May 19, 2017

WSU hosts 800 Detroit school children to promote prevention of childhood obesity, importance of exercise

Nearly 800 Detroit schoolchildren rolled out yoga mats on May 10, in the Wayne State University Matthaei Physical Education Center to participate in a worldwide event called All Children Exercising Simultaneously (ACES) Day which promotes the prevention of childhood obesity and the importance of regular exercise.

Wayne State’s Center for Health and Community Impact in the College of Education partnered with the Michigan Fitness Foundation and Danialle Karmanos’ Work It Out to co-host the event.

“The day is a celebration of health, wellness and obesity prevention,” said Nate McCaughtry, assistant dean for the Division of Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies and director of the Center for Health and Community Impact. “Our goal is to teach children to exercise in meaningful ways so that they can live healthy, impactful lives.”

Schools participating in the second annual event included: Highland Park Renaissance Academy, Coleman Young Elementary, Detroit Christ The King Catholic School, Starr Academy, Gesu Catholic School, Carver STEM Academy, Charles Wright Elementary and Detroit Premier Academy.

All of the schools participate in ongoing yoga and mindfulness training throughout the school year thanks to funding by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. Danialle Karmanos’ Work It Out leads those activities and the Center for Health and Community Impact conducts research and provides evaluation of the program. It is one of 15 ongoing community-engaged research projects for the center.   

Joining the elementary students were Mike Duggan, City of Detroit mayor, Danialle Karmanos, founder of Danialle Karmanos’ Work It Out, PAWS, the Detroit Tiger’s mascot, and W, Wayne State’s mascot.

ACES Day was created by physical education teacher Len Saunders in 1989 as a method of motivating children to exercise. ACES takes place in May as part of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month along with National Physical Education Week.

Support from Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan allows schools participating in ACES Day to receive free planning materials, including an online idea kit for teachers, educational newsletters and stickers for every participant.