Local doctors combating childhood obesity at elementary schools through new fitness program

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) - With more than one in three third graders being overweight or obese, one local school district is hoping to combat childhood obesity by adding a new fitness program.

A fitness program ramping up across the nation will soon be all the talk at some Rio Rancho elementary schools.

"I saw CrossFit as an opportunity to bring physical fitness back to the curriculum of kids," said Anti Nelly Soto Hernandez, family practice doctor.

Soto-Hernandez and her husband, Javier Hernandez, are looking to get kids off the couch and into an active lifestyle.

The couple is combining their experience at CrossFit Hellbox with their medical background to offer the Firehawks Fit Little Beasts program.

"I was immediately impressed with the transformation I would see with people around me. I started looking at how that would impact children. In my profession, I see kids all the time. I have my concerns about the health in this country and how difficult it is to attack the problem of obesity," said Soto-Hernandez.

It's an after-school option that's based on a CrossFit-style methodology.

"It integrates very important skills for kids like balance, gymnastics. It integrates endurance conditioning," said Soto-Hernandez.

They're not just focusing on how hard these kids hit the gym. The program will also teach the kids about nutrition, hydration, and how important sleep is.

"It's a really well around program to bring to improve many aspects of their daily lives from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed," said Hernandez.

Soto-Hernandez says this is the first time a program like this is being offered at a school district in New Mexico.

The Firehawks Fit Little Beasts program will start at Colinas del Norte Elementary School.

The class is just for students in the Students Achieving For Excellence (S.A.F.E.) program and will meet twice a month.

The plan is to extend the program to all 10 elementary schools.

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