"Switch" continues to impact CR schools - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

"Switch" continues to impact CR schools

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- It feels like we just our holiday decorations put away, but if you're a parent, its' already time to start thinking about summer programs.

9-year-old Cade Parker of Hiawatha gave KWWL some first hand advice from an how to stay active and have fun at the same time.

Technology temptations like video games and Ipads used to make exercising feel like a chore for Cade, but not anymore.

Two months ago Cade's class signed up for the Switch program at Hiawatha elementary school. 

Cade Parker says, "Either I talk them into enjoying the beautiful day, or say, wanna go outside and play catch or play outside or run around?"

The starter kit costs $35, but Cade's school picked up the tab.   He logs the number of steps he takes on his "Switch" pedometer.

Cade says, ""I try to get over 15-thousand steps per day."

After two months of "switching" what he views and what he chews, Cade can see and feel a difference.

Cade says, ""Yeah! I lost five pounds!  We have a medicine ball and when I lift it, it's easier right now from all of the activities."

Retired Cedar Rapids physical education teachers Hal Garwood and Jim Patterson are respectfully known as "the Switch guys" at the 15 schools involved.

Jim Patterson says, "We didn't do anything for three or four years and the opportunity came that we could be a part of the research program."

Hal Garwood says, "It's going to be a habit they keep the rest of their life; they're always going to think of the program they were involved with in third grade."

The concept recently earned recognition from the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

Cade says, "I want to get more active and eat more fruits and vegetables because I wasn't eating enough while I wasn't doing Switch."

But the most rewarding approval comes from switch success stories, like Cade's.

The program started in 2006 and was a nationally sponsored initiative, but today Switch is a locally focused effort facilitated through the YMCA.

The Switch fitness project released data from 2010 that shows 39% of kids participating reported spending less time in front of screens.

39% increased their intake of fruits and vegetables, and more than half reported becoming more active.

To learn more about Switch click here.

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