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An IU Health Arnett Hospital Release

—Friday, Indiana University Health Arnett team members built gaga ball pits at three local elementary schools to encourage children to be more active during their annual Day of Service.

More than 31 percent of adult Hoosiers are obese—and, frighteningly—nearly 15 percent of 2-4 year-olds from low-income families already are obese. Physical activity is crucial to helping children and adults alike attain and maintain a healthy weight. Research shows that youths in neighborhoods with accessible recreational facilities are 26 percent more likely to be active five times per week those in areas without such facilities. 

“Our team members are committed to launching innovative efforts aimed at preventing and reversing obesity in our community to help community members get active, get healthy and get strong,” stated Dr. Donald Clayton, president of IU Health Arnett. “Physical activity opportunities in schools and parks help to increase fitness and reduce obesity.”

Scientists attribute the growing obesity epidemic to two factors: more calories consumed, and fewer calories burned. A primary focus of attention is providing environments where children can be physically active. A cost-benefit study completed in Lincoln, Nebraska cited that every $1 investment in trails for physical activity led to $2.94 in direct medical benefit.

Gaga ball is a great way to provide a fun physical activity for children of all athletic skill levels. In a time when our country is facing a childhood obesity crisis, care givers need to continuously find ways to keep children physically active. The game's growing popularity is due to its universal ability to be used in physical education classes, during recess, in after-school programs or as a camp activity.

“We are so pleased to be receiving a gaga ball pit from IU Health Arnett. We have over 450 children at Vinton,” stated Cindy Preston, principal, Vinton Elementary School. “Gaga ball is going to be very popular.”

IU Health Arnett team members also built and painted 8 Buddy Benches for four local elementary schools. The buddy bench is a simple idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. 

Go to IU Health Arnett Newsroom