5th Graders Walk Across the U.S. (Sort of), Eat Healthy Foods and Lose 225 Pounds

Capstone event for a project to increase physical activity among fifth grade students

Between January and June 2004, fifth grade students at the Burnt Chimney Elementary School in Wirtz, Va., participated in a comprehensive program designed to increase their daily physical activity.

As part of the program, students wore pedometers to record the number of steps they took daily, and teachers and staff incorporated information on the ingredients of a healthy lifestyle into classroom lessons in math, English, geography and other subjects.

Key Results

  • By the end of the program:

    • Students had collectively walked the equivalent of 7,840 miles—enough to take them from Virginia through the 47 other contiguous states.
    • Some 20 staff members who participated in a weight loss contest using the pedometers and changing their diet lost a total of 225 pounds in two months.