Former Basketball Star Applauds Obesity Program

Basketball great Magic Johnson was in Houston today, applauding the success of a program aimed at reducing childhood obesity rates. The "Three Point Play" program was a collaboration between Johnson's Foundation, the Houston school district and the Aetna Foundation.

"We plan on having this around for a long, long time. This could be the model of something that can happen across the country." 

The 20-week program has just finished and included about a thousand 4th and 5th grade students from five HISD elementary schools. Johnson says the idea was to get kids to put more effort into staying healthy.

"When we all grew up, our parents said go outside. Don't come back until the street lights come on. We had to get involved in terms of physical activities. But we're in a technology world now. That's been great. It's made our lives easier, quicker, faster, but also it's hurt our kids in terms of getting out and getting exercise and being active because now they sit at home on the computer and play games all the time."  

Students from the schools competed to see who could end the program the healthiest, measuring things like body mass, strength, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness.

"What we wanted to do was just help them understand how to eat better. Make sure that they have some type of activity in their day and enjoy it too at the same time. I think that the Three Point Play has been tremendous. The participation was overwhelming, to see the kids really be fired-up about participating." 

The Three Point Play is a pilot project and could be expanded because of its success here in Houston. 

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...