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Midvale Journal

STEP Express Program Successful at Copperview Elementary

Aug 01, 2016 09:45AM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Midvale, Utah - In its first year of incorporating the healthy lifestyle and fitness program, Copperview Elementary fourth-grade students and teachers are finding the STEP Express program a success.

STEP Express is a free program designed to help students lead a healthier lifestyle through classroom lesson plans, physical activity and a fitness challenge. Created by Intermountain Health, it was targeted for fourth-graders since according to the Utah Department of Health, there was a dramatic increase in the percentage of overweight students between third and fifth grades.

“I’ve really liked it,” Copperview fourth-grade teacher Erin Wahlen said. “After signing up for the program, they sent us passports to monitor students’ lessons and progress. It ties into our fresh fruit and vegetable program and our Playworks program. The students compete against each other in amount of time they are being active, but more so, against themselves and wanting to improve their fitness levels. We’ve seen improvement not just in healthier lifestyles, but with students paying attention in class better.”

During the year, the 83 students had eight weeks to monitor their fitness activities. Each day, they charted how many minutes they were active.

The passports also asked students to record what they learned about being active and fun activities they engaged in. It also compared the students’ progress to animals, such as being inactive with less than 30 minutes of exercise to a snail to being very active with more than two hours to a cheetah.

The passport also had a healthy snack list, an exercise calorie-burning chart and a healthy drink and eating chart, which Wahlen said could serve as a reference for students after they completed the program at the end of the school year.

Before the students participated, they were given a pre-test to determine how well they could do their push-ups, sit-ups, shuttle runs, shoulder reach and an endurance run. At the end of the STEP Express program, they were retested.

“They looked up and saw how much they improved and saw it was because they were exercising more,” Wahlen said.

She said often she’d see students wanting to go outside more to play more, do sit-ups or push-ups during recess and wanting to participate in more activities.

Fourth-grader Coby Trivitt, who plays Junior Jazz basketball, said he’d often play lightning with his friends on the basketball court at recess.

“On Fridays, we had stations where we’d play basketball, jump rope or play four square for 30 minutes,” he said. “I learned how to play four square since I hadn’t played much before. It’s fun, but I really love the game of basketball. I learned if I play it for 30 minutes at recess, I can burn 180 calories. But I play it more because it’s fun.”

During the eight weeks, Colby improved his running time.

“It’s good to be fit and this program challenges myself,” he said.

Classmate Susi Luna agrees. She improved her running time as well as her sit-ups and push-ups

“My favorite is running,” she said. “I can run around my neighborhood and I do sit-ups and push-ups so I can write down two hours in the STEP Express passport.”

She also likes to bike and plays soccer on a recreational team as well as plays tag and basketball at recess.

“It’s good to exercise and it’s good for the body. It gives me lots of energy and I focus better when I have goals,” Susi said.