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Atlanta Falcons help kids focus on fitness

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Post#1 Atlanta Falcons help kids focus on fitness
Thu Feb 21, 2008 10:15 am by HMFFL

$140,000 grant covers video exercise program at 5 Atlanta schools

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As children at Bethune Elementary School in Atlanta scurried into P.E. class Wednesday, their biggest surprise was Falcons owner Arthur Blank.

Clad in brown wool pants and cashmere sweater, Blank was on deck to watch "Hopsports" in motion, a new video fitness program designed to get kids hooked into exercise and reverse obesity trends. The percentage of overweight children has tripled in the past three decades, putting them at risk for diabetes, heart disease and other health problems.

Within minutes of turning the program on, Blank grabs a blue resistance band, stretching his arms behind him.

"Like this?" Blank asks 10-year-old Adalis Ball.

"Yep, looks good," says Adalis, unaware she's sweating next to the man who runs a professional football franchise.

After a few repetitions, P.E. teacher Eric Johnson, pats Blank on the back and tells him, "Time to rotate."

"How is everyone feeling?" asks Johnson.

"H-A-P-P-Y!," chant the fourth graders.

"How is everyone feeling?" Johnson asks again, this time eyeing Mr. Blank.

Blank hesitates and then says, "Happy!"

The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation recently provided a $140,000 grant for the program, which helps pay associated costs at five Atlanta public schools.

Hopsports is used at hundreds of schools and YMCA's across the country. It uses screens and gymnasium walls with movie-sized images of celebrities and fitness experts. The program replaces old fashioned games such as Duck, Duck, Goose with a mix of music and popular sports — not to mention Freddie the Falcon.

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