here in Suffolk, which suffers from obesity and diabetes rates higher than the state average. But a variety of organizations have begun working to help folks in Suffolk take those steps toward better health and away from the problems caused by obesity and diabetes.

At Oakland Elementary School on Friday, students, faculty and parents quite literally took more than a few steps toward healthier lifestyles. In fact, during the school’s celebration of the third annual Fitness and Nutrition Across America Day, participants took more than 13,000 steps in the right direction.

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In a special matchup, first-graders from Amy Sing’s class squared off on an obstacle course against the adults, with pedometers counting the number of steps each took to reach the goal. The children handily won the event, but the bigger point of the obstacle course was to show both children and adults how single steps add up. And a growing body of research indicates that it’s the steps — not the speed at which they’re taken — that make the biggest difference to one’s general overall health and fitness.

Along with an anti-smoking presentation and another warning about the dangers of drinking sodas and sports drinks that are loaded with sugar, the obstacle course helped set a standard of healthiness that the event’s organizers and presenters hope will become a habit for the children who participated.

It was a good step, at least.