Shake a leg: Get Movin’ starts again Saturday

Get Movin’, the free program to encourage families to be active this summer, kicks off Saturday with events scheduled in five cities.

The kickoffs are in Stanwood, Everett, Marysville, Monroe and Lynnwood. There will be games for the family and prizes, such as hula hoops, jump ropes, sport balls and drawings for bikes, said Caroline Brown, health and fitness director at the Marysville YMCA and a member of the Get Movin’ organizing committee.

Get Movin’ provides free weekly prizes for kids who are active for 30 minutes five times a week. This year’s goal is to enroll 3,000 adults and children in the program.

Last year, more than 1,800 people attended kickoff events held throughout the county, and another 1,000 people registered for the program.

Get Movin’ was launched by volunteers in 2004 to encourage kids to become more active and to battle childhood obesity.

Jeanette Merrill of Lynnwood and her family have participated in the Get Movin’ program the past two years. She said she heard about it while at the mall at Alderwood.

“I looked at it and said, ‘This is so neat,’ ” she said.

Her two daughters, Analissa, 15, and Crystal, 13, both participated in the program.

Of all the prizes offered by the program, the free swim passes were her children’s favorite, Jeanette Merrill said.

The program provided an extra incentive to participate in outdoor activities together, she said, such as bike riding, walks and hikes.

“We’ve always had bicycles,” she said. “We just did it a little more.”

An emphasis on family fitness is even more important in a time when physical education programs in schools are being cut, said Dr. Jim Troutman, a pediatrician at The Everett Clinic.

The best way to battle childhood obesity is to get the whole family involved, spending less time in front of the TV and more time outdoors, he said.

Recent Snohomish Health District studies underscore the need for both kids and adults to get active. About one in 10 students in grades eight, 10 and 12 is obese.

Statistics indicate adult obesity increased by 75 percent in Snohomish County between 1998 and 2007, from 15.8 percent to 27.7 percent.

Get Movin’ was an outgrowth of a yearlong monthly series on childhood obesity published by The Herald. Since 2004, more than 6,000 kids and adults have participated.

It is one of a number of grass-roots programs that have sprung up across the nation to encourage kids and families to become more active — among them, the Shape Up Sommerville program in Maine and the Healthy Florida programs in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Tallahassee.

Sponsors of this year’s Get Movin’ program include the YMCA of Snohomish County, Stevens Hospital, The Everett Clinic and The Herald.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486, salyer@heraldnet.com.

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