Valley moms create exercise club to combat childhood obesity

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A group of kids are having fun at Hopi Elementary School, but more importantly, they're having fun exercising in a brand-new program created by Blake Van Es and two other moms. She calls it Hopi Fit Club.

“There's so much talk right now about childhood obesity, I thought, this is a great way, do it a couple of times a week to get the kids going, make it fun, that's the big key to this,” Van Es said.

Many parents and kids leaped at the idea, but despite its popularity it couldn't happen right away.

“I had to jump through some hoops with the district because you don't just gather kids and go on the school playground, you have to go to the principal, then you have to have a teacher sponsor, then you have to have the district say it's OK,” Van Es said.

The exercises are kid-specific, in order for them to enjoy what they’re doing and get a lot out of it, including a better start to the school day.

“There's a bunch of research out there that if kids exercise and start the stimulation process before school, that once they get to their seats, they will be more focused in school,” Van Es said.

So far, 50 kids are in the Hopi Fit Club, but the program has plenty of room to expand both on campus and off.

“I think it'll grow," Van Es said. "We already have people from other schools who have heard about us and know what our formula is so they can do it at their schools, so I hope it does grow."