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Arizona Hospital Helps Local Schools Fight Obesity

A Northern Arizona hospital is donating $1 million to Flagstaff schools to get kids in shape.

About a third of Flagstaff public school kids are overweight or obese. That’s right in line with national numbers.

Richard Henn directs Fit Kids, Flagstaff Medical Center’s child obesity program. Henn says currently Flagstaff students only get about seven minutes of exercise in a school day.

"This will move us somewhere between the seven minutes they’re now getting per day up to a little bit closer to 54 minutes per day of structured activity," Henn said. "The national recommendation is children should have 60 minutes per day so this going to bring us a lot closer."

The hospital plans to hire 10 fitness instructors to work with kids before school and during lunch. They plan to move the program into the middle and high schools in the next three years.

Laurel Morales was a Fronteras Desk reporter in Flagstaff from 2011 to 2020.