AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Thousands of Colorado fifth-graders are gearing up to spread the word about healthier living. The program is called “5th Gear Kids.” The mission is teaching the concept of energy balance.

CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh got to watch the program in action.

We all know what you eat and drink is energy in. What’s burned through physical activity is energy out. The fifth-graders in Aurora and Cherry Creek schools are now learning to balance that energy to avoid becoming overweight or obese.

Physical education teacher Mike Smith will get his students to use calories.

“We’re going to burn calories that we ate at breakfast,” he told them.

It’s a simple concept of matching how much you eat with how much you exercise. Fifth-graders at Coyote Hills Elementary are learning to live it.

Smith designed a running and throwing game of collecting food and sorting it into nutritional values. It’s a way to kick off 5th Gear Kids, a program developed by Colorado researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.

“The hope is that we teach these kids the skills, then we turn them loose to teach others,” James Hill with the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center said.

Fifth-graders are the focus as they gear up to become leaders. There’s already discussion about choices.

“They’re saying that junk food is the best but carrots and all that stuff is the best for you,” a fifth-grader said.

The effort comes with an incentive — a rewards card to record points for discounts and prizes.

“I already have 2,100 points. I’m actually trying to get Water World tickets,” another student said.

Nearly 7,000 fifth-graders are part of the program in Aurora and Cherry Creek schools. The hope is to expand across the country.

LINK: 5th Gear Kids


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