It was one for the record books as the Atlanta Falcons took the fight against childhood obesity to the Georgia Dome. Some 2300 kids took part in the world's largest ever virtual P.E. class, Tuesday, December 7.

ATLANTA - It was one for the record books as the Atlanta Falcons took the fight against childhood obesity to the Georgia Dome.

Some 2300 kids took part in the world's largest ever "virtual P.E. class."

Techonolgy has been blamed for teh childhood obesity problem. Experts point to the rise of video games to the fact that kids just aren't moving like they used to.

Tuesday, technology was used to make a point and to reverse a trend.

It was a special physical education class for some Georgia students Tuesday at the Georgia Dome.

They were trying to accomplish what's considered a rare feat these days - kids performing continuous exercise.

"It was kind of tiring, but it was fun," said one student.

They were also trying to set a Guinness Book world record for the largest virtual physical education class. With the help of an instructor on the jumbo-trons and Falcons players on the field, the kids were encouraged to end the disturbing trend of childhood obesity.

"I think if they stop playing the video games, get out, go outside and play basketball, play football, run around, it wouldn't be such a problem," said Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas.

It's a problem that has more than tripled in the last 30 years according to the Centers for Disease Control - childhood obesity. Researchers say obesity in children aged 6-11 increased from 6.5 percent in 1980 to nearly 20 percent just two years ago. Doctors are seeing increased cases of diabetes and high blood pressure.

"It also affects them at school. It affects their self-esteem and it actually lowers their cognitive development in little kids who are overweight. We have all the reasons in the world to help our kids get fit," said Stephanie Blank of the Falcons Youth Foundation.

If the record is successfully set it won't be just because of the kids at the Georgia Dome. It will because of thousands of kids across the state doing the very same thing. The goal is to make what they are doing now they do on a regular basis.

"All the message is, you got to give us 60 a day, anyway you can give it to us. Playing basketball, playing softball - whatever you want to do. But this is a great way for them to see the type of things they can do that aren't difficult but require continuous activity," said Falcons president Rich McKay.

Tuesday's goal was accomplished, the record was successfully set. But the experts say the answer to the problem of childhood obesity lies in more physical education in schools and parents.

"Part of it is just saying, 'You aren't going to do it and I am taking the controller away' and lock it up. You've got boys and girls clubs, you've got Y's, you've got after school programs, youth sports programs. These are all kinds of things you can sign your kids up for and get them moving," said Blank.

For more information on the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation, click here.

By Lena Sullivan 12/08/2010 11:58:00

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