NU athletes visit Game On! participants.

St. Joan of Arc School, 9248 N. Lawndale Ave., has been offering students a series of challenges to reinforce the concepts of healthy food choices and physical activity with “Game On! The Ultimate Wellness Challenge.

The program is designed to address the national crises of childhood obesity by emphasizing health choices. Since the program began in January, a number of athletes from Northwestern University have visited classrooms and talked to the students about physical fitness. Yoga lessons from certified instructor John Cardone and a class in hip-hop dance taught by Kaleidoscope Dance have demonstrated other fitness options.

As part of the program, St. Joan’s students received pedometers to boost awareness of movement. With “Energy In” and “Energy Out” charts they learned to track food intake and exercise.

At home, students can also keep moving. They learned exercises that can be done while watching television – challenging a parent to a wall-sit contest during commercials, for example.

“Game On! is one way our school is seeking new ways to teach the importance of eating well and being active,” said St. Joan of Arc principal Gail Hulse. “Even the snacks we serve at basketball games have changed for the better. We’re fortunate to have a pediatrician on our school board, Dr. Monica Joseph Griffin, and her leadership was instrumental in getting this innovative program started. We also owe our sincere thanks to the Northwestern University athletes who are taking time to visit our classrooms and inspire our young people.”