Jr. Spartan Run helping kids to keep active - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Jr. Spartan Run helping kids to keep active

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Michelle Reese covers education for the Tribune and blogs about motherhood and family issues at http://blogs.evtrib.com/evmoms. Contact her at mreese@evtrib.com

Michelle Reese covered education for the Tribune, also blogging about motherhood and family issues at http://blogs.evtrib.com/evmoms.

Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 5:29 pm | Updated: 3:34 pm, Tue Aug 20, 2013.

Jackie Evans knows something about raising a child. She has three of them.

She also knows a lot about fitness - but it's been a lesson in the making.

Since she and her son, Dan, were on the Biggest Loser, they've been on a mission to teach kids about fitness and eating healthy. (On the show the team was eliminated, but Dan lost 136 pounds and Jackie lost 89. They're now racing around the country.)

Jackie wants to help parents of kids - especially latch-key children. Through teaching kids how to stay active, she hopes she can help those working parents who are caught up with getting dinner and kids ready for bed at the end of the day.

"We just need to bring awareness to families and children that they need to be active. Their bodies need activity," Jackie told me as we chatted by phone last week. "Let's make sure they've played hard, got the energy out and their homework done."

To that end, she and Dan are trying to encourage afterschool programs to get kids more physically active through the Kids Fit Foundation.

This month, they'll be in the East Valley for the Junior Spartan Run, an obstacle course event.

When they come to events and talk, Dan talks to the kids. Jackie takes on the parents.

"We talk about loving yourself a lot ... This is the body you've been given to accomplish your dreams and goals in life," she said. "We're not just talking about being overweight. We're talking about health and fitness. You can be a skinny, unhealthy child. Your activity from a small child and not being fit and active is setting you up to be obese when older as soon as you're not running around as much or your metabolism drops."

What Jackie likes about the Junior Spartan Races, she said, is they show kids that they can find physical activity anywhere just by climbing, jumping and running. They don't have to be in a gym class or have fancy equipment.

"We are just all about these kids finding out that playing outside, being rugged, playing out there is fun. That's the activity that you need to get excited about in your life."

To learn more, see kidsfitfoundation.org or spartanrace.com.

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