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Colorado Center for Health and Wellness fights childhood obesity

Center partners with Cherry Creek and Aurora schools

5th Gear Kids

By Erika Matich | University Communications

AURORA, Colo. – The Colorado Center for Health and Wellness wants children in Colorado to make healthy lifestyle and nutrition choices so it is partnering with two school districts to empower students with the knowledge and skills to make those healthy choices.  A program called “5th Gear Kids” in Aurora Public Schools (APS) and the Cherry Creek School District is designed to reduce childhood obesity. Children’s Hospital Colorado and King Soopers also are part of the collaborative effort to design and develop the program. 

One out of three children in Colorado is considered overweight or obese. Most of them will fight obesity as adults. “5th Gear Kids” focuses on developing 5th graders as leaders who make good choices and set good examples for the younger children in their school and for their families. The program is designed to teach kids life-long skills about nutrition and physical activity. The program will reach nearly 7,000 students in the upcoming (2012-2013) school year.

“We have never been accused of thinking small at the Colorado Center for Health and Wellness. We think of this program as a pilot for schools everywhere, we think it has legs for children across the country,” said James O. Hill, PhD, executive director of the Center.

Children’s Hospital Colorado and King Soopers also are part of the collaborative effort to design and develop the program. 

“Children’s Colorado is committed to improving the health of all kids in Colorado, not just the ones that come through our doors as patients.  Community partnerships are key in terms of reaching kids where they are – at home and in the community,” Amy Casseri, senior vice president of Children’s Colorado. ”We are thrilled to be a partner in this collaborative effort to promote healthy lifestyles in Colorado students.”

King Soopers will provide a card to all “5th Gear Kids” to serve as a reward and point system to further reinforce healthy choices.

Students from both school districts submitted ideas to a logo contest for the “5th Gear Kids” program. A winning logo was chosen from each school district, the logos were combined and then unveiled at a celebration on the Anschutz Medical Campus.

(Photo: left: Aurora Public Schools Superintendent John Barry, Rosa Saenz Moreno, APS logo contest winner; right: Cherry Creek School District Superintendent Mary Chesley, Jiyun Jeon, Cherry Creek logo contest winner)


Contact:, 303-524-2780


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