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Teaming up to give kids a new game plan

Kids playing soccer

Nearly 20 percent of children in the United States are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The College of Nursing and Health Innovation is taking steps to address this obesity crisis. Nursing and kinesiology faculty and students have been working on a pilot research study at Young Men's Leadership Academy, a predominantly Latino all-male middle school in the Grand Prairie Independent School District. The study is tackling obesity through nutrition literacy and exercise.

"The nutrition component deals with reading labels, food portions, and explaining what's a carb, vitamin, or fat," says Margarita Trevino, an associate professor of clinical nursing and director of the Center for Hispanic Studies in Nursing and Health.

For the exercise component, Larry Nelson, associate professor of kinesiology, and his team of students started an after-school soccer program. They would like to put accelerometers on the boys to measure the amount of physical activity they're getting, not only on the soccer field, but also during every waking minute.

"What we plan to do with this data is show that this is a really big health-enhancing activity that we're delivering to this population," he says.

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