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Press Release
Nov. 1, 2007

South Ogden Junior High Battles Adolescent Obesity
“Gold Medal” program graduates to junior high, South Ogden is first to sign up

(Ogden, UT) Students at South Ogden Junior High School will be the first in the Weber-Morgan health district to try out the new Gold Medal School program aimed at teenagers. The program, which encourages youth to choose healthy lifestyles, has been a success in elementary schools for the past seven years.

The fitness plans for secondary schools offers South Ogden students an opportunity to expand on programs already in place, says South Ogden Principal Bill Grilz.

“We have made health and fitness one of our priorities,” Grilz says. “Exercising, eating right and staying away from tobacco are important decisions that kids make for themselves.”

Like the elementary-level program, participating junior high schools can earn cash and other motivational material by competing for Bronze, Silver or Gold medal status. South Ogden is aiming for the Silver.

Principal Grilz says the program benefits junior-high age students because they are only required to take physical education classes for one semester and nothing related to physical activity the rest of the school year.

School officials have already installed half-mile and one-mile markers around it’s hallways that can help motivate students to attain their fitness goals. And the healthy lifestyle doesn’t stop with the students. The faculty completed an eight-week wellness course over the summer. Plans are underway for the school to start its own running club that would meet for a walk, jog or run two nights each week. They also plan to purchase exercise bands for resistance training.

“South Ogden Junior High is very excited about this program and is already doing a lot of things that they need to compete,” says Rochelle Gates, who over sees the Gold Medal School program for the Weber-Morgan Health Department.

The biggest difference between the elementary-level and this new program is that it gives kids an opportunity to be a part of the planning.

“They have their own student council and they can pick and choose the activities and set their own goals for the school,” Gates says.

The Gold Medal Schools Power Up program was instigated by the Utah Department of Health to get students to “eat smart, move smart and be smart.”