Program Teaches Kids to 'Step Up' to Fitness

Shoe tags earned in Step Up Club.
Shoe tags earned in Step Up Club.

Reporter: Shannon Samson

An Evansville doctor and his wife are "stepping up" to do something about childhood obesity.

They've created the Step Up Club, a running and walking club for kids. As members of the Greater Evansville Runners and Walkers Club, Dr. Tom Anderson and his wife Carol wanted to get kids involved. They want to teach them early on an appreciation for the cheapest form of exercise, one that can be done any time of the year.

Mrs. Elpers PE class at St. Theresa School just got a little more intense. One student, Nathan, comments, "Usually we play games but now we're really getting exercised." These fourth graders are, as he said, "Getting exercised" with 20 to 30 minutes of running or walking once a week.

They're members of the Step-Up Club. Founder Dr. Tom Anderson says, "One in three are overweight and one in six are actually obese, and as a physician I know that we're seeing diabetes and high blood pressure, a lot of other problems related to obesity. We're seeing them much earlier than we used to."

So he and his wife started contacting schools, clubs and other organizations, looking for an adult who would head up a Step Up Club, show kids how to run or walk for exercise and keep them motivated. Students record every mile into a log book and as they reach certain goals, they get prizes, ranging from shoe tags to book bags and trophies, sponsored by Toyota.

Dr. Anderson says, "My hope is that if they can learn to run and walk at this age and even if they only do it for three to six months, it's something they can come back to as a teenager or come back to in their twenties and in their adult life as something they remember they enjoyed."

And anyone can do it. Co-founder Carol Anderson says, "You don't need to belong to a sports team. You don't need to have special equipment. You don't need to belong to a health club. All you need is a good pair of shoes."

The Andersons will provide you with all the material needed to start your own Step Up Club. Click here for more information. Or you can call Carol Anderson at (812) 858-3830.