Lawmakers take steps to raise health awareness in schools

Students and lawmakers filled the sidewalks of Downtown Boise on Tuesday to raise awareness about children’s health. Forty-nine Idaho lawmakers are taking part in the High Five Children’s Health Collaborative, a project to track their physical activity and raise money for some local schools through the Mt. Everest challenge.

“Your health is the most important thing for you,” said Laura Robinson a teacher at Whittier Elementary School. “To see that these kids are active and they need those opportunities to be active, whether it is though parks or P.E. programs at school, it is very important for them and this helps them in their education.”

The month-long challenge began in January and wraps up Friday. Lawmakers have to reach a goal of 29,035 feet, which will lead them to the top of Mt. Everest. Lawmakers get “feet” for walking, exercising and eating healthy. Their progress is tracked on a website designed by students from Meridian Technical Charter High School.

The purpose of the project is to educate lawmakers about the current status of children’s health, existing programs that are working to fight childhood obesity and gives details about which cities are offering healthy options for kids in their communities.

“Activity has always been a real pleasure and I wanted to get involved and show people that adults need to be active just as well as young children,” said Sen. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett. “It’s not high on our priority list and it probably should be. We are concerned about academies and testing.”

Three winning legislators who reach the summit of Mt. Everest will earn $5,000 for an elementary school of their choice to purchase activity equipment.

“I’m in second place right now in two of the categories — it’s about 15,000 steps a day,” Thayn said.

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The High Five Children’s Health Collaborative is an initiative powered by the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation that is dedicated to promoting health in children through physical activity and healthy eating.

“This is an opportunity for us to have discussions with lawmakers to celebrate the Mt. Everest challenge. It’s for a good understanding of importance of childhood health and wellness and the legislators can have a real impact on that in these kid’s lives,” said Josh Jordan, Blue Cross of Idaho.

To track your local legislator go to www.highfiveidahochallenge.org.