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Getting fit at Catawba County Schools

Students in the district will be able to play virtual sports and take lessons from NFL, NBA and other sports stars on DVD through the program. And all five high schools will be outfitted with health club-style fitness centers- that staff can use after hours. Catawba County Schools spokeswoman Carleen Crawford says the US Department of Education gave the district a nearly $1.4 million grant over the next three years to promote physical fitness. She says the district is concerned about kids' inactivity becoming the norm. "We know that a lot of them are sedentary. The statistics show that they're not physically active. They watch too much television and we want to address those issues," she says. Crawford says close to a third of all five to 18 year olds in Catawba County are overweight. She points to a recently released study by a state task force on preventing childhood obesity. The study finds health spending for overweight kids was significantly higher than for healthy kids. The task force says this generation of children is expected to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents because of obesity-related health problems.