Get Up, and Move!

Today, kids around the world will fight childhood obesity by exercising at the same time

May 05, 2010 | By Vickie An

Today, millions of kids around the globe will take a stand against childhood obesity. How? By getting up, getting outside and exercising—all at the same time. The children are taking part in Project ACES, which stands for All Children Exercise Simultaneously. Fitness expert Len Saunders started the yearly event 22 years ago. He hopes Project ACES will motivate young people everywhere to get fit and live healthy lifestyles.

Taking Action

According to the American Heart Association, there are some 25 million children and adolescents in the United States who are overweight or obese. That's nearly 1 in 3 kids. Obesity can lead to many serious health problems. "There is so much research out there that concerns me," Saunders told TFK. He decided to do something about it.

When Project ACES began, Saunders was working at two elementary schools. At first, he envisioned a day where students in just those two schools would exercise together. But before long, schools across the country found out about the plan and wanted to participate. By the following year, schools worldwide were signing up.

Join the Fun!

Valley View Elementary, in Montville, New Jersey, is the host school for the event. Saunders teaches physical education at the school. Valley View plans to hold its Project ACES Day on the playground, where 500 students will get moving with various activities.

Jen Kayne has two kids who attend Valley View Elementary. She says they look forward to the event each year. "My kids count down the days until they get to go outside and exercise with their friends," Kayne says. "Mr. Saunders encourages our children everyday and inspires us to live a healthier lifestyle."

Saunders' new book, Keeping Kids Fit, also features tips on how families can make exercising and eating right fun on a regular basis. "My life's mission is to fight childhood obesity," he says. "You might not be able to change the world, but you can change your little corner of it. If I can have an impact on one family member or one child, then I've succeeded."

If you want a Project ACES Day at your school, ask your teacher or principal to visit projectaces.com.