Michelle Southern reporting.
Southeastern Louisiana University has partnered with LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center to create a new program helping college students prepare for careers working with children who are overweight.
Pennington Assistant Professor, Dr. Amanda Staiano, says Project I-PAL is an interactive physical activity lab in Hammond.
"This is going to attract children from all over the Hammond area and they get to actually work with college students to learn how to find exercise more exciting," said Staiano.
Staiano says Project I-PAL will provide unique opportunities for children to engage in physical activity to address possible issues associated with their weight such as self-esteem and body image.
She says they are going to work with children and get them on some exercise equipment that is especially designed for them.
"We want to try to teach them how exercise can be fun," said Staiano. "It serves a dual purpose, both reaching out to the kids who can sign up to come to the lab, and the college students on how to work with these children."
Staiano says the program is going to launch this fall when the kids head back to school. She says the primary purpose is to try to prepare college students for their future jobs.
"Whether they are going on to be PE teachers or dietitians," said Staino. "They need to know how to work with children who are obese since one half of our kids in Louisiana are overweight."