HAMMOND | Fifth-grade students from Morton Elementary School are getting healthier while taking part in Community Hospital Fitness Pointe’s Take 5 for Life program.

Take 5 for Life is the exercise-nutrition program Community Hospital Fitness Pointe first introduced to Northwest Indiana elementary schools nine years ago to get them on track for a healthier future.

The five components of the Take 5 program are to eat healthy; be active; manage your mind (abstain from drugs, alcohol and tobacco); be well-rested and feel good about yourself.

Take 5’s fitness/nutrition curriculum aligns with state of Indiana education standards and is made possible through a grant from ArcelorMittal, which supports initiatives throughout Northwest Indiana, including youth mentoring and education on healthy lifestyles.

As part of the ongoing program on Monday, students were treated to a nutrition lesson by Community Hospital dietitian Terri Sakelaris. Students also wear Fitbit wristbands used to track approximate mileage, steps and calories burned while they are in school.

Debi Pillarella, program manager for Community Hospital Fitness Pointe, said the program and wristbands have made students more aware and mindful about healthy lifestyles.

“It’s been really fun for them,” she said.

Fitbit tracks movement 24 hours a day, measuring steps taken and combines it with user data to calculate distance walked, calories burned, floors climbed, and activity duration and intensity.

It uses a display of LED lights to reveal this and other information such as the battery level and vibrates to indicate when the user’s goal has been reached.

When connected to a computer, the base station will upload data to the Fitbit website where a number of features are available including seeing an overview of physical activity, setting and tracking goals and keeping food and activity logs.

Fifth-grader Dominick Soco said he likes how it calculates how many steps he takes in a day and how much exercise he’s getting.

“I’ve been walking around a lot more,” he said.

Julie Gamaleri, Morton Elementary physical education teacher, said students always do a unit on fitness and things to help with their well-being and the Take 5 program works perfectly with it.

“They’re setting a good example about staying active and healthy,” she said.

The Take 5 for Life program has reached more than 3,000 students in East Chicago, Hobart, Hammond, Whiting and Lake Ridge.

For more information about Take 5 for Life visitwww.takefiveforlife.com. To find out more about Community Hospital Fitness Pointe, visit online at www.comhs.org. or watch this YouTube video:

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Metro Editor