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By MARC LUTZ
Business Journal Editor
There’s no denying that it’s a digital world we live in. Anywhere one turns, people are connected to their smartphones, tablets or some form of digital device.
A drawback to this technologically advanced society is a sedentary lifestyle. GoNoodle, an online app geared toward getting kids active, is changing that.
In October, students at 176 schools across Merced, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties celebrated logging 2 million minutes of physical activity in the classroom using the GoNoodle app.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, obesity affects about 12.7 million children and adolescents across the country. Of that, 21.9 percent were Hispanic, 19.5 percent are non-Hispanic blacks and 14.7 percent are non-Hispanic whites.
“GoNoodle is a nationwide resource used in four out of five elementary schools across the country,” said Scott McQuigg, CEO of GoNoodle. “Thanks to Sutter Health and their local affiliates, more than 28,000 students, 1,200 teachers and 157 schools in the Central Valley were engaged in using GoNoodle in October alone.”
Sutter Health and its affiliates have provided the premium version of the online application, GoNoodle Plus, to 176 elementary schools — some 95,000 students — across the three counties.
“GoNoodle is a great partner for Sutter Health in our efforts to improve community health,” said Tammy Shaff, community benefit program manager for Sutter Health and Sutter Tracy Community Hospital. “If we want to really make long-lasting change, reaching children at an early age to improve their physical activity and nutrition habits, academic goals in the classroom and their ability to de-stress and focus, is a win for us and the communities we serve.”
The program engages school children with running, jumping, dancing, stretching and deep breathing exercises, all while staying next to their desks.
Research conducted by the Center for Children’s Health in Fort Worth, Texas, showed a 23 percent improvement in reading scores and nearly 50 percent improvement in math scores for children using the app versus those who didn’t use it, according to McQuigg.
“Another study by the Center for Children’s Health showed an average 13 percent improvement in childhood normal weight (as measured by body mass index) during a three-year period for elementary-age students who attend schools using GoNoodle,” McQuigg added.
So how long does it take to reach 2 million minutes of activity?
“Thanks to elementary teachers in Central Valley schools, students surpassed 2 million minutes of physical activity in just the first 2.5 months of the (2017-2018) school year,” McQuigg said.