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Elementary School Children Participate in Heart Health Program

Thousands of Iowa elementary schoolers will be improving their physical and mental health, as well as their self-esteem, through a program called the Kids Heart Challenge. Amy Knoll, school engagement director for the Iowa chapter of the American Heart Association, says the program gets kids moving through things like dance, jumping rope and basketball, while teaching them life-saving skills.

The program employs eight colorful creatures, with each one teaching a lesson, including:

Youngsters taking part in the program can earn digital badges as well as keychains that feature the critters.

In addition to the CPR training, kids learn how to spot a stroke, ways to combat stress, and ideas for healthy eating. Knoll says studies find that kids who are regularly active will feel better, have improved mental health, build self-esteem, and are less likely to develop anxiety and depression.

There’s clear evidence the hands-on CPR program works, as Knoll says a five-year-old on the East Coast who recently took the course helped save the life of a man who collapsed from cardiac arrest while at church. The program runs throughout the school year and Knoll says more Iowa schools are welcome to sign on at:


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